Tag Archive | "GOP candidates"

Santorum’s anti-gay remarks are bad strategy

The campaign trail gets heated as the final four presidential candidates — Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul — compete to win over America’s heart.

But some candidates have chosen an unconventional method to woo voters — blunt honesty. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum has recently been very vocal on his views on gay marriage, or rather, his views against gay marriage.

In a video by NBC, Santorum was quoted saying “Are we saying everyone should have the right to marry? So anyone can marry anyone else? So anyone can marry several people?”

So to Santorum, gay marriage equals polygamy. With his argument, he is saying if we legalize gay marriage, we must also legalize polygamy.

Being opposed to gay marriage will rub some Americans the wrong way, but comparing gay marriage to polygamy will rub a lot more people the wrong way.

In the beginning of February, Santorum tweeted that “millions of Californians had their rights stripped away by activist 9th Circuit judges” in reference to the court’s ruling on gay marriage.

Gay marriage is one of those hot topics like abortion that having an opinion on is great.

But if you are running for a position like President of the United States, being not only open about your views, but an active critic of your opposition towards gay marriage will come with its consequences. He may win over some die-hard Republicans, but he may lose more votes than he gains for his narrow-minded stubbornness.

Santorum’s biggest shock statement has been to the San Francisco Chronicle. Santorum said if elected he’ll try to unmarry the more than 100,000 wed gay couples in the U.S.

The Chronicle states that there are “18,000 married gay and lesbian couples in California and at least 131,000 nationwide according to the 2010 census, conducted before New York state legalized same-sex marriage in July.”

During an interview with NBC News on Dec. 30, Santorum said that when the Constitution is amended to prohibit same-sex marriages, “their marriage would be invalid. We can’t have 50 different marriage laws in this country.”

Santorum said, “You have to have one marriage law.”

These are statements you make once you have the position of President!

These are very opinionated and volatile statements.

The campaign strategy most popularly used in presidency is to go neutral to please both sides in order to get elected and then attempt to make your big controversial decisions with the aide of Congress — not be an anti-gay marriage vigilante during the campaign.

To support his views against gay marriage, Santorum had a radio interview in 2008 in which he said gay marriage is like marrying your brother or your niece and that sexual and physical abuse to children is higher in gay households (a statistic that American Psychological Association calls a myth.)

So will Santorum’s existential belief that gay marriage is not only against the bible, but also the Constitution win him votes for being a strict conservative? Or will it loose him the nomination because of his “stuck-in-the-mud” ways?

Kasja Flathau
Contributing Writer 

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We should applaud Huntsman’s call for unity

I would like to express my gratitude to Jon Huntsman. Former Gov. Huntsman recently dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential candidacy. This is not why I am thanking him.

I am thanking him because of the way that he dropped out and the reasons behind his decision.

Mr. Huntsman’s speech that announced the end of his campaign was the first time that I paid any attention to him.

The race for the 2012 Republican nomination has been just short of a three ring circus. I tend to lean pretty far to the left, but I do like to be educated on what is happening on the right as well.

That being said, the majority of the candidates have seemed so completely out of touch with the average American that I had largely stopped reading or watching anything to do with the race.

This group of politicians has acted like caricatures of themselves. You’ve got Newt Gingrich saying that poor children should work as janitors.

There was Michele Bachmann who doesn’t seem to know that Libya is in Africa (“Now with the president, he put us in Libya. He is now putting us in Africa. We already were stretched too thin, and he put our special operations forces in Africa”). And who could forget Herman Cain and “Uzbecki-becki-stan-stan”?

Who are these people? Who do they think their voters are? They get up at debates, and they make ridiculous claims about what they’ll do for this country.

They come off like soulless automatons half the time.

So, imagine my surprise when Jon Huntsman stood up and acknowledged how absurdly his party is behaving.

Huntsman said: “This race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks not worthy of the American people and not worthy of this critical time in our nation’s history.”

Huntsman went on to say:  “At its core, the Republican Party is a party of ideas, but the current toxic form of our political discourse does not help our cause.

“I call on each campaign to cease attacking each other and instead talk directly to the American people about how our conservative ideas will create jobs, reduce our nation’s debt, stabilize energy prices and provide a brighter future for our children and our grandchildren”.

Thank you, Jon Huntsman.

Thank you for admitting that these campaigns have been stupid and unworthy of our great country.

Thank you for understanding that Americans want to be talked to and not talked at.

We want to be heard by our leaders.

We don’t want to listen to a bunch of former governors and senators arguing about who would make a better president.

We want you to tell us why you would be good for this country, not why the other guy would be bad.

Huntsman ended his speech with a plea for party unity and an endorsement of Mitt Romney.

As sad as it is that he had to ask for the unification of his party, I applaud Mr. Huntsman for asking.

It’s not easy to point out the flaws in your own system.

Now we just have to hope that the Republicans heed Huntsman’s words and turn this circus into an election race worthy of the American people.

 Haley Chouinard
Contributing Writer 

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Ron Paul offers much to like and dislike

Ron Paul, who had a strong third and second place showing recently in Iowa and New Hampshire respectively, is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to presidential candidates.

He’s running as a Republican but counts among his supporters people from all sides of the ideological spectrum, from anti-regulation libertarians to Occupy Wall Street protestors, from leftist 9/11 Truthers to right-wing white supremacists.

While it may be a moot point considering Mitt Romney will almost certainly be the eventual Republican nominee, I would like to examine who exactly is Ron Paul and where he stands on the issues.

The former obstetrician-gynecologist has served as a Republican congressman for Texas’ 14th district since 1997, and over the years has solidified a reputation as a bit of a renegade who marches to the beat of his own drum.

Part of the reason Paul garners such a wide cross-section of support is because his positions on the issues offer a little for everyone to like — and perhaps dislike.

For example, he appeals to some liberals and progressives (especially the younger ones) because when it comes to the drug war, civil liberties, executive power and some aspects of foreign policy, you could perhaps say that Ron Paul is more progressive than President Obama.

He advocates ending the so-called War on Drugs and supports drug legalization, saying that prohibition doesn’t work and drug addiction should be treated as a medical problem. 

He has taken a strong stance advocating an end to War on Terror and preemptive wars and has condemned the practices of drone attacks and targeted assassinations on American citizens involved with terrorism, all of which Obama supports.

He is the only Republican candidate to come out against the far-overreaching Stop Online Piracy Act and the highly controversial National Defense Authorization Act, which some critics think has provisions that could potentially allow for the indefinite detainment of American citizens.

While these positions have gotten Paul in trouble with the Republican base, he also has positions that appeal to social conservatives: He doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state, thinks there is war on Christmas, rejects the theory of evolutionis against gay marriage (though thinks it should be left to for the states to decide) and denies that global warming exists.

When it comes to abortion, Paul considers himself to be strongly pro-life, as he supports a repeal of Roe v. Wade and has introduced the Sanctity of Life Act several times into the House that would have defined human life and legal personhood as starting at conception.

But Paul has also said that the Ninth and Tenth Amendments would not allow the federal government to ban states from performing abortions and feels that abortion is not a constitutional issue. However, in a rare moment of inconsistency, he has voted twice for a federal ban on partial birth abortions.

Paul appeals to those who think government is too big. He thinks that both Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, but stops short of saying he would abolish the programs.

He’s not keen on many federal departments and agencies and wants to eliminate the departments of Energy, Commerce, Interior, Education, and Housing and Urban Development, as well as FEMA.

He’s no fan of many international organizations and global alliances and wants the U.S. to not only pull out of the United Nations but also NATO and the World Health Organization.

Paul even once said the United Nations was a threat to the U.S. that would confiscate firearms, end the Second Amendment, take away private property rights and curtail the right of free religious practice.

He is also against all foreign aid to other countries including Israel.

Paul largely appeals to libertarians, which is the philosophy that seems to inform much of his worldview.

He is a disciple of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, pioneers of the so-called Austrian school of economics (far too complicated to discuss here, but imagine a fanatical reactionary response to Marxism and you’ll start to get the idea) as well as Ayn Rand, who ranks up there with L. Ron Hubbard as one of the worst novelists of the 20th century and believed in pure objective reality.

He comes from the dogmatic school of thought that believes unfettered free market capitalism will solve everything and almost all government regulation will only encroach on people’s freedoms.

It is this libertarian spark that starts to put Paul’s positions into perspective.

Paul essentially believes in the privatization of everything and thinks individual liberty can only be achieved when government has a hands-off approach to nearly every aspect of society, especially business.

In his 1987 book “Freedom Under Siege,” Paul wrote that in a “free society an individual can own and control property and run his or her business as he or she chooses” and that “free people have the right to discriminate.”

Paul has said numerous times that he would have voted against the seminal 1964 Civil Rights Act, which he feels was an affront to liberty and private property.

He rejects the notion that we need regulation to protect people from unfair corporate practices, such as monopolies, racial or sexual discrimination, overworking hours, child labor, etc. He even once said that it was actually capitalism that ended child labor.

And this is where Paul totally goes off the rails for me.

He claims to be against corporatism, but I would submit his economic policies would lead to disastrous results and inch us that much closer to corporate tyranny.

There is no question that sometimes government regulations can be overreaching, ineffective and corrupt just like any other human system, but I think the idea that industries can be entirely self-regulating if we just left them to their own devices is utterly absurd.

First of all, this ignores the fact that much of the bills passed by Congress regulating industries are actually already written by the very industries and their lobbyists that are to be regulated, either weakening the regulation or preventing regulation altogether.

But if the financial crisis of 2008 taught us anything, it’s that private industries cannot be trusted to self-regulate.

Remember the credit ratings agencies, such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s? These were private regulatory agencies that were to set standards for rating investments as either safe or dangerous.

But instead, the credit ratings agencies knowingly rated toxic investments as safe because they were in cahoots with the financial service industry and turned a massive profit from the ratings — one of the key factors in the financial collapse.

And, no, capitalism did not end child labor. Child labor was ended in the U.S. with unions and federal regulations after many hard-fought years of workers’ struggle through political activism.

In fact, many American corporations still engage in child labor in other countries, such as Apple. I know we can’t live without our iPhones and iPads, but we all need to understand they were built in part by child labor and sweat shops in China.

And why China? Because China doesn’t have regulations that outlaw such practices like we do in America.

I feel the failure to understand this simple truth of the relationship between capitalism and regulation is to be totally out of touch with reality. We should be calling for better more effective regulations, not wanting all regulations to be abolished.

Of course, if you don’t agree with this notion, then perhaps Paul is your candidate. Ultimately, whether you want to support Ron Paul depends on which issues are of most importance to you.

But I’m certainly glad he is a candidate, because he offers something new and substantive to the debate and a challenge to the status quo whether you agree or disagree — and if that makes him an anomaly in American politics then I welcome it.

W. Paul Smith
Opinions Editor 

Cartoon courtesy of Andy Marlette/amarlette@pnj.com

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A brief look at GOP candidates for president

The Florida Presidential Primary vote will be on Tuesday, January 31. In the past, Florida has been a crucial vote in elections.

In 2000, Florida was the deciding vote, giving Bush five electoral votes over Gore, thus winning him the presidency.

With such importance placed on the Florida vote, knowledge of the candidates is necessary. Romney may be far ahead in the polls, but he doesn’t have the nomination sewn up just yet.

So, let’s take a brief look at who’s running.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney has it all — a vast personal fortune, a successful private career, a perfect family life, a sharp mind, a charismatic personality, and he is easy on the eyes.

His poll numbers have consistently been good, but he just can’t seem to come out far enough ahead of his opponents.

As 2012.presidential-candidates.org  very nicely put it, “Perhaps a better way to look at the quarter billion dollar man is through his own eyes, that of a financial investor.

“Romney hedges his position across a broad portfolio, which, while preventing the chance of a mega payday, also drastically reduces the chances of a catastrophic loss. In other words, he doesn’t believe in putting all of his eggs in a single basket.

“Instead, the grandfather of fourteen is intent on keeping hypothetical baskets of varying sizes to hypothetically fit as wide a spectrum as possible of the hypothetical egg demographics.”

Will his success in the polls continue and earn him the Republican vote as the candidate to contend with President Obama?

Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, co-mastermind of the Contract with America campaign that saw the Republicans wresting control of the House from Democrats for the first time in 40 years, and leader of the formidable push against the Clinton-led Democrats, is a force to be reckoned with.

While his abrasive style has been questioned, the results that he strived for were attained.

In 2009, Gingrich raised $32 million for his then undecided campaign — more than what all of the Republican candidates have managed to amass.

His strong back bone, out-of-the-box thinking, sharp tongue, and grasp of issues affecting the country are second to none; but will it be enough to outweigh his personal baggage and burnt bridges in order to earn him the Republican vote?

Rick Perry

Current Governor of Texas, Perry’s candidacy is expected to reinvigorate the hitherto subdued Republican evangelical grassroots, and inject some excitement into the contest. His traditional right-wing approach to situations is ideal for the strong Republican.

Former Air Force captain, noted social and fiscal conservative and an image as the exemplary Republican conservative may be exactly what the perturbed heartland Republicans fearing an Obama second term need.

Rick Santorum

Former senator from Pennsylvania and rising star of the Republican Party, Santorum certainly has his work cut out for him — what with his disappointing defeat in his 2006 senate re-election bid and constant problem of his name association to some rather unsavory substance (google it if you must).

As 2012.presidential-candidates.org puts it: “His stance on national security, economy, social issues and his rhetoric against gay agenda mirrors those of the Republican conservative grassroots, and being one the only recognizable practicing Catholic among the front runners for 2012 GOP race presents him with a unique stranglehold on the religious money.

“His excellent relationship with Evangelical Protestants offers yet another channel of support among the Christian conservative base.”

Could this be the candidate that earns the Republican vote and earn him another association to his name — “The Comeback Kid?”

Ron Paul

The 75-year old, eleven-term Texas Congressman will once again center his campaign on the theme of liberty, human rights and financial market reforms.

With his fanatical followers, Paul has come out of nowhere and consistently been neck-in-neck at the top of many of the polls with Mitt Romney.

Previously cast as the “misfit” and “eccentric” of the Republican Party, Paul soldiered on and never wavered from his convictions — and makes no apologies about it.

He believes in small government, non-expansionist foreign policy, gold-backed currency, personal liberty and abolishing federal income taxes.

His beliefs have been the same as far back as we can remember, and knowing Paul, they will continue to be the same for a long while.

Could Paul’s strong convictions and steadfast beliefs be what earn him the Republican vote?

Florida is a closed primary and requires being registered as Republican in order to cast a vote.

 Kasja B. Flathau
Contributing Writer 

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