Almost no one I know is ecstatic about any of the Republican candidates for president. Here's what I think about them:
1. Mitt Romney: I see him as dangerous for conservatives because he has not governed as a conservative. My intuition tells me that Romney lacks the core beliefs of conservatives: smaller government, less regulations, lower taxes, cheap energy. I greatly fear that he would turn left once elected, "compromise" on key issues and provide a weak, watered-down approach to Obamacare, the national debt, federal spending and taxes. Still, he would be better than Obama. A fire hydrant would be better than Obama.
2. Newt Gingrich: I have the same concerns for Newt that I have for Romney. Like Romney, I fear that Newt lacks core beliefs, will accommodate any stupid idea or political fad that comes down the pike (like global warming, cap and trade) in order to augment his popular appeal. His campaign ads portraying him as Reagan's right-hand man and a strict conservative are ludicrous. Further, Newt is showing himself to be a hothead prone to emotional outbursts, i.e. thin-skinned and shooting himself in the foot. I doubt that he has the temperament to run a successful campaign if nominated. The leftwing mainstream press would play him like a fiddle. I could care less how many times he has been married, but ethics charges against him, fair or unfair, would be used against him to great advantage by the Democrats.
3. Rick Perry: Perry is ideologically acceptable and might make a good president. I think his stance on allowing the children of illegal aliens (in Texas) to pay in-state college tuition has been misunderstood and misconstrued by many conservatives. He thought that kids who were brought here by their parents through no fault of their own, and went to grade school and high school and essentially grew up here, should be allowed to pursue their college education. I would have voted the same way that Perry did. I think it is less likely than for Romney and Gingrich that he would turn left once elected. My major concerns about Perry have to do with his ability to debate and his way of presenting himself to the public. Could he win the election if nominated? I think so, though he will be portrayed as a tongue-tied fool by the mainstream media.
4. Rick Santorum: I believe that Rick Santorum has core beliefs and knows what he stands for, and in that regard, is less dangerous than Romney or Gingrich -- I doubt that he would surprise us, once elected, by turning left. He has caused some concerns with some of his statements about birth control, saying that states have the constitutional right to outlaw it, and voicing the Catholic Church's position on the matter as if it were a moral certainty applicable to everyone. Those statements will be used against him, even though they have little bearing, if any, on his performance as president. All candidates have vulnerabilities to Democrat attack, so that is not a deal-breaker with me. I like Santorum better than Romney or Gingrich, and about the same as Perry. However, Santorum has momentum whereas Perry seems to have lost his, and therefore Santorum may have a better chance at being nominated.
Conclusions: I am supporting Rick Santorum for the reasons stated above. For now. I reserve the right to change my mind.