Of the Republican candidates with a plausible shot at the presidency, the only one that is wholly unacceptable to the Editorial Board is the awful Mitt Romney, the man who has ironically emerged as the conservative alternative in this race in spite of having held liberal political positions throughout most of his life. Romney approaches elective office the same way he might have approached a project in the corporate world: He figures out exactly what he needs to say, how he needs to act and who he needs to suck up to in order to achieve his goal, and then sticks to his game plan with relentless discipline. All politicians pander a little bit, but Romney has injected a previously unimaginable level of disingenuousness into this campaign, glad-handing every possible Republican constituency, exaggerating his record and drawing absurd comparisons between himself and Ronald Reagan. It’s sad, really: A man who might have made a decent president never rose above the level of a cartoonish presidential candidate. If the media’s predictions are accurate, Super Tuesday should sweep his campaign aside into the dustbin to which history assigns such candidates. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. ike Huckabee, though an entertaining candidate who once asked Stephen Colbert to be his running mate should he win the nomination, is also a poor choice. With backing of Chuck Norris and Colbert, Huckabee makes a refreshing comedic addition to an otherwise serious contest. But the former progressive governor of Arkansas seems to be more qualified to create a theocracy than to confront the important economic and national security issues of today. John McCain is a serious man whose moderate record and independent voice in Washington have long provided a breath of fresh air amid rancorous partisanship on both sides of the aisle. He has an optimistic stance on healthcare, and he could bring progress to the political system characterized by partisan divides. Respected by his colleagues for his leadership on foreign affairs, McCain is undeniably the most seasoned statesman among the candidates. A former prisoner of war, we respect his commitment to providing for military families very much and appreciate his decision to denounce all uses of torture. Though at times it seems as if he is seeking personal vindication more than anything else from U.S. progress in Iraq, he has a special insight into the business of war. His grim pronouncement that U.S. troops might be stationed there for another 100 years sounded less like a strategy for victory and more like yet another way for McCain to fawn over his own courage for taking an unpopular stand. Still, if the choice must be made from the members of “The Red Team,” we would look to McCain.

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