I had no plans of posting this but while listening to Radio from Hell this morning they were talking about the elections and I realized that I have a lot to say. I tried to keep this short - but once I got going it was hard to stop. Lets agree right now to agree to disagree - but I'd love to know why you support who you support. This is an important day for the nation.
I really like Ron Paul. I like that he wants to make the government smaller, but I disagree with his proposed methods. He is against the federal "War on Drugs", hates NATO and the UN (and I actually like NATO), and wants the US to pull our troops off of foreign lands (including Iraq, S. Korea, the Phillippines and Germany). I think that he takes the idea of hard money (the gold standard) too seriously but I love his stance on fiscal conservatism. I think automatic weapons (such as assault rifles) should be taken off the streets, he disagrees. Ron Paul has been notoriously anti-net-neutrality and has only seemed to soften his stance recently (which is a total deal breaker for me). I don't like how a newsletter published for more than a decade under Ron Paul's name was very often bigoted towards blacks, gays and Jews. While Paul didn't write the articles he took moral responsibility for their printing. Among the federal departments that Paul wants to get rid of are the IRS and the Department of Education. While I dislike the IRS as much as anyone I appreciate the police protection, fire protection, roads, parks, cultural events, schools, public transportation, government welfare programs, etc. that the money brought in by the IRS through taxation provides. I like 50% of Ron Paul's ideas. Unfortunately, the other 50% are too far off base for me to consider him as a candidate.
I don't hate McCain nearly as much as many people I know. I like his military background. In my opinion, many of the best presidents have come from military families and the leadership experience that is obtained must be invaluable. While he is older than I would like, I don't think that it is fair to hold that against him, because I have watched numerous old men in leadership positions and if nothing else, their increased wisdom has helped them. He's obviously not the smartest in the group (he graduated fifth from the bottom in his class at the Naval Academy!). After McCain was shot down in Vietnam and had been there a while, the Vietnamese offered to release him (because his father was such a high-ranking Naval Officer) but he refused until everybody captured before him was released - and ended up being a POW for 5 years longer than he would have been. McCain has had numerous affairs and is now married to his second wife. He has always had fishy relationships with big business and people with money. One of the things that I like most about McCain is his ability to cross the political barrier in order to get things done. Many of the bills that he has sponsored have been co-sponsored by high-level democratic Senators allowing compromise to take place in the Senate. McCain did not support Bush's infamous tax cuts for the rich (originally), wanting to give them instead to those who needed them most. He's often not a very republican Republican (if that makes any sense) and has even been labeled as a liberal (but a moderate in my view). While I think that he is a power-hungry dirty old man, I don't think that he is as bad as many are making him out to be.
Mitt Romney is a Mormon. Many people here (i.e. Utah) like him. I think that he played his cards well in coming to President Hinckley's funeral. It was a very quiet visit and did not seem to be calculated for political gain. Nobody in the running can match his business experience and he is arguably the smartest of the group as well. Being exceptionally rich has helped in that he's donated tens of millions (~$35) to his own campaign. Romney took a $379 million deficit in the Olympics and turned it into a $100 million profit. Romney has a history of pandering to the crowd. He was pro-choice while running against Kennedy in 1994 but has since decided to be pro-life (although he promised the residents of Massachusetts that he would not touch the abortion laws while Governor). As Governor of Massachusetts he faced a budget deficit of $3 billion. He left the state with a $700 million surplus and was able to cut taxes. I really like the health care plan that has been implemented in Massachusetts. It still allows the consumer to choose their care but has penalties for those who don't (and can afford it). His views align fairly closely with mine.
I've actually liked Mike Huckabee for a long time. He appeared on The Colbert Report to talk about his incredible weight loss (110 pounds) and healthy lifestyle that he was advocating. He is an ordained Baptist Minister and his religion is an integral part of his campaign and life. While Governor, he came under fire for commuting the sentences of numerous convicts. My biggest issue with Huckabee is that he has a hard time separating his religion from his campaign (and I'm not so sure that he wants to). I think that he would bring far too much religion into the oval office if he were elected. He is definitely the most conservative candidate in the race.
I have no doubt that Hillary is qualified to be President. She played a large role as first lady in the creation of the state children's health insurance program (S-CHIP). She is a very polarizing figure and is probably the candidate least likely to unite (rather than continue to divide) the American public. Up until her last year of college she was a pretty staunch Republican. Clinton also has ties to many tiers of big business and receives a lot of her campaign money from them. She played a huge role in the Whitewater controversy having worked at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock. There seems to almost be a trail of bad decisions. She is obviously very forgiving; otherwise there is no way that she would have stayed with Bill this long. Clinton is a very well-liked Senator enjoying approval ratings from 64-74% in her second term. She has been a poor debater and she and her husband have often been accused of boiling the democratic nomination down to race. She is a very liberal Senator and has not shown any tendency to protect American's 2nd Amendment rights. Hillary Clinton is a candidate that most people either love or hate.
Obama is only the fifth African-American Senator in US history (and the only one currently serving). He seems to be a fairly honest candidate, not hiding the fact that he toyed with drugs during his teenage years. During his political career he has focused on ethics reforms sponsoring bills controlling the lobbyists' power (eliminating gifts of travel) and on health care reform. Obama is certainly the least experienced candidate running for office and was only elected to the US Senate in 2004, enjoying the largest margin of victory in Illinois history. In my opinion, Obama has done a fantastic job of surrounding himself with qualified advisors, which is crucial to success as a young Senator (or future President). I believe that Obama is one of the few candidates that could possibly help unite the the fractured American public. For too long the Presidents have been from so far one side or another that I think he has the chance to unite. Obama seems to be very technology savvy. He has always been committed to net neutrality, which is one of the most important issues for me. Obama has always been a foe of the Iraq War and has pushed for major air pollution caps and climate control strategies. He has been one of the few politicians to speak out against the genocide in Darfur. He is the least wealthy of all candidates - possibly helping him to relate to the common citizen better than the others. Obama has proven his knack for reaching out to people across many cultural, political and racial barriers.