At last the Iowa Caucus is upon us and the New Hampshire primary is just around the corner. Welcome to our guide to the 2012 presidential contenders. We don't endorse candidates, but we do analyze and evaluate. Here goes:
Governor Buddy Roemer(R) - Of all the candidates running for president, only former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer has political reform at the top of his agenda. Roemer, after he left Louisiana politics, became a community banker. He makes a powerful case that a corrupt system of career politicians and Wall Street bankers led directly to the financial crisis. The underlying causes of that crisis will remain with us until the system is reformed, argues Roemer. "Follow the money," he says again and again. Roemer is the only candidate running for presidentwho supports a clean elections system, congressional term limits and an end to gerrymandering. Unfortunately his campaign has failed to gain traction and he has been systematically excluded from the Republican presidential debates. Roemer has refused to take more than $100 per voter in campaign contributions, which in hindsight, is a kind of unilateral disarmament that has hindered his campaign. Roemer is still trying to get into the GOP debates, including the ABC debate coming up next Saturday. He has as much right to be heard as anyone.
Governor John Huntsman (R) - The former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China opens every stump speech with two themes. First, he says that his priority as president would be to address the nation's burgeoning debt. In a second theme, Huntsman calls for measures that would restore public trust in government, and he leads with congressional term limits. No presidential candidate has ever emphasized term limits as much as Huntsman. On clean elections, Huntsman seems open minded. When asked at a recent event how citizens could ever trust their government as long as lawmakers were allowed to take money from the same interests they regulate, Huntsman paused. "Well," he said, "that's a real problem." He said he'd like to talk with us about clean election solutions. We are waiting and would love to chat. Governor Huntsman?
The BadGovernor Mitt Romney (R) - Former Massachusetts Governor Romney, true to his reputation, flip-flops like a like a bass landed on the bottom of a boat. Here he is speaking to the issue of campaign reform in 1994. And here is the "evolution" of his view today. Maybe Romney, unlike Roemer, does not want to unilaterally disarm. Maybe, but who knows? If Romney strongly favored political reform he'd feature it in stump speeches, but he doesn't. And he is taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Wall Street. Can Romney be trusted to end "too big to fail?" Here's a New Hampshire voter getting Romney to say he's for term limits. Does Romney have an inner reformer inside? How's a voter to know?
Congressman Ron Paul (R) - Paul consistently favors congressional term limits, but when it comes to campaign finance, he interprets the Constitution differently than the founders would have. Paul declares: "Many have pointed out that the First Amendment unquestionably grants individuals and businesses the free and unfettered right to advertise, lobby, and contribute to politicians as they choose." Paul is wrong on this. The right to bribe and extort is nowhere in the Constitution. The Founding Fathers, who were highly concerned that special interests would one day corrupt the republic they created, would be horrified by our current system. Paul also unapologetically takes congressional earmarks.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R)– An opponent of congressional term limits, Bachmann has shown no interest in clean elections. She takes money from agribusiness and just isn't sure whether or not she favors ethanol subsidies.
Senator Rick Santorum (R) - The former Pennsylvania senator's stance on congressional term limits is not clear. A Google search reveals nothing, so at least we know that citizen government is not a Santorum priority. His previous support of the K Street Project, as noted here, and his pride in taking earmarks, make Santorum a borderline bad/filthy candidate.
Governor Rick Perry (R) - Firmly against all clean elections proposals and congressional term limits, Perry is trying to portray himself as a reformer with a bait-and-switch proposal that would do nothing to change the system. The former Texas governor proposes to make Congress a part-time job and encourages members to live at home half of the year. Note to Governor Perry: we already have a part-time Congress. Thirty to seventy percent of the average congressionalrepresentative’s time is spent fundraising, not governing or addressing the nation's increasingly severe problems. Asking Congress to spend less time on Capitol Hill is, at best, useless. More free time probably means more fundraising for career politicians. As governor of Texas, Perry oversaw the state's Emerging Technologies Fund, which tended to support private sector enterprises run by Perry contributors. And don't forget Perry's attempt to inject every school age girl in Texas with a vaccine against sexually transmitted diseases, a vaccine produced by Perry's friends at the pharmaceutical giant, Merck. Perry likes to publicly tout his Christianity. Really, GovernorPerry, is this what Jesus would do?
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R)
Gingrich betrayed the term limits movement in the 1990s by rigging term limits to fail in the US House. He helped lead the K Street Project, a Republican effort to shake down American corporations and trade groups for campaign cash. He supported housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with their private profit / public risk business model, then went on to serve as a "historian" to Freddie Mac, which paid Gingrich over $1 million. That's some history lesson, right there.
President Barack Obama (D)
OK, progressives. It's time to face the truth. Barack Obama, who campaigned to be one of the cleanest presidents in history, is presiding over the most corrupt administration in recent memory. Over 75 percent of all Energy Department loans funded through the Democrat stimulus bill - over $15 billion - went to Obama campaign contributors. The Government Accounting Office has no idea how loan recipients were selected because there were no objective criteria for selecting and no transparency in the process. This looks like the worstcase of crony capitalism in US history. But that's not all. "Too big to fail" remains with us while former Wall Street bankers - among the President's most generous campaign contributors - haunt the halls and revolving doors at the White House. But wait, folks -as the announcer would say in a sleazy infomercial, there's still more! A corrupt deal was cut with Big Pharma in support of the president's healthcare law. In terms of clean government, this administration is as bad as it gets. Only when progressive reformers acknowledge this fact will they gain credibility with conservatives and others.
I find it a lot more useful to look at the likely final configuration of House, Senate, and Presidency, look at the combined leadership that will result, then make my decision on how to vote. The two most likely government states that we will see in January 2013 is:
A) Obama (D), Boehner®, McConnell®
B) Romney®, Boehner®, McConnell®
Of the two, I find choice (A) to be far more preferable. There is less opportunity for mischief, more oversight, and more checks on corruption.
Note that all of the most egregious offences you list against Obama occurred when we had Democratic One Party Rule in the first two years of the Obama Administration [Obama (D), Pelosi (D), Reid (D)]. This is the exact reason I supported McCain in 2008 to avoid One Party Democratic Rule.
Unless the dynamic for control of the House and Senate changes, I’ll be supporting Obama’s re-election to avoid One Party Republican Rule.
Do you have something better to say about this? Does Jon Huntsman have a plan for some sort of oversight on lobbying in DC? It’s incredible to me to think that this is why you would put the most honest man on your list in “The Bad” category. And men who voted for TARP in “The Good”.
You know, the people are not stupid sir. Americans are overwhelmingly looking past the establishments propaganda machine that it seems you are a part of.
I want to reiterate my suggestion that you fix your mess of a list here. It is grossly misleading, and if you’re paying attention to the people these days, the common man…. You will see that we are really educating ourselves and doing something about things like this..
This actually makes me sick. Please fix it. You know you’re dead wrong…