This is the first in a series of articles in which I will be examining each of the candidates. The order is based upon which candidate I find most interesting. It is not a question of electability; or for whom I would vote. In this posting I am providing an overview and a basis for examination of the candidates.
Several things are going on in the Republican primary race that make me wonder about the current crop of front runners. The main element is the overall dissatisfaction of the party with the raging mediocrities that have been put forward by the press. I am saying this because I have yet to find a Giuliani supporter who is a conservative Republican.
More examples are Huckabee and Thompson, who were/are as much products of the media covering the race as they are products of the electorate. All candidates need to get past the press first nowadays, but these two have experienced press support out of proportion to their abilities and standing with the electorate. As a matter of full disclosure in this particular, I like Thompson on his own merits (warts and all), I find Huckabee to be a second and diminished coming of George W. Bush. Huckabee is not getting my vote.
The Issues before Primary Voters
There are several seven big issues that each candidate must take a stand on. These seven are: (1) the war versus Islamic Terrorism; (2) Iraq-Iran; (3) Border Security and Immigration Enforcement; (4) Tax Policy; (5) Government Spending; (6) Sovereignty; (7) Marriage and Abortion. There are other issues that may be more important to the general electorate, or even other primary voters. I feel that the above list covers enough waterfront so that it can be used to gauge the candidates quality.
The following chart provides each candidates stance on the above seven issues:
Key:Red Indicates Failure to Address the Issue From a Conservative Perspective
Yellow Indicates Changing or weak stance with respect to the issue
Green Indicates a Conservative stance on the issue
I have considered adding gun control to the mix, but since the Democrats backed off on this the last election cycle, I have decided for now to leave it off the list. However, if I see a ground swell of protest, I could be convinced to add this back in. I believe Giuliani, McCain and Romney fail in this category.
The explanations for the grades are as follows:
Islamic Terrorism – Will the candidate pursue a robust anti-terrorism policy? Robust in this case implies that the issue is viewed through the lens of this is a guerrilla war and not a law enforcement issue.
Iraq-Iran – Will the candidate avoid another “peace with honor” fiasco? While closely linked to the Islamic Terrorism issue, this should be put into its own category. The media and the left have stated that it is a separate issue and Democrat candidates are on record saying they will fight the war on terror, but pull out of
Border Security and Immigration Enforcement – This issue also has an Islamic Terrorist Dimension. Knowing who and what is coming into the country is a security issue. To frame this as a charity and racism issue negates the candidate’s chances for my vote. It is also a law and order issue. The 20 plus million illegal aliens are creating a black market economy. Such an economy corrupts government at all levels. For an example of corrupt government take a long look at
Tax Policy – Does the candidate support the lowering of taxes? Is the money being spent by the government the peoples (mine) or is the government allowing me to keep its money when taxes are lowered? Does lowering taxes grow the economy or is the pie fixed in size?
Government Spending – The Republican Party took power with the promise to curb spending. Drunken sailors in a whore house are more frugal than the U.S. Congress. The reasons are varied, but they do not excuse the behavior. For those who are executives (governors), I look to see if they raised or lowered spending and taxes. For those who are congressmen, I look to see how much pork do they vote for AND how much extra-constitutional spending they voted for as well.
Sovereignty – Does the candidate support treaties that erode our sovereignty? Obeisance to the NAFTA treaty is an example of this. Free trade when enforced by the WTO is another abridgement of our sovereignty. No one will look out for us as well as we will. Most of the members who sit on the WTO boards come from countries that have tariffs and expect the
Marriage and Abortion – This is a question of culture and valuing innocent life. Supporting abortion on demand is a nonstarter for this conservative. Marriage has been a religious sacrament between a man and a woman since the dawn of time. Tinkering with this is also a vote killer.
Overview of the Chart Results
In the interest of brevity I concentrated in this posting on the negatives of each candidate. The positive elements of each candidate can be examined later. I also only touched on the candidate’s stances with respect to the seven issues I mentioned above.
Aside from Alan Keyes none of the candidates gets a perfect score. However, Keyes is an ambassador while the rest are legislators or executives. Thus the questions of spending and policy have confronted the other candidates, big surprise the men who lead us have not lived up to their ideals. In this regard Keyes is untested.
Romney has modified his position with respect to abortion, which is both good and suspicious. Romney also was the governor of MA when the state’s supreme court decided to legislate its very own same marriage law. This is a function of the legislator or public ballot, not unelected dictators in black robes. Romney did nothing effective to hinder this hijacking of prerogatives.
Paul has strong isolationist tendencies from what I can tell. He is against the posting of U.S military forces in Europe,
Huckabee is a populist who begged his own legislature to raise taxes. He frames the border issue in terms of the
Giuliani is ‘pro-choice’ in policy but against the practice personally. A meaningless distinction if you are against seeing 5000 children killed per day. His position on the immigration enforcement question has been an open border approach till recently. His “come to Jesus” moment here is not very credible.
While Hunter, Tancredo and Thompson are solid in their credentials, all have votes they should not be proud of. Thompson has a lot of staff that is blatantly open borders. So his rhetoric does not match his choice of friends. All three support various foreign entanglement and as such have indirectly eroded our national sovereignty.
The field is crowed and not surprisingly there is no ideal candidate. What is surprising is that no candidate is dominant. One can look at this as either they are all acceptable, or, none are exceptional. The primary campaign is coming to a close in short order due to the highly compressed schedule. I believe this schedule compression is bad for the country. Hopefully our two parties will decompress this for the 2012 campaign.