When one flies for a living, as I once did, flying the final turn to landing was one of the most challenging aspects of getting a plane safely on the ground. As much art as science, there were particular "marks" to make at various points in the final phase of the pattern. If one comes of the perch at the right speed and altitude, then the rest of the turn is pretty much rote and easy to negotiate. However, if there are strong crosswinds, tightened downwind leg, heavy or light jet, hot weather, etc., then one has to make adjustments along the way. Coming into the final week of the run up to the Iowa caucuses is much the same way. Romney and Paul may be on the perch all set up to roll out on a non-eventful final, but I suspect things may not be "standard." There are way too many people in Iowa who have not made up their minds about this presidential thing to think we are going to have anything like a slam dunk out of the process.
The Iowa caucuses, in my mind, are not some nuanced thing where we have to be cute with our votes to make sure we back the show ponies in the field. This is an opportunity to vote our consciences. This is why Ron Paul will do well and why Rick Santorum will surprise a lot of folks with how well he does. We are likely to see four or five candidates in double digits with no one likely to top 30%. This is a good thing, not a bad thing.
We may be evaluating candidates on whether or not they are likely to be good presidents, but there are also some folks in this field that would be great VP selections. They may get the executive experience they might be missing, the chance to shore up the conservative base of the party, and a chance to bring a strong conservative narrative to the national campaign. Regardless of who gets the nomination, there must be a strong conservative on the ticket, or we may be visiting the McCain syndrome again. And four more years of Barack Hussein Obama is an intolerable outcome.
Conservatism wins on all levels. Conservatives have a more tolerant view of the world than progressives. Conservatives believe in individual liberty and freedom. Individuals believe in equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. Conservatives believe in a strong national defense used only to advance national interests. Conservatives believe in the sanctity of life, the nuclear family, the primacy of faith and the strength of the community. These, the strengths of America, can only be found in conservatism.
When Iowans go into their community halls, churches and schools to caucus, think about where America and Americans are most appreciated and protected. Think about the true conservatives running in this race. Turn out and bring your friends, neighbors and family to the caucuses--and bring a photo ID.
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