For the second presidential election in a row, Mississippi will have a relevant primary on Tuesday. Four years ago it was the Democratic primary. This year, it’s the Republicans’ turn. And everyone gets to vote. It’s an open primary—Democrats get to vote in it. And what Democrat wouldn’t want to have a hand in picking President Obama’s opponent?  

Here is how I see the field.

The best candidates are gone.

The best Republican candidates either never formally entered the race (Haley Barbour pre-pardon-gate, Jeb Bush, the fat guy from Jersey, etc..) or weren’t goofy enough for Republicans (Huntsman, Pawlenty, etc…). Most of these guys would be better than the four we are left with and everyone knows it.

Mitt Romney

Romney will get the nomination barring something really weird happening. Like mainstream Christian Republicans actually reading a book on Mormonism.

Romney will say anything that he thinks people want to hear in order to get elected. The fact that he said the opposite last week just doesn’t matter. Mitch Romney blows with the wind.

Romney is the candidate for people whose only problem with Obama is that he is black. A Romney presidency would probably not look much different from an Obama presidency. Maybe not perfect, but a lot better than Bush. 

But let’s face it, a rich white guy from Northeast is not going to shake things up. Things have gone great for him in the last 20 years. Why would he really want to change anything?

Rick Santorum

This guy is really boring and a bit nutty to me. Santorum is your guy if right-wing social issues are the most important thing in the world to you. If you are a Republican who routinely votes against your own economic interest because of social issues, then Santorum is your guy.  

Newt Gingrich

Say what you will about Gingrich; he’s not boring. Of course, Newt may be the biggest pompous jack-ass to ever run for president. Republicans who were around in the 90′s like Joe Scarborough say Gingrich is a bad person.

I watched Newt’s speech Tuesday night and thought it was lame. He talked about how important it is to have an energy policy—something I agree with—but then it became clear that Newt doesn’t have one. “$2.50 gas” is not an energy policy. If you want $2.50 gas, just crash the economy again. Boom! $2.50 gas!

“Drill, drill, drill” is also not an energy policy. It’s a strategy for extending oil supplies while we transition to non-oil energy sources. Boone Pickens has an energy policy. Newt has empty rhetoric.

Newt is best candidate for hard-line Democrats who want to help President Obama. Newt is not afraid to carpet bomb Romney. That helps Obama. The longer Newt is around, the better for the President.  

Ron Paul

Ron Paul is the most interesting candidate. Unlike the other candidates, Paul seems serious about addressing America’s real problems. Paul recognizes the danger of the spiralling debt. He wants to eliminate the Federal Reserve and return to the gold standard. I’ve been a gold bug for years, so that appeals to me. 

On foreign policy, Paul wants to bring the troops home and stop trying to act as the world’s policeman and propping up corrupt regimes. Paul says the war on drugs has been lost and should be ended. Interesting stuff.

I think Paul has a point on many of his non-social issues. I’ve heard rumblings about Paul maybe being a bit racist. But he’s a 75 year old white guy from Texas. Let’s be honest, most 75 year old white men from the South were born racists. It wasn’t their fault—it’s the society they were born into and how they were raised. Most progressed out of their racist views with the rest of society.   

Paul is the only candidate in either party who really would shake things up and take us in a new direction. Since many Americans think we are headed in the wrong direction, why not vote for Ron Paul?