In under a month, Florida Republican voters will decide who they wish to send up against President Obama. The "conventional wisdom" as reflected by most media outlets says it will be either Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney. The point of this post will be to research these two in a few areas based upon their past actions, and then to contrast these actions with the actions of Mr. Obama and the U.S. Constitution. I made use of the Southern New Hampshire 912 candidate matrix (click for PDF) in obtaining some of this information. It is an excellent means of contrasting the choices for 2012.
Republican voters often comment Mr. Romney is the only candidate that can beat Mr. Obama, and his business and government executive (Governor of Massachusetts) background make for a winning combination.
Let's look at this experience based upon the above criteria:
1. Mr. Romney supported the Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan in 2004 (click for PDF). You need to read no further than the cover page- the letter states that he is not even sure if climate change is happening, or how it is caused.
2. In 2006, he did an "about-face" on the state's clean air policy, as detailed here. The opinion of several quoted in the article was that he did so to help in his 2008 Presidential campaign. A friend of mine calls this "party above principle".
3. He is opposed to fundamental second-amendment rights. A piece contrasting his pro-gun control and then anti-gun control as well as more about-faces on issues is here. It can be summed up that Mr. Romney is indeed an experienced politician, and will change his position on an issue if it appears to be politically expedient.
His views are not in alignment with the U.S. Constitution, and are indeed similar to those of Mr. Obama. I'll close with a reference to "RomneyCare", a Massachusetts predecessor to "ObamaCare", i.e. mandated health insurance. While an argument can be made for this at a state level, it is indeed an expansion of government that a majority of voters in the USA tend to oppose.
I am amazed that anyone wanting a leader that will follow the Constitution would even consider Mr. Gingrich, but a number of people seem to support him. Here is why I say I'm amazed:
1. While he is revered by many as being a conservative that will support and defend the Constitution, in 1979 he voted to create the unconstitutional federal Dept. of Education. This bill passed by only 6 votes. If you do not consider this a big deal, look at the budget for this behemoth agency- during a recession, it has gone from $56 billion in 2006 to $69.9 billion in 2011- about a 25% increase. While his website attempts to justify this vote by saying it was just supposed to be a small agency with limited powers, circa 2009, Mr. Gingrich toured with Al Sharpton in an effort to increase the federal government's role in education. Mr. Obama is pushing the "Race To The Top" program, which is a Trojan horse method of Washington controlling local education. That's the way business has always been done by D.C.
2. While in Congress circa 1994, Mr. Gingrich voted for the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT. This bill undermined Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, which gives the power to regulate trade with foreign nations to Congress, not a global authority.
3. More recently, Mr. Gingrich has been seen with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in support of "climate change" (click for YouTube video).
More information on Mr. Gingrich can be found here. In summary, he has voted against the Constitution on more than one occasion. He agrees with Mr. Obama on education being a federal issue as well as on "climate change".
So if we can articulate where each of these candidates has stood on issues, we can predict where they will stand on them in the future, which should be of great concern to us. We've seen that each of them is weak on Constitutional adherence, and has been a proponent of expanding the government's role in our lives. In several respects, they not only do not differ from Mr. Obama, they in fact agree with him.
I liken candidates or politicians that say one thing to get elected then fail to stand firm on these promises to be akin to a saboteur that disguises themselves as something they are not to gain access to someplace they normally could not. As an extreme example, if you are standing guard duty at an army base and you see someone approaching with a bomb around their waist, you have a good idea that they mean to do you harm. If you see someone wearing the uniform of a Major, you will likely allow them in. If they in turn detonate a bomb once in, they have betrayed the trust you bestowed upon them. The point being, at least you know where the first person stood, and could take action as needed.
In my opinion, neither Mitt Romney nor Newt Gingrich will abide by our Constitution, and they will not work to limit the size and scope of the federal government.
As the saying goes, it is often easy to complain, but sometimes difficult to offer a solution. Fortunately, this is not one of those times.
Ron Paul has a record of supporting and defending the Constitution as a member of Congress. His votes and positions have not always been popular, but they have been within the rules. He is very consistent. I'll admit I did not know much about Dr. Paul in 2008 when I voted for John McCain, which is why I left the Republican party soon after (I've been back since 2010). After becoming politically involved in things, and seeing how Republicans were destroying liberty at a rapid pace here in Florida, I looked into Dr. Paul. I really liked what I saw and heard- I listened to him when he came to speak at Florida State University. I don't agree with everything he says. As one example (and I've gotten into debates over this), I support Ron Paul, but I don't want to legalize drugs. Following the Constitution, this is a decision that must be made by each state- and Dr. Paul recognizes this. If 50% +1 of the voters want to do so, then that will be the law. If I disagree, it's up to me and those that agree to write legislation and get it passed- kind of like the battles we're fighting with REAL ID and Red Light Cameras. As a related point, had Congress voted with Dr. Paul on the former, we'd have no battle to fight here.
Supporting Ron Paul is not just over a single issue such as climate change (which he has spoken about here), although his position consistently has been from the point of following our Constitution. In this case, he supports ending subsidies- a common-sense means of reducing government spending and allowing the free market to work. If you're interested in his positions on federal education, many can be found here.
Finally, the 800 pound gorilla- Ron Paul's foreign policy. It seems like the knee-jerk reaction is in so many words "I like Ron Paul EXCEPT for his foreign policy." I recently challenged my neighbor to contrast the foreign policy of Ron Paul with that of President Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson summed up the noninterventionist foreign policy position perfectly in his 1801 inaugural address: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations- entangling alliances with none." As a logical thinker, I realize that we must indeed get our own house in order before we can begin to think about other nations- if America fails from within, then foreign policy is of little consequence. In the meantime, a strong defense is necessary, something Dr. Paul recognizes and supports.