Mitt Romney:

Stengths: Executive experience, both in private sector and as governor of Massachusetts. Knowledge of how to make a payroll. Realization of the pitfalls of free trade with those who charge us to trade with them. Knowledge of outsourcing causes. A good public speaker, quick on his feet in a debate. Foreign policy is superior.

Negatives: Started sounding and acting conservative about 3 months before he announced he was planning on running for president. Has said in past that he was the best thing that could happen to pro-choice movement. No trust factor at all. No stated plan to ending tax corruption, and promises more progressive tax system by targeted tax cuts for middle class. Uses class warfare rhetoric (i.e middle class) Not much on record about immigration. Defends individual mandate and socialized medicine. With trust, the worst of this would be on abortion and immigration and federal power/programs expansion.

Summary: The biggest thing for me is the trust factor. I cannot in good faith support someone that I do not trust when there are some that I trust in the race. He’s not a conservative overall, but has some conservative thought processes. The timing of his change to being more conservative also hurts him, because it almost seems like I can’t rule out the possibility that he is infiltrator whose goal is to undermine conservatism.

Newt Gingrich:

Strengths: Extensive experience with getting legislation done. Mostly conservative record as speaker working with/against Bill Clinton in the 90’s leading to a balanced budget. Most knowledgeable candidate up there bar none. Best debater.

Negatives: Will try any idea that he thinks of regardless of philosophy or ending result as long as he thinks its the intelligent thing to do. Comes across and condescending. Attacks capitalism when he feels that it benefits him to do so. Has shown past examples of not being able to keep his personal life from interfering with work (although it has been a long time). Has some of the same flaws Obama has. Arrogant, bad on immigration by not focusing on securing the border before talking about what to do with people here. Attacks the constitutional checks and balances created by executive/legislative/judiciary branch’s being separate. I can trust him to do what he says, but I cannot trust him to not change his mind (while telling us about it) two dozen times in the matter of his 4 year term.

Summary: With Gingrich I do not see any opportunity for him to be the “not romney” candidate long term. His positions today, are much like Mitt’s positions from about a decade ago. The Bain Capital thing really bothers me with him attacking romney for that. The immigration comment where he said that anyone who disagrees with him is “inhumane”. He uses often the lefts lingo in attacks and sometimes in policy statements. Recently has sounded more like an OWS protester then a republican nominee. I honestly would not have voted for him before all of this, but it sure made it a 100% sure thing that I wouldn’t by doing all he has done. I would even consider voting Romney before Gingrich as much as it pains me to say that.

Jon Huntsman:

Strengths: He favors a flat tax.

Negatives: Umm..why is he even running for the republican nomination? He is Mitt Romney circa 2004 on domestic policy, and Ron Paul on foreign policy. Apologist for China, condescending attitude, and believes speaking mandarin makes him look like intelligentsia.

Summary: Three words. Just say no

Ron Paul:

Strengths: The most conservative domestic spending candidate there is. Understands the constitutional limits placed on the federal government. Not afraid to take on the Federal Reserve. Understands better then anyone that printing money is a recipe for disaster. Very good on most things to where things should be handled by the states. If he were to go to war, he would not let political correctness keep our troops from being effective.

Negatives: If a state struck down all murder laws, he would still be against changing the constitution to make sure that it is still illegal. Unelectable because many republicans would merely sit out the election (or vote third party) because they would view a divided government with Obama as preferable to a Ron Paul presidency. Would do nothing about a Russian aggression to reclaim there lost provinces that have become independent nations and allies of ours. Would remove troops from every base across the globe and call back our naval ships from foreign waters. By doing so, would lose any tactical advantage and increase response time to an attack or threat of attack on us or our allies. Vladamir Putin would be the happiest person on earth if he were elected. While I can see potentially making marijuana legal as a controlled substance, I cannot see hard drugs being a good thing to legalize. His followers, while there are a few well meaning accepting people, often are callous, uncaring, angry, and lack any modicum of ability to compromise. While he understands the limits of the federal government, he doesn’t understands the priorities of the federal government and the powers granted to it.

Summary: I do not put much stock in his label as being a racist, but that is out there and it will stick particularly in a general election. His foreign policy outright disqualifies him from eligibility of ever receiving my vote. If it were for congress, or even senate this would not be true. The President is the commander in chief so thus has direct power over foreign policy and troop movements. Its too bad, because I do trust him more than anyone on fiscal and states rights issues.

Rick Perry:

Strengths: Extensive executive experience in a conservative state with great successes. Not afraid of at least trying to control the fed. For a flat tax system that would be far superior to our current tax system. Good on states rights. Good on securing the border. Wants to limit not only the power, but also the financial viability of the federal government. The best foreign policy available in this election from at least a policy statement point of view. Really good on the stump, great one on one interviewer. Reliably pro-life. Reliably against cap and trade.

Negatives: Bad on immigration magnet policy (i.e. dream act and support for anchor babies provisions). Often has the attitude that if you don’t agree with him your some horrible person. Called those that did racists, bigots, and heartless. Not altogether uncomfortable with unecessary government mandates.

Summary: At first, I truly thought that he would be my candidate that I could fully and enthusiastically support. His “last name” and “heartless” comments while not completely eliminating him made it incredibly hard for me to pull the lever for him, much less enthusiastically like I thought I would be able to.

Rick Santorum:

Strengths: Understands how to identify an enemy. The most reliable candidate on the social issues I believe in. Understands that when the constitution doesn’t support your view the only constitutional way to change it, is to amend the constitution. Had a good record in the senate, and seems to resonate with more types of people then you would expect for a social conservative. Does not allow political correctness or political gain to shape his policies or speech on those policies, but at the same time is not rude or arrogant about it. Good ideas on create more choices and more freedom in education.

Negatives: In my view he does not focus enough on jobs. His record was definitely not perfect as he did vote for no child left behind and medicare part b. Up until recently I did not see him gaining traction in the election.

Summary: Unless something major changes and I switch to Rick Perry, Santorum is my guy in this election. Of course unless something changes I won’t get a chance to vote for him at all being in Virginia. Both b/c he is not on the ballot, and b/c it is majorly irrelevant by the time it gets to us. If this was an election for senate, I’d have more qualms with him, but as President I believe he can set a tone that will significantly help our country for a long time. The more I’ve heard from him the more I believe he can win over people who do not support him now, including those the republican party have struggled with in recent memory such as blue collar workers.

In Final summary, any of these candidates would be better then Obama. Two of them (Huntsman and Paul) that I would consider voting third party if they won the nomination, but the rest will get my vote 100% against Obama.