With Feb. 5 – Super Tuesday – rapidly approaching, I feel I owe it to my conservative brethren to give a brief analysis of the current Republican candidates.
Rudy Giuliani: The former Mayor of New York is hardly your traditional conservative. While in office, Giuliani saw that gay and lesbian couples were given domestic partnership rights and worked to protect illegal immigrants. His biggest accomplishments in office include reducing crime and privatizing public schools through a voucher system. He also enjoys reminding voters how he led New York City through Sept. 11. His track record is appealing to moderates, though in recent months he has lost significant support. Some feel he may not be conservative enough to attract traditional Republican voters, while others are critical of his multiple marriages in spite of his Catholic faith.
John McCain: Living proof the American vote can never be bought, McCain’s campaign has received a lot of attention despite poor fundraising. As a prisoner of war, he has undertaken efforts to ensure torture is never used in American prisons. His experience in Vietnam makes him very appealing to those supporting continued action in Iraq. He too is seen as more moderate, supporting citizenship for illegal immigrants, yet he remains staunchly pro-life. He takes criticism for flip-flopping, especially on issues regarding gun control. After a victory in New Hampshire, McCain could still clinch the Republican nomination.
Mitt Romney: The former governor of Massachusetts is thought by many to be the inevitable candidate. He is praised for his strict conservative morals, though he has wavered in the past on his abortion stance. Romney comes from a big-business background as VP of a consulting firm and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics. His experience sets him apart as a leader with the know-how to manage American government and finances. However, as a Mormon, he lost significant support from religious Republicans. Mitt boasts a lengthy list of endorsements – more than any other Republican candidate – and is currently in the lead for the nomination.
Fred Thompson: An actor from “Law and Order,” Thompson is less known for his role in American politics. A lawyer in the 70s, he was a part of a special committee investigating Watergate and helped expose corruption involving a Tennessee governor. He also has worked as a lobbyist and served nine years in the Senate. He has been critical of Roe v. Wade, calling it “bad law,” and strongly supports state rights and choices. He acknowledged many mistakes have been made in Iraq but still supports U.S. efforts.
Ron Paul: Paul has a small but deeply devoted set of grassroots followers for his presidential campaign. Many have labeled him a libertarian, and have suggested that he may pursue a run for the presidency as an independent. As a former doctor who served in Vietnam and a current congressman, Paul is committed to ending America’s interventionalist policies. Most notably, he voted against, and remains a staunch opponent of, the war in Iraq. He is a strict follower of the Constitution, using the framework to justify his stances on various issues. He supports the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service, which reflects his commitment to small government. He has led the candidates in Web-based support, and holds the record for the largest amount of fundraising in a single day.
Mike Huckabee: The former Arkansas governor and Southern Baptist pastor is a favorite among Christian conservatives. He supports creationism and opposes abortion, though favors citizenship for illegal immigrants. Some believe he may be too conservative for some voters, as evidenced in a 1992 Senate campaign where he called for the isolation of AIDS patients from the general public. In addition, he has called homosexuality “aberrant, unnatural and sinful,” though he believes gays and lesbians deserve respect from Americans. As he continues to gain steam in the primaries and caucuses, he may have what it takes to buck Romney from the top spot.