After yesterday’s New Hampshire primaries, we’re down to six Republican candidates. I haven’t voted for a major party candidate since 1988, and I don’t expect that to change for this election. I do feel that this makes me perfectly suited to give a brief analysis of each of the six still running, in alphabetical order.
Speaker Gingrich may have the highest IQ of any candidate in this election. I’ll put this in Dungeons & Dragons terms: He’s got a high Intelligence and a low Wisdom. I think that his marital infidelities, lobbying work for Freddie Mac, and his half-million dollar credit line at Tiffany’s show a trend of poor decision-making, which is something we cannot afford in a President. As Speaker of the House, that wasn’t so bad, since he was one voice of 435, even if his was the loudest. I do like that he doesn’t seem interested in social engineering, but I don’t like that his position on evolution and intelligent design in schools has devolved from “I believe evolution should be taught as science, and intelligent design should be taught as philosophy” in 2006 to “I always tell my friends who don’t believe in this stuff, fine, how do you think — we’re randomly gathered protoplasm? We could have been rhinoceroses, but we got lucky this week?” as a candidate in September. He’s had some great ideas and done well to get them passed, but that’s the hallmark of a good legislator, not a chief executive.
Ambassador Huntsman is the most moderate of the Republicans. I like that he has executive experience, both as CEO of the family business and as Governor of Utah, and that he’s served in both Republican and Democratic White Houses. Despite being Mormon, he rolled back Utah’s alcohol laws, showing that he’ll act against his religion when appropriate. He’s the only Republican candidate to express an acceptance of evolution and climate change, which I like because it shows a willingness to make his own trail. Utah’s state budget did increase dramatically while he was in control, which leads me to wonder whether he can help Congress progress toward a balanced budget. In a bull economy, Utah did well in creating new jobs, but I’m not sure how his policies will translate toward job creation in a recession. If you held a gun to my head and made me vote Republican, I could see myself voting for him.
I really like about 80% of what Ron Paul says. Unfortunately, the other 20% is crazy. I like that he’s a strict constitutionalist, and that he votes against most new government spending. Getting from where we are now from where Paul wants to be might be a good journey, but my gut tells me that he would do things so drastically that the shock to the system would be catastrophic. Paul’s support of the Defense of Marriage Act is interesting, but I wonder if he would have supported it had it allowed states to disregard any marriages licensed in another state.
Perry and Santorum are the social engineering candidates. They want the United States to become an Evangelical Christian utopia, which would be fine if all Americans were Evangelical Christians. Unlike Santorum, there’s very little about Perry I like. He is about as far right of a social conservative as one can get, and his pledge to oppose and veto any tax increases is shortsighted. I think making such a pledge is foolish in the extreme, because it would be irresponsible to fund a major crisis, such as a large war or a massive environmental catastrophe, simply by increasing the budget deficit. What really bothers me about Perry is his desire to completely overhaul the federal judicial system, by allowing Congress to overrule the Supreme Court with a two-thirds vote and ending lifetime tenure for judges. In my opinion, this could severely harm the minority and individual rights protected by the Constitution.
Running a bit later than I would like tonight, so I’ll get to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum tomorrow.