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Monday, December 19, 2011

Quick Summary of GOP Candidate Positions 12/10/11

Taking into account that candidates’ positions both evolve and are often dictated  by the varying political exigencies at any given time/circumsance, here are abbreviated  highlights of the GOP candidates’ policy positions as of 12/10/12 (Source--Southern New Hampshire 912 Project).  As you will see, a surprisingly mixed bag:

       1.  Supports 2nd Amendment: without qualification, all support except Romney who supported Brady Bill and signed into law a permanent ban on many semi-automatic  firearms

2.       Strict interpretation of Constitution:  Gingrich, Paul, Santorum; Bachman (except for her support of the Patriot Act); Huntsman (except for his support of hate crime legislation); Perry (supports UN’s Agenda 21, bi-nat’l healthcare with Mexico,  hate crime legislation); Romney (supports Agenda 21, MA Climate Protection Plan, Cap & Trade Agreement w/ 10 N.E. states)

       3.       Supports repeal of Patriot Act: None support except Paul;  Hunstman (unknown).

4.       Against referring to international laws in US Courts: Bachman, Gingrich, Paul, Romney, Santorum; Huntsman favors Doha Roundtrade protocols (WTO) and Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP); Perry (Texas Islamic Court established, Halal law recognized)

5.       Supports 9th & 10th Amendments: Bachman, Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, Santorum;  Perry  & Romney (both believe fed law requires states to care for illegal education & healthcare, but Romney believes Obamacare infringes upon state’s rights

6.       Will nominate only strong Constitutional conservative judges: All except Romney, Perry; Huntsman (unknown)

7.       Will close the Dept of Education: All except Gingrich, Huntsman, Romney, Santorum

8.       Favors transferring education system to the states/local gov’t: All except Romney

9.       Will close Dept of Agriculture: All except Ginrgrich, Perry, Santorum; Huntsman (unknown)

10.   Will close Dept of Energy: All except Gingrich, Huntsman, Romney, Santorum

11.   Wants to close IRS: All except Gingrich (reduce size), Huntsman (reform IRS), Perry, Romney, Santorum; Bachman (unknown)

12.   Supports privatization of TSA: Gingrich, Paul; remainder unknown

13.   Supports privatization of Post Office: Gingich, Paul; remainder unknown

14.   Support term limits: Gingrich, Paul, Romney;  Perry does not support; remainder unknown

15.   Promises to reduce business regulations: All except Romney (shaped Regional Cap & Trade, promoted  MA Climate Protection Plan regs, would consider mandating auto efficiency); Hunstman, Perry unknown

16.   Will eliminate Czars:  Gingrich, Paul, Santorum; Huntsman Bachman, Perry; Romney unknown

17.   Wants to repeal 16th Amendment: All except Bachman, Gingrich, Santorum; Hunstman, Romney unknown

18.   Supported TARP: All except Bachman, Paul, Santorum; Huntsman unknown

19.   Supported Stimulus 2009: Huntsman, Perry; Romney (unclear); remainder did not support

20.   Supports audit of Federal Reserve: All except Romney; Hunstman unknown

21.   Supports shutting down the Fed Reserve: Paul; Perry unsure; Huntsman unknown; remainder opposed

22.   Supports Balanced Budget: All except Perry; Romney, Huntsman unknown

23.   Pledges NOT to raise taxes: All; Huntsman unknown

24.   Will not vote “yes” to raise debt ceiling: All except Perry, Romney, Santorum; Huntsman unknown

25.   Supports Cap & Trade: None except Gingrich, Huntsman, Romney to some extent

26.   Supports lowering taxes for businesses: All

27.   Supports a Flat Tax: All except Huntsman,  Santorum; not fully embraced by Romney (see #15)

28.   Oppose bank bailouts: All except Huntsman; with reservations Perry, Romney

29.   Supports amnesty for illegals currently in USA: Huntsman, Perry; Romney (supported amnesty 2005); Gingrich supports legalization (not citizenship) for long-stayers

30.   Would deport all illegals currently in USA: All except Gingrich (see above), Huntsman, Perry, Santorum; Romney doesn’t fully embrace

31.   Supports border fence along southern border: All except Gingrich, Perry

32.   Supports border security: All

33.   Supports states rights to curb illegals: All except Perry; Huntsman & Paul unknown

34.   Supports In-State tuition for illegals: Perry; Huntsman, Paul unknown; Romney partially supportive

35.   Supports sanctuary cities for illegals: Perry, Romney partially; all others oppose

36.   Stop all taxpayer support for illegals: All yes except  Huntsman, Perry;  Romney & Gingrich unclear

37.   Supports defunding/repeal of Obamacare: All

38.   Believes in man-made climate change/global warming: All except Bachman, Paul, Perry, Santorum

39.   Anti-abortion in all cases: All except Gingrich, Romney  (unclear); Huntsman, Perry (w/exceptions)

40.   Anti-abortion except rape, incest, harm to mother: Gingrich, Perry, Santorum; Paul (state issue),

41.   Supports gay marriage: Romney (before 2005); Paul (state issue); Perry (unclear)

42.   Supports hate crime legislation: Huntsman, Perry, Romney

43.   Supports English as national language: All support except Perry (unknown), Romney (inconsistent)

44.   Supports Right to Work laws: all except Santorum who believes it is a state issue

45.   Will open up drilling for Oil/Gas-in Gulf: All yes

46.   Will open up drilling-Alaska: All yes

47.   Will open up drilling-continental US: All yes

48.   Supports coal energy (currently 45% of US electric power): All yes

49.   Will seek 100% energy independence: All yes

50.   Supports ethanol subsidies: All opposed except Gingrich, Romney

51.   Expressed concerns re Sharia law in America: All concerned except Paul, Perry, Romney

52.   Sympathetic to Muslim orgs like CAIR, Muslim Brotherhood: All unsympathetic, except  Perry (unclear)
Since this is but a thumbnail sketch of candidates’ positions as December 10, 2012, readers are encouraged to conduct their own research.  I will be posting additional abbreviated position sketches as time permits, but will likely focus on frontrunners only.

One thing is crystal-clear: there is no “perfect” candidate, no knight in shining armor, no sainted ideological purist among them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's Really With the Drone?

Something doesn't add up.

When I first heard that Obama was politely requesting Teheran to return our high-tech drone to us, my first reaction was "Is this guy totally bonkers?" (Of course, with or without this incident, on that score the jury is still out.)

If the drone's trove of intelligence is that critical to our national security interests, then Obama was constitutionally duty-bound to immediately take it out with a surgical airstrike. (Question: if our intervention in Libya was in our national security interests, then why wouldn't safeguarding the secrets contained in the drone be as well?)

While I'd like to think that we were somehow able to electronically neutralize the intelligence value of the drone, that's not what we've been consistently hearing from the Administration or the Pentagon. First, the intelligence value was reportedly neutralized, then apparently it wasn't. Actually, we've heard nothing by way of substantive clarification one way or the other from either quarter. Why? Because neither "can discuss intelligence matters in public". Really. I thought they already had. Or was that deliberate obfuscation for some deep, dark, national security interest? Got me.

If the technological know-how and intelligence contained in the drone was effectively neutralized, then why was Barry concerned that destroying it on the ground in Iran would be "construed as an act of war" if bombing it was clearly unnecessary to protect the drone's secrets which had already been erased?

And if the drone's intelligence was intact after the drone "strayed" and landed (crashed?) in Iran--if, in fact, it really did stray--was not this straying into Iranian air space already an act of war? And, if so, why wouldn't the US have taken the next logical step by immediately destroying it?

And if we had destroyed it with an airstrike, just what would the Revolutionary Guard have done about it anyway? What could they have done? Effectively speaking, nothing! So, what's this about Obama's apparent concern about precipitating a war with Iran?

So, if this isn't yet another illustration of Obama's hopeless leadership and incompetence, then I think there's more to this muddle than meets the eye. A cover-up? To what end? A deliberate downplaying of what could be a huge and embarrassing intelligence blunder?

In any event, I'm hoping the drone proves to be of no real intelligence or technological value to Iran, Russia or China. One way or the other, I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Quick Take on the ABC Debate

The ease with which Newt deflected attacks from all sides was especially noteworthy, suggesting to me that he actually believed what he was saying (refreshing) and that he had amply reflected on the subject of those statements well before uttering them, e.g. the moon base, the need for children learning the work ethic, and legalizing the status of well-established illegal aliens who've peacefully and productively acculturated. (Hispanic voters must have been encouraged by the latter.)

The conventional media buzz was that Newt's shoot-from-the-hip statements amounted to little more than debilitating gaffes, a clear sign of indiscipline and the seeds of his self-destruction. So much for conventional "media wisdom". In fact, he didn't back off those statements and either repeated or elaborated on them.

I also thought many of the attacks on Newt came across as rehearsed, desperate and contrived; but, as said, he handily parried those largely innocuous assaults.

I thought Perry redeemed himself, but not sufficiently to make any real difference. He's out.

Santorum and Bachman, among my faves, are also out.

Paul will ride the crest of Libertarian jubilance to the end, but also to no avail.

So, unless there is a major faux pas on Newt's part, or unless his lack of a ground organization does him in (which remains a real possibility), my guess is that Newt will be nominated and will go on to clean Obama's clock, thus eliminating any real hope of an Obama re-election. And we can all thank God for that.

Just a thought: how about a Newt-Paul ticket? Or is that a tad avant-garde? Such a team would certainly serve to keep both players under control, more realistic, but closer to the Constitution and with a firmer commitment to seriously reducing the size of gov't and the national debt. And, except for his fairyland foreign policy inclinations, Ron Paul's stepping into a presidential role in a clinch wouldn't scare me at all. Quite the contrary.

In any event, I'd like to see Ron Paul as Treasury Secretary (love his economic policies and integrity), Bachman as HHS Secretary, Romney at Commerce and Santorum at Interior. Of course, Bolton at State would be an excellent choice. Lincolnesque (keeping your friends close, but your political challengers closer)? Or would such a mix be naive and unworkable? Anyway, just thinking outside the proverbial box.

Finally, I don't know if others feel the same way, but I thought the ABC moderators, Sawyer and Stephanopoulous) did a pretty good job of it. They allowed everyone sufficient time to respond to questions and criticisms without that God-awful 30-second restriction. Of course, with only 6 candidates (vs 8) on stage, the exercise was far more manageable this time around. And as time goes by and the field is reduced in size, the time restriction will be less onerous and primary voters will increasingly benefit.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is "The Newt" a Chameleon?

Given the widespread angst over Newt's apparent betrayals of conservative principles, I've begun the process of researching for myself Newt's current and past policy positions and voting record.

Yes, I have lingering concerns about the consistency of his conservative record, but I also understand that being an evolving and very much engaged politician--a political practitioner who was often in the rough and tumble front lines of legislation--doesn't always easily lend itself to achieving the appearance of absolute philosophical purity. There are times when, as a practical politician, one must bend to achieve one's core legislative agenda. Thus the likely misleading appearance of apostasy.

As for some of the more questionable positions he's taken in the past, these items beg for an explanation. Do they really represent hidden Progressive, aka neo-Marxist, inclinations, or, more realistically, were they merely political expediencies. Here are some of those troubling positions into which we must all do some objective delving:

1. Co-sponsored the Fairness Doctrine which was mercifully vetoed by Pres. Reagan in 1987. (So far, I cannot determine if he actually voted for it.)
2. Supported the GATT Treaty thereby granting increased sovereignty to the UN. (11/94)
3. Voted for the single largest increase in federal education spending--$3.5B. (04/96) (Question: will he actually eliminate the Dept. of Education?)
4. Supported fed taxdollars for abortions. (04/95)
5. Supported Bush's proposal for mandatory carbon caps. (02/07)
6. LIke other conservatives, said he would have reluctantly voted for the $700B TARP bailout. (09/08)
7. Lobbied for ethanol subsidies. (01/11)
8. Suggested that flex-fuel vehicles be mandated for Americans. (01/11)
9. Wrote book saying he believes in man-made climate change. (02/11)

If Newt is able to explain these positions within the context of political expediency, misrepresentation, misstatement, or momentary addlepation then his conservative credentials would appear to be intact.  I emailed these concerns to Newt's campaign and am hopeful of a timely reply. I am also exploring how best to channel these items of concern to upcoming debate moderators Donald Trump and FOX News as well.

The question is were those inconsistencies and/or faux pas and/or political expediencies indicative of Newt's foundational philosophical bearings. At this juncture and pending further research, I think not.

At this point, I've tentatively concluded that Newt is, in all likelihood, a bonafide conservative with clearly defined and very aggressive conservative solutions. I am especially heartened by his "21st Century Contract with America" and am especially impressed by the 9th and 10th points of that Contract which, respectively, call for effectively clipping the wings of our runaway, activist judiciary and for beginning an orderly transfer of power and responsibility back to the States. For me, these two initiatives are at the heart of any real solution which seriously aims to restore constitutional order.

So, yes, I will be sending another donation to his campaign today. But, I will also continue to research and to keep my eyes and my options wide open.