Archive for October, 2011

Snapshot: GOP Candidates

The GOP Primary season continues to roll on. Last night was the latest “debate” hosted by CNN in Las Vegas. I haven’t been terribly impressed with the candidates so far, and my opinion isn’t getting any better. Here’s how I view each candidate as of today:

Herman Cain

Cain is the current front-runner. He recently passed Mitt Romney in the polls (which I don’t put a lot of trust in, but it’s all we have). When I first heard of Herman Cain, I liked him. I was very cautiously optimistic about the guy. I liked what I saw, but I hadn’t seen much. That has changed dramatically as I’ve learned who he is.

He’s pushing his “9-9-9 Plan”, which replaces the Federal tax code with a 9% individual income tax, a 9% corporate income tax, and a 9% national sales tax. It sounds pretty good to me, but it isn’t the best plan on the table. It does nothing to address spending at all, and claims to be “revenue neutral,” meaning that the Feds would bring in as much under his plan as comes in now.

I like that it flattens the tax, giving everyone a stake in the Federal budget. I think that is very important to really addressing spending down the road. People love adding programs upon programs, just as long as someone else ends up paying for it. If everyone’s taxes went up with every new program, people would think twice about supporting endless programs.

To be fair to Herman Cain, the other candidates were not so fair when addressing his plan. There are things wrong with it, but juxtaposing it to state taxes is unfair. Romney said that Nevadans don’t want to pay a 9% National sales tax on top of their state sales tax. Well, actually, if they paid less in federal sales tax, they actually might come out ahead. Cain was right that they were comparing apples to oranges, and they are only being fair if they propose either eliminating all Federal taxes, or (somehow) eliminating all state taxes. That’s not what any of them are proposing though.

What originally changed my mind about Cain was his history on the Federal Reserve Board. I believe the Fed to be one of the most corrupt institutions in the world. I’m very much in favor of abolishing it. I don’t see Cain allowing a Fed ban, or even an audit, through without a veto.

Cain also said something a couple months ago regarding the second amendment that didn’t sit well with me. He was against gun control at the Federal level, but said it was okay for the states to enact whatever gun control measures they wanted, up to and including an outright ban on the keeping or bearing of arms.

The fact that he supported TARP in late 2008 doesn’t help either, or that he has said that he doesn’t regret his view, nor has he changed it.

Mitt Romney

I never liked Mitt Romney, and I don’t see that changing. He’s from the Northeast, and as “Conservative” as he would like people to believe he is, anyone living west of Ohio and/or south of Virginia can see right through it. “Conservative” in Massachusetts is still Liberal anywhere else.

Romney’s religion has been an issue, as much as people would like to brush it aside. While I would love to see a Reformed, Evangelical, Born-Again, Trinitarian Christian become President, it isn’t a deal-breaker for me. However, I can’t vote for a Mormon any more than I can vote for someone from any of numerous theological systems. And the more dedicated they are to their Mormonism, the less likely I am to vote for them. Romney, as far as I know, is a Temple Mormon, which is about as devoted as it gets. I won’t get too detailed into why I feel this way, but just to suggest looking into Mormon “prophecy” regarding America. Mormons believe that America will teeter on the edge of collapse, and a Mormon will save America and institute a Mormon theocracy. I’m not a proponent of a theocracy of any sort, including one that perfectly matches my own theological views. (I do believe that some day, Jesus Himself will rule the entire world, but that’s another story – He’s ruling, not a human proxy.)

As to whether Mormonims is a cult, theologically that’s technically correct. It may be a loaded term, conjuring up images of David Koresh, or that sect that committed suicide in San Diego to join an alien spacecraft a few years ago, but it’s still technically correct. Mormonism is quite a bit more main-stream sociologically, and so it is not a cult in sociological terms. They are not Christian under the strictest definitions of the word. Christianity is monotheistic, whereas Mormonism is polytheistic. James White, a Christian expert on Mormonism calls it “the most polytheistic religion the world has ever seen.” Christianity is Trinitarian; God is One being in three persons (it’s been said it’s “one what in three who’s”.) Mormonism sees Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three separate beings entirely. I could go on, but this isn’t a treatise on Mormonism, but an opinion on nine political candidates.

Back to politics, I think that having a view that global warming is a real problem, and it’s cause by humanity is one view that disqualifies someone from my vote. I also think that being a proponent of a health care system that even vaguely resembles Obamacare, even at the state level, disqualifies someone from my vote. The fact that Romney fits both should be enough to have him run out of the GOP with pitchforks. The fact that he’s even considered a “frontrunner” says a lot about the GOP, and I don’t think it’s good.

Newt Gingrich

Newt says a lot of things that sound really good to a Conservative. Being in the gray zone between Conservative and Libertarian, as I am, he even sounds, on the surface, fairly reasonable. At the very least, he sounds a lot better than the status quo.

My issue with Newt Gingrich is that my gut tells me he would forget all of it the day after he’s sworn into office.

Rick Perry

Perry’s involvement with various Christian groups is troubling to me. I didn’t follow “The Response” very closely, but what little I know of it strikes me as not something I’d involve myself in. Perry apparently (though I don’t know this for sure) has connections to the New Apostolic Reformation, which is a dangerous and heretical sect of Christianity that I can’t even remotely support. They are bent on world domination, albeit under the guise of Christianity.

I have to be honest though, I don’t know enough about Perry to be certain. Don’t go quoting me on the issue.

Perry has enough baggage that is clear to disqualify him from my vote anyway. His comments a few weeks ago about not having a heart if you don’t want the government subsidizing the college education of illegal immigrants rubbed me as badly as most in the GOP. His campaign has faltered ever since, and I don’t see it recovering. (Despite what he says, in state tuition is a subsidy. If there is no subsidy, there is no reason to charge more for non-residents of the state.)

One thing I want to say on Perry’s behalf is that I don’t hold his former status as a Democrat against him. I once considered myself a Democrat as well. I even voted for Bill Clinton’s re-election in 1996, the first election for which I was old enough to vote. If his conversion to Christianity is recent, as in within the last 20 years, it may explain his move to the Right as well as anything. That is why I moved from Liberal to Libertarian.

Rick Santorum

Who is he? He has said a few things at debates that I’ve liked, and a few I thought he was way off on. I can’t remember what though. He’s an also-ran.

Ron Paul

I’ve already stated I’m a Libertarian-Conservative. Thus Ron Paul is an almost perfect-fit for my political views. I worked hard in 2008 to work my way up through the Caucus process in Minnesota to send delegates to the National GOP Convention that would vote for Ron Paul’s nomination. I plan on doing the same thing this time around. Frankly, Paul is the only candidate that I could vote for in November 2012 without any hesitation. I differ with him on a few small things, but so minor it’s insignificant.

I do get very annoyed with Republicans over their views on Ron Paul. Many will say they are for this or that, and line up closely, or even perfectly, with Ron Paul, but disregard him for specious reasons. What’s worse, Republicans will lecture me about how no candidate is perfect and I should support this candidate or that, but then will turn around and dismiss Paul for much more minor reasons than I dismiss their particular favorite candidate.

I like his views on military bases. Why are we in Germany, Italy, Japan, and countless other places? The one place we have a foreign base that I don’t think we should pull out of is South Korea. The only reason for that is, as I understand it, South Korea pays us to be there. That being said, if they are willing to cover the costs of our troops being in their country, why not transfer their security to a mercenary force? Why not let them hire our soldiers after they are discharged from our military?

Michele Bachmann

Overall I like Michele. I think sometimes she has put her foot in her mouth, or that her mouth moves faster than her brain, but I still like her. I do the same thing at times (though I’m not running for President). She is the only candidate that I would consider myself “on the fence” about. If Ron Paul gets the nomination, I’ll vote for him in 2012. If Michele Bachmann gets it, I’ll strongly consider voting for her in 2012. If anyone else gets the nomination, I’ll probably vote for the Constitution Party candidate as I have in the last three Presidential elections.

I think Bachmann’s biggest weakness, in my opinion, is her support of the Patriot Act. Bachmann is a lot like Paul on many issues, which is why I like her. However, where they differ, she tends to be for bigger government. She likes bigger government in areas that Republicans in general like bigger government, but that’s bigger government none-the-less.

I’m not a fan of Bachmann’s views on Iran. She seems to want another war, which I don’t think this country needs. If we were to go to war with Iran, let Iran drag us into it.

Gary Johnson

Is he still in the race? He wasn’t at the debates last night. If he is, I wouldn’t support him. He and Ron Paul are similar, both being Libertarians, but where they differ, Johnson disqualifies himself from my vote. Ron Paul understands the government’s role in enforcing Natural Law, whereas Johnson takes a more pure Libertarian view that “if it doesn’t hurt anyone else, who are we to stop it.” In reality, it does hurt others, such as his view that abortion should be legal. Paul at least understands the rights of the unborn, though having delivered over 4,000 babies likely plays an understandable role in that view.

John Huntsman

I think he’s still running. He prided himself in not being at the debates. I think he compared them to a circus sideshow, don’t quote me on that.

Huntsman is a Mormon. See Mitt Romney for my views there. Though I haven’t heard anything about the sincerity of his Mormon faith, whether he is a Temple Mormon, “Jack Mormon,” or somewhere in between.

Huntsman was governor of Utah, and Ambassador to China under both Bush (43) and Obama. He seems to agree where they agree (which is far more than most people will acknowledge.) I dislike Obama as President, and I also disliked Bush. I can’t see Huntsman as the Conservative hero that I’ve been looking for.