Monday, February 11, 2008


It seems that many have come to the conclusion that John McCain has the GOP Nomination in his pocket.  However, despite continued strong showings in some primaries by Mike Huckabee, he hasn't  been getting delegates in the winner take all primaries.  If the GOP rules were the same as the Democrat rules, it would be a whole different story.  Now, since Mitt Romney hasn't given him the delegates he won, he would have to do miraculously well in the remaining primaries.  Since there is a mathematical possibility of Huckabee winning and he hasn't conceded, I am offering these comparisons.  There is a large contingent of conservatives still very wary of John McCain, and people who have principles usually are slow to compromise. These comparisons may be helpful in terms of urging platform planks and evaluating those running for Senate and House seats as well.   We will do the same comparison  between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama before the Texas and Ohio primaries.  Both sets of candidates really are quite different in many ways, so here goes...

No one is against allowing hard-working people from around the world to come to America in an orderly way. Many have a problem with one nation actively trying to avoid their own responsibilities by helping people around their borders into the United States and then insisting they get the same benefits as natural born citizens. McCain sponsored a bill essentially granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. He is seen as soft on the border fence and prosecution. Huckabee wants the fence and opposed the amnesty bill.  His views on illegal immigration seem to have changed for the better, given his religiously driven support for the children of illegals in Arkansas.  If people are changing positions, encourage it if they are changing in the right direction. 

Many want a stimulus package that gives some cash to most Americans. The House bill was passed. The Senate wanted to greatly increase the package as well as include some large political favors in the process. McCain wrote in support of the pork-laden bill that the Senate came up with, but did not vote on it.  Huckabee wants the $150 billion invested in widening I-95 on the east coast, giving jobs and a permanent benefit for the money spent.

Most Presidents have expressed their faith – some in general, inspirational terms such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, others more overtly such as Jimmy Carter. On March 4, 1881, James Garfield detailed the dangers of Mormonism in his inaugural address.  Could you imagine such a speech today on Islam, for instance, where the issues are different, but just as real as the issues were in his day? McCain goes to a Southern Baptist Church, but even his friends are alarmed at his vile temper and language.  He has been well noted for his discomfort with religious conservatives and born-again Christians.  The feeling is mutual. Huckabee wears his faith on his sleeve and freely admits that his faith drives his decisions. He makes some people nervous preaching on the campaign trail, but has a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about it.

Pro-life issues are broad – there is the basic issue of abortion, of course. While many misunderstand Roe v. Wade – overturning it would simply return the authority to the states, but an amendment to the constitution would be needed to restrict or eliminate the practice.  An overturn would not ban abortion, it would simply not force states who want to ban it to have to allow it.  Many cite the portion of the 1973 ruling that left the door open for reexamination as science progressed.  Most pro-choice people do NOT want that debate.  It is clear who would win in an objective evaluation. There are also issues of parental notification on abortion (required for taking an aspirin, but not for  life-changing surgery),  so-called partial birth abortion, the RU-486 pill, and of course, embryonic stem cell research which requires the destruction of human embryos. McCain claims to be pro-life, and has generally voted that way.  However, he is against overturning Roe v. Wade and would likely appoint judges also so inclined. In a debate for the 2000 Presidential election with George Bush on the Larry King show, February 15, 2000, he advocated exemptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother, His seeming lack of strong religious conviction likely explains his support for embryonic stem cell research which is anathema to Christians. Republicans for Choice has endorsed him, so I believe they sense what I for real sense – the status quo will remain while McCain is personally opposed to abortion (who isn’t?).  Huckabee is enthusiastically pro-life and all the feeder issues to pro-life and is consistent about it.  He is favorable to an amendment to really solve the issue nationally.

Specifics may vary, but both candidates are strong in terms of veteran’s affairs.

John McCain is opposed by home-schoolers,  Huckabee believes in home-schooling with more testing and regulation than some would like and has support from the National Education Association.  Home-schoolers have found their biggest ally in Ron Paul. Educational alternatives are a key issue with teachers' unions opposing school choice. Both McCain and Huckabee voted against funding requests in 1999 for the National Endowments for the Arts, which frequently has funded anti-Christian and morally challenged “art”.

Specifics may vary, but both candidates are strong in terms of reforming health care without making it a universal government or single-payer system. Mc Cain wants to expand insurance to currently uninsured children and institute refundable tax credits for $2,500. He is an avid advocate of patients’ rights.  Huckabee is very strong on prevention, and wants to preempt health conditions that cost so much to treat later.  He also advocates portable health records that you own, not your doctor. He also favors reduced costs for those who avoid tobacco, alcohol, and obesity.

McCain seems fluid here – he voted against the Bush tax cuts, but now says he would extend them. Huckabee supports a consumption tax he calls “The Fair Tax”.  Those who have saved and seniors do not see it as fair at all, as they will have some double taxation.  Radical proposals such as this hardly ever get through Congress.

Both are married, McCain to Cindy with an adopted daughter from Mother Theresa’s orphanage; Huckabee to Janet who had spinal cancer and needed his strong support. McCain is opposed to the federal marriage amendment, meant to blunt the radical homosexual agenda. Huckabee is for it.  When Romney was in, he was strangely the choice of conservative homosexuals.

McCain fought Bush and Rumsfeld over Iraq policy, but did support the surge.  He seems solid there. Huckabee angered many including Condi Rice for his “bunker mentality” statements.  He is less knowledgeable on foreign affairs, but is seen as one who would not make radical changes in the war effort. McCain is almost universally considered to be the more experienced in terms of foreign policy. Huckabee as a governor, like Romney, would naturally not have the same experience as a Senator in that arena. Governors have had mixed success as President, just as Senators have. Reagan had been governor of California, and was extraordinarily successful against the former Soviet block. Carter had been governor of Georgia, and was disastrous in Iran but the hero in Camp David. McCain believes AIDS money sent to Africa will be lost to corruption. He wants reforms in the UN as a condition of future funding. Both McCain and Huckabee have been stalwart supporters of Israel.  There was a recent flap in The Jewish Press concerning McCain and the current situation, which seems to have been rectified.  He is considered less  “striped pants” than the current State Department, which tends, like Bush, to walk the fence. Huckabee, unlike McCain, is opposed to the Law of the Sea Treaty which would give other nations much control over our traditional sea rights and is seen as a dangerous concession to globalism by many.

McCain voted against oil drilling in ANWR.  He also has bought wholesale the current man-made global warming hypothesis which is undergoing increasing skepticism by scientists. Huckabee is for expanding nuclear power and voluntary partnerships to reduce greenhouse gases. He says he doesn’t know whether the global warming scare  is overblown, but thinks it makes sense to proceed as though it were real.  He believes in energy independence, and the Alaska media note his support for drilling in ANWR has been much more longstanding that ex-candidate Romney’s has been.

McCain is pilloried by Louisiana’s sugar producers and flip-flopped on Ethanol in Iowa, which he lost,  while Huckabee is considered a friend to farmers, very knowledgeable on the intricacies of subsidies.

McCain voted against more funds for FEMA.  He lost Louisiana. Huckabee wants to reform it. No one believes FEMA is OK the way it is.

Both candidates support the Second Amendment rights but they are perceived VERY differently by people in the debate. McCain supports locking laws – requiring firearms to be locked away.  Since firearms are used 7,000 times a day in self-defense (dozens of times more than in killing), forcing them to be locked up would result in many more deaths. Maryland Governor Parris Glendening struggled for almost five full minutes to remove a trigger lock at a press conference last year. In an emergency, he would have been dead. Huckabee is the first in his office to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. His unabashed support for guns is different from many. While a hunter, he does not use that  argument. He argues that an armed populace is necessary to maintain freedom, and that it was given as a right so the citizenry could protect itself from a government gone bad.

Many Americans have become used to judges legislating from the bench, but it is not in accordance with our constitution. Recent court appointments have been for “strict constructionists” who are content to interpret the laws, not write them. McCain has expressed admiration for Justice Roberts and some reservations about Alito. What is disquieting is that neither justice would be supportive of the anti-free speech remises in McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform. Would McCain as President appoint judges who would declare his marquis legislation unconstitutional?  I doubt it. Huckabee is pledged to appoint more strict constructionist judges.  His selection of judges in Arkansas was generally considered much better than Romney’s.  There have been allegations that he pressured judges to rule in favor of business over injured plaintiffs.  This would be repugnant for any legitimately injured person. However, many of these types of cases are egregious and involve corruption, so some case-by-case research would be needed. Huckabee has engendered some severe criticism for some ill-conceived pardons.

And the beat goes on...   Where is a strong candidate with the freshness of Barack Obama without the stale political positions??



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