Tag Archives: Position

On the issues: assessing the 2016 Republican presidential candidates

Latest Republican presidential primary polls
Latest Republican presidential primary polls (click for larger image)

The PDF is here. (50 pages, but you only have to read about the candidates you might consider voting for)

Unfortunately, radically leftist Politico is the only one with a write-up on it, so here goes:

The hard-line conservative arm of the Heritage Foundation has tough criticism for much of the 2016 field, but high praise for the Texas senator.

The political arm of The Heritage Foundation has released a detailed assessment of the 2016 Republican presidential field — and it offers harsh words for many candidates. But not for Sen. Ted Cruz.

Cruz receives almost exclusively praise for his stances in the 50-page 2016 presidential policy scorecard, the first of its kind produced by Heritage Action. The report grades the candidates across six categories: growth, opportunity, civil society, limited government, favoritism and national security.

Many of the lines in the scorecard appear destined for future attack ads.

Jeb Bush, for instance, is accused of having “kowtowed to the state’s environmental lobby” in Florida. Chris Christie “has shown favoritism toward well-connected real estate developers.” Rand Paul’s “views at times veer outside the conservative mainstream.” And Donald Trump backs “massive tariffs that would damage the American economy.”

Cruz, by contrast, manages to emerge with barely a blemish, receiving only softly worded critiques of his adopting “sound policies advanced by others” rather than crafting his own.

[…]“Cruz has been willing to pay a political price for taking on government favoritism,” the report reads.

The group even forgives Cruz for one of the few trespasses he has made against its positions, voting for a bill that served “as a bargaining chip for [Export-Import Bank] allies to secure reauthorization.” The report credits him for later switching his vote and then publicly attacking Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for allegedly lying about his plans.

Bobby Jindal, who is running hard to the right in Iowa, receives among the more glowing reviews. So does Marco Rubio, who angered the right with his pursuit of a comprehensive immigration plan after first being elected with tea party support.

The two current front-runners in the polls, Ben Carson and Trump, were dinged for their lack of a record on conservative causes and a lack of specifics in their visions. “His unconventional foreign policy prescriptions raise more questions of significant consequence than they answer,” Heritage writes of Trump.

Bush was singled out for some of the most biting critiques. “Has shown favoritism toward Florida special interests and supports amnesty” for undocumented immigrants, reads one bullet point.

In its 2016 assessment, Heritage dings Bush for not supporting recent efforts to defund Planned Parenthood this fall because he said he opposed precipitating a government shutdown. The report accuses him of “playing to President [Barack] Obama’s talking points rather than reinforcing conservatives.”

No, everyone knows that my list of candidates favors governors who have a history of putting in place actual policies that actually affected real people in the real world and got real conservative results. So on that score, Cruz and Rubio way down the list because they have achieved very little:

  1. Scott Walker
  2. Bobby Jindal
  3. Rick Perry
  4. Ted Cruz
  5. Marco Rubio

Ted Cruz’s Twitter feed and his overall feel to me is that all he does is talk, talk, talk. He just doesn’t have the record of Bobby Jindal at putting policies into place. For example, as governor, Jindal actually cut spending. He actually put in place pro-life measures that actually saved lives. He actually put in place a school choice program that helped low-income students get out of failing schools. He actually cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. He actually defended religious liberty. Cruz is just a senator, so he hasn’t got that proven record. I believe he would be conservative, but I feel safer trusting someone with experience.

Having said that, the more I read reports like this Heritage Action Scorecard report, I am finding out that Cruz has been willing to at least pay a price politically for doing the right thing at various times. So, although he does not have the accomplishments that the governors have, he has been willing to push conservative values when it was not to his advantage, politically. I have to admit, there is some value to this in one sense – we know that he would do what he says no matter what. But there is a problem with Cruz. We don’t know whether he is able to create clever policies that will draw the votes of independents and even moderate Democrats. That’s what Walker and Jindal were able to do. So, although I respect what the Heritage Action team have written, I am not changing my rankings.

Tonight’s debate

Be sure and tune in to both debates tonight on Fox Business, as I am expecting Jindal and Cruz to outperform their competitors in their respective debates:

Republican debate – Fox Business/Wall Street Journal

Time – Primary: 9 p.m. ET. Secondary: 7 p.m. ET

Location – Milwaukee Theater, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Moderators – Gerard Baker, Neil Cavuto, Maria Bartiromo

Primary: All candidates averaging at least 2.5 percent in four most recent national polls by Nov. 4.

Secondary: Remaining candidates averaging at least 1 percent in one of the four most recent polls.

Primary: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rand Paul.

Secondary: Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum.

Candidates on my list are in bold. The debate will be live-streamed, so you have no excuses for missing it. This one promises to be a good one. The moderators will not be amateurs as with the Democrat-biased CNBC debate.

Is Herman Cain pro-life? What are Cain’s views on abortion and Planned Parenthood?

(Video: Herman Cain’s speech at the 2011 National Right to Life Convention)

Let’s do analysis this in two parts: 1) what Cain says, and 2) what Cain does.

Life News explains what Cain said about abortion to Piers Morgan that confused people about his pro-life position.

As LifeNews.com reported, Cain gave an interview to CNN in which he used typical “pro-choice” language about government not making abortion decisions for women that applied, depending on the listener, to either abortions in the case of rape and incest or abortion policy in general. Either way, pro-life advocates have been disappointed today following the comments and they have called on Cain to clarify the comments — which he did in a short message on twitter later in the day saying he is “100% pro-life.”
The statement reads:

So, basically, Cain was saying that the lay of the land should be that abortion is illegal, and then women will have to get together with their families and decide whether they want to break the law or not, and that it was not Herman Cain’s job to be in that discussion. His job would come after in prosecuting the doctors who perform abortions, because he thinks that life begins at conception and the laws should reflect that commitment to protect the unborn.

Yesterday in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, I was asked questions about abortion policy and the role of the President.

I understood the thrust of the question to ask whether that I, as president, would simply “order” people to not seek an abortion. My answer was focused on the role of the President. The President has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone. That was the point I was trying to convey.
As to my political policy view on abortion, I am 100% pro-life. End of story.
I will appoint judges who understand the original intent of the Constitution. Judges who are committed to the rule of law know that the Constitution contains no right to take the life of unborn children.
I will oppose government funding of abortion. I will veto any legislation that contains funds for Planned Parenthood. I will do everything that a President can do, consistent with his constitutional role, to advance the culture of life.

Here are Cain’s exact comments:

“Whats your view of abortion?” Morgan asks Cain in the interview.

“I believe that life begins at conception and abortion under no circumstances. And here’s why,” Cain said before Morgan interrupted him and asked, “No circumstances?” to which the presidential candidate replied, “No circumstances.”

Morgan told Cain that that sets him apart from many other Republican candidates who are pro-life but also believe in exceptions such as rape or incest or the life of the mother. He continued by asking Cain if he would want his daughter or granddaughter, if raped, to keep the baby — which Cain said “was mixing two things.”

“It’s not the government’s role, or anybody else’s role to make that decision,” Cain responded. “Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidence, you’re not talking about that big a number. So what I’m saying is, it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president. Not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family, and whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t have to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.”

Morgan told Cain that his views on the question of abortion are important because he may very well become president someday and turn into public policy.

“Not they don’t,” Cain said of his views becoming law. “I can have an opinion on an issue without it being a directive on the nation. The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to a social decision that they need to make.”

Cain finished by saying he agreed with Morgan that his view is a departure from the political norm.

Cain’s view is that the government should prohibit abortion, and then you should be left free to decide whether to comply with the law.

Cain’s position reminds me of a famous story about the British in India, who were opposed to the Hindu practice of suttee/sati which involves burning widows on the funeral pyre of their husbands. Sir Charles Napier responded to the Hindu custom as follows:

“Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

( Napier, William. (1851) History Of General Sir Charles Napier’s Administration Of Scinde, p.35)

That’s exactly what Cain’s position was, although I think that he would enforce the prohibition on abortion by fining or jailing the doctor who performed the abortion, and eventually the practice would stop, because there would be no money in it. Abortion is all about the money. When you take away the money, people stop providing abortions.

Cain’s pro-life record

What has Cain done for the pro-life cause with his own money? Life News explains.

Excerpt:

With the balance of power in Congress hanging in the air, a leading African American businessman says black voters in the United States should put their historical pro-life values above political party. That means voting for pro-life candidates rather than supporting Democratic candidates across the board.

Herman Cain is best known as the former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. He is a political commentator and was a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

“More and more African Americans are pro-life,” Cain said in a statement LifeNews.com obtained. “Our message to African Americans is simple — it’s time you vote for candidates who support our values.”

Cain will underscore that message with a $1 million advertising campaign in key states and congressional districts targeting black radio programs and urban radio stations young African Americans enjoy. Some of the ads focus on abortion.

But there’s more to his pro-life record than just giving up a million dollars of his own money. He is a pro-life activist.

What has Cain done with pro-life groups? Life News explains.

Excerpt:

The National Right to Life Committee is today vouching for Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s bona fides, saying the businessman who is considered by many to be the current GOP frontrunner is pro-life.

NRLC’s comments come after a 48-hour period during which Cain has confused pro-life voters where he stands — by first using seemingly pro-abortion language saying government should have no involvement before finally clarifying he is pro-life and saying he wants abortions illegal.

“Herman Cain’s pro-life,” David O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee, told National Review. “He addressed our convention last June. We are quite confident in his pro-life position. When he ran in the primary for senate some years back … he ran as a pro-life candidate then in Georgia. We’ve known of him for a number of years, and he’s always taken a pro-life position.”

At that event, Cain, the former businessman and candidate, said the “Founding fathers got it right” including the right to life from conception.

“Don’t infringe on the rights of somebody else and that includes the unborn,” Cain said of what the Constitution requires.

Cain spent most of his time talking about the moral crisis and lack of God in the cultural conversations in America, saying, “We’ve got a moral crisis in this nation. One of the reasons we have this moral crisis today is because too many people are trying to take God out of our culture, little by little.”

“Those that believe taking the life of the unborn is a choice has gotten away from the Godly principles,” he said. “The way we’re going to protect the unborn in this nation is to work on the right problem, get God back in our culture.”

Cain said pro-life advocates must change hearts and then minds will follow and he urged pro-life advocates to do more to promote the work of pregnancy centers.

“Let young women know about alternatives to these so-called Planned Parenthood facilities. We have to inform and educate people and let them know about resources like the one in Dallas Texas where I visited called the Source for Women. When young women show up there, the first option isn’t getting an abortion, the first option is counseling to show these young ladies the alternatives to abortion,” he said.

Herman Cain’s opposition to Planned Parenthood is quite strong. Life News explains.

Excerpt:

During a presentation before a set of conservative bloggers in the nation’s capital today, likely Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, a pro-life businessman, bashed the Planned Parenthood abortion business — which went after him in return.

Cain said he supports revoking the federal taxpayer funding for the abortion business: “I support de-funding Planned Parenthood. “Tactically how [Congress] does it…I can’t tell you.”

The African-American then went further and talked about the racial overtones behind the founding of the abortion business by Margaret Sanger.

“You probably don’t hear a lot of people talking about this,” Cain said.  “When Margaret Sanger – check my history – started Planned Parenthood, the objective was to put these centers in primarily black communities so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world.”

“It’s planned genocide. It’s carrying out its original mission,” he said. “I’ve talked to young girls who go in there, and they don’t talk about how you plan parenthood.  They don’t talk about adoption as an option.  They don’t say, ‘Well, bring your parents in so we can sit down and talk with you, and counsel with you before you make this decision.’”

[…]In January, Cain also went after Planned Parenthood.

He told American Family Radio’s “Focal Point” program that he is pro-life and opposes the agenda of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion business.

“I absolutely would defund Planned Parenthood — not because I don’t believe in planning parenthood, [but because] Planned Parenthood as an organization is an absolute farce on the American people,” he said.

Cain, who is African-American, accused the abortion business of engaging in a racist agenda.

“People who know the history of Margaret Sanger, who started Planned Parenthood, they know that the intention was not to help young women who get pregnant to plan their parenthood. No — it was a sham to be able to kill black babies,” he added.

Cain also talked about his pro-life views in general and alluded to judicial appointments.

“I believe that life begins at conception, period. And that means that I will have to see enough evidence that someone I would appoint shares that same view. I believe that the current Supreme Court is leaning too much to the liberal side,” he said. “I’m a Christian, I’ve been a Christian all my life. I’ve been a believer in the Bible since I was 10 years old. I’m very active in my church, and there is no way I would compromise my religious beliefs about the sanctity of life. And so it starts with, will they have demonstrated in their career, in some of their other rulings, if they come from the federal judge bench, whether or not they also share that.”

“Because I believe that the principles that our Founding Fathers cherished, when they founded this country, and wrote the Declaration of Independence which inspired the Constitution, they were based upon biblical principles. I want to get back to those principles as president, if I run and get elected — not rewrite those documents,” he added.

I do think that Cain needs to be challenged now rather than later to clarify his views and to increase his knowledge. He has a year to do it before the election. Right now he is leading Romney in the national polls, and that’s good, because Mitt Romney’s record has been pro-abortion since 1994 and Mitt Romney refused to sign a pro-life pledge. So, if we have to pick a nominee in 2012, we have to pick Herman Cain over Mitt Romney. But Cain needs to improve his thinking and speaking on pro-life issues to prevent gaffes from occurring that make people think that he isn’t pro-life. His previous words were pro-life, his allies are pro-life, and more importantly, his previous record has been pro-life – right up to use a million dollars to support pro-life causes.

The top article on National Review is about Herman Cain

Here’s the story on National Review. Everyone is going ga-ga for Herman Cain!

The first few lines:

‘How many of you think Herman Cain won the debate?”

Twenty hands shot up.

“Well, we can stop right there,” said Frank Luntz, a fast-talking political consultant, as he paced before a Fox News focus group on May 5. “This is unprecedented.”

Luntz pointed to the top row, looking for answers. One by one, South Carolina Republicans in trucker caps and business suits raved about Cain. After watching the 65-year-old spar with fellow GOP presidential contenders, many were itching to join his ranks.

“He’s a breath of fresh air,” explained one gentleman. “He is the godfather of business sense, and he can attack Obama well,” declared a middle-aged lady. Others nodded vigorously.

Luntz was stunned. “[Cain] was not a real candidate before tonight,” he exclaimed. “What happened?”

[…]Cain, a former corporate executive and talk-radio host, did more than that; he won over a slew of Republicans pining for a 2012 candidate. Though he was standing among better-known Republicans such as Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul, Cain’s rich baritone, business smarts, and sharp one-liners connected.

It’s easy to see why: He was frank and refreshing. But more notably, on a stage full of state and congressional leaders, Cain used his outsider status to his advantage. “Most of the people who are in elective office in Washington, D.C., they have held public office before,” he noted during one exchange. Then, with expert comedic timing, he quipped: “How’s that workin’ for you?”

[…]Since the debate, Cain has seen his fortunes rise. The latest Zogby poll shows him trailing only New Jersey governor Chris Christie in popularity among GOP-primary voters. In Washington State over the weekend, Cain won a Republican straw poll.

Online, the buzz is palpable. He was a trending topic on Twitter during the debate; on Facebook, he has 84,000 friends, a number that’s growing every day. Conservatives may not know much about him, but they like what they are hearing. As Rush Limbaugh remarked on his radio show after the debate, “Herman Cain made me think I was listening to me in every answer.”

And my favorite part:

Cain’s thirst for self-improvement was evident at the start. He grew up in Atlanta, the son of working-class parents — his father a chauffeur, his mother a domestic worker. They had always dreamed of owning their own home, not living in a “half-home,” an attached unit. They achieved that goal. They wanted their two sons to graduate from college. Both did.

Cain saw his parents’ hard work as a simple, inspirational example: Work hard, trust in God, have no fear, and you can achieve the American dream. To him, it is more than a political idea; it is central to who he is as a citizen, and as a potential presidential candidate. Once he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Morehouse College in 1967, Cain was determined to map his own path to success.

The early motivator, and Cain says it unabashedly, was wealth. Working as a systems analyst for the United States Navy in Dahlgren, Va., Cain made $7,729 a year. At age 23, he made a personal goal to one day earn $20,000. As he settled into his position, he noticed that advancement — and an increased salary — would require a graduate degree. So he searched for the top computer-science program he could find, predicting that future jobs would require such skills.

Cain selected Purdue University in Indiana. He was not exactly eager to return to the classroom, but he knew that he needed to learn more and improve his résumé. After surviving a string of difficult courses and exams and earning his master’s degree in 1971, he returned to the Navy full-time and was granted a GS-13 position. His new salary: $20,001.

The rest of the article explains how he rose through the ranks at Pillsbury, Burger King, and Godfather Pizza. My goodness, this man is just an ordinary man who came from nowhere to achieve everything. He is everything that Republicans represent. His life reflects the American Dream. Please, let this man save us from the RINOs: Romney, Huckabee and Gingrich.

Notice the part where the article mentions that Cain is a Baptist preacher. He is not afraid to talk about his faith in public.

Here’s a 1-minute introduction to Herman Cain:

Also, here’s a 30-minute CPAC speech by Herman Cain. Here is video of the South Carolina debate, and the focus group response. My friend Robb posted the video of Cain beating up Bill Clinton, which is referenced in the article.

Video of the first Republican presidential debate in South Carolina

Herman Cain
Herman Cain

The first GOP presidential debate for 2012 was held in South Carolina the evening of May 5, 2011. Participants were Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, businessman Herman Cain, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.

And here’s who the focus group picked as the winner – almost unanimously: (H/T The Other McCain)

Herman Cain!

You can watch the full debate below. The debate was moderated by some of my favorite Fox News people: Juan Williams, Bret Bair, Chris Wallace and Shannon Bream. This is the most even-handed questioning I have ever seen in a public debate, especially Chris Wallace.

Part 1 of 4:

Part 2 of 4:

Part 3 of 4:

Part 4 of 4:

Here’s the latest poll by PPP, a Democrat polling firm, from 5/5 to 5/8:

Romney Huckabee Trump Palin Gingrich Paul Bachmann Pawlenty
18 19 8 12 13 8 7 5

Herman Cain, Mitch Daniels and Rick Santorum had no score.

My candidate is Michele Bachmann. I don’t like any of the others in that poll. I absolutely cannot stand Romney, Huckabee, Trump, Gingrich, and Paul. I don’t think Palin should run. Pawlenty is highly qualified, but not conservative enough for me.

A 30-minute Herman Cain speech is here.