Saturday, February 04, 2012

My take on GOP presdential candidates

Ron Paul, Wikipedia
Ron Paul -- I remain conflicted about Ron Paul.  The reasons are simple and shared by a number of GOP voters.  Let's first look at the plus side.  I love the man on fiscal policy.  As he once described his zeal to cut federal spending, “I am absolutely convinced it is the only road to prosperity.”  So am I and I believe he means it.  On monetary policy -- Ron Paul is the gold standard (pun intended).

If not for the Tea Party, I'd have bolted from the Republican Party a few years ago because I wasn't seeing enough Republicans walk the fiscal talk that Rep. Paul walks every day.  Then I discovered Ron Paul.  When Ron Paul says he'd cut a trillion dollars in federal spending year one, he even tells you how he'd do it.  When he talks about The Fed's destructive, easy money policies -- he means it.  I admire his courage and consistency.  Unfortunately, Rep. Paul's foreign policy is "Blame America First."  It's dangerously naive to brand virtually all American foreign intervention as "nation building" and as Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Paul could become Dr. Disaster.  He's more worried about domestic TSA agents, than foreign enemies of this country.  He's obsessed with "rights" of enemy combatants (non Americans) in Guantanamo and dismisses the record of domestic security our existing policies (maintained by leaders in both parties) have engendered.  I also question his views on Israel.

I recall an attempt Mr. Paul made to appeal to people like me (Republicans that want to vote for him, but struggle to do so), when he highlighted the fact he had voted to use force after 9/11.  Hallelujah!  My fear is that a President Paul would wait for another 9/11 before acting.  Ignoring one's enemies has nothing to do with liberty. 

All said, people like me have significantly more in common with Paul supporters than with Democrats -- and probably always will.  I respect the ideological purity of most Libertarians -- their loyalty and unswerving respect for the Constitution.  My problem with many of them is three-fold: a) their all-hands-off judgement about containing evil and preserving national security, b) they fail to embrace political reality by running hopeless candidates which siphon GOP votes and c) too many spout the nonsense that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Newt Gingrich, Wikipedia
Newt Gingrich -- If you never took the opportunity to see Newt Gingrich speak in public, you really must make the time.  He's a rare breed of public speaker -- poised, colorful and he has an enviable command of American history and politics.  I've never seen him use notes.  He doesn't need them.  Speaker Gingrich also says dumb things at the worst possible moments.  His recent attacks on Romney's private equity group were reprehensible, desperate attempts to harm Romney which utterly failed.

Mr. Gingrich will not be the nominee of his party.            

Rick Santorum --
Rick Santorum, Wikipedia
A lot of Americans are getting their first taste of Rick Santorum.  He's been a part of the Washington landscape for a long time while managing to keep his nose clean and win respect from people who agree with him and scorn from those who don't.  Mr. Santorum will not be the nominee of his party either.  His character, social values and deeply-held convictions are the stuff that lands one a spot on Mount Rushmore, but we need a CEO in the Oval Office more than a role model for at-risk youths.  I'm also troubled by his explanation for a vote against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when it tried to become a Right To Work (RTW) state.  Mr. Santorum says he'd sign an executive order allowing all states to become RTW states. By the way, check out this site to learn more about RTW -- site.

Mitt Romney --
That brings us to Mr. Romney.  Words that come to mind are: urbane, wealthy, smart and energetic.  Of course, that's not enough to lead.  I hope Governor Romney's commitment to balanced budgets will remain as pure as Governor Scott Walker's performance here in Wisconsin. 

By the way, I'm now awarding an annual MVP Award for public adherence to fiscal responsibility under adverse conditions.  Mr. Walker earns the inaugural award -- hands down -- for his 2011 performance.  Taking a $3.6 billion dollar deficit to a $300 million dollar surplus, without raising taxes, against a Tsunami of cheap legislative stunts and vicious public union attacks, has re-defined courage and leadership in this state.

But back to Mitt.  There's much more to learn and discuss about Mitt Romney, of course, but for now I'll close with this thought: Mr. Romney will be the GOP nominee facing Barack Obama in November and if elected, he'll become an infinitely better President than his predecessor.