By: Tera Ertz
For many like me who had been supporting Herman Cain prior to his withdrawal from the campaign, there has been a hesitancy to throw our support behind another candidate. Ron Paul is a libertarian, which is quite different from a conservative. Romney is a Massachusetts squish with the specter of RomneyCare in his past waiting to jump out and drag the GOP to defeat in November once the fight for the nomination is over. Gingrich has his supporters and an impressive record of accomplishments, but he also comes with a rather erratic, and somewhat less than conservative, set of policy positions in recent years and some personal baggage that is sure to hinder him in November as well. This left those of us who had whole heartedly thrown ourselves into Herman Cain’s campaign after careful consideration because we liked both the man and his vision with few clear choices. So, we waited to see what would happen in Iowa, who would be left standing, who would fall by the wayside and who would come out on top.
Now, I’ve personally felt pretty good about supporting Perry, Bachmann or Santorum since the Cain campaign imploded, but I didn’t want to get too excited because quite honestly I was feeling a little gun shy. Blogging, tweeting, facebooking and otherwise spreading a candidates message, as well as doing all the research it takes to champion your candidate to those who are still looking and defend them from those who want to tear them down is a rather huge investment of time and energy, as well as emotion. I was feeling pretty drained as I drove home from Herman’s swan song in Atlanta, and didn’t want to get all worked up just to have my choice once again drop out before the race was run.
As I watched the returns flow in tonight, I was excited to see Santorum do so well. There are a lot of different opinions on what this might mean for his campaign. Perry appears to be stepping out of the race, which will also have an impact on the remaining field. And I have to wonder a little about what comes next. Because you see, this is a year where conventional wisdom isn’t necessarily going to hold, but grass roots passion across cyberspace isn’t going to do the trick either. We, quite simply, need a miracle. And it could be we will get one, but it’s not really going to be up to us, the voters, it’s first going to be up to the candidates who got a feel for where they stand tonight in Iowa. Last election cycle all the candidates hung in until right before Super Tuesday, leaving their supporters caught flat footed and unable to coalesce behind a better candidate than we ended up with. By the time Super Tuesday was over only four remained, McCain, Romney, Ron Paul and Huckabee. Huckabee hung in just long enough to force Romney to bow out, and thus we had McCain.
We cannot have a repeat of this split of the conservative vote this cycle, and it is up to the candidates to take the lead in making sure this does not happen again, or we will surely lose in November. So, here is my fervent prayer for all the candidates in the GOP race. I ask you to take a day, honestly asses your chances of continuing your campaign past the end of this month. If you think there is even the slightest possibility you are going to drop out of the race, if there is a thought in your mind of “If I don’t get x in SC, NH, NV, FL, etc. then I’ll drop out” then please, for the love of the country you are seeking to lead, drop out of the race right now, don’t wait until it is too late for your supporters to make a difference in another campaign. At that point, please pray hard and long and listen for the response. Ask for guidance on who you believe will best represent this country. Who will be guided by their principles. Who will be able to lead us back from the precipice we are currently running toward.
You candidates in the race, you know each other far better than those of us out here in the country know you. You have spent time researching each other if you’ve done your job. You’ve spent time working with each other over the years. You’ve spent time on the campaign trail seeing each other under pressure. Use that insight, and the guidance of your faith, to truly look into your heart for the best answer for this country. Then come out in favor of that person, ask your supporters to lend them their support, get out on the campaign trail for them. You asked to lead this nation, there are those out here who supported you to do just that. If you don’t believe you will be selected to lead it as President, then please step up to the plate and do the job as a citizen and lend your skills to the one who should be. America will be grateful.