We here in Indiana have no say in the picking a candidate process. Oh, we have primaries, but since they're held in May they're far too late to make any difference. That being the case, I thought I'd state my preferences now and see if the country agrees.
I come from a Libertarian/Goldwater style Republican baseline. In my case, that means a strong but not aggressive foreign policy; fiscally, a limited government, business regulations only to safeguard the employees and public's health and safety and stop fraud; tax policies that encourage growth and savings; social issues, liberal/libertarian- as long as it neither bloodies my nose nor picks my pocket, as the saying goes, it's none of the government's business. Illegal immigrants? Find a way to mainstream the ones already here; they're not hurting anything. How to stop new ones? How about admitting that Mexico is as corrupt, brutal, and oppressive as many a regime we pontificate about in the third world, and pressuring them to reform, become a country their citizens WANT to live in? Iraq? End it, yes, but not precipitously; leave it stable enough that we don't betray those who are risking their lives to help us- don't have another post-war bloodbath on our conscience like we did in Southeast Asia. Other issues are extrapolated from the principles above, ask if you want to know.
This being the case, obviously none of the candidates from either party fit the bill. But politics is the art of the possible; the next President WILL be one of them. So I'll pick one from each party, starting with the Republicans. only three are even close: Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain. Ron Paul is TOO much the Libertarian; his version of foreign policy boils down to building a wall around the US and errecting a sign that points out and says "Here there be monsters". His call to dissolve the Fed and return to the gold standard is foolhardy- he's out. McCain's stand on the war is good, especially banning torture; but McCain-Fiengold is unconstitutional in my view, and he's had his part in the free-spending congress- he's out. Hobson's choice, my pick is Giuiani.
Among the Democrats, all but two are non-starters for me: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Obama is simply too young; intelligence must be tempered with perspective. Additionally, his stated stands- he doesn't have enough experience for us to tell how he'd vote- are too fiscally liberal for me. The most conservative candidate in the Democratic crowd, God save the mark, is Hillary- so that's my pick.
My dream candidate? I voted for favorite son Dick Lugar in 1996, but as long as we're dreaming... what's Baroness Thatcher doing these days?