As promised to my friends in the ODBA, here are my four finalists in Charlie's GOP Presidential sweepstakes. This will be a relatively long post, so keep reading please. Keep in mind, these are in no particular order of preference.
1.) Duncan Hunter - My friend Kilo at Spark It Up will be glad to know that Mr. Hunter has made the final four. I cannot ignore what the record plainly states about Mr. Hunter and his service to the country. His support of life issues is well known and Mr. Hunter makes no bones about his support of legislation declaring the personhood of unborn children and a Right to Life Amendment to the Constitution. This stance is in line with my personal beliefs and is consistent with my conservative stance on the issue. Second, his support for an Marriage Protection Amendment is consistent with both my political views and more importantly, with my religious convictions that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Period. In the area of foreign policy, Mr. Hunter believes, as I do, that Israel is more than just a strategic partner in the Middle East. He believes that Israel is our most important ally in the region. Also, I support Mr. Hunter's decision to sponsor legislation seeking a pardon for Agents Compean and Ramos, formerly of the U.S. Border Patrol. These men are American heroes and deserve accolades, not imprisonment.
2.) Fred Thompson - I admited to thinking about a Thompson candidacy while proclaiming support for one of the big three candidates. Fred Thompson is a veteran of legislative wars on Capitol Hill and in the trenches as Minority Counsel for the House Watergate Committee. Senator Thompson is pretty reliable when it comes to support for conservative causes. He has stated he is pro-life, is pro-gun and pro-business. I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Thompson on two occasions while living in Nashville. In both instances, his personal charm and native conservatism shown through. Mr. Thompson has proven to be an effective advocate for smaller government through his tenure as Senate Governmental Affairs Chairman. Senator Thompson has made a lot of friends in Virginia, as he has throughout the United States. I will be continuing my research into positions, votes and speeches he has given.
3.) Newt Gingrich - I will take some flak from fellow evangelicals for including Speaker Gingrich in my Final Four since his revelation about an extramarital affair during the Lewinski saga during the Clinton administration. However, Mr. Gingrich was one of the architects of the Contract with America. This united effort was reminiscent of an emboldened Lady Thatcher in Great Britain taking on the unions in the United Kingdom in the late 70's. The Contract outlined a bold initiative to reign in government spending, control taxes to encourage private capital to invest in American business and to provide tax relief for working Americans. Oh, that the GOP would have stuck to its guns with regard to the Contract. We stood for something back then. We need to stand for those same principles again. We proved they were a winning combination. Mr. Gingrich is included in my Final Four, because he is the closest thing to a conservative intellectual the GOP has. However, I was a bit disappointed with his performance in the so called debate with John Kerry.
4.) John Cox - So, you're saying, who the heck is John Cox? Truthfully, until about a month ago, I didn't know who he was. He is a business leader in Illinois and a former Cook County GOP Chairman. He is an extreme darkhorse, and is almost prohibitively strapped for cash in a campaign that will cost an extraordinary amount of cash. However, in matters principle, cash never trumps character. However, John Cox's website lists several specific issues that are noteworthy to me. First, he calls for the abolishment of the IRS and the income tax and to replace it with a National Sales Tax. This argument takes Steve Forbes pet issue of a "Flat Tax" and makes sense of it. Second, he is pro-life without exception and calls for legislation defining personhood to include unborn children and that recognizes that life begins at conception. Third, he calls for the immediate repeal of No Child Left Behind. Mr. Cox properly recognizes that education is a matter best suited for state and local officials and states that the government school monopoly is the problem, not the solution. He advocates the voucher system for parents to give them greater choice in the childrens education. Last, but certainly not least, Mr. Cox calls for the repeal of the hideous McCain-Feingold free speech restriction, noting that immediate disclosure is the solution.
I have also promised to give you reasons why Mitt Romney is no longer deserving of my support. First, when he states that he is a lifetime hunter and supporter of gun owners, and then backtracks to say he hunted rabbits as a child. I have no problem with a recent convert to hunting or even to gun rights, but be honest and upfront about it. Don't 'frame' yourself to be something you're not. Second, I'm just not convinced that he is firmly within the pro-life camp. I know the lead counsel for the NRLC has endorsed him, but I have doubts when the caveats are thrown out there. Example, pro-life EXCEPT in the cases of rape, incest, yada, yada, yada. A child born from rape or incest has the same right to life as a child who is born into a loving, nuclear family. The third issue is purely personal. In order to be elected Governor as a Republican in a deep blue state such as Massachusetts, one surely must have some appeal to the hard left of the Democrat party. I just question where Mr. Romney was when the battle for the heart and soul of the GOP was being waged.
There you have them, my friends. My Final Four. I have labored in putting together some reports for my personal perusal and have compiled this list that represents (in my view) the best hope conservatives have in the upcoming primary season. I realize that Jim Gilmore is in the race and have considered him equally along with the other candidates (I even reconsidered supporting Mr. Romney.)