In search of an across the board "leave me the heck alone" conservative
By Erick Posted in 2008 — Comments (93) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
You can take or leave this post, but I figured I'd lay out my present thinking on this race, looking at just the top candidates: Rudy, Mitt, Fred, John, and Mike.
Of the five candidates, all, I think we can say, are conservative in some way. Rudy is, whether you want to admit it or not, a conservative guy. He's not a movement conservative and he is not socially conservative, but during his time as mayor he was willing to take on the school system and the liberal interests to get government out of the way. In the same way that George Bush is not an across the board conservative President, at the end of the day his constitution, if you will, is conservative.
Huckabee is the same way. Where Rudy is conservative against the spread of bureaucracy and in business issues, Huckabee is conservative socially. Huckabee, I fear, is more like Bush. He likes the compassionate conservative label, which is just social conservatism packaged in big government. Yeah, yeah, you Huckabee guys can defend him all you want -- and I personally like the guy -- but let's make no bones about it, Huckabee's support is premised on him being the religious guy, the "real" pro-life guy. He is, in effect, a social conservative and economic populist. His rhetoric is on "fair trade" not "free trade." He gets the Mother Jones crowd excited. I personally can't support him in the primary because I want an across the board conservative and I fear he'll drive business interests to cut a deal with Hillary.
And that leaves me with the other guys. Rudy is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Huckabee is socially conservative and fiscally
liberal populist. If you want a Reagan conservative -- a pro-life, strong defense, small government, pro-entrepreneur candidate -- you have to look to Fred, John, and Mitt. So let's look at them.
Read on . . .
Of the three, John McCain has the longest track record. He is pro-life. He is strong on defense. He is more or less a small government guy. And John McCain is a friend of the American entrepreneur. Now, you may say, "what about immigration?" Well, immigration is not really a liberal vs. conservative issue. The Wall Street Journal editorial page, the conservative standard bearer in the MSM, was in favor of it. Human Events, Ronald Reagan's favorite newspaper, was against it. What of campaign finance reform? On that, John McCain and I have serious disagreements. But he's John Freakin' McCain and I love the guy. Why did Chuck Norris endorse Mike Huckabee? Because John McCain doesn't need Chuck Norris when he has John McCain.
My problems with McCain, however, lead me to not support him in this race. First, and no offense Senator, he's old. Second, he worked so far to get campaign finance reform passed, his legacy issue, I think he'd lean toward picking judges who'd uphold CFR and I think those types of judges are the types who'd grow enough in office to uphold Roe v. Wade. Third, as much as I like John McCain, I really, really like Donald Rumsfeld.
Next we have Mitt Romney. He's got pretty hair. He's also got executive experience. The last hundred years indicate that a person with executive experience has the advantage. Romney also has a lot of experience in the business world. To his credit, he's the one guy who has been out the whole time talking about the Republican foundation, the "stool" he calls it -- life, taxes, and defense. Let me go back to my mantra of pro-life, strong defense, small government, and pro-entrepreneur. Romney was the later. And he has given every indication he will be for the three former. He also was willing to do something with health care and did try his best to limit government involvement. I don't like the plan, but good on him for trying.
But this is where I left Mitt months ago and where I leave him still. I think he's a great guy, but there is a trust issue with me. When he needed to out gay and out abort Teddy Kennedy, he did. And now he's gone the other way. I'd like to trust him, but I just have this feeling that if we are no longer convenient for him, he'll turn his back on us. Perhaps that is unfair, but that's where I'm at. I also think, given the last thirty year track record, candidates from Massachusetts make bad candidates for President. I think the Democrats will club Mitt Romney to death. Already they are going for the flip-flop label that the GOP used so well against Kerry. And voters seem to be picking up on that.
So, for me personally, that leaves me with Fred. He is pro-life. He's got a better pro-life record than McCain according to the NRLC. The HLA may not be his priority, but he, Huckabee, and Romney have all taken the same position on it. Fred is not only pro-life, he recognizes it as such an important issue that he has gone further than the other candidates and expressed an intention to ensure his executive appointments believe in the culture of life. That's huge from a policy level.
In fact, the only part of Fred that is pro-abortion is the government part of him. Fred's never met a federal expansion he didn't want to abort. He was frequently the lone vote in the Senate against government programs. You and I may get tired of his federalist tourette syndrome, but by God let's not deny he believes in it. He believes in federalism in the original sense. It's no surprise that he and Ron Paul are rated similarly by libertarian groups. And that's why he is also pro-entreneur. He's big on getting government out of the way.
Fred is not a religious conservative. He's a "leave me the heck alone" conservative. And frankly, polling shows that us evangelicals have done such a bad job combatting the media narrative against us that the 18 to 30 year old demographic, the up and coming generation of voters, has turned against us. It's not so much that they want gay marriage as that they don't want icky Jesus freaks like me telling them what to do at the national policy setting level.
We Jesus Freaks (I'll embrace the term) can mostly accomplish what we want to accomplish with a "leave me the heck alone" conservative like Fred (heck, or even McCain). We can live and let live. And Fred's a likable guy. So I'm with him. And the nice thing about it for me is that I'm not with Fred because the others suck. I'm with Fred because I want to be. In a small bit of irony, back in February I was attending an event in Kansas at the Dole Institute. I told the Director that I was supporting Mitt Romney, but that I really wished someone like Fred Thompson would get in the race. The Director agreed. His name is Bill Lacy. You might have heard of him.
A good bit of me loves Huckabee and Rudy really excites me as a candidate against Hillary. But I want an across the board pro-life, pro-defense, small goverment, pro-entrepreneur conservative. And of the three men who fit the bill, I think Fred offers the most with the least baggage. He'll make sure the government leaves me the heck alone.
That's where I am.