I am not assigned to write about political topics. I really am unqualified to do so. But this is bugging me so badly that I am staying up just to get this off my chest. This is not a polished post, but more of a personal rant, which I rarely do. So take that into consideration as you read it.

Maybe I've got my head in the clouds, but I think conservatives (I hate labels, but this is what we've got right now) are self-destructing.

I have put off any final decision on whom I would vote for for a long time. I have never believed that there is a natural shoe-in for President. I have tried to weigh carefully my selection. Because I am by nature conservative, I have leaned toward those candidates with more conservative views.

To be more specific, I have vacillated between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. I like some of both of their platforms. I can see why people would want to support Ron Paul. I like his willingness to buck the system and just try to do what he feels is right, according to the Constitution. People I respect are supporting him full force. I can respect that choice, but only to a point. I think we are very likely past that point.

I finally decided that I needed to back Mitt Romney. You see, all along, I have known in my gut that there is no way on earth Paul could win. I knew it was going to be a real challenge even for Mitt to have a chance. And all along, I have felt that my vote should consider not just my personal views or passions, but should consider how politics work, should consider the big picture. The big picture to me was wanting to get behind someone I knew had a chance, and not have my vote reduce that chance by watering down the potential for someone who at least has some connection with the things that matter most to me (more than those who would be front-runners). At some point, voting only on principle seems like it could be a waste of a vote, and could backfire in a bad way.

Mitt has (or had?) a chance. But conservative candidates and voters are still insisting on holding to that one chance in a million that they (or their candidates) will Win. Huckabee and Paul, in my opinion, don't stand a chance at this point.

And what is happening in the meantime? Edwards and Giuliani have pulled out, and [edited for clarity] Guiliani has supported McCain. These men got smart and realized that they knew they were fighting a losing battle and would rather that they have some influence by backing out (and possibly backing someone else) than Win. So McCain — a not-conservative guy — has all the more backing now. But Huckabee and Paul keep on going, and their supporters keep on dreaming, and all the while, any hope for anything resembling a conservative platform coming through is quickly fading into the sunset.

At some point, doesn't it just make sense for conservatives to come together to prevent the kind of situation we are headed toward — where people are thinking about not voting at all if we get to a McCain/Clinton showdown? At what point does voting just on principle become self-destructive? Aren't there enough of us who have conservative values (in a general sense — I realize there will be differences) that our votes, unified, could make a difference here?

So people don't want Mitt cuz he's a Mormon or cuz he's not _________ enough or doesn't perfectly match certain principles or beliefs? At some point, shouldn't the bigger picture, the reality of the situation, come into play? Which is worse – voting for Romney or having to choose between McCain and Clinton (or Obama)?

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe someone left in the race will be better to them than Mitt. ?? If so, who and WHY? (If someone out there is in this position and can explain, I would be genuinely interested.)

I'm not even a fan of two parties, or labels or agendas. I WISH we could buck the system and figure out something better. Again, I haven't been sold on One Right Candidate during this campaign. But not-politically-savvy though I am, it seems to me that conservatives are at a critical juncture here. We have to work with what we have, and what we have is a situation that is worrying me big time. Mitt is the only person who stands a chance at representing a conservative agenda. I really, really don't want to be faced with a McCain/Clinton situation, and I doubt there are many conservatives out there who do. So, what are we gonna do about that?

OK. End rambling rant. I'm now going to bed. ‘Nite.