Various Republicans with whose philosophies I agree in every detail seem to have purist yearnings of their own. They don't want to win at the price of surrendering territory, even if the territory they wind up with should be bigger than that of their adversaries. They want a president after their own hearts, not any Chris Christie, with his supposed compromises in the name of adding women and minorities to the big coalition.
No one can say, in the charged circumstances of 2013, who ought in 2016 to be elected president or how pure he ought to be. Why not acknowledge in the meantime that even if winning isn't "the only thing," it beats the sort of thing America has right now.
True confessions time: I proudly cast my first presidential ballot in 1964 for Barry Goldwater, my second and third for Richard Nixon. I voted in '76 for Ford, in '80 and '84 for the great Reagan; in '88 and '92 for Bush 41; for Dole the next go-round, then twice for Bush 43; in 2008 for McCain and in 2012 for Romney.
Truehearted conservatives, all? Goldwater, Reagan -- certainly. The others, not so bad and not so world-beating either. Do you know what? Nevertheless, the youngest Goldwater voter still living has enough experience under the belt to understand that in political choice-making, you do the best you can, even while pinching your nostrils together -- hard. You do the best you can with what's available.
Christie for president? A good starting question would be: compared with whom, and to what?
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