Over the last two weeks I have worked my way through seven candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination. I have ranked the candidates based on their strengths and weaknesses. And I have even ruled some candidates out altogether based on a few extremely subjective criteria. I would like to provide a quick recap before I move on to my number one choice for the Iowa Caucus. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman came in dead last due to his refusal to campaign in Iowa. Texas Congressman Ron Paul finishes sixth due to his reluctance to defend life and his overly naïve foreign policy. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney takes fifth place largely because I find him untrustworthy. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann claims fourth place as she seems to find it difficult to be truthful. Coming in third is former Speaker of the US House Newt Gingrich. Gingrich’s surprising finish is largely due to his intelligence as once again I found a politician that I was unsure that I could trust. The runner up in the Countdown had an extremely weak start, but has grown stronger as the campaign has worn on and has continued to grow on my. If he had done things differently from the start it is entirely possible that Texas Governor Rick Perry could have taken the top spot. The candidate that has taken the top spot in the Iowa Defense Alliance Caucus Countdown and earned my support and my vote on January 3rd is none other than former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum.
Senator Santorum is another one of those candidates that at the beginning of the caucus season I had all but written off. I completely disregarded his campaign because of my own preconceived notion that he was not worthy of support. I erroneously viewed him as an establishment candidate. That all changed on July 28th, 2011. On that evening I had the opportunity to see Senator Santorum at the home of the Marion County Attorney. It was the first time I had the opportunity to see him and was very impressed. My first thought was that he reminded me a lot of former Arkansas Governor and the winner of the 2008 Caucus, Mike Huckabee. He proved himself to be an articulate man with a clear and concise message. I was intrigued, I had to know more.
During the course of Senator Santorum’s appearance in Pleasantville we learned that he didn’t just claim to be Pro-Life he lived his life Pro-Life. He told us about his daughter Bella. It was such a heartwarming story. Here is a video that will do better justice to that story than I ever could.
And this is just one of the reasons that I am supporting Senator Santorum.
There are many other areas that Senator Santorum is strong in as well. Take for instance energy policy. Senator Santorum has openly stated that we need to eliminate all energy subsidies and tax credits; that the government doesn’t need to be in the business of picking winners and losers.
And I agree with that sentiment. By eliminating those expenditures we can save the federal government money and in the process force a wide variety of companies to become more competitive.
And he has openly criticized the Troubled Assets and Relief Program, otherwise known as TARP; as well as other government bailouts of private industry. Senator Santorum correctly asserts that government funded bailouts do nothing more than punish the successful while rewarding the irresponsible.
As I look back at the last several months I can see how my preferences for the 2012 Iowa Caucus have evolved. Early in the race my preferences leaned toward Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. As the days went by my preference for the candidates continually changed. That is until late July and early August. At that point Senator Santorum vaulted to the front of the pack and has remained there ever since. It had rapidly become clear that the one candidate that I could trust to restore our nation above all others was and is Rick Santorum.
Welcome to the sixth installment of the Iowa Defense Alliance Caucus Countdown. Counting today’s publication we have just two installments of the Countdown left. As such today we will be covering the runner up spot on the Countdown list. But first let us briefly recap the Countdown to date. We opened the Countdown with former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman bringing up the rear of the field predominantly due to his refusal to campaign in Iowa. Next up, in the sixth position we have Texas Congressman Ron Paul largely due to what I perceive to be his naïve foreign policy positions and he reluctance to defend the sanctity of life at the federal level. In a surprisingly high finish for someone so untrustworthy we have former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney residing in the fifth slot. In the fourth position we find a candidate that has thoroughly disappointed me during this caucus season, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Garnering the third place position in the Countdown was former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich largely on the strength of his intelligence and his memory. This brings us to the runner up position in the IDA Caucus Countdown, Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Back in August, when Governor Perry announced his candidacy, if anyone had told me he would be my second choice for my Iowa Caucus vote I would have called them crazy. But as crazy as it seemed then, it is certainly the case now. Over the last several months I have been pleasantly surprised by how well he has articulated his beliefs and his convictions. To be fair there are a few concerns that I have with Governor Perry’s past, but I do think that he may have learned from those mistakes.
Quite possibly the biggest mistake that Governor Perry has made in his career is when he attempted to mandate that all sixth grade girls within the State of Texas be inoculated against the human papillomavirus, HPV for short. For those of you that are unaware, HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can possibly lead to cervical cancer in women. I can understand Governor Perry’s motivation for enacting the mandate; he wants to do everything that he can to prevent cancer. Despite the good intentions that he may have had, the message that he sent all the parents in Texas was that they cannot be trusted to take care of their daughter’s health. Fortunately for those families the legislature of Texas overwhelmingly overruled Governor Perry’s executive order. Fortunately Governor Perry has stated that the mandate was a mistake, but still asserted that his heart was in the right place.
As I stated above early on Governor Perry’s campaign for the GOP Presidential nomination I did not give his candidacy much credit. If I had done this countdown back in August I would have probably had Perry ranked down around Governor Huntsman. However as the race progressed I could feel Governor Perry grow on me. I started warming up to him. At the various events that I attended he comported himself well and he was well spoken. He doesn’t have the oratory skills of Mike Huckabee, but he is definitely more solid than the current resident of the White House. Over the last several weeks I have really gotten to like the idea of a Perry Presidency, however at this time I still believe that there is one candidate that is better. And this is why Texas Governor Rick Perry is the runner up in the Iowa Defense Alliance Caucus Countdown.
I would like to welcome you to the fifth installment of the Iowa Defense Alliance Caucus Countdown. We are now past the halfway point in the Countdown list. Today we unveil the candidate that occupies the third spot in my preference list. But first things first, we need to provide a short recap for those that are just joining us. Last week when we launched the IDA Caucus Countdown it was former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman that found himself trailing the rest of the field, resting securely at number seven. Next up was Texas Congressman Ron Paul sitting solidly at number six. Number five was fairly close, but in the end it was former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney that found himself in this position. And then yesterday we unveiled Romney’s closest competitor for my caucus vote, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Now without further ado, let us discuss candidate number three; former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.
Entering this caucus season I did not have former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich ranked very high on my preference list. To be frank, I really did not know much about him beyond the fact that he was the architect of the 1994 Contract with America, a policy that was instrumental in allowing the Republican Party to regain majority control of Congress for the first time since 1969. My original opinion, prior to doing any major research, was that Speaker Gingrich was nothing more than a washed up political hack attempting to make a comeback. Upon doing just a small amount of research I learned much more about the former Speaker, both positive and negative.
Among the first pieces of information that I discovered, although it seems to have been common knowledge to those that had been active in politics for far longer than I have. Speaker Gingrich’s marriage infidelities have been well documented and disseminated, particularly now that he is running for the Republican Presidential nomination. It is widely known that Gingrich is on his third wife after having two affairs while married to his previous wives. I find his actions during his first two marriages absolutely abhorrent. However it does appear that Gingrich has learned from past mistakes as he has been married to his current wife, Calista, for close to twelve years. And while it is impossible for a mere mortal to know what is in his heart; it is not hard to forgive him for past transgressions.
One of Speaker Gingrich’s greatest assets is his mind. In my honest and humble opinion, Speaker Gingrich is quite possibly the most intelligent man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The vast amounts of knowledge that his mind holds is absolutely breathtaking. Never before have I seen an individual with the ability to accurately utilize facts and figures contained within his memory without the use of a memory aid. However this very same intellectualism that he holds can lead him astray. There are times where he lets himself be duped by faulty information.
One such example is the issue of Global Warming. In 2008 Gingrich filmed an ad with then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi urging people to contact their leaders to address Climate Change. It is clear from the video that Speaker Gingrich had indeed bought into the theory of manmade climate change. That is until he decided to run for President. In July of this year he told Politico that he “regretted” the ad and that he did not think that scientists have proven the theory to the point that action was warranted.
Another area that Gingrich’s intellectualism may have caused him some headaches is the issue of healthcare, in particular the issue of Obamacare. On his own website Speaker Gingrich has posted a video in which that he claims that he is opposed to the Obamacare health insurance mandate. He asserts that it is not just wrong, but unconstitutional. That was not the case; however, in 1993 when Gingrich proclaimed that he supported the idea that individuals be required to have health insurance. On May 15, 2011 on an episode of “Meet the Press” Speaker Gingrich continued to assert that he was indeed supportive an individual mandate.
I have to admit that I do love the idea of Newt Gingrich debating President Obama. I have absolutely no doubt that Gingrich would dominate Obama. But the problem with Newt is his baggage. In a general election campaign the Democrats would shred Gingrich’s credibility beyond the point of no return. Speaker Gingrich also seems to have contracted Romney Syndrome, the ability to change one’s position on a particular issue and still deny that it is a flip flop with a straight face. It is these flip flops that cause me the greatest concern because it tells us that we do not actually know where Gingrich stands on the issues. We only know where he claims to stand on the issues. So the primary reason that Gingrich placed third is the fact that I find it difficult to trust him. Seems to be a lot of that going around this year.
Now that Christmas is behind us it is time to round up the Iowa Defense Alliance Caucus Countdown. As I have mentioned before, the IDA Caucus Countdown is not my predictions as to what the results of the 2012 Iowa Caucus will be. Rather it is a countdown on the candidates based entirely on my preferences. As you will recall former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman was honored with the last place based on his decision to forego campaigning in Iowa. Number six on the list went to Texas Congressman Ron Paul primarily based upon what I perceive to be naïve foreign policy. And candidate number five was former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney due to his consistently inconsistent policy positions on issues that I feel are very important. So now it is time to unveil the candidate that inhabits position number, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
To be perfectly honest, Congresswoman Bachmann was in a virtually dead heat with Mitt Romney for the fourth position on my preferences list. The only reason that she edged him out was due to the fact that Governor Romney has enacted taxpayer funded abortions, mandated same sex marriage, and enacted an unconstitutional insurance mandate. I would like to point out that at the beginning of this year’s caucus season Congresswoman Bachmann was the frontrunner to receive my support. I have numerous friends whose opinion and intelligence I admire greatly openly endorse her early in the race. However as the campaign progressed I began to have some doubts about her candidacy. We began to see some cracks appear that gave me cause for concern.
The first such crack appeared during one of Congresswoman Bachmann’s campaign events in New Hampshire. During the event she remarked that “You’re the state where the shot was heard round the world at Lexington and Concord.” Unfortunately for the Congresswoman that event took place not in New Hampshire, but Massachusetts. And then in June during Fox News interview Congresswoman Bachmann made the comment, “Well, what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.” The problem is that John Wayne was from Winterset, not Waterloo. These comments are the kind that has become a staple of her campaign. It shows an unfortunate lack or research. One has to wonder, if she were to become President, would she continue to make these kinds of rookie mistakes?
During another Fox News interview conducted on December 21st. At the beginning of the interview a Rasmussen Poll from just a few days earlier is displayed on the screen. It clearly shows that Congresswoman Bachmann has slipped behind former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in the polls. Just a few minutes later Bachmann makes the assertion that she has never fallen behind Senator Santorum in the polls. She also makes the absurd claim that her campaign was the only one doing a 99 County tour which is absolutely false. Senator Santorum completed one at the beginning of November and promptly began another one.
I mentioned Congresswoman Bachmann’s 99 County bus tour above. When it was announced the Bachmann campaign released what I consider to be an overly optimistic schedule to say the least. Team Bachmann claimed that they were going to hit all 99 counties in Iowa in just ten days. Unfortunately this led to some very disappointing stops along her route. For instance in Muscatine Bachmann was 50 minutes late in getting to the event, at which point she spent, according to Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican, just 12 minutes mingling among the remaining crowd before loading back aboard her bus and heading for the next stop. On Thursday of last week I attempted to attend the Bachmann event at the Pizza Ranch in Oskaloosa, Iowa. I will openly admit I was late. The event was announced to begin at 6:30 PM; I arrived at 6:38 PM. As I was arriving, Congresswoman Bachmann was departing. It became very clear to me that the primary reason that she was engaging in this farce of a tour was to be able to claim that she had visited all 99 counties.
As I stated above, Congresswoman Bachmann was high on my preference list initially. She has advocated and supported the many issues that rank high on my list of importance, but it takes more than simple advocacy to win my support. When I decide on a candidate to support they must have a high degree of honesty, integrity, and competency. And it is in this area that I have found her candidacy lacking. I honestly don’t know if Congresswoman Bachmann is being dishonest or whether some of her campaign staff is practicing incompetency. Either way it has cost her in my opinion. And this is why she is ranked just fourth in my preference list.
Welcome to the third installment of the Iowa Defense Alliance Caucus Countdown. Please remember that the order that I am placing the candidates in is not necessarily where I think they will finish in the race, but rather their positioning in the Countdown is their acceptability based upon my preferences. My preferences are almost entirely subjective with very few criteria in place. And again the Countdown is progressing from the worst (#7) to first (#1). Now, if you have not been following the recap I will give a quick synopsis. The candidate that found himself in dead last (#7) was former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman whose main failing was refusing to campaign in Iowa. Next in line (#6) we have Texas Congressman Ron Paul whose position is almost totally dependent upon his reluctance to protect all Americans and his belief that Iran poses no threat to world peace. This brings us to candidate #5 to which I had some difficulty deciding on. In the end it was former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney that succeeded in being ranked number five on my list.
For me it is very hard to find anything at all to like about Mitt Romney. Don’t get me wrong, it is possible, just not very likely. For instance in the midst of the debacle that was the UAW bailout I found myself in agreement with Governor Romney. Despite the few agreements I have with Governor Romney, I cannot ignore the reality that many of his positions have indeed changed between his Governorship and his first Presidential campaign.
Let’s take the issue of abortion for an example. During his first campaign (2002) for Governor of Massachusetts Governor Romney brazenly proclaimed that he would “protect a woman’s right to choose” whether she has an abortion. But just five years later Governor Romney switched his position on this important issue by claiming that he is now firmly pro-life. Personally I am pleased that Governor Romney has seen the error of his past positions and has come to the conclusion that all life is precious. However, the timing of his change of heart still causes me concern. The timing of his conversion seems to be all too convenient if you ask me.
The issue of healthcare is another albatross that Governor Romney will have to bear. It is common knowledge that President Barack Obama used Governor Romney’s 2006 Health Care Reform as the basis for Obamacare. And despite his objections; Governor Romney has in the past, advocated for an Obamacare style health care reform with individual mandates on the federal level in the past. However unlike most of the other candidates in the race, Governor Romney is not campaigning on repealing the entirety of Obamacare, a point I vehemently disagree with him on. Instead Romney is campaigning on a plan to repeal the bad portions of Obamacare and keeping the good. From any other candidate that would be a great point to highlight, however with Romney it leaves us wondering just what he considers bad and good in the plan. With Romney I think it is entirely possible that we could end up keeping the individual mandate. So when it comes to health care it is again difficult to determine just where Romney stands.
I have to admit, when the 2012 Caucus season began to pick up steam back March and April of 2011, Governor Romney was for all intents and purposes at the bottom of my potential candidate list. To have him reach an almost dead heat with the candidate that came in fourth is a testament to just how weak the 2012 field really is. With that said, I would still find it hard for me to cast a ballot at the Iowa Caucus for Mitt Romney. His positions on the issues that I find important seem to have their foundations built upon shifting sands. The timing of his “changes of heart” seems to be a little too convenient for me and leave me wondering when his next “change of heart” will happen. With Governor Romney it all comes down to the trust factor, and with him, I just can’t trust.
Yesterday I launched the IDA Caucus Countdown in which I am discussing the Presidential candidates in order of my preference, from worst to first. We started the countdown off with candidate #7, former Governor of Utah Jon Huntsman, Jr. The primary reason for Governor Huntsman’s low finish was his steadfast refusal to campaign in Iowa. As I mentioned yesterday it is entirely possible that Governor Huntsman may have been successful in Iowa, but now we will never know. Now let us move on to Iowa Caucus candidate #6, Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
Early in the race for the 2012 race for the Republican Presidential race for President I considered supporting Texas Congressman Ron Paul. There is a lot to like about the Congressman from Texas. In particular I adore Congressman Paul’s fiscal policy. For instance I absolutely love his position on the Federal Reserve System. He championed the Audit the Fed movement that appeared just a few years ago as a response to the federal bailout of private industry as a method of holding the aforementioned Federal Reserve System accountable. Congressman Paul has repeatedly called for massive reform of the federal government including the elimination of a number of federal agencies including but not limited to: the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Education, and the Department of Energy. The short of it is that Congressman Paul is fantastic when it comes to the economic issues for the most part. I have very little disagreement with him there; it is other issues that I have a problem with.
Up until this morning Congressman Paul has resisted placing his signature on the Personhood Pledge. For those of you that may not be familiar with this pledge the basics of the pledge are that the Presidential candidates that sign it pledge to fight to defend the unalienable right of all human beings to life regardless of their stage of development. Despite the assurance that he has made by signing the pledge Congressman Paul has repeatedly asserted that abortion is a states’ rights issue. Essentially Congressman Paul has demonstrated that, despite his repeated claims to the pro-life moniker, he cannot be trusted to do the right thing when it comes to the sanctity of life at the federal level. Of course I believe I could have supported Congressman Paul despite his inconsistency because he has indicated that the states would be able to regulate and even abolish abortion.
Despite the inconsistency that Congressman Paul has on the issue of life he may still have an even larger negative against him, his foreign policy. A lot of voters that I have spoken with are truly frightened by Congressman Paul’s isolationist foreign policy. It seems that Congressman Paul has forgotten the lessons taught to us by World War II. Just like Nazi Germany of the 1930’s and 1940’s the world is once again confronted with the threat of a tyrannical regime bent on the elimination of an entire ethnic group. Despite Congressman Paul’s assertions to the contrary, the threat posed by a nuclear Iran is real and it is imminent. Even the UN International Atomic Energy Agency is concerned over the growing evidence that Iran is indeed close to having a nuclear weapon. At this point in time the free and peace loving world should be worried about the potential devastation that could be wrought by a nuclear Iran, Congressman Ron Paul sees no reason not to let the Iranian regime achieve nuclear power status. And that belief is indeed a dangerous one.
As I stated earlier in this article, I had at one point considered Congressman Paul as a serious contender for my caucus vote. I wholeheartedly agreed with most of his domestic economic policies. However his lack of consistency and his reluctance to ensure that all Americans are afforded their basic Constitutional Right to Life did cause me some concern. And his steadfast and dangerous isolationist position on foreign policy has thrown up huge caution flags. At this point in time I could not support Texas Congressman Ron Paul for the Republican Presidential nomination.
Sioux City pastor was instrumental in ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court Justices one year ago
By Bob Eschliman
A little more than a year ago, the Rev. Cary K. Gordon became famous — or infamous, depending upon your political leanings — for taking on a leadership role in the ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court justices.
Gordon, president of PeaceMakers Institute and pastor of Sioux City’s Cornerstone World Outreach received national attention last year for “Project Jeremiah,” a statewide campaign involving a controversial letter he sent to over 1,000 Iowa churches. It called for the removal of the three Iowa State Supreme Court Justices for their abuse of judicial authority in imposing same-sex marriage upon Iowans, while promising pro-bono legal defense for any Iowa church harassed by the I.R.S. for exercising their rights to free speech in the pulpit.
The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C., called Gordon’s actions one of the most outrageous attempts to politicize a church that he has ever seen.
Now, Gordon’s “outrageousness” has extended to presidential politics. Today, he made his choice for president known through an online video, as well as a text message that will be delivered to nearly 800,000 cell phones of registered Iowa voters and residents of Iowa’s Fifth Congressional District, where he lives.
His choice: Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.
“He’s committed to rescuing this nation from economic disaster,” he said. “Rick Santorum is committed to family values, and it shows in his own family.”
Gordon said the public endorsement of a presidential candidate is new territory.
“It’s not something I’ve ever done before, not publically,” he said. “It’s a real privilege to be an Iowan, and it’s a role I take very seriously. I have spent hours … vetting everyone that is running for the presidency right now.”
He described the vetting process as “at times inspiring, sometimes it’s been fun, but a lot of times it’s been frustrating and difficult.”
Gordon said many leaders are afraid to make public endorsements because it is somehow implied that an endorsement is approval of a candidate’s past failures. He said that’s both unfair and unrealistic, and generally doesn’t ring true.
“That attitude, that if you endorse someone you’re approving of all the things they’ve done wrong, I think that’s the biggest reason why pastors like myself refuse to participate in the process in a public way,” he said. “Ironically, the lack of public participation by ministers, I believe, is at the root of everything that is wrong with our country.”
Gordon said it’s going to take “an imperfect human with God’s help and God’s blessing” to turn the country’s misfortunes around. He said he was looking for a candidate who was both “humble and credible, someone I can trust, and someone who has generally good ideas.”
In his endorsement video, expected to pop-up on I-Phones, Droids and other such “smart phones” this weekend, Gordon emphatically rejects frontrunners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, while urging Iowans to support Santorum – in part because Santorum has declared he would include fellow GOP Presidential contender, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, at the top of his administrative team.
“I have thoroughly vetted every candidate that is currently running for president, and I have come to a conclusion that there are only two people currently in this race that have faithfully championed the legitimate solutions necessary to get this country back on course,” Gordon said, adding, with only a month until the Iowa Caucus, “it is abundantly necessary that the conservative community coalesce behind only one of … two great candidates,” Santorum and Bachmann. Santorum’s recent declaration of his aim to make Bachmann a vital part of a Santorum administration made Gordon’s decision much easier, he said. “I want them both in the White House!”
He said Santorum and Bachmann’s swift July responses to the Iowa Family Leader’s Marriage Vow – a sweeping political pledge document that addresses issues ranging from adultery and marital fidelity, homosexual unions and gay health issues, U.S. monogamy and Islamist polygamy, fatherless children and U.S. military policy – has been extremely important to his decision. Gordon noted that only Santorum, Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have signed the document, while frontrunner Gingrich, the former U.S. House Speaker, has rejected both the Iowa vow and the National Organization for Marriage pledge against same-sex unions.
Santorum and Bachmann, Gordon said, have both pledged to reinstate the military’s longstanding “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy against open homosexuality, reversed earlier this year by President Obama.
“Rick and Michele would make a great GOP match, and would defend Judeo-Christian monogamy, while I think it’s increasingly clear Gingrich simply cannot be trusted with the institution of marriage in any sense,” he said. “I think the 2010 Esquire interview with Newt’s second ex-wife and former mistress was very troubling.”
Gordon also praised Santorum for championing a Personhood Amendment to the Constitution, something the pastor said was necessary if Americans wished to “stop the barbaric evil of abortion once and for all.” He added, “Rick Santorum is committed to rescuing this nation from economic disaster, and that’s good news for everyone concerned about their families.”
He also acknowledged his endorsement comes with consequences.
“Someone will inevitably disagree with the decision I have made. And I know any leader who decides to stick their neck out and make a public endorsement is suddenly going to face criticism of their own,” he said. “I’m prepared for that, because I think our country is in a lot of trouble.”
Gordon said Iowans, like most Americans, are fearful of what another four years of Barack Obama in office would do to the country. But, he is hopeful Americans do not let their fear rule how they will vote in the GOP presidential nomination process.
“We don’t have to be afraid,” he said. “I hope that voters won’t be driven by fear to just go by polling data and grab someone we can’t really trust and throw them at the helm of this government. I posit to you that isn’t going to save America.”
The full-length version of Gordon’s interview is available for viewing here.
The 2012 Presidential race has been billed as one the most important election cycles in recent history. And perhaps due to this prophetic proclamation it seems that the number of debates hosted around the country has increased dramatically. That would not be a bad thing if the debates that we being conducted were anything more that soundbite machines hosted by moderators that seem to want to turn the candidates on each other in some sort of political version of the a battle royal. That is why yesterday evenings Thanksgiving Family Forum hosted by The Family Leader was so refreshing. The basic rules of the evening were crafted so that the candidates could not only answer questions, but answer them in depth so as to allow the audience to really understand how the candidate reached the conclusion that they did. For those of you that were unable to attend you can view the forum in its entirety at this link.
Now I could give you a complete rundown of everything that happened during the two hour long forum, but due to time and space constraints I will simply break it down in to how I believe each participant performed.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul
In my opinion Congressman Paul started the evening out with a whimper. In his response to the very first question Congressman Paul was all over the place, but not with any comment of any consequence. And despite his longwinded answer he still provided an answer that did not satisfactorily answer the question. This appearance really hit the bottom during the second half of the program where he really let the naivety of his foreign policy stance show through.
Georgia Businessman Herman Cain
Last night we had another appearance by Mr. Cain in which there were times that he looked absolutely amazing, and then other times when he left you scratching your head in wonder. One of the times where Mr. Cain really shined was when the question revolved around the phrase “So help me God” in the Presidential oath of office. Mr. correctly asserts that when that phrase is uttered in the oath that the person is asking for God’s help in fulfilling the duties of the office in question. When the candidates were asked about the sanctity of life his answers seemed intentionally vague and evasive; and gave the audience the impression that he will not fight for life as hard as some of the other candidates would.
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman
I have to admit that this was one of the best performances I have seen from Congresswoman Bachmann for some time. During this forum the Congresswoman does have at least a rudimentary knowledge of American History. She demonstrated this by correctly recited the fact that it was the first President of the United States, George Washington, that was so instrumental in having that short little phrase included in the oath of office. In my opinion I really did not see the Congresswoman make any fatal mistakes last night.
Texas Governor Rick Perry
After having endured the painful experience of watching Governor Perry take part in the last several debates I was prepared for the dreadful nails on a chalkboard effect that his appearance would create. To say that I was surprised by his extremely competent performance would be an understatement. Whenever he happened to field a question the answer seemed to be directed at the audience. It was like he was just having a conversation with us, not the moderator. Not only did he do a good job speaking to the audience, he responded with well thought out remarks that demonstrated that he is not a light thinker.
Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich
If only one candidate can be said to have had a huge night, that candidate is Newt Gingrich. The former speaker’s wit and wisdom were on display for all to see last night. He repeatedly answered the questions posed to him with reason and knowledge. He really did not have any misstep for anyone to attack him on. Among the most memorable lines of the night was this gem describing the occupy movement.
“All the occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything. They take over a public park that they didn’t pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms that they didn’t pay for, to beg for food from places that they don’t want to pay for, to obstruct those that are going to work to pay the taxes that sustain the bathrooms that sustain the park so that they can self righteously proclaim that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything. Now that is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country. That is why we need to reassert something as simple as saying to them go get a job right after you take a bath.”
Former Senator Rick Santorum
This was yet another strong performance from the former Senator from Pennsylvania. He delivered strong and rational arguments supporting his beliefs and his positions. He was able to articulate clear and concise reasons for denying the nation of Iran the ability to produce a nuclear weapon. He delivered a powerful piece of testimony illustrating for all to see that even though he is a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, he is really just a flawed human being like the rest of humanity. As he was confessing this past mistake for all the world to see you could see that reliving that period of his life was just as hard now as it had been then.
Everyone at The Family Leader deserves a hearty round of applause for the outstanding event that they had put together. I would not hesitate to state that this type of format will definitely be copied and utilized in the future. As promised, last night’s forum allowed those in attendance to learn more about the candidates and what made them tick than in any of the other debates or forums combined. All in all, a great event.
This past May, during a GOP debate in South Carolina, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was asked about his stated position on criminalizing drug use:
Q: You say that the federal government should stay out of people’s personal habits, including marijuana, cocaine, even heroin.
A: It’s an issue of protecting liberty across the board. If you have the inconsistency, then you’re really not defending liberty. We want freedom [including] when it comes to our personal habits.
And, yes, he’s completely for de-criminalizing the non-pharmaceutical abuse of heroine, arguing that if it were not illegal, no one would abuse it. While that’s probably a deal-breaker for a lot of Republican caucus/primary voters, it clearly hasn’t hurt his popularity with his committed supporters.
But, let’s take a key point he made and it apply it to other pieces of his rhetoric: “If you have… inconsistency, then you’re really not defending liberty.” In other words, politicians who are inconsistent in their words and actions are not going to defend liberty.
One of Rep. Paul’s first campaign commercials this time around touted his military record. Yes, he wore the uniform — he was a gynecologist in the Air Force — and he has routinely talked about “keeping our promises to our military veterans,” but what is his record on matters of military and national security?
Actually, the Congressman’s recently released budget plan would cut $200 billion in defense spending — a proposal co-championed by Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Barney Frank, hardly a stalwart of conservatism. Meanwhile, he said he would like to redirect our military assets in Afghanistan to protecting our southern border with Mexico.
Paul’s own past rhetoric would seem to belie the need for military on the border, in his own words. When campaigning for President the first time in 1988 (as a Libertarian, not a Republican), he championed an open borders policy and said he would eliminate the Border Patrol — which he said was unconstitutional — if elected.
Granted, he may have “seen the light” on the importance of border security. Then again, maybe he hasn’t. Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, who served with Rep. Paul in Congress for a decade, seems to think the latter is far more likely, based on an Op-Ed the former presidential candidate wrote for WorldNetDaily a few days after the aforementioned South Carolina GOP Debate.
According to Paul, deporting illegal immigrants would be “incompatible with human rights.” That is an off argument for any true libertarian to make, since the protection of true human rights begins with the U.S. Constitution and our ability to enforce the rule of law…
The truth is that we do not need to deport all illegal aliens to make them go home. If we simply prevent employers from hiring illegal aliens by using E-Verify and step up interior enforcement as Arizona, Oklahoma and other states have done, most illegal aliens will go home on their own. Paul comes out against both these policies… He absurdly calls the idea of fining employers for hiring illegal aliens ‘involuntary servitude.’
Pretty much a hit-piece by a guy who has an axe to grind against the guy who threatens the “establishment,” right? Not so fast. Even Roy Beck, founder of the anti-illegal immigration group NumbersUSA, was unimpressed with what Rep. Paul had to say in his own book.
Beck’s organization downgraded Paul to an “F” grade for his positions on amnesty and illegal immigration. The only other presidential candidate to get the same grade from the group was the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Barack Obama.
Quoting directly from Rep. Paul’s book:
“Neither the determination or the ability [for mass-deportations] exists. Besides, if each case is looked at separately, we would find ourselves splitting up families and deporting some who have lived here for decades, if not their entire life, and who never lived for any length of time in Mexico. This would hardly be a Good Samaritan approach to the problem. It would be incompatible with human rights.”
That came from page 153 in the book. He then went on a few pages later — page 156, to be exact — to champion, as Beck put it, “amnesty with an asterisk”:
“Maybe a ‘green card’ with an asterisk should be issued… It could be argued that [this system] may well allow some immigrants who come here illegally a beneficial status without automatic citizenship or tax-supported benefits — a much better option than deportation.”
Yet, just one page earlier, he wrote the following:
“(The United States should) not grant automatic citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born in the United States, deliberately or accidentally.”
OK, so that’s just one issue. Surely, he hasn’t shown signs of inconsistency on others, right?
Sadly you would be very wrong. If there’s one thing Rep. Paul has been consistent about, it’s his inconsistency on issues of greatest concern for conservatives. For instance, we have his introduction of 95 discretionary spending “earmarks” — pork for his constituents — for fiscal years 2010 and 2011, while publically decrying government spending and voting against the very earmarks he added to bills.
Then, we have his declared support for traditional marriage, while he simultaneously voted against an amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. So, when he had a chance to further clarify his position in front of an otherwise receptive audience, he said:
I think this argument about what is marriage and who can get married and to whom, in a fre society, is totally irrelevant. I think the government — national or state — should stay out of it. If someone wants to call themselves married, fine.
That’s hardly a conservative viewpoint. It would seem Rep. Paul is implying there is some “wall of separation” at play. His being a well-versed scholar of the U.S. Constitution considered, one can only assume he certainly knows there isn’t any separation clause keeping religion and government exclusive from one another.
But, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that under Paul’s philosophy, a liberal-leaning church would be free to marry gays, lesbians, and even polygamists.
Well, at least Rep Paul — a medical doctor — is consistent on his pro-life message. Surely that’s the most important factor, especially for social conservatives, right?
If that’s the case, please explain his latest campaign commercial, which supposedly touts his adamant support for the pro-life position. You know, the one where he openly admits to abandoning a living, breathing, but unwanted child “in a bucket” following a late-term abortion, without even a hint of remorse.
So, that leaves us with just one question: Would the real Ron Paul please stand up? We’d really like to get to know him, so we can vet him properly for the Republican presidential nomination.
Bob Eschliman is an Iowa journalist who has been covering politics and government for more than a decade. He is the founder of the Ben Franklin Journalism blog, which promotes citizen journalism.