The 2008 elections are upon us, whether we want them to be or not.
Jim Gilmore and Tommy Thompson have withdrawn. Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Ron Paul, and Tom Tancredo are all career legislators with no executive experience – an automatic disqualification, to my way of thinking. That leaves Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney.
Why no democrats? Because an avocado would do better than any of them in the foreign affairs department. Since the field is winnowing so quickly, I should make up my mind as to who I will support this time around, before it gets too small and I get left with a choice between a bad republican, a worse democrat, and an avocado whose greatest attraction is the ability to create a kickin’ guacamole, but still has a better chance of getting elected.
Giuliani doesn’t get my vote because he’s pro-abortion. It doesn’t matter to me that he would nominate pro-Constitution, strict constructionist judges – he should be doing that anyway. He still hasn’t convinced me that he opposes federal funding of abortions, which is legal under current interpretation of the law and consistent with a pro-abortion position. I can’t support that, so I won’t support him. Further, his position on firearms is unacceptable. He has stated in the past that New York’s gun laws should be a model for the rest of the nation. Recently, he has adopted a more states-rights centered view. Some may consider this a flip-flop, though I don’t. A man is entitled to change his mind, but it looks worse if he changes it back again. Regardless, both his old and new position are counter to the second amendment, which enjoins both state and federal governments from restricting the individual and collective rights to own arms.
Romney has as much ability to stir up and encourage the Republican base as a reanimated Gerald Ford, but please don’t think I mean to insult the most recent stamp decoration. When he joined the NRA with a one-time payment in full of $750 for a life membership it screamed “opportunist”. When he proclaimed support of both gun rights and the Brady bill, it sounded like he was trying to have his cake and eat it too. No thank you, even if he has enough money on hand to buy the nomination outright.
So that leaves Mr. Huckabee. President Huckabee? There’s an odd sound. President Jed Clampett has the same ring, though Jed would bring more sense to the office than the average politician.
But what of it? If his opposition shirts and stickers at CafePress are any reliable measure, Mr. H certainly gets the Democrats riled up, which isn’t a point against him. After all, their extreme wing would sooner vote for Osama bin Laden before a Republican.
What about his positions, the real substance of his campaign? Well, let’s quote from his website.
* Guns: “The Second Amendment is primarily about tyranny and self-defense, not hunting. The Founding Fathers wanted us to be able to defend ourselves from our own government, if need be, and from all threats to our lives and property.”
That loud clank was my jaw hitting the floor. Guns aren’t even listed on Mitt Romney’s issues menu. For a candidate to realize the truth about guns, let alone say it, is (sadly) remarkable.
Besides, who couldn’t like a guy with enough snark to come up with this line? “We’ve had a Congress that’s spent money like John Edwards at a beauty shop.”
What about taxes? He supports the Fair Tax, a.k.a. the National 30% Sales Tax (exclusive of food). Hugh Hewitt has made a sad straw man against this position. He claims that people won’t support it because they won’t be able to deduct their mortgage interest. But this ignores the position the Fair Tax people make, that income taxes should be abolished; therefore, you wouldn’t have anything to deduct from an income statement because there wouldn’t be an income statement. Regardless, the Fair Tax has a worse chance in Congress than Titanic did against the iceberg. It requires the government to abolish (or at least restrain the exercise of) the 16th Amendment, as far as incomes go. They have no ability for self control, therefore, they won’t do it. Anyone who supports the Fair Tax would be insane to accept a sales tax in addition to an income tax. But they would accept an income tax cut as a step on the road to a sales tax, and I can support that position.
Romney and Guliani have both said they support tax cuts.
As for spending, the candidate’s positions are practically useless. Unless they promise to veto any budget bill with a deficit, we won’t get anywhere. We need to elect financially responsible candidates to Congress, so the fight on that front is at the House and Senate level. But, to their credit, the candidates have said they support “fiscal responsibility”. Well, whatever. On that count I trust them as far as I can throw them, which isn’t far, but more than I trust Democrats.
All three of them support continuing the pursuit of terrorists and winning (i.e. staying) in Iraq.
So, if their positions are identical, with the exception of guns, and the one with the positive gun agenda also has the innovative tax reform idea, why should I vote for the “front runners”? I find much more in common with Huckabee, so he wins my primary vote.
But do I contribute to his campaign? That’s a topic for another post. It may determine if I can vote for him a second time.