A Conservative's Analysis of the Presidential Candidates

It’s down to the wire and looks like a two-man race in Michigan. Here's my analysis of all four candidates before the Michigan primary.

When deciding how to vote, it’s best to take attack ads with a large grain of salt and look at the candidates’ positions and records – and also who is supporting them and why. In today’s information age, this is easier than ever. In Michigan, people are tiring of the political ads and robocalls, longing for a return to normalcy. But if you don’t take the time to get informed and vote, you forfeit your right to complain.

Mitt Romney

If you want a moderate, Mitt Romney is your man. He talks conservative and did a good job as governor in a very liberal state. He switched from pro-choice to pro-life and has been consistently pro-life since then. It is unfair to call him a flip-flopper for a one-time change of position. He has done well on issues most social conservatives hold dear.

His defense of past positions is admirable, but perhaps he’s too unwilling to admit mistakes. His Achilles heel is Romneycare, a state prototype for the federal healthcare bill. He defends it as good for Massachusetts and says he wants to repeal Obamacare. This implies it’s OK for state governments to dictate insurance options for people, which is just a smaller government entity making choices for you. It’s a little better to have state government run health care; at least there is the option of moving to another state where they don’t have it. If Romney is elected and government health care becomes a states’ rights issue, look for thriving red states like Texas that won’t want it to do even better.

The federal health care bill had over 2,000 pages and will probably have at least ten times as much paper explaining it. When fully implemented, it will make our tax code look simple. Collecting revenue is far simpler than medicine. Do we really want the bureaucratic costs of complying with government regulations added to an already expensive system?

One gets the sense that Romney cares more about getting elected than telling the truth. A few weeks ago he said he hadn’t attacked Santorum yet (technically true) while his Superpac surrogates were trashing him right and left. No such stretching the truth with Santorum; he speaks from the heart without a teleprompter and means what he says.

Many support Romney because they say he’s the only candidate who can beat Obama. This logic is faulty, because he lost to John McCain last primary election, who was defeated easily in November. Romney is well known now; what makes people think the loser to a loser can defeat an incumbent President? Romney is also the most like Obama of any of the Republican candidates. It’s true that swing voters will determine the election, but conservatives may stay home if they think there’s not enough of a difference (there is, of course). A true conservative can win, as Reagan demonstrated in 1980 and 1984.

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum has character, vision and solid conservative ideas. He has other advantages that many have not considered. Evangelicals and other pro-life voters were unenthusiastic in the last election until Sarah Palin was chosen as a running mate. They are already engaged with Santorum’s campaign and the momentum is building as Obama blunders with that stomp on religious liberty.

Legislators must be team players more than governors, so unless they vote “present” like our current President did to hide his true convictions, they have more opportunity to compromise their core convictions than governors. All policy issues can have principled, good hearted people on both sides. Admitting you’re wrong like Santorum has is better than sticking to your guns like Romney has on Romneycare.

Constitutional attorney and former Reagan Justice Department chief of staff to the Attorney General Mark Levin was an early backer of Santorum, saying he preferred him and Michele Bachmann as the conservatives with the most respect for our constitution. Our constitution guarantees the rights of minorities; one would think those with minority views would be the strongest backers of strict constitutionalists.

Many think Santorum is too religious; however, the quotes being used against him were talking to his base of evangelical and pro-life supporters. If he didn’t speak to their values he’d be considered lukewarm and rejected by them. His real opposition comes from people who don’t want him in the bully pulpit of the presidency where he might be able to persuade others to his viewpoint. Half of Americans identify as evangelicals (26%) or Roman Catholics (24%) so his religious views are not those of a small minority.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul has loyal backers and is running a distant third in the Michigan polls. His strength is small government & fiscal conservatism. His weakness or strength is isolationist foreign policy, depending on your perspective. His supporters are a mix of libertarians, young people, fiscal conservatives and Christians. Young people are understandable because of their idealism. I voted for John Anderson in 1980 even though he had no chance of winning. I didn’t like Jimmy Carter’s principles and thought Ronald Reagan was a trigger happy cowboy. I wish I had listened to Reagan’s speeches then instead of my friends and the news media. History proved him right as Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul are widely credited with ending the Cold War.

Libertarian Christians are more puzzling, since libertarian principles are taught nowhere in Scripture. “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6) is fine in theory but doesn’t work out in real life. “If men were angels, no government would be needed.” (James Madison, Federalist 51) We will not need government in heaven, but on earth we need it to restrain our sinful desires and prevent us from hurting each other (Romans 13).

Ron Paul has played tag team with Romney to attack Romney’s leading conservative challenger throughout the whole race. Even the liberal New York Times noticed this in the last debate. No wonder Cain, Gingrich and now Santorum appeared defensive in debates when double-teamed. Paul still holds libertarian views, having run as a libertarian 20 years ago, so it’s a bit disingenuous of him to hold himself up as the true conservative.

Newt Gingrich

Bringing up the rear in the polls is Newt Gingrich. He is a good debater, but has erratic ideas like colonizing the moon, proposed in space state Florida, didn’t bother to visit Michigan and has a gambling money connection. With proper limits, gambling can be harmless entertainment, but like any vice, it can destroy people’s lives. Its business model tries to get people to spend their money in the casino; nearby restaurants suffer. Its lucrative nature also attracts corruption; most important, it can undermine the work ethic. Gambling funding and his previous adultery make him a difficult sell for the social conservatives. Gingrich has also not been a team player, not talking with the other candidates and vowing to fight to the bitter end.

Final thoughts

Romney will get some Democrat crossover votes as the least distasteful of the Republican candidates, but at least they’ll have to be on the record asking for a Republican ballot this year. No doubt Santorum will get crossover voters thinking he’ll be easier to defeat than Romney. He will certainly welcome Obama voters in November after he’s had the chance to make his case to the American people.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ed Lambert March 02, 2012 at 03:18 AM
M Goodman, where you are fundamentally mistaken is in thinking that Santorum has an agenda regarding religious matters or most social matters. Taking the government OUT of control of people's lives and returning it to them is hardly an agenda--except for the destruction of statism, which is the one agenda that has yet to succeed anywhere in the world. When Santorum stated that he thinks the states have the right to prohibit contraception, he is speaking from the viewpoint that the federal Constitution does NOT bar states for such a prohibition. That is a far cry from saying he favors state laws to ban it. Even if he did, state laws are in the control of state leglislatures and its residents. No? But liberals fear any dismantling of government because they see the state as their protector and all-provider. That the Catholic hierarchy is out of step with majority Catholic practice is irrelevant to the issue. According to the Constitution, Goodman, religious bodies have the right to the exercise of their beliefs. I welcome your attempt to find otherwise in the Constitution, but I'll point out that liberals never do site the Constitution. Ginsberg discourages developing nations from using ours as a model. What does that tell you, Goodman? Meanwhile, let's get back to the Constitution since it is our governing document, much to the despair of many.
Ed Lambert March 02, 2012 at 03:28 AM
As president, Binkowski, Santorum would have no authority to impose ANY laws regarding contraception or abortion unless they are already part of the US Code of Law. Thanks for pointing to an ABCNews link. But of course! Now, care to defend Obama's HHS regulation REQUIRING any insurer to provide ANYTHING? Cite the law giving him this authority. The fact that a Democrat Senate would block any attempt to nullify his executive orders does not mean he possesses the authority. Authority is not validated simply by its use, you know. The above is at the nub of the entire issue, including the overriding issue of the power of government. Be careful what you wish for. Santorum's biggest problem is not that he projects conservative views but that HE is unable to defend them. He misses the point and/or awkwardly phrases his responses. He could use a Newt Gingrich in the back room sending answers into his earpiece.
Ed Lambert March 02, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Postscript, Mr. Binkowski: Wear your liberal status proudly. Don't deny where you're coming from. If you do so, you will be a rarity in these parts. You tend to dislike the term. Given what it has stood for these four decades, we can understand your running from it. Why not give conservatism a try. We have no reason to shrink from the label.
Daffy Noodnicks March 02, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Lambert, I did not bring up Catholics, Lambert, OR religion, Lambert, the author of the article at the top of this thread, MR. Murrish did, Lambert. I was taking issue, Lambert, with the content presented by MR. Murrish. All I have said here, Lambert, is the connection MR. Murrish is asserting, Lambert, between all Evangelicals, all Catholics, and support for MR. Santorum's candidacy, or social agenda, Lambert, doesn't make a lot sense to me, Lambert. This, Lambert, is based on the FACTS cited by the author, MR. Murrish, at the top of this page, Lambert. Go ahead and click on the link to the survey, Lambert. It agrees with everything I have said here, Lambert. Tell me where I'm wrong, Lambert. But, Lambert, don't let reality, the facts, or what I actually said here, cloud your silly aspersions, Lambert. So much easier for you to dismiss anything that you don't agree with, Lambert. As you bring up the Constitution, Lambert, the reason I personally believe with absolute certainty MR. Santorum will never be elected President is because many reasonable people, unlike you apparently Lambert, recognize that MR. Santorum does not appear to respect certain rights established in the Constitution, or the Constitutional separation of church and state, Lambert. Lambert.
Clay S. Conrad March 02, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Most Catholics, men and women, have practiced some form of birth controls, from condoms to the pill to others,


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