Thoughts On Political Candidates

I have not followed the primaries as much as I’d like to. It’s still too early and alot can change. However, from what little I have read, here are my thoughts on the political candidates.

As a first approximation, I really don’t like Giuliani and especially McCain, they both seem to exemplify the worst of President Bush. Though I trust McCain more than Guiliani on social issues and Giuliani more than McCain on economics (his latest on healthcare seemed promising) neither margin seems positive enough to overcome their negatives. Thompson, being a former lobbyist, also worries me (theres something eery about a conservative being a former lobbyist). I used to favor Romney, and having Mankiw as his economic advisor was certainly a big reason why, but lately I worry about his electability and convictions on certain issues.

On the Democrat side, the complaints grow exponentially. Edwards seems to be the worst of the Democrat front runners, so politically ambitious that he would even use his own deceased sons name in furthering his political future. Obama seems to lack experience and has a limited grasp of economics – though picking Austin Goolsbee as his economic advisor was certainly a redeeming choice. Though I have warmed up to Clinton I still consider her to embody the very worst of President Bush (for one example, see here) and could only see myself voting for her in an extremely limited set of circumstances.

Then there is Mike Huckabee, a candidate I know even less about. He seems to be a solid conservative, in the mold of Rick Santorum. And since he has been rising in the polls, I have been paying a bit more attention to him than I otherwise would. Here are some interesting – and contrary to popular opinion – facts about this candidate.

On immigration, here is something a bit surprising:

People drawn to Huckabee may not have in-depth knowledge of his positions. Huckabee is the top choice of Republicans who say immigration is their most important issue, yet his positions are at odds with the opinions expressed by respondents. For instance, just 8 percent of Republicans say children of illegal immigrants should be able to qualify for in-state college tuition discounts. As governor, Huckabee supported allowing those children to apply for academic scholarships.

“We are a better country than to punish children for what their parents did,” Huckabee said in a Nov. 28 Republican debate in Florida after being criticized by Romney on the issue.

That’s the good. What worries me is this:

The New Hampshire chapter of the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, has endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mike Huckabee for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations respectively, sources said Wednesday.

This makes me wonder how principled he might be at pushing school choice, an education policy he seems to be in favor of.

I plan to pay more attention to the candidates as the primaries close and look more closely at their stances on important issues, things like free trade, immigration, education especially vouchers (an almost decisive issue for me), role of government, foreign policy, social issues and others. In the end though, as a libertarian-conservative, I am not happy with any of the candidates currently available. Of course this is the case in all elections, but the problems seems especially acute in this one. Maybe I’ll vote libertarian this time around, Ron Paul anyone?

8 Responses to “Thoughts On Political Candidates”

  • I happen to find Huckabee very likable, but there’s a film clip over on Andrew Sullivan’s blog right now that shows the “bad side” of Huckabee. In the clip, Huckabee basically confuses his political campaign for a religious one.

    Here’s an even more astounding example: In a recent debate, Huckabee was asked if the earth was created in seven days about 6,000 years ago. His answer was “I don’t know.” He actually answered “I don’t know”! Simply amazing. How could any educated person not know the answer to that question?

    In my opinion, we need less mixture of religion and politics, not more.

    But I’m voting Democratic this year. So feel free to take my critique of Republican candidates with a grain of salt.

  • On the positive side, at least Huckabee is not joining in the re-definition of the Republican Party as the anti-Muslim/Homosexual/Mexican Party that the other candidates seem so enthusiastic about.

    When I was a Republican, torture was not part of our platform. (shaking head)

  • Shortly after posting my political thoughts, I read this discouraging article on how Huckabee used his religious views against Romney – a very Un-American thing to do. Offensive enough to make me rethink ever voting for him.

    With that said, I consider Huckabees (presumably) strongly held religious views innocuous. Whether he believes in 6 day creationism or the literal interpretation of the bible, it matters little when constructing policy decisions. One may find it distasteful on a personal level, but from a president, it doesn’t matter much either way. Political ideology, views on the role of government, and especially intellectual arrogance, are the big factors, IMHO.

  • As someone with a bit of a libertarian streak (but not enough to be into The Doctor), I’m underwhelmed with the current slate. Romney strikes me as the most competent, followed by Giuliani. McCain is too much of a Senator to be interesting.

    Huckabee is not on the radar – he’s a hardcore religion-on-my-sleeve type and fitness fascist who was, in practice, a tax&spend type when he was in the Arkansas statehouse.

  • We may have spoken too soon on the subject of Huckabee avoiding the anti-immigration hysteria. See here:


    Huckabee has now turned hard, hard right on immigration, following the lead of Kirkorian.

    By the way, for those who claim that today’s Republicans are just anti-illegal-immigration, but not anti-immigration: Read closely the posting by Kirkorian. You’re fooling yourselves.

  • Ron Paul it is then. đŸ˜›

  • One aside: if you’re planning to find profiles in courage early in a tight primary campaign, you’ll be infinitely disappointed. The “profile in courage” candidate will be guaranteed to be in single digits.

    And a real policy on immigration is definitely a “profile in courage” loser in the primaries, in both parties.

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