The Race for President: Mike Huckabee Analyzed

Next in this exercise of analyzing the presidential candidates we have Republican Mike Huckabee, who has been surging in popularity of late, though still a long-shot to win the nomination.

About the candidate: Mike Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas, having served from 1996 to 2007. Huckabee is an ordained Southern Baptist minister. Prior to his political career, Huckabee was pastor of several Southern Baptist churches. He served as president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention from 1989 to 1991 and as president of a religion-oriented television station.

Issue/Voting Criteria Candidate’s Stance Candidate’s Record Grade
1. Strengthening the Family From Huckabee’s website
My faith is my life – it defines me. My faith doesn’t influence my decisions, it drives them. I don’t separate my faith from my personal and professional lives.
From Wikipedia.org
-While Governor, Huckabee signed the “Covenant Marriage Act”, which compels the couple to seek counseling if problems develop during the marriage, provides limited grounds for divorce or separation, and restricts lawsuits against spouses. Huckabee said the law, “offers couples a chance to be held to a higher level of marital commitment.”
-Huckabee opposes abortions, same-sex marriages, and civil unions
From Right Wing News
-Huckabee has a superb record on right to life issues, and supports an amendment to protect marriage
A
1A. Pro-Life/Anti-Abortion From Huckabee’s website
I support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. My convictions regarding the sanctity of life have always been clear and consistent, without equivocation or wavering. I believe that Roe v. Wade should be over-turned.
A
1B. Pro-Traditional Marriage
From Huckabee’s website
I support and have always supported passage of a federal constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
A
2. Defending Our Country From Huckabee’s website
-Our Founding Fathers wanted to guarantee our God-given liberties. They wanted us to be able to defend ourselves, and that’s why they gave us the Second Amendment.
-A nation must provide its citizens freedom and security. A nation must be able to defend itself and feed itself. We have learned how disastrous it is to be dependent on other countries for our energy needs.
From Wikipedia.org
-Huckabee supported a 2005 bill to make some illegal aliens eligible for scholarships and in-state college tuition
-Regarding his position to give public benefits to children of illegal immigrants, he said, “I have always said you don’t punish a child for the crime of a parent”
-Huckabee supports the War in Iraq, the troop surge and the continued operation of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp
-He believes the United States’ number one priority should be to secure America’s borders. However, Huckabee supports a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
A
2A. Defeating Terrorists From Huckabee’s website
I believe that we are currently engaged in a world war. Radical Islamic fascists have declared war on our country and our way of life. This war is not a conventional war, and these terrorists are not a conventional enemy. I will fight the war on terror with the intensity and single-mindedness that it deserves.
A
2B. Protecting Our Borders From Huckabee’s website
My number one priority is to secure America’s border. I opposed the amnesty bill that was defeated by the Senate in June.
B
3. Free Market Economic Policy From Huckabee’s website
-I believe in free trade, but it has to be fair trade.
-Globalization, done right, done fairly, can be the equivalent of a big pay raise by allowing us to buy things more cheaply.
-We don’t need universal health care mandated by federal edict or funded through ever-higher taxes.
From Wikipedia.org
-As Governor, Huckabee signed into law a 3 cent per gallon increase in tax on gasoline
-He led a campaign to funnel 100 percent of the state’s tobacco settlement revenues into the health care system, rather than the general fund.
-He signed a tax on private nursing homes for $5.25 per day per non-Medicare patient
-He was named “Friend of a Taxpayer” by American for Tax Reform (ATR) for his cut in statewide spending
-Huckabee publicly opposed the repeal of a sales tax on groceries and medicine in 2002

From Huckabee’s website

As Governor of Arkansas:
– I pushed through a $90 million tax relief package
– I doubled the standard deduction for taxpayers
-I eliminated the marriage penalty and capital gains tax on home sales
– I cut taxes and fees nearly 100 times, saving the people of Arkansas almost $380 million.
– When I left office, AR had a nearly $850 million state surplus
B
3A. Lower Taxes From Huckabee’s website
-I am running to completely eliminate all federal income and payroll taxes.
-I support the FairTax, a consumption tax, like the taxes on retail sales
B
3B. Smaller Government From Huckabee’s website
-To control spending, I believe the President should have the line-item veto.
-Government deficits are is not due to Americans’ being under-taxed, but to the government’s over-spending.
B

Mike Huckabee’s grade point average comes out to 3.56 on a 4 point scale, which is lower than I expected. I was surprised at Huckabee’s poor economic record relating to his support for tax increases. Also hurting Huckabee was his weak stance on illegal immigration. On the plus side, Huckabee is the first candidate I have examined to get a perfect score on the Strengthening the Family category.

The Race for President: Rudy Giuliani Analyzed

Next, in my analysis of presidential candidates, I thought I should take an in-depth look at the current Republican front-runner, Rudy Giuliani. As with the other candidates, I have analyzed what he has said on the issues (his stance) and what he has done (his record) and then graded him against my previously documented criteria.

About the candidate: Giuliani served in the US Attorney’s Office of New York, eventually becoming US Attorney. Giuliani served two terms as Mayor of New York City (1994–2001). In 2001, after gaining international attention in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Time magazine named him “Person of the Year.” After leaving office as mayor, Giuliani founded Giuliani Partners, a security consulting business and joined the Bracewell & Giuliani law firm.

Issue/Voting Criteria Candidate’s Stance Candidate’s Record Grade
1. Strengthening the Family From Wikipedia.org
In 1999, Giuliani said, “I’m pro-choice. I’m pro-gay rights.”
From Rudy’s website
-Giuliani supports reasonable restrictions on abortion such as parental notification and a ban on partial birth abortion— except when the life of the mother is at stake.
-
Giuliani feels abortion is a deeply personal moral issue, and people of good conscience can disagree respectfully.
From the LA Times
-Giuliani said, “We need judges who embrace originalism…We believe in the Constitution as it was written.”
-Giuliani cited Scalia, Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel Alito as the kind of judges he would choose if he were president.
From Rudy’s website
Adoptions increased 66% while abortions decreased over 16% in New York City when he was Mayor.

From NYC.gov
When Mayor Giuliani took office, one out of every seven New Yorkers was on welfare. Mayor Giuliani has returned the work ethic to the center of City life by implementing the largest and most successful welfare-to-work initiative in the country, cutting welfare rolls in half while moving over 640,000 individuals from dependency on the government to the dignity of self-sufficiency.

B
1A. Pro-Life/Anti-Abortion B
1B. Pro-Traditional Marriage
From Rudy’s website
Rudy Giuliani believes marriage is between a man and a woman. He does not—and has never—supported gay marriage. But he believes in equal rights under law for all Americans. That’s why he supports domestic partnerships that provide stability for committed partners in important legal and personal matters.
B
2. Defending Our Country From Rudy’s website
Rudy Giuliani believes winning the war on terror is the great responsibility of our generation. America cannot afford to go back to the days of playing defense, with inconsistent responses to terrorist attacks, because weakness only encourages aggression. Americans want peace. We’re at war not because we want to be, but because the terrorists declared war on us—well before the attacks of September 11th. Rudy understands that freedom is going to win this war of ideas. America will win the war on terror.
From Wikipedia.org
In 1986, Giuliani indicted eleven organized crime figures. Time magazine called this possibly “the most significant assault on the infrastructure of organized crime since 1943.” Eight defendants were found guilty on all counts and sentenced to hundreds of years in prison.

From NYC.gov
Under Rudy’s leadership, overall crime dropped 57%, murder was reduced 65%, and New York City – once infamous around the world for its dangerous streets – was recognized by the F.B.I. as the safest large city in America.

From ABC News
When Mayor of NY, Giuliani said “If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you’re one of the people who we want in this city.”

A
2A. Defeating Terrorists A
2B. Protecting Our Borders From FoxNews
-Giuliani has called on Congress to prohibit states from giving driver’s licenses or similar forms of identification to illegal immigrants.
-“The idea is the federal government is supposed to secure the borders, the federal government is supposed to regulate immigration.”
B
3. Free Market Economic Policy From Rudy’s website
Rudy Giuliani believes in supply-side economics, because he did it (in New York City) and he saw it work.
From Rudy’s website
-He cut the size of city-funded government bureaucracy by nearly 20% (excluding cops and teachers).
-He cut taxes 23 times in New York
-He turned a $2.3 billion budget deficit into a multi-billion dollar surplus, while balancing the city’s budget

From the Club for Growth
“Giuliani successfully cut taxes; kept spending below the growth of inflation and population; instituted sweeping welfare reform; and deregulated many aspects of the city’s bulky bureaucracy.”

A
3A. Lower Taxes From Rudy’s Website
Giuliani told voters worried about job losses and outsourcing that burdensome taxes and regulations are to blame. “I think outsourcing is a function of being anticompetitive…If we right now lowered the corporate tax from 35 to 28 percent you’d stop a lot of outsourcing.”
A
3B. Smaller Government From Rudy’s website
Rudy believes in fiscal discipline by controlling spending and cutting wasteful programs
B

Giuliani’s grade point average, therefore, comes out to be 3.44 on a 4 point scale. Not a bad score. Giuliani was hurt most by his positions on Strengthening the Family issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Overall, I like his fiscal policy and record, I think he has been tough on crime and I think he would do well in prosecuting the war on terror. I do, though, worry about his stance on some of the social issues.

The Race for President: Mitt Romney Analyzed

I thought I would start my analysis of presidential candidates with an in-depth look at my current preferred candidate, Mitt Romney. As you can see below, I have analyzed what the candidate has said on the issues (his stance) and what he has done (his record). I really enjoyed this exercise (a sign of a true political junkie) and look forward to going through this exercise for the other major candidates.

About the candidate: Mitt Romney (Republican) is the former governor of Massachusetts (serving 2003 through 2007). He is a former CEO of Bain & Company, a management consulting firm, and the co-founder of Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm. He also served as president and CEO of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Issue/Voting Criteria Candidate’s Stance Candidate’s Record Grade
1. Strengthening the Family “America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home.” Gov Romney, Feb 26, 2005
From Wikipedia.org
-Faced with the dilemma of choosing between same-sex marriage or civil unions after the MA Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages, Romney reluctantly backed a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage but still allowing civil unions
-Romney endorsed a petition effort led by the Coalition for Marriage & Family that would have banned same-sex marriage and made no provisions for civil unions

From OnTheIssues.org
-Romney vetoed legislation to expand stem cell research because it allowed the cloning of human embryos for use in stem cell experiments–a practice Romney said amounts to creating life in order to destroy it.
-Romney vetoed legislation that would have made the Abortion pill available without a prescription

A
1A. Pro-Life/Anti-Abortion Though running as pro-choice in a 1994 senate race, Romney has more recently said, “I am pro-life. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother… I believe that the states… should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.” Gov Romney, Boston Globe, July 26, 2005
B
1B. Pro-Traditional Marriage
“We respect hard work … We are self reliant, we respect human life, we are a religious people… We are a purpose-driven people founded on the family unit. I think every child deserves to have a mother and a father.” Gov Romney, March 19, 2006
A
2. Defending Our Country “We need to increase our investment in national defense. This means adding at least 100,000 troops and making a long-overdue investment in equipment, armament, weapons systems, and strategic defense…We are going to need at least an additional $30-$40 billion annually over the next several years to modernize our military, fill gaps in troop levels, ease the strain on our National Guard and Reserves.” (Gov Romney, “Rising To A New Generation Of Global Challenges,” July/August 2007)
From a Mitt Romney Press Release
-In December 2006, Romney signed a memorandum of agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deputizing state troopers to enforce immigration laws.
-Romney vetoed a Massachusetts bill to provide in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

According to Tim Cruz of National Review Online
-Romney provided an influx of $700,000 in state aid to faith-based and community groups working to solve the crime problem
-He established an $11 million statewide gang prevention program in 2005
-Under Romney’s leadership, the total number of MA State Police grew by nearly 200 Troopers to the highest in the agency’s history.
-He championed “Melanie’s Law,” the toughest drunk driving law in the state’s history

A
2A. Defeating Terrorists “Today, as we stare at the face of radical violent Jihad and at the prospect of nuclear epidemic, our military might should not be subject to the whims of ever-changing political agendas. The best ally of peace is a strong America.” Gov Romney, Dearborn, MI, 2/13/07
A
2B. Protecting Our Borders “We need to make America more attractive for legal immigrants — for citizens — and less attractive for illegal immigrants. I want to see more immigration in our country, but more legal immigration and less illegal immigration.” Gov Romney, June 23, 2006
A
3. Free Market Economic Policy CNBC’s Larry Kudlow: “I think [Romney’s] a real capitalist. I think he’s a free market capitalist. I think he’s a supply-sider. He talked to me a lot about keeping the Bush tax cuts in place and lowering the corporate income tax” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 8/30/07)
From Wikipedia.org
-Upon entering office in 2003, Romney faced a $1.2 billion deficit

-Through spending cuts and lower taxes, and removal of tax loopholes the State had a $700 million surplus by 2006

-Romney increased the state gasoline tax by 2 cents per gallon

-The state legislature with Romney’s support also cut spending by $1.6 billion

-Romney sought additional cuts in his last year as Massachusetts governor by vetoing nearly 250 items in the state budget.

A
3A. Lower Taxes “I want to lower taxes. I want to lower marginal rates across the board. I want to lower taxes for corporations – we’re high relative to our competition around the world.” (CNBC’s “Kudlow & Company,” 8/28/07)
B
3B. Smaller Government Gov. Romney “imposed some much-needed fiscal discipline on a very liberal Massachusetts legislature.” (The Club For Growth, Press Release, 8/21/07)

“I don’t want to add entitlements. I want to find ways to reform our entitlement programs.” Gov Romney, Boston Globe, Jan 27, 2006

A

Romney’s grade point average, therefore, comes out to be 3.78 on a 4 point scale. He got a perfect score in 7 of the 9 categories. The two issues on which he was penalized were Pro-Life/Anti-Abortion (for his pro-choice stance in the 1990s) and Lower Taxes (for supporting a gasoline tax increase). Overall, not a bad showing for Romney.

The Race for President: My Selection Criteria

The first presidential primaries and caucuses will begin in just over a month (Iowa on Jan 3, 2008 and New Hampshire on Jan 8, 2008), and within three months, the Republican and Democrat presidential nominees will be known. While still early in the process, I want to let my presidential selection criteria be known and analyze how some of the major candidates measure up. In this post, I will lay out the criteria; in future posts, I will analyze how well prominent candidates’ policy and action meet those requirements.

1. Strengthening the Family A president who will enact policies and make decisions that will strengthen the Family is the most important issue to me because, as you have seen in my previous posts, I believe that most of societal ills can be rooted back to a break down in traditional family values.
1A. Pro-Life/Anti-Abortion I want to elect a president who shares my belief that life is sacred from the moment it is conceived. Right now, the abortion policy in America is governed by the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v Wade decision, which I believe is bad law in itself and morally wrong as well. The way in which a president can influence this policy is through appointments to the Supreme Court.
1B. Pro-Traditional Marriage A major part of strengthening families is defending the traditional family structure: father, mother, children. Marriage, as defined by one man and one women, is under attack in America and certain government policies and programs, like welfare, have been known to undermine the role of the father in the home. A president who will defend the institution of marriage is critical.
2. Defending Our Country To “provide for the common defense” is one of the constitutionally endowed duties of the federal government. A strong military and political sovereignty are necessary to do this. The president, who is also commander in chief of our armed forces, must have shown through word and deed, their ability to lead the defense of our nation.
2A. Defeating Terrorists The fight against global terrorism is an extremely important issue at this time. George Bush has done an excellent job in leading this war on many fronts: in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in de-funding terrorist organizations around the world. We need the next president to be equally tough and continue to fight and win this war.
2B. Protecting Our Borders Bush’s record on border security is, on the other hand, abysmal and we need our next president to take serious steps to secure our borders. Illegal immigrants, many of whom have criminal records and links to drug cartels and terrorist organizations, are pouring across our borders at the rate of nearly a million a year. Our nation cannot remain sovereign and secure if this influx continues.
3. Free Market Economic Policy I’m not sure when the president of the United States became chief economist (maybe it was Bill Clinton’s “it’s the economy, stupid” comment in the 1992 presidential race), but regardless, the president is held accountable by the American people for economic policy and its success. I want to elect a president who believes, as I do, in free market economies and that capitalism works.
3A. Lower Taxes A key component of economic policy that I endorse is lowering taxes. Keeping taxes low is both morally right (not taking an individual’s hard earned money) and economically right (it spurs economic activity and fosters growth). It is important to elect a president who will support legislation to lower Americans’ tax burden, which now averages about 33% of their total income.
3B. Smaller Government Integral with economic policy and lower taxes is the need for smaller government. As the size of government shrinks, personal liberty increases. Having a government that is as small and un-intrusive as possible without also being impotent was a key issue for our founding fathers. Since that time, our government has grown to the point that it consumes more than 20% of our nation’s GDP. Now this is a tall order, but we need a president like Ronald Reagan who believes that “government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

So in the next few days and weeks, I will analyze each of the major presidential candidates, their policies and actions in the areas outlined above. I will objectively score them against these criteria and in the process determine who I would select to receive my vote for the next president of the United States.

Please note that the list of criteria above is not meant to be exhaustive. If additional issues arise that I deem vitally important, I reserve the right to amend and update the list. If you, the reader, notice any gaping holes in my presidential selection criteria, please feel free to contact me.

The Price of Freedom and Democracy

I was listening to the Rush Limbaugh radio program yesterday and took particular note when he said, “if you put a limit on how much you will spend on freedom, you are going to lose it.” He was speaking in regards to the War in Iraq and those liberals and democrats constantly complaining about the amount of money our country is spending to defeat global terrorists and preserve our freedoms.

In and of itself, I thought the concept was profound: if you put a price on freedom, you will lose it. But in the context of having that quote in mind, I awoke this morning to the following headline NYU Students Would Sell Their Right to Vote for Free Tuition. I couldn’t help but laugh with incredulity.

According to the poll:

  • 66% of NYU students would sell their right to vote in the next presidential election in exchange for a year’s tuition (about $30,000)
  • 20% said they’d exchange their vote for an iPod
  • 50% said they’d forfeit their right to vote forever for $1 million.It boggles the mind that individuals would so easily through away what our founding fathers fought to give us and what so many of forebearers have died to preserve.
  • Admittedly Conservative Talk Radio is More Fair than So-Called Unbiased Main Stream Media

    I recently read a very interesting study from the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard University called A First Look at Coverage of the 2008 Presidential Campaign. The study looked at the political leanings of different media outlets including Network Television, Cable News, Internet, Talk Radio and Newspapers.

    Here are some of their overall findings:

  • “A new poll by The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press conducted for this report finds that about eight-in-ten of Americans say they want more coverage of the candidates’ stances on issues
  • Yet, “just 1% of stories examined the candidates’ records or past public performance, the study found”
  • “Just 12% of stories examined were presented in a way that explained how citizens might be affected by the election, while nearly nine-out-of-ten stories (86%) focused on matters that largely impacted only the parties and the candidates.”
  • “Democrats generally got more coverage than Republicans, (49% of stories vs. 31%.)”
  • “Overall, Democrats also have received more positive coverage than Republicans (35% of stories vs. 26%),”
  • “Republicans received more negative coverage than Democrats (35% vs. 26%).”Now, taking the data in this study, I did my own analysis and the findings were quite informative. Just take a look at the chart below.

  • Coverage of Republicans is slanted to the negative in every outlet except talk radio and NPR.
  • Coverage of Democrats is slanted to positive in every outlet except PBS and talk radio.
  • Talk radio gives Republicans the fairest treatment of all outlets with roughly equal positive and negative stories.
  • Cable news give Democrats the fairest treatment though they still favor slightly more positive than negative stories.
  • NPR tends to lean toward positive stories for both Republicans and Democrats, but of their negative stories, Republicans get the greater share
  • Newspapers and Network TV News lean heavily to the left, reporting mostly positive about Democrats and mostly negative about Republicans
  • The most amazing thing about this study is how it shows that Talk Radio, which openly admits to lean Conservative/Republican, is much more fair in their reporting than other media sources which claim to be unbiased.