Everywhere I go, people immediately ask me who I’m supporting for president. I think it is far too early for most of us to be making a firm commitment, when there are so many good, solid, thoughtful, conservative candidates in the field.

That said — and knowing that I’ll regret this — I will group the candidates into certain tiers of my current preference, with the following caveat: This is a fluid list, at least in its broad middle. I have spent years watching and studying the records of most of these people — but still, certain traits of character and of electoral viability show themselves only in the fire of a presidential campaign. Hence the insistence that this list remain fluid.

Also, it should be understood that my ranking of these candidates involves an assessment of what I perceive to be the total package, taking into consideration their principles, their records and relevant experience, their character (as I perceive it), their temperaments, their general-election electability (as I perceive it), their executive ability, their perceived governing skills, and various other intangibles. A candidate may be in my top tier even though I have doubts about, for example, his electability, if I think his character or principles are particularly outstanding.

Others may, of course, see these candidates quite differently, which is fine.

Alas, right now I don’t have time or space for an explanation of why I placed each candidate where; this is just a list (with the order within each tier at random, not indicating that the person listed first within the tier is favored over the others, etc.). And, with the exceptions of a few in the lower tiers, I remain open to almost any of them as potentially decent nominees.

Anyway, since so many people ask, well, here you go:

Top tier

Rick Santorum

Bobby Jindal

Scott Walker


Marco Rubio

Next tier

Rick Perry

James Gilmore

Next tier

Ben Carson

Carly Fiorina

Ted Cruz


I might be able to find myself happy with any of those nine, above, as president.

The not-Desirables

John Kasich


Jeb Bush

Chris Christie

Mike Huckabee

Rand Paul

George Pataki

The disasters

Lindsey Graham

Donald Trump


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