Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Is There A Perfect Republican Candidate For 2016?

With the 2016 election a mere 22 months away people on the right are beginning to look at Presidential candidates more closely. Conservatives want the most conservative candidate possible. Ted Cruz is mentioned a lot. Others want a well known politician with a history. Enter Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush - the establishment Republicans' top choices. Many are leaning toward the libertarian corner and Rand Paul. Still others are interested in something new and different. For that we have Dr. Ben Carson. Several current governors have also been mentioned, though none seriously at the present time. Mike Huckabee is thinking about it and has the support of evangelical Christians. And of course, there are those who want Sarah Palin to run.

John McCain has mentioned that he might give it a shot, as has Lindsay Graham. Those are the only two that I have not seen mentioned in any sort of favorable way.

Conservative web pages and Facebook pages show Republicans and conservatives arguing with each other about who the candidate should be and why none of the others will do. They put down one candidate for not supporting one thing and put down another for supporting something they do not. Then they put each other down because their candidate is not supported by everyone. And the primaries haven't even begun.

So is there a perfect candidate?

Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin are the darlings of the conservatives at the present time. Romney and Bush are the darlings of the establishment Republicans, who believe that moderate Republicans who can sympathize with Democrats are the only answer. Paul and Dr. Carson are the darlings of Republicans who want conservatism but not complete conservatism. The governors, such as Scot Walker, Rick Scott, John Kasich, Chris Christie, etc., are not the most talked about as of yet since none of them have dropped a hat into the ring.

But who is the best? In 1980, Ronald Reagan won the Presidency by a surprisingly large margin by communicating his conservative message to the people. Who will be the new conservative voice on the right and be able to communicate the conservative message to the degree that Reagan did? Who will give conservatives and Republicans everything they want? The answer is... none of them.

Romney or Bush would be another four years of mostly the same thing we have now - just a little less left. Romney has business skills that would be great for the economy and is pro-life. But Romney is not a Reagan conservative. He wasn't really even a fan. In 1994, Romney was telling people "I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush" and the Contract with America was "not a good idea." In 2002, he said "I think people recognize that I'm not a partisan Republican, that I'm someone who is moderate, and that my views are progressive.” He also identifies with establishment Republicans rather than conservatives. Why then would conservatives vote for him?

By the same token, Jeb Bush is the most progressive, left leaning member of the Bush family. He is a fiscal conservative but that's pretty much where it ends. He supports Common Core and amnesty for illegals.

Rand Paul talks a good conservative game but does he walk the walk? Paul voted to confirm John Kerry as Secretary of State and Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary. (In contrast, Ted Cruz voted against them both.) Paul is not against a pathway to citizenship and, in fact, has stated his support of it as long as it is not labeled.

As early as last year Paul was quoted on his stance on immigration.“I didn’t use the word citizenship at all this morning,” Paul said. ”Basically what I want to do is to expand the worker visa program, have border security and then as far as how people become citizens, there already is a process for how people become citizens. The main difference is I wouldn’t have people be forced to go home. You’d just get in line. But you get in the same line everyone is in.”

While he didn't arrive in Washington for the vote, good ol' Rand Paul stated his support for Mitch McConnell as the Senate majority leader in opposition to the will of the people. He supports the President's plan to normalize relations with Cuba and is against making any changes to Roe vs Wade, saying that the law is here to stay. Not exactly what conservatives are looking for.

Ben Carson is a nice guy. He's well spoken, a brilliant doctor and neurosurgeon, and unafraid to say what he means - even in front of the President of the United States. Carson became a favorite of some Republicans when he criticized President Obama's health care law right in front if the President. But where is he on the issues?

Carson told Glenn Beck last year that he doesn't believe people who live in cities should not own semi-automatic weapons, saying that only those who live in rural areas should own them. He is not a fiscal conservative, saying in the past that insurance companies should be more regulated and that we should “remove from the insurance companies the responsibility for catastrophic health-care coverage, making it a government responsibility,” thus, giving the government a sanctioned share of health care anyway.

Carson has a somewhat progressive stance on free trade as well, saying we should have “a stiff tariff on products that are manufactured in other countries and are shipped here fully assembled, while reducing tariffs on products that will require assembly once they reach our shores.” He seems not to understand that our exporters would most likely face retaliatory tariffs and that American consumers would have to pay more for the products.

Carson also believes that the free market caused the economic meltdown in 2008. “We decided to deregulate during the 1990s, paving the way for the economic meltdown in 2008”. He also seems to favor a change to the First Amendment when it comes to free speech following a Supreme Court decision that protected the Westboro Baptist Church's right to protest military funerals. “I actually have some doubts about that legal decision, because the signs, obscenity, and noise infringe upon the rights of other Americans to assemble peacefully for the burial of one of their loved ones. If my right to free speech causes you actual harm, it becomes time to curtail my speech.”

Except "actual harm" is the key phrase. The Westboro church, while being one of the most vile organizations in the nation, hasn't actually hurt anyone - with the possible exception of hurting someone's feelings. But that is not harm as defined by the court.

Of the governors mentioned, Kasich and Jindal support Common Core and Jindal is criticized by Republicans in his own state for failing to keep his promises of cutting the size of the state government and its budget. Rick Perry gives educational benefits to illegal aliens. Even Scott Walker, the conservative governor of the now turned-around state of Wisconsin, has been criticized for signing his new budget that increases the size of his government and increases spending by 6.2%. And while Christie's outspokenness is a plus, his bromance with Barack Obama has left a really bad tasted in the mouths of most Republicans.

Now, let's get to the top two conservative favorites. Sarah Palin is a very conservative woman. She's much smarter than most people give her credit for and fairly politically savvy - except for that one little detail that will hurt her in any national election. She resigned from the Alaskan governorship under conditions that can and will be questioned by any opponent she might face. And rightly so. She was being sued for several things and opted out of the lawsuits by resigning. Right or wrong it looks bad and she will never win a Presidential election.

Ted Cruz is my first choice for President. A good solid conservative in his own right, he is also a brilliant attorney and has successfully argued nine times before the U.S. Supreme Court. He was also influential in helping draft the arguments in the Bush/Gore case before the Supreme Court, which Bush won.

Cruz seems to have everything going for him. But respected conservative economist and columnist, Thomas Sowell, isn't convinced.

“Senator Ted Cruz has not yet reached the point where he can make policy, rather than just make political trouble,” Sowell wrote. “But there are already disquieting signs that he is looking out for Ted Cruz — even if that sets back the causes he claims to be serving.”

“Senator Cruz’s filibuster last year got the Republicans blamed for shutting down the government — and his threatened filibuster this year forced several Republican Senators to jeopardize their own reelection prospects by voting to impose cloture, to prevent Cruz from repeating his self-serving grandstand play of last year,” Sowell wrote last year. “The Republicans need every vote they can get in the Senate — plus additional votes by defeating some Democrats who are running for the Senate this fall. It can be a very close call. Jeopardizing the reelection of current Republican Senators is an act of utter irresponsibility, a high risk with zero benefits to anyone except Ted Cruz — and the Democrats.”

Some Republicans/conservatives believe Ted Cruz is not a natural born citizen (he was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father) and have flat out stated they will not vote for him for that reason. In my opinion that's a ridiculous attitude to take so early in the game. IF Ted Cruz runs for President he will have been well vetted and the question of his eligibility will have been long solved. Cruz will not run if he's not eligible. If he does run and people choose not to vote for him based on their own belief of his eligibility they are only fooling themselves and helping the Democrat.

There is one thing I would like to remind people about Cruz, Palin, Romney, or any other Republican/conservative who might win the nomination. There are several things that, although they may be campaign topics, even promises, will never change. Abortion is one of those. Conservative candidates talk pro-life all the time but none will ever overturn Roe vs Wade. It's not going to happen. Likewise, same-sex marriage has come to the United States to stay. Politicians can oppose it on conservative/religious principles and say they will prevent it but in the long run they are going to lose that battle. A very important pending Supreme Court decision could speed it up or slow it down but it is going to happen.

And finally - regardless of who the Republican candidate is - if he/she wins, the illegal aliens currently in the country are not going to be rounded up and sent home. It's not going to happen. Ted Cruz says he's against a pathway to citizenship but Cruz isn't going to round them up. It would be nearly impossible to do and bad publicity world wide. 

Electing a conservative like Cruz as President would increase our chances of finally getting border security but the illegals are here to stay and the government will have to figure out a way to make them legal - regardless of who is in the White House. 

One other thing of which I will remind conservatives, particularly conservative Christians. Many evangelical Christians stayed home on election day in 2012 because Mitt Romney was.... (GASP...) a Mormon! They just couldn't vote for the man with whose religious beliefs they disagreed. Thanks, in part, to them we instead have a man who claims to be a Christian, but has proven over and over to be a Muslim sympathizer, in the White House. How did that work out for all of you who refused to vote for Romney because of his religious beliefs?

There is no perfect candidate. We have primary elections to help determine who the final candidate will be but in the end it comes down to whether or not conservatives want another far-left Democrat in the White House. I, for one, will vote for any Republican over the Democrat in 2016 - even if I have to hold my nose to do it. Preventing another Barack Obama (or worse) in 2017 is vital to the well being of this great nation!

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