Here's where the Regular Guy is today on the race for the GOP nomination. In my mind there are four or five key themes I'd like the GOP candidate to stress.
1. The Economy. And specifically, the fact that the economy was tanked in 2008 because the federal government intervened so much in the housing market by helping create a system, through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, where mortgage lenders did not care about risk and loaned money to too many people to buy or build too many houses that they couldn't afford. In a larger sense, because the financial industry, including the "too big to fail" New York investment banks, were also complicit in the creation of an over-leveraged American economy. We are now de-leveraging, painfully.
In my mind, Gingrich's association with Freddie Mac as a lobbyist/influence peddler/historian hurts him in making this case. And Romney's career at Bain Capital hurts him in making this case, because he will be associated -- however demogogically -- with the world of abstract finance that unfortunately scares and angers many Americans.
2. Obamacare. Here, both Gingrich and Romney have problems, Gingrich because he in the past supported the individual mandate that, rightly or wrongly, is the provision most associated with Obamacare; Romney because of, well, Romneycare.
3. Strong national defense, opposition to Iran getting nukes, support for Israel. Here, Ron Paul would be disqualified.
4. Traditional moral values focused on the family. Gingrich loses this issue for us. I really, really don't like his three marriages and serial adultery. I don't believe that his second and third wives are the only instances of his cheating, and I predict that more will come out the closer he gets to the nomination. I cared when Bill Clinton cheated and I said more than once that a man who will cheat on his wife will cheat at anything. I was right then; I'm right now.
5. Competence and executive experience. Romney is obviously the best on this; Gingrich, to me, the worst. But competence isn't enough.
So where am I today? I'm leaning cautiously toward Rick Santorum. And I'm horrified by the notion that Newt Gingrich at age 68, after all we've seen of him for the past 30 years, and with so much at stake in 2012, could actually be the nominee.