Mrs. Fuller and I went to the Republican primary caucus here in our neighborhood over the weekend. I’ve never been to a Democrat caucus, but I would imagine they are quite different. For one thing the Repub. voter base, unlike the Democrats’ base, doesn’t include large numbers of dead voters. There was no need to conduct a seance to count the votes.
Another thing I found interesting is that everyone had to stand up and recite the Pledge of Allegiance to start the proceedings. From what I know about Democrats here in the Seattle area, I’d be surprised if you could get a room full of Democrats to pledge their allegiance to that striped symbol of racist oppression, as they regard it.
Dems in this area are not fond of the Red, White and Blue; as travel agent and TV star Rick Steves (founder of Europe through the Back Door) proved a few years ago when he tore down American flags flown by neighboring businesses. I was reminded of Steves’ activism a few days ago when I got an e-mail from him soliciting donations for the Democrats’ leading candidate for State Governor, current US Representative Jay Inslee.
Needless to say, I was not persuaded by Mr. Steves’ blandishments. I kept my wallet in my pocket. Anyone who finds Old Glory offensive has very little in common with me.
Getting back to the caucus, people were given opportunity to state their arguments for each of the candidates left in the field. The Ron Paul supporters make a case that sounds very compelling to conservative voters, until someone brings up the subject of national security. Liberals called him a radical when he said he’d like to cut government spending by a billion dollars per annum, but a billion dollar cut would simply roll back four years of increases, leaving government spending back where it was in 2008. (As shown by this spreadsheet of revenues and spending.)
It’s Paul’s ideas on the defense that sound radical to conservatives. He has said repeatedly that we Americans brought the 9/11 attacks on ourselves by being mean to the poor Islamic Arabs. He also proposes to eliminate most of the military power that has been keeping us safe in a dangerous world.
Newt Gingrich is certainly the most powerful speaker in the race. When he wants to, he can explain and promote conservative principles better than just about anyone in politics today. The problem is that he can sell liberal ideas just as well, when he wants to. He often expresses admiration for President Franklin Roosevelt in terms that you’d expect to hear from some gray-ponytailed college professor.
Rick Santorum is a committed pro-life Catholic, whose voting record on fiscal issues is pretty moderate. He supports amnesty for illegal aliens, which is hardly a conservative position (although President Reagan himself had a soft spot in his heart for illegals). Santorum does sound convincing when he says that he’d like to dismantle Obamacare.
Mitt Romney is the candidate who is not really a rock-ribbed conservative on any issue, other than illegal immigration, but whose positions are at least palatable to conservatives on almost every issue. His Massachusetts health care mandate was not something any conservative could love, but other than that he’s been moderate-to-conservative on just about everything.
One thing is certain. Any of these guys would make a better President than the guy who’s in the Oval Office today.