OK, with Fred now officially out of the picture, I have to go to my second choice: U.S. Sen. John McCain, a man with a number of flaws but still better--in my view anyway--than any of the other available options, including:
Gov. Mitt Romney: Some say that he was always Mr. Big Time Social Conservative, and just went the other way for the purpose of getting elected in Massachusetts. Others say that he was always a social moderate-liberal and that he has only recently changed his positions for the purpose of getting the Republican nomination for president. Count me in the latter camp.
Gov. Mike Huckabee: No, no and no. A thousand times no. Seriously, I would vote for a third-party candidate or Barack Obama than Huckleberry Mike. In any case, stick a flagpole in him: he's done.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani: I really admire this guy. I admired him even before 9/11. Anyone who can put conservative principles into action and make them work--in NEw York City of all places--is all right on my book. But, right now, the idea of putting him in charge of American armed forces--not to mention the FBI, CIA et al--gives me the willies.
And, anyway, John McCain isn't nearly as bad as some people make him out to be. Again, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he doesn't kiss the right rings. Well, that doesn't interest me much. If I wanted that, I'd go with Romney.