Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Pilgrimage to gamecock's Serious RS Blog

In the spirit of gamecock’s blog to get a serious discussion going with respect to the race for 2008 President I have looked at 6 of these Republicans on 6 issues important to me. I have gotten quotes from these 6 on these issues in an attempt to avoid how others are describing them and take them at their own words. If I like it I put a plus sign (+) in front of their name. If I don’t like it I put a minus sign (-). If I see a mixed message I put both signs (+/-). So who did I give the least (-) signs?

Fred 0
Sam 0
Mitt -1
Mike -2
John -3
Rudy -4

If anyone posts about any other candidate than these 6, I will call threadjack on you.


When has a nation ever won a war when the constant discussion was: What kind of timetable are we going to set for our retreat? In order to win, you have to set an objective. The objective should be an Iraq that is going to help us in the terrorists' war against us. If Iraq is a battle in the terrorists' war against us, then the winning of that battle constitutes an Iraq that will help us, not an Iraq that will become a headquarters for Islamic terrorism.

We must win the war on terrorism, period. There is no substitute for this. We are in a long term battle.
The name 'war on terror' is a misnomer. Terrorism is a tactic. It's like a war on bombs. It doesn't say who it is you're fighting. We're fighting against a group of people who are dedicated to our destruction. An Islamic fascist militarized definition of Islam.
It is not everybody, it is not a majority of people who practice Islam. But it is a dedicated force. They're not only after us, they're after moderate Muslim regimes in the region. They're dedicated to our destruction.
it's very clear--look on their website to see what they seek to do. They want to drive the US out of the Middle East and they want to establish an Islamic Caliphate, or an Islamic dictatorship. If you want to know what a caliphate looks like, look at Afghanistan under the Taliban, or the Sudan today, which is on its 2nd genocide.
We must win the war on terrorism. We must see it through. In Iraq, we must see it through.

I think he's had a lot of struggles, particularly in managing the war in Iraq. We did a great job of going in and toppling Saddam Hussein. The tough part has been bringing some sense of stability there. I think the domestic agenda has also almost been ignored and overlooked because we have spent so much of a time on Iraq.

Our adversaries are weaker than us in arms and men, but weaker still in causes. They fight to express a hatred for all that is good in humanity. We fight for love of freedom and justice, a love that is invincible. Keep that faith. Keep your courage. Stick together. Stay strong. Do not yield. Do not flinch. Stand up. Stand up with Bush and fight. We're Americans. We're Americans, and we'll never surrender.

Well, I'm certainly not going to project failure, and those kind of circumstances that you would suggest would be projecting failure.
It is critical for us to remember that Iraq has to be considered in the context of what's happening in the Middle East and throughout the world. There is a global jihadist effort. Violent, radical jihadists want to replace all the governments of the moderate Islamic states, replace them with a caliphate. And to do that, they also want to bring down the West, in particular us.
They've come together as Shi'a & Sunni & Hezbollah & Hamas & the Muslim Brotherhood & al Qaeda with that intent. We have to recognize that what we're doing in Iraq has enormous impact on what's going to happen in this global struggle. And so it's critical for us to provide the stability to allow a central government to survive and thrive.

The specter of WMD in the hands of our worst enemies continues to grow, and still we have yet to really come to terms with the nature & extent of the threat we are facing from radical Islamic terrorism. These extremists look at this war as a long struggle that has been going on for centuries; they are willing to take as long as necessary to bring the US and our allies to our knees, while killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, if possible. Iraq and Afghanistan are current fronts in this war and the world watches as our will is tested. Our courage as a people must match that of the brave men and women in uniform fighting for us.
In this broader war with this different kind of enemy, our success cannot always be measured by battlefield victories. Success will depend upon the determination of the American people and that's why we'll win. There is a courage that comes in unity. Now is the time to show that America united can overcome any danger, and America united can complete any mission.


: Would the day that Roe v. Wade is repealed be a good day for America?
It would be OK to repeal. It would be OK also if a strict constructionist judge viewed it as precedent and I think a judge has to make that decision.

Q: So it would be OK if they didn't repeal it?
I think the court has to make that decision and then the country can deal with it. We're a federalist system of government and states can make their own decisions.

It would be a glorious day of human liberty and freedom.

Most certainly.

A repeal.


I think Roe v. Wade was bad law and bad medical science and the way to address that is through good judges. I don't think the court ought to wake up one day and make new social policy for the country. It's contrary to what it's been the past 200 years... That's what happened in this case [Roe v. Wade]. I think it was wrong.


: Giuliani's record displays an intuitive appreciation for the vital role tax cuts play in growing the economy, as well as a deep-seated aversion to tax increases. Giuliani is also on record supporting $792 billion in tax cuts passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 1999, as well as President Bush's 2003 tax cuts. After 9/11, Rudy even went so far as to criticize Fernando Ferrer's vow to raise taxes if he were elected mayor as
a dumb, stupid, idiotic, and moronic thing to do.

(+)Sam: Senator Brownback's voting record is further enhanced by his consistent support for replacing the current tax code with a flat tax. Even in his early days as a representative, Sam Brownback supported a flat tax, saying,
I'm for getting social engineering out of the system.
This commitment remained unflagging in the Senate. In 2004, Senator Brownback introduced legislation to eradicate the current onerous tax system by 2009. He also pushed for a voluntary flat tax system for Washington D.C. residents in 2006, arguing that a flat tax removes the double-taxation on money saved or invested.
I do not think that dollars on which wage earners have already paid taxes should be taxed again when those dollars are saved or invested. This double-taxation creates a disincentive to saving and investing.

(-)Mike:By the end of his ten-year tenure, Governor Huckabee was responsible for a 37% higher sales tax in Arkansas, 16% higher motor fuel taxes, and 103% higher cigarette taxes according to Americans for Tax Reform, garnering a lifetime grade of D from the free-market Cato Institute. While he is on record supporting making the Bush tax cuts permanent, he joined Democrats in criticizing the Republican Party for
tilting its tax policies toward the people at the top end of the economic scale
, even though objective evidence demonstrates that the Bush tax cuts have actually shifted the tax burden to higher income taxpayers.
Finally, Governor Huckabee opposed further tax cuts at a 2005 gathering of Iowa conservatives. On January 28, 2007, Governor Huckabee refused to pledge not to raise taxes if elected President, first on Meet the Press and then at the National Review Conservative Summit.
I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief.

(-)Mitt:His strident opposition to the flat tax is most curious and difficult to explain since Romney wasn't a political candidate at the time. In 1996, he ran a series of newspaper ads in Boston, New Hampshire, and Iowa denouncing the 17% flat tax proposed by then presidential candidate Steve Forbes as a
tax cut for fat cats
. Even today, Romney continues to oppose the flat tax with harsh language, calling the tax

(+)Fred: Thompson was a forceful proponent of tax reform, lambasting
the IRS as mismanaged and wasteful,
and a strong supporter of the flat tax. In fact, Thompson was the only senator to vote to table an amendment proposed by Senator Dorgan that took the flat tax off the table during a budget debate.
The problem with the Dorgan amendment is simple, Thompson declared in a press release the following day, it puts you on record against a flat tax. I think a flat tax is one of the options that should be considered as part of the debate on comprehensive tax reform.

Free Trade
: In a 1993 statement that positioned the Mayor to the left of many Democrats, Giuliani said:
I continue to be concerned about the effect it [NAFTA] would have on the job situation in New York City...I haven't seen anything that's going to explain to me how, at least in the short term, it would improve the job loss which has been very, very significant.

(+)Sam: On the whole, Senator Sam Brownback has been one of the most consistent supporters of free trade in the U.S. Senate. He was deemed a "free trader" by the Cato Institute for the 105th Congress through the 108th Congress, a designation given to those who "consistently vote against both trade barriers and international economic subsidies."
(+)Mike: In 2003, he pushed for free trade with Mexico, calling for a
strong market of the Americas
and supporting NAFTA. In 2006, he signed an agreement between Arkansas and a South Korea trade group, calling for increased commerce between the southern state and South Korea.
(+)John: The Cato Institute aptly sums up his record on trade by designating him a "free trader" for the 105th Congress through the 108th Congress, a top accolade given out to those who "consistently vote against both trade barriers and international economic subsidies."
We must move ahead in technology and patents. I don't like losing any jobs but we'll see new opportunities created selling products there. We'll have a net increase in economic activity, just as we did with free trade. It's tempting to want to protect our markets and stay closed. But at some point it all comes crashing down and you're hopelessly left behind. Then you are Russia.

Romney was also a supporter of CAFTA, saying,
It does make me chuckle, when you see Congress struggling about whether we should open our trade with Central America. When Asia is looming off the horizon, we're worried about El Salvador and Guatemala?

(+/-)Fred: Over his eight years in the Senate, Fred Thompson voted for many free trade agreements and was a proponent of America's increased participation in the global economy. Although this strong record contains a trouble spot or two-such as his votes for nonbinding, symbolic measures in support of conditional tariffs on Japan in 1995 and to revoke normal trade relations with China in 1997 -the list of his pro-free trade votes is long and encouraging.

Free political speech:

I'm a very, very strong supporter of campaign finance reform. A very strong supporter of McCain-Feingold for a long, long time now.

Groups that seek to advertise a point of view should not, and I believe constitutionally can not, be limited from their participation in the political system. If provisions to hinder constitutionally protected free speech issue advocacy are added to the bill, I will vote against the final bill.

(+/-)Mike: Governor Huckabee is on record criticizing the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, though the majority of his criticism has focused on discriminatory measures that allows senators to transfer money from Senate committees to presidential runs, but deny governors the same freedom to move state funds into federal accounts. Governor Huckabee is also on record favoring limiting individual, PAC, corporate, and political party contributions to state candidates.

He [Michael Graham] also mentioned my abridgement of First Amendment rights, i.e. talking about campaign finance reform . . . I know that money corrupts . . . I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government.

I personally believe that when campaigns spend the kind of money they're now spending...and to get that kind of money you've gotta cozy up as an incumbent to all of the special-interest groups who can go out and raise money for you from their members, and that kind of relationship has an influence over the way you're going to vote...And for that reason I would like to have campaign spending limits and to say we're not going to spend more than this in certain campaigns...I also would abolish PACS. You probably have one. I don't like them. I don't like the influence of money-whether it's business, labor, or any other group. I do not like that kind of influence...

As a presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has pivoted drastically, abandoning his old anti-First Amendment stance and taking the harshest position on McCain-Feingold of all the candidates. He has called repeatedly for the legislation's repeal, and even labeled the bill
one of the worst things in my lifetime.
Now Romney is advocating
reforms that promote transparency and disclosure, preserve grassroots activism and protect the ability to criticize or endorse current officeholders and candidates.

(+/-)Fred: Since announcing his presidential aspirations, Senator Thompson has admitted that McCain-Feingold has become riddled with loopholes and has distanced himself from his previous support, saying,
I'm not prepared to go there yet, but I wonder if we shouldn't just take off the limits and have full disclosure with harsh penalties for not reporting everything on the Internet immediately.

More recently, when Sean Hannity asked Thompson if backing McCain-Feingold was the "right decision in retrospect," Thompson replied:
Part of it was, and part of it wasn't.
He elaborated, supporting repealing a ban on issue advocacy ads because "that's not working," but continued to support limitations on individual contributions.
While Thompson's recent pangs of doubt are somewhat encouraging, his doubts are not motivated by a strong First Amendment philosophy, but the realization that McCain Feingold isn't working. One has to wonder if this erstwhile supporter of McCain-Feingold has truly learned his lesson, or would he impose even harsher restrictions on political free speech to rein in the aforementioned "loopholes?"

Small Government:

: In 1996, Rudy Giuliani actively opposed federal welfare reform legislation, even suing the federal government over the matter. Again, Mayor Giuliani claimed to be motivated by local concerns, opposing features in the legislation that would "shift costs to local governments" and cut off assistance to legal immigrants.
On other federal issues, Giuliani's positions are conspicuously scant. In January of 2007, Giuliani called for fixing Social Security by allowing some investment in personal accounts, but has yet to embrace a comprehensive plan or commit himself to pushing for Social Security reform. His position on Medicare is more concerning. In 2000, Giuliani expressed a willingness to support President Clinton's proposal to provide "free" prescription drugs under Medicare, and in 2006, praised the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
(+/-)Sam: Senator Brownback has been an outspoken and brave supporter of Social Security reform. In 2006, he voted to stop the raid on the Social Security Trust Fund. In 2004, he co-sponsored the Ryan-Sununu bill to reform Social Security by allowing for large personal savings accounts.
On the other hand, Senator Brownback voted for and was an outspoken supporter of the 2003 Medicare prescription drug plan, which created a massive unfunded entitlement program, costing over $400 billion over ten years and totaling 1,162 pages in regulatory minutia.
(-)Mike: In 2005, Governor Huckabee defended President Bush's proposal for personal Social Security accounts. Unfortunately, however, Governor Huckabee qualified his support, saying,
I don't think anyone pretends it solves the long-term issue of solvency. It's trying to address methods to improve the system and broaden the base of how it is funded.
More disturbing is Governor Huckabee's support for the 2003 Republican-initiated Medicare prescription drug plan, a huge unfunded liability shouldered by taxpayers across America.
(-)John: On a February, 23, 2005 edition of Meet the Press, Tim Russert asked Senator McCain if he would support "as part of the solution to Social Security's solvency problem, that you lift the cap so that you would pay payroll tax, Social Security tax, not just on the first $90,000 of your income, but perhaps even higher?" Senator McCain answered,
As part of a compromise I could . . . I'm proud of the job that Senator Lindsey Graham has been doing in his leadership position on this issue and showing some courage.

It's really not possible for us to remain a superpower without restructuring our entitlements programs. Leaders from both political parties will have to come up with a solution in private. Sitting down, quietly, behind closed doors and having a full and complete discussion of various ways to bring the costs down and to keep it from getting out of control.

(+)Fred: Recognizing the need to reform Social Security, Thompson offered a bill in 1999 that would allow
all working Americans to divert a portion of their payroll taxes to a personal savings account that they will own and can pass on to their heirs.
This is especially praiseworthy, as it came at a time when conventional wisdom suggested that Social Security personal accounts were political poison. When few others would touch the subject, Thompson showed a willingness to take on a political sacred cow on behalf of a cause that is critical to the future of America's economy and to the goal of limiting the size of the federal government.
He also voted for a number of other measures that would encourage or create personal Social Security accounts.

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