Sunday, March 18, 2012

Foreign Policy

We finished up our series on getting to know the candidates this past Wednesday. I have a few minutes now to type up a summary of my own thoughts on their foreign policies.

11 points: Ron Paul
I knew Ron Paul would win my mind on foreign policy. I actually enjoyed his book "A Foreign Policy of Freedom" a lot (it's a collection of his speeches in congress on the issue). He's been one of the few voices for non-interventionism (not isolationism). Importantly, Paul distinguishes b/w defense and military (suggesting we stop doing what we're doing in the latter category). He thinks if we're going to go to war we should declare it in congress, get in (by going all in), and get out. He was against the Iraq war, but for getting the terrorists after 9/11. He thinks the Iran stuff is largely war-propaganda. He thinks the Patriot Act and the TSA stuff are invasions of freedom that cost more than they are worth.

4 points: Mitt Romney
Given that all the rest of the candidates are interventionists, I sorta liked the Romney was the most honest about needing to spend more money here to make sure we're equipped to be all that we seem to want to be in the world. But really there isn't much that separates him from the other republicans here (except Paul).

2 points: Barack Obama
Yes, Obama slips b/w the left-over republicans here. Of course, there's a lot I dislike about his foreign policy, but there are other things I actually like on paper. I like the banning of torture. He was right, along with Ron, about Iraq I think. He's right not to want to rush to war with Iran. He's right to emphasize our obligation to veterans. I really don't like his positions on illegal immigration though (pure pandering in my opinion).

1 point: Newt Gingrich
I like that he remarked that defense is the feds top priority.

1 point: Rick Santorum
Good stuff on immigration, but nothing worth noting here really.

I think that creates the following totals
Ron Paul 37 points
Mitt Romney 26 points
Newt Gingrich 21 points
Rick Santorum 19 points
Barack Obama -7 points

Friday, March 09, 2012

Health & Education

This past Wednesday in church we covered the candidates on the issues of environment, energy, health care, entitlements, and education. Yes, we covered a lot of ground. Here are my personal ratings:

5 points: Newt Gingrich
I think he does the best job of articulating a stewardship mindset about the environment. He's not an environmentalist wacko OR indifferent about the environment (though I do think his positions change based on whether he's in an election or not). But he got most of his points on education. I like the funds being linked to the child and not the school district idea. I also think he's right about leaving education to the states with the federal government playing the role of swapping stories of success.

3 points: Ron Paul
The main area Paul got points from me here was on entitlements. He believes the entitlement system is heading toward bankruptcy. We need to teach people against the 'entitlement' mindset. This would be a painful but necessary process.

2 points: Mitt Romney
Nothing really of note here. Nothing made me excited or mad. Pretty 'moderate'... go figure

1 point: Rick Santorum
See above

-2 points: Barack Obama
Obviously he supports ObamaCare which I think is a move in the wrong direction. I don't profess to be an expert in such things, but given our deficits I don't think moving health care into the entitlement realm is a long term solution.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Money Matters

A bit of a flaw in my system when it comes to money matters. I grade them based on what they say, but I may not really trust them all equally to do what they say. It's easy to throw out numbers, in other words.

12 points- Ron Paul
I think Paul has the most specific plan to cut the federal budget. And they are big cuts! I also tend to think he's right about the federal reserve system being flawed at its core. He may be the only guy who suggests lowering taxes that can actually match lost revenue with deleted programs. But would it ever happen? Probably not.

11 points- Mitt Romney
I have him and Santorum as 11's on paper, but my gut trusts Romney way more than Santorum on economic issues. I like the idea of linking the federal budget at 20% of GDP. His 25% corporate tax number is better and realistic compared to some of the other lower suggestions. Other issues made him sound pretty similar to Obama.

11 points- Rick Santorum
He talks a big game (5 trillion in cuts in 5 years), but I haven't seen a specific plan to get there. His other positions seem pretty reasonable.

9 points- Newt Gingrich
I think I'd trust Newt on the economy more than Santorum, but his plan is pretty vague and seems more like a campaign than a realistic set of ideas. I don't see how we could cut the corporate tax all the way down to 12.5% without cutting out a lot of government. I do like the optional flat tax idea for the sake of simplicity, but I am sure this would create tons of lost revenue too.

-6 points- Barack Obama
I just don't think his positions reflect the serious nature of the problem. Increase spending? Try to increase revenue? Bernanke's doing fine? Raise the debt ceiling? Bailouts are working? Keep taxes the same or raise them? I only found a few points of agreement here, but many minuses. Big contrast.