Where Do I Check “None-of-the-Above” On This Ballot?

Decision time: a former Massachusetts governor who has public and private executive experience; a former Speaker of the House known for “big think;” a Senator from a swing state; and a long-time Representative who approaches policy from a new perspective.  Great choices with very broad experiences, and each can bring something to the table.

At least they don’t have any heavy baggage or big weak point in their conservative armor, right?  I am sure I can find something in each aspect of their policy (fiscal, social, defense/foreign) that appeals to me.

That’s where it gets a bit messy.  The Massachusetts governor passed the precursor to, and according to some accounts the model for, “Obamacare.”  He defends it by saying it was “a Massachusetts solution for a Massachusetts problem.”  While that may be true, it is a state issue, it is also indicative of his position vis-a-vis government as the solution.  It gets deeper.  There is video of him from past elections as an opponent of issues he is now acting as a proponent of.  At least he has a personality?  He’s not getting my vote.

The former Speaker brings a lot of personal baggage that will not likely play a role in how he governs, but that puts a lot of extra arrows in the quill of the Obama reelection machine.  I’m okay with that; he’s found faith and has sought forgiveness, and who hasn’t made mistakes?  A session on a couch with former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the opponent we successfully ran against in 2010?  I am not liking this.  He supported the individual mandate?  He has hard links to the government run mortgagers who were a catalyst in the financial collapse of 2008?  Oy vey.

Swing state Senator, probably pretty good.  Comes off a bit whiney at times, okay, I can deal with that.  Endorsed the turn coat Arlen Specter; ugh, but hey, how could he have known?  Supported big-government programs during his time in the Senate.  I’ll pass. Thanks though, you almost made it.

Okay a Congressman from my home state, we should be pretty close.  Fiscal policy, okay; social policy, a bit more Libertarian than I, but not on the things I hold higher (abortion mainly); I am nodding my head in agreement.  Last box to check off: foreign and defense policy, let’s see how this goes.  Did he just say Iran would abide by a “lie-and-let-live” policy?  Adios.

I know I will never find a candidate who I can call “perfect.”  None of them will ever meet all of my criteria of conservatism.  Hell, I don’t think I would be able to.  Give me someone who is at least reasonable though please.  I, for one, am not a fan of holding my nose and closing my eyes for any candidate in the primaries. Now what do we do?

We hope.  We pray.  We wait.

Believe it or not, there is still time for another candidate to get in.  The proportional awarding of delegates, after April 1st, ensures no single candidate jumps out to an insurmountable lead after the first three states, or even up to “Super Tuesday” for that matter.  Additionally, large delegation states have later primaries this year, thus leaving a lot of delegates on the table after April 1st.

Get ready for some math.

If a yet-undeclared candidate enters the race in the near future, he or she will have access to ballots in 32 states and territories that conduct primaries or caucuses and be eligible for a total of 1,377 delegates, 233 more than are needed to clinch the nomination.  It has become common knowledge in recent weeks that Virginia does not allow citizens to “write-in” candidates on the primary ballot; however, if only Virginia applies this rule there are an additional total of 736 delegates available, leaving the undeclared candidate a total of 2,113 available delegates, merely 173 less than the total number of delegates available at the start of the primary race.  If all of the states have a similar rule, those initial 1,377 delegates are enough to win the nomination.

Of the 1,377 delegates they would definitely be eligible for, only 426 are pre April 1st and subject to proportional awarding (except Florida’s winner take-all, which Romney carried easily), theoretically giving the candidate enough time to enter the race, build name-recognition, gain a foothold and make a run at the nomination.  An additional 951 delegates are up for grabs after April 1st in “winner-take-all” races in states such as California (172 delegates), Texas (155 delegates), New York (95 delegates) and Pennsylvania (72 delegates).  Texas may even push its primary back from than the current April 3rd date as redistricting maps are tied up in the judiciary, thus leaving the two biggest delegate rich states, Texas and California, with late primaries in May and June, respectively.  Delegates are not an issue, it is possible, especially as the current candidates, with the exception of Rep. Paul (who had strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire) have split the first three states and their delegates.  At the very least, a new entry can force a brokered convention which could work out positively or negatively depending on where one stands.

While delegates are winnable, money is required for any and all campaigning; former House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s motto of “hard work beats daddy’s money” will only advance a candidate so far on the national stage.  It’s not called the “mother’s milk” for nothing.  Speaker Gingrich’s super PAC, Winning Our Future PAC, was running on fumes until a few weeks ago when a casino mogul injected five million dollars into it, the mogul’s wife recently matched the sum.  Governor Perry’s super PAC, Make Us Great Again PAC, no longer has a candidate to support.  This election cycle, donors have shown a willingness to shift support and money to a surging candidate who appears capable of winning the primary and beating the incumbent president; with all the time left in the race I would find it unlikely if they stop now.

Delegates are out there.  Money is out there.  Is there a new candidate out there?  Preferably a conservative governor who hasn’t been mired in scandal, and preferably one who can speak well (I may even settle for “speak good” at this point) as they articulate their record of successes, their plans to get the nation back on track economically, and espouse the conservative viewpoints I hold dear?  Someone who truly believes in the ability of the free market and will unleash innovation in the private sector by removing the millstones of burdensome regulations and tax burden from the necks of American entrepreneurs?  Someone who believes the United States is a great nation and will not shy away from saying so, and if driven to it, use the big stick of the American military and all the might that comes with it?  Is that too much to ask?

I hope they are out there.  Maybe he is parking his Harley at the red brick residence six miles north of Lucas Oil Stadium.  Or he may be sitting at his desk in the governor’s mansion near the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, a few miles north of “Death Valley.”  Maybe he or she is somewhere else.  Honestly, I don’t really care about what they are doing right this second, or for that matter where they are doing it; I just hope they get in the race sooner rather than later, especially if they are planning on waiting until 2016.

Kenneth Depew :: University of St. Thomas (TX) :: Houston, Texas :: @Depewk



  1. Florida has produced the nominee with a repudiation of Newt, a legend only in his own mind, by showing that Mitt is both electable and presidential as witnessed by his winner’s speech at his headquarters Tuesday night!

    Let’s move on toward August. Let Newt and other also-rans fall by the wayside!

  2. It’s sad how quick people are to dismiss Ron Paul because the media tells them his foreign policy is crazy. People who have researched the middle east agree with Dr. Paul. Blowback is real and we have been suffering from it for years. Insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results. The other 3 candidates want to repeat the exact same actions that have resulted in serious blowback against the United States. Terrorists do not attack us because we are free and prosperous. That notion is ludicrous. There is only one sane candidate in the field. Dr. Paul is not only the only sane candidate, he is also the candidate that will create the strongest national defense this country has seen in decades.

  3. What planet are you from, Justin? I make my decisions based on what I hear the candidates say. Ron Paul said Iran was the same as the U.K. to us. That’s absurd. It’s also a little touched. Yes we are attacked because we are the great satan to radical islamists. Granted, we have not furthered our cause by our actions propping up pro-American dictators such as the recently removed Mubarak from Eygpt and others, but the radicals would attack us anyway. Can you guarantee me they wouldn’t have? Ever read their holy book? They are instructed to kill infidels, and that means us. They do not assimilate into other societies, they remain separate and work to have their hideous sharia law installed as the law of the land. They kill Christians all over the world, especially where they are the minority, and nothing is being done to stop them, although Nigeria has repeatedly tried. I could provide a list several feet long detailing this killing, just in the last year or two.
    Get a grip, man. Just like satan, whose greatest weapon against us is the belief that he does not exist, radical islamists would have us believe they pose no threat, while at the same time openly proclaiming their intentions toward world domination. They will stop at nothing less, and everyone not aware of the truth makes it that much easier for them to succeed.

  4. No, I have not read the Quran. When someone quotes someone or something, I do the research on it. If you would have done the research, you would understand that 1. Infidels refers to Atheists. 2. The quote about killing infidels, is referring to a time of war. Ron Paul has stated numerous times that he does not want Iran to get a nuclear weapon. However, he believes that diplomacy can accomplish that. Imposing sanctions on a country only causes its people to rally around their leader. The people are the ones who suffer from sanctions, not the leaders. Bin Laden said that the reason they attacked us, was because of the Iraq sanctions. He said that millions of Iraqi children were dying because of the sanctions we placed on Iraq. He was upset that Americans believed that American lives were more important than Iraqi lives.
    This is what happens when we get involved in everyone’s business. We weaken our national defense and we make our country more at risk to attack. The people who attack us have no face. They don’t fear our military. We oust one dictator, just to have another one come in and take over. All we are doing is wasting resources and spreading ourselves thin.
    Now all of the Neocons want to move on to Iran. Why? So they don’t get a nuclear weapon. Did they not learn from Iraq? Iran is nowhere near the point of achieving a nuclear weapon. Our sanctions only increase their desire to get one.
    Additionally, Ron Paul said that if his advisors told him of a threat to national security. He would follow the constitution and ask congress for a declaration of war. The media continues to attempt to scare people away from Ron Paul, because he doesn’t represent the status quo. The sad thing is that its working.

  5. Justin, thank you for your feedback. You seem to be a rational supporter of Dr. Paul, which is respectable. I was fortunate in meeting him early last year, and even though I don’t agree with him 100% I have the utmost respect for him as a legislator.
    I just wanted to add some input to your last comment (time stamped 8:14pm).
    In the Qur’an the term “infidel,” or kafir in Arabic (كافر), is used for atheist, in certain places dependent upon the context. In other places it implies all non-Muslims, in others all non-monotheist and in others non-“People of the Book.” So, between the different context and different interpretations by different ulema (scholars of Islamic jurisprudence), the term can be applied in many different ways to meet many different ends.
    OBL gave many different reasons for the 9/11 attacks: the Iraq sanctions you mentioned, US presence in the Saudi Arabia, and US support of Israel. If those were his real motivations or whether that is what he believed his target audience (the global Muslim community) would rally around we shall never know. Was he truly angered at the US because of the post Desert Storm sanctions or was his ego damaged because his home country ignored his exploits against the Soviets in Afghanistan and instead chose for the US for protection and to drive Sadam out of Kuwait?
    As for learning from Iraq, I hope we (the west) did, especially in regards to threat nations and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. While in Iraq in 2004 we were tasked to go to the Osirak nuclear site, which the Israeli’s conducted and airstrike against in 1983. Had they not struck the world may have been a lot different, we will never know. How Iran will act with a nuclear weapon we cannot be sure, but they have given some very serious indicators that should be taken very seriously. That being said, in the future I would rather not have to say I wish we would have stopped it when we had the chance. I am working on a full article on that very subject.
    Once again thank you for your feedback.

  6. I am rational too, and thanks Kenneth for backing what I said about infidels. As far as Justin’s other remark, to islam this IS a time of war. Ask all the Christians that they have killed recently. On right, you can’t, they’re DEAD. Someone has to speak for them, and if that gets me to the point that I sound irrational, I’m sorry. Like someone told me yesterday, that’s not anger, it’s passion.
    I think Paul would be the very best choice, better than Romney, Gingrich or Santorum, if only I could get behind his foreign policy. He still may get my vote. I realize that no one man runs the government, and has many advisors. Perhaps he would do the right thing, but as you said, I would hate to let Iran get the bomb and wish I hadn’t. I think Israel could handle the problem very nicely, and they may do it yet, if provoked, and who could blame them? Can you imagine what the Middle East would be like without Israel? I value your perspective as a trained soldier who has seen action in this very dangerous land. I am looking forward to your next article.
    Just one more thing. No amount of diplomacy will alleviate the threat from Iran. Let me put this question out there: what has North Korea been up to lately since all our focus is on Iran? Perhaps the only good thing Obama has done is to beef up our presence in that neighborhood.

  7. No intention of implying you weren’t rational, Keith. It just seems like 9 of 10 Ron Paul supporters I interact with give the good doctor a bad name because of their immaturity and irrational behavior. I completely understand your passion, regarding the Christians of the region. Since the Turks and Kurd’s wholesale slaughter of the Armenians and Assyrians in 1915 south west Asian Christians have faced tremendous hardships with few periods of peace free of persecution. Under Saddam they were actually treated rather fairly and under Syria’s currently faltering regime they were/are too. Maybe the secular concept of the Ba’athist wasn’t all that bad; at least not for the minority Christians. One of the “creators” was a Christian, so maybe he worked that in there for a reason other than pan-Arab renaissance. The socialist aspects are another thing though. My wife is an Assyrian, she still has family in that part of the world so I won’t go into further detail about that.
    I completely agree about negotiating. I would love it if diplomacy could solve the problems we face in the near east, but I don’t believe it can. Negotiations with Iran, and to a larger extent those fighting under the banner of Islam, would be fruitless. It would accomplish nothing other than checking the box saying we negotiated. Nothing would be solved, we share no similarities in desired outcomes and neither of us are willing to compromise on what the other finds offensive (for us their nuclear program, for them are mere existence Israel and our support of the nation). In Iran we can truly see what revolutionary Islamo-facism looks like. If we thought Marxism was bad the addition of a zealously evangelical religion which employs coercion (even though the Qur’an explicitly states there can be no compulsion in religion) will be doubly worrisome as the post-Soviet era advances.
    Thanks for your kind words, I hope I can live up to your expectations.

  8. Here is my main issue with Iran. Where does it end? We’ve been in Iraq and Afghanistan for 10+ years. Next is Iran. North Korea is still an issue. Who knows what is to come of Libya and Egypt when all of the dust settles from the events that happened/are happening there. When do we stop policing the world? Apparently $16 trillion in debt isn’t enough.
    This is the way I see this election. Obama = Romney = Gingrich = Big Spending/Big Government. I could get behind Santorum if he wasn’t on the wrong side of social issues, as conservatives have been throughout history.
    That leaves Ron Paul. He is the only conservative in this race. I would think he would get praise from “The College Conservative”. The College Conservative implies young conservative. The young people of this country need to realize we are in serious trouble with government spending. If we want to ensure America is great for our children and grandchildren, we have to tackle big spending, and that includes wars that we cannot afford. We have to draw the line somewhere, before it gets drawn for us.

  9. “Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.”

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