Election 2012: The Candidates

With the first Republican primaries just days away, I’ve decided to give you my take on the candidates.  This can be a touchy subject so please be respectful and remember this these are my views, warts and all.  All of the candidates have their strong points and they all have their weaknesses.

Before I go any further I should give my official disclaimer.  I think that any of these candidates would be able to do a better job than the current administration.  While I may have to hold my nose to do so (depending on who the nominee is), I would vote for any of them come November.  If you are happy with the current political climate, feel free to mosey on past this post and pick up on the next one which is sure to be filled with good old fashioned family fun.

Before you get on my case for dissing “your guy”, keep in mind that we don’t have to agree.  That is what freedom means.  It’s ok if your guy isn’t my first choice.  My priorities are not your priorities.  My deal breakers are not your deal breakers.  I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything.  I just want to state things as I see them.

Currently there are seven viable candidates running for the Republican nomination.

In alphabetical order we have:

Michelle Bachmann –   Michelle is on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Financial Services Committee.  Which means she is privy to confidential foreign and national security information and she has her finger on the pulse of the American Economy.  I recently finished her book.  Except for a few typos, I found it insightful and well worth the time it took to read it.  I like her a lot more now than I did before I read it.  I think she is the real deal and is on the right side of almost all of the issues.  In spite of what the other side likes to say about her, she is a very kind, intelligent and articulate woman.  The problem the left has with with Michelle is that she is a strong, powerful woman who is fighting for the conservative cause rather than the feminist agenda.  They have done, and are doing to her what they did to Sarah Palin.  I urge you to research any and all accusations before you rule her out as a candidate as chances are most of the accusations will be false or taken out of context.  Make sure you know exactly what she stands for before you write her off.  My only real concern is that she may not be an effective leader.  That’s not to say she wouldn’t be, I’m just not sure yet.

Newt Gingrich – I’ve got to tell you, this guy is FUN.  In every single debate he just nails it and I love watching him tell off the moderators for their “gotcha” questions.  But the fact of the matter is that he is a progressive.  He thinks government is the answer to every problem and I just don’t agree with that.  While I agree that watching him debate the democratic nominee would be Friday Night Date worthy, I don’t think that is a good enough reason to vote for him.  I’ve seen video and heard audio with him standing firmly and unwaveringly on whichever side of the issue that he feels with best advance his cause at the time.  He admires FDR because he “Got stuff done.” Never mind that all of the stuff he got done was counterproductive, unconstitutional, introduced the out of control entitlement machine and nanny state, and was pretty much disastrous for our country as a whole.

Not to mention the problems he has had in his personal life.  Character matters folks… FDR cheated on his wife too, I’m just sayin’.

Jon Huntsman – I hear his dad is wonderful.  I don’t know much about him but from what I have seen in the debates he’s… eh.  I don’t know Jon Huntsman.  But I do know people who lived in his state while he was governor and I know who has endorsed him (Bill Clinton and the New York Times).  I can’t help but question his sincerity when the people who claim to stand against everything he claims to stand for say “You know, he would do a good job and is the most qualified,” and thats enough for me to rule him out.

Ron Paul – This guy is tough for me.  I love him and I hate him.  His economic policy is amazing and perfect.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  His foreign policy is horrible and awful and I would change so many things.  The stuff in between is hit and miss.  I am so close to being a libertarian.  I love so much of what they say, but I don’t think everything should be left up to the states.  As Abraham Lincoln said “The States do not have the right to do wrong” and like it or not, some things are just wrong and should not be tolerated.  Murder is wrong.  Slavery (past and present) is wrong.  I believe abortion in most cases is wrong.  I believe prostitution is wrong.  Pedophilia is wrong.  Recreational drugs are wrong.

That being said I don’t know that, given the current political climate, any of those things are deal breakers for me.  He’s not pro anything other than the constitution.  While he might not stand up against abortion, he certainly does’t stand for it either.   The only real problem I have is with his foreign policy.  He is absolutely an isolationist … but is that really a bad thing?  This year we have participated in FIVE wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Uganda) and those are just the one’s I know of.  We might have had some business in one or two of those places a decade ago, but this is out of control!  On the other hand, Paul is living in an absolute fairly land when it comes to the Middle East.  He is making the mistake that a lot of people make by assuming that everyone uses logic the same way that he does.  Just because he might not want to rule the world doesn’t mean that Ahmadinejad doesn’t.  Just because he would never kill someone because they aren’t practicing his same religion doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t.  Like I said before. My priorities are not your priorities and my deal breakers are not your deal breakers.  I also can’t get myself to feel comfortable voting for someone who says we brought 9-11 on ourselves.  That is like taking into account the length of a rape victims skirt.  I don’t care if she was walking around naked, it’s still entirely the rapist’s fault.

Though since Congress is the one who is supposed to be declaring wars, if specific threat was bad enough that 2/3 of Congress felt that it necessitated an official declaration of war even after Paul’s veto, Ron Paul I believe would respect that and perform admirably as a Commander in Chief (at least he would if he respects the Constitution as much as he says he does).  Congress is also the one who is supposed to be making the budget, so he doesn’t really have the last word on military spending and foreign aid either.  That’s what the checks and balances are for.  This is all assuming they are doing the jobs that the Constitution gives them and none other.

On the other hand he’s clearly anti-Israel.  If you have been reading me for very long, you already know my feelings on that.

I think Ron Paul would to amazing and wonderful things for this country if he had a conservative supermajority in both houses of Congress to keep him in check.  Because regardless of what I do or don’t like about his policies, he respects the rule of law and he respects the Constitution.  But with a liberal Congress I’m afraid all that will happen is that he will cut the military (which I agree can be cut, but not without discretion and careful planning) and legalize recreational drugs.

Basically he has the potential to go down in history as one of our greatest presidents.  He also has the potential to be really dangerous internationally.

On a personal level he’s a little harder to read.  Some claim he’s racist, some claim he’s a homophobe, many claim he’s an anti-semite.  It’s hard to tell how much of that is true and how much is just the opposition trying to discredit him.

I also wonder if he’s not so much a supporter of the Constitution as he is an advocate for the Articles of Confederation.  He may even be a closet anarchist.

I don’t know.  Maybe we need someone a little extreme to balance out what has happened in the last 100 years.  I’d love your thoughts on him because I can’t seem to make up my mind.

Rick Perry – Love his part time Congress idea.  Cut their salaries and benefits in half, cut their time in half and make them get real jobs like everyone else!  I can’t tell you how much I love this idea.  Public service is supposed to be just that.  Service.  Not a place to get mega-rich with insider trading and not a place to pander for votes using my tax dollars.  Also love  his flat tax.  And yes, Virginia,  Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme. I don’t however, like the HPV vaccine mandate.  At. All. It is an affront to my right as a parent to require my eight year old to get a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease that is completely preventable (don’t have extramarital sex.  Problem solved.)  I also really don’t like the in state tuition for illegals (you’re giving illegal aliens in state tuition and while not giving in state tuition for legal citizens of another state? Yeah, that doesn’t encourage illegal immigration at all!).  As someone who had to withdraw from college because of the rising cost of in-state to out-of-state when my parents moved out of state mid-semester, I can tell you this really bothers me.  I have to agree with him though I don’t necessarily think we need a fence nor do we need to deport anyone who isn’t breaking the law (well, any additional laws).  Heavily penalize those who hire illegals, turn off the welfare state (including allowing them to go to public schools paid for with our tax dollars) and they will leave on their own.  Done.  But if they so much as go 30 mph in a 25 mph zone, kick their butts out!

Mitt Romney – Mitt is another hard one.  I have to admit, while I don’t like Romneycare, I think his argument that it was an issue for his state is a valid one.  Whether or not I think it was the right thing to do, it wasn’t a federal mandate.  The Constitution makes no prohibitions on state mandates.  Also, I know some may not like this, I don’t think anything is wrong with changing your mind (some might call it flip flopping).  It happens all of the time.  I used to be a Democrat after all :)  I also used to live very close to Romney territory and from those who have lived in his state I have heard nothing but wonderful things about him as a person.  So I believe Mitt Romney is a man of honor with good character.  I have to respect a man who, while serving in public office, either forwent his salary or donated the entire sum to charity.  That kind of act has George Washington written all over it!  But I can’t shake the fact that every time I hear him talk about taxes he sounds like Obama.  He says things like “If I am going to spend money on tax cuts…” and regardless of how many times he denies it, Perry is right that the first and second edition of his book don’t say the same thing.

Rick Santorum – This is my guy!  I haven’t heard anyone defend the family as often or as well as he has.  He is on the right side of nearly every argument.  And while I would do some things a little differently if it were me, the only thing I firmly disagree with is his stand on Pakistan (I don’t think we should suck up to them just because they have a nuke) but that is certainly not a deal breaker in my book.  I can’t even count how many times I have literally cheered out loud for one of his answers at a debate.

I remember one of the debates that focused on economics.  The question was specifically about the rising rate of poverty.  All of the other people spoke about getting rid of the the the hostile business environment.  When Rick Santorum spoke it was like a breath of fresh air:

“…the biggest problem with poverty in America, and we don’t talk about here, because it’s an economic discussion — and that is the break down of the American family,” he said.
“You want to look at the poverty rate among families that have two — that have a husband and wife working in them? It’s 5 percent today. A family that’s headed by one person? It’s 30 percent today. We need to do something, and we need to talk about economics.”
According to the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, here are the hard numbers: “In 2010, 31.6 percent of households headed by single women were poor, while 15.8 percent of households headed by single men and 6.2 percent of married-couple households lived in poverty.”
The Annie E. Casey Foundation reported last year that 36 percent of single-parent households with children live below the poverty level. For two-parent families with children, the figure is 8 percent.
“We need to have a policy that supports families, that encourages marriage…that has fathers take responsibility for their children,” Santorum said. “You can’t have limited government — you can’t have a wealthy society if the family breaks down, that basic unit of society. And that needs to be included in this economic discussion.”

Amen!!  He boldly says it like it is regardless of how politically incorrect it is and is always willing to go toe to toe to fight for the right cause.

He is the father of seven children including a special needs child.  He is a strong and consistent conservative who has won multiple times in a blue state.  He is a homeschooler and advocate for parental rights in general.  As of right now Rick Santorum gets my vote, by a LONG shot.  His only weakness as far as I’m concerned is that he isn’t very well known.  Some think the fact that he lost his seat in the senate means that he’s a loser in general, but if you remember correctly that was right in the middle of the Bush years.  No republican had a chance, especially in a blue state.

Honorable Mention: Herman Cain – I’m sad he’s out.  He wasn’t my first choice, but he was near the top of the list (though I really didn’t like the idea of introducing a national sales tax without repealing the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.)  I think he could have done a really good job.  That being said, if it’s true that he had a 13 year long affair, then I’m glad he won’t be president.  Men like that have no business running the country.

What really bothers me is how the media and the republican establishment keep trying to manipulate things so that they can essentially pick who wins the nomination.  They try and convince people that this guy “looks presidential” or that guy can “win the debates”.  They measure everyone up against Obama saying this guy can’t win or that guy can’t win so everyone is so scared to vote for the person that they really want to support because they are afraid they won’t be able to get the independents or moderates behind them.  I can’t stand it!

I admit, I am one of those people who thinks that sometimes you might have to hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two (or three) evils.  But now is not the time for that!  The first primary caucus and elections haven’t even happened yet!  Now is the time to find the person that you are the most excited about and let your voice be heard!  Don’t over think it.  That’s how we got stuck with McCain last time.  We let the Republican establishment tell us who could win and guess what, we lost!  Clearly they don’t know what they are doing.  The times have changed.  Our country needs something better than someone who panders to the moderates.

People keep saying “don’t vote for Bachmann, she can’t win” or “Gingrich is the only one who can beat Obama”.  Really?  Because where I am sitting, my nine year old could beat him and do a better job.  She at least knows how many states there are (this would be where my Democrat family members wish they would have skipped this post.  Sorry Dad ;) )

Now I have some questions for you.

  • Who is your favorite and why?
  • Do you have a “dream team” and what would it be?
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8 Comments Add yours

  1. I knew there was a reason I really liked you, Courtney! :)

    Rick Santorum has been my pick from the very beginning. I am so excited to see him starting to rise in the polls going into Iowa’s caucus. And I cheered and tweeted his quote about economy starting at home. He even broke down the Greek word of economy so everyone could understand. If he doesn’t win the nomination I at least hope he is selected as the VP pick.

    Like

  2. Mama Rachel says:

    Well, I’m a 100% Ron Paul girl, and I’ll tell you why: Never has ANY politician (including Reagan) spent so much time in DC and yet stayed so consistent and principled. Ron Paul has been saying the same thing since 1976. “Follow the Constitution.” If you have read and studied the Constitution, you know it’s divinely inspired, just as the Lord said in the D&C. (Read the 10th Amendment again for state’s rights. Abraham Lincoln is not a president I think a lot of, by the way– The Civil War was about as unconstitutional as you can get.)

    If you want to know where Ron Paul actually stands on issues, go to his website, look at his voting records in the House, examine his understanding of the Constitution.

    Here’s where he stands on homeschooling: http://youtu.be/xwVFW_jImLQ

    “Teach correct principles and let them govern themselves” was the way our country was created, and I still trust that. The constitution created the greatest impact on freedom that this world has ever known, and if we won’t trust it, and support it, than we have a bigger problem than we realize.

    I have voted for Ron Paul for president since 2000, and I will continue to do so until I see ANY other candidate who honors, uphold, and follows the Constitution.

    Yup, I love liberty. That’s why I’m a Ron Paul girl.

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    1. Courtney says:

      I’d be interested to know your thoughts on Abraham Lincoln. I haven’t gotten around to really studying him yet and I have some mixed feelings. I do know that slavery would have long since been eradicated by the time he took office if it hadn’t been propped up by the federal government (fugitive slave laws, etc). It’s a pretty touchy subject.

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  3. Megan B says:

    I’m hoping Santorum gets another look through Iowa! But I could accept Romney without much of a problem too. Gingrich, ick. Paul, no way.

    Like

  4. Heather B says:

    What an excellent and informative post!! I’ve not made my decision yet, so it’s hard to say at this point, but you’ve given me lots more to think about. Thank you so much for posting it!

    Like

  5. Cari says:

    What a great overview of the candidates! I’ll admit I’ve been so absorbed in other things I haven’t payed attention to the candidates much at all. Only enough to know that Huntsman is definitely not someone I’d vote for (I’d much rather have someone who believes and lives a religion than someone who can’t figure it out). I do agree with a lot of Ron Paul’s positions, however he’s a little extreme in some areas. Thanks for the great overview of the candidates! I just hope we get some better congress members or whoever we get in is going to have a tough go at it…

    Like

  6. Maria says:

    I loved this post! It’s given me so much to think about! Thanks!

    Like

  7. kendra says:

    love this post, very informative!!

    Like

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