Labor Day is traditionally considered the beginning of election season, so I thought now would be a good time to present an analysis of the announced candidates — at least those with something of a shot at winning the nomination.
The election doesn’t actually begin until the Iowa caucus on Jan. 3. But with debates already under way, people are beginning to pay attention. So I want to present this information on the Republican Presidential candidates early, before people lock in on a favorite candidate without first vetting him or her.
Hasty decisions cause the voter to turn a blind eye toward the flaws that exist and disregard the possibility of a reasonable discussion of those flaws. There are lots of flaws if you are looking to elect someone who will change the destructive course we are on. But I would hearken back to my recent columns, Prima Facie and Don’t Jump The Gun, and encourage you to peel back the layers and ignore the superficial when selecting your candidate.
It’s been very troubling to hear and read the comments from people who, after seeing a particular candidate give a speech performance or issue a series of pre-planned talking points, then state: “That’s my guy (or gal).”
I will tell you going in that if you are a Republican ideologue you will probably not be happy with this analysis. Already, in the few instances I have written something critical of one or more of the candidates, I have received warnings from the party apparatchik to back off. And it’s not unusual to get angry messages from readers with the sign-off, “I’m unsubscribing.”
People seem to believe it is my job to “promote” Republicans because the mainstream media will be going after the Republican candidates hard enough. It’s important, they say, that we elect a Republican because any Republican has to be better than the White House’s current occupant.
To which I say, “Poppycock.” Frankly, promoting Republicans is not my desire, nor is it my job. I have often written that Republicans and Democrats in Washington are two sides of the same coin. The party faithful is interested in one thing: power. Nothing has changed for almost 100 years, except the label of the White House occupier.
Let me remind you that I am neither Republican nor Democrat. I have no party affiliation, and I look upon the parties and their ideologues with equal disdain. I am looking for candidates who adhere to the Constitution — through their deeds, not their words. I’m looking for a true statesman. We haven’t had one leading this country for a long time.
While these profiles aren’t exhaustive, I believe they will provide sufficient information to serve as a starting point for a proper vetting of each of the GOP Presidential hopefuls. Read them with an open mind.
Also, rather than creating one long, all-encompassing story on all of the candidates, I decided to break each candidate out with his or her own separate page. So you will see a short summary about a candidate with a link to take you to the candidate’s page for more details. These pages will be updated from time to time as needed through the election.
Bachmann claims the Tea Party mantle and is the founder of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives. But while she was prominent at Capitol Hill Tea Party gatherings protesting the Obamacare vote and stimulus spending bills, some things in Bachmann’s background and some of her votes indicate she is not the conservative she tries to portray.
First of all, there is the troubling fact that her family’s farm has received $295,332 in Federal subsidies since 1995. Bachmann claimed income from the farm on her financial disclosure forms, but says her family did not profit from it. It was included on disclosure forms, Bachmann said, because her husband is a trustee. To be fair, the farm was registered in the name of her father-in-law until his death in 2009. The farm has not requested a subsidy since then. The Bachmann campaign told Bloomberg that the Bachmanns did not receive direct financial benefit from the farm subsidies.
While Cain’s tough-sounding talk and performances in debates have garnered him some attention, he continues to lag in most polls. Maybe that’s because smart conservatives recognize a RINO when they see one.
Cain has tremendous executive experience. And his rags-to-riches story is inspiring. After all, he grew up in Atlanta during the 1950s and 1960s. His father worked three low-paying jobs and his mother was a “domestic worker.” He fulfilled his parents’ dreams of graduating from college and making a better life for himself at a time of great discrimination. But he has taken positions on bailouts that should make him anathema to people who believe in a smaller, less-intrusive government.
With Gingrich polling around 4 percent and trailing everyone in the field except Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman, providing information on Gingrich -seems almost a waste of time. But since there’s always the possibility that he could appear as someone’s Vice Presidential candidate, the information needs to get out.
It’s actually difficult to pin down exactly who he is, because it seems to be that Gingrich is whoever he needs to be at the time. That he is a brilliant yet undisciplined man, there is no doubt. Yet, like Democratic Senator John Kerry, Gingrich is for things before he’s against them, including his wives.
Huntsman was extremely popular as Governor of Utah, with his approval ratings hitting 90 percent at several points in his administration, which was noted for its tax reform agenda. Those tax reforms included $110 million in income-tax cuts, and a statewide flat income tax rate. His reforms slashed sales and food taxes and provided tax credits aimed at attracting new business development. The Cato Institute ranked Utah top in the nation for tax policy after Huntsman’s reforms kicked in.
He is staunchly pro-life, and may be the most accomplished executive of the pro-life cause, according to Michael Brendan Dougherty of The American Conservative.
Either Paul is the smartest man in the room that is the GOP field or he’s a prophet. It has to be one or the other, because only Paul was warning in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s and three years ago that were we headed right smack dab into the middle of where we now find ourselves.
And certainly, the Johnny-come-latelys to the battle for a sound money policy and an end to the Federal Reserve — Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich — can’t say they’ve advocated against the Federal Reserve for longer than a month or two. For them, it’s a matter of expediency and a political ploy. For Paul, it’s a matter of conviction.
If you look up the definition of crony capitalist, you’re sure to find Rick Perry’s photograph. He is a master at political patronage and the practice has pumped millions of dollars into his campaign coffers.
Just a few examples:
- From January 2001 to February 2010, Perry as Governor tapped 3,995 appointees 5,662 times to serve on hundreds of State agencies, boards and commissions. And during that time, his campaign received $17.1 million from 921 of these appointees or their spouses.
- After he appointed Wendy Lee Gramm to the Texas A&M board of regents and the Texas Tax Reform Commission, Perry’s campaign received $610,000 from the U.S. Senate campaign of Gramm’s husband, Phil.
By a whopping margin, GOP insiders prefer Romney over Perry and believe he has a better chance of defeating Obama. The problem is, most conservative rank-and-file members of the party don’t seem to agree.
Romney’s signature accomplishment as Governor of Massachusetts is the State’s healthcare plan (called Romneycare by former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty), which mandates that everyone participate. By most accounts, it’s a failed plan. It’s also the plan on which Obamacare was modeled. With polls showing that more than 51 percent of Americans still oppose Obamacare, that accomplishment may be the one that dooms his campaign.
Talking to POLITICO in a pre-debate interview last Wednesday, Santorum said he has a consistent record of conservatism. He’s never been a Democrat, even when it would have been easier, and he never was for things while running for office in a liberal State that he’s no longer for now that he’s running for a national seat.
Santorum must have a poor memory. Unfortunately for him, not all of us do.
In 2004, Santorum joined George W. Bush and did all he could to help liberal incumbent RINO Senator Arlen Specter defeat up-and-coming challenger Pat Toomey. Santorum, who claims to be pro-life, backed a pro-choice Senator that was in line to chair the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over abortion law.