At last, we come to the finish line. Well, for Democrats it is…for the GOP there’s still a few intangibles I want to get through because no candidate has dominated and I want to make sure I get through everything as I make this decision. That will wrap up the point totals tomorrow.
Today we get to my number one topic, which is the Long War – otherwise known as the War on Terror.
As you may know, my philosophy is one of achieving victory, which I define as when the threat from al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic fundamentalist entities is subdued militarily to a point where they are no longer a significant threat to our security and safety here in America. At that point, I expect the restrictions placed temporarily on our civil liberties (such as the PATRIOT Act) to be lifted. And if we withdraw from Iraq now, we cannot achieve that objective unless the fight is brought over here because at this point the military fronts are Iraq and Afghanistan.
As always, the GOP goes first in what they have to say about our fight.
After my recent trip to Iraq, I am even more convinced that the situation there is precarious, but hopeful. I see hope in the Iraqi people. I believe this hope will be the foundation of a new Iraqi society. Much remains to be done, and I think we need a plan to turn this country over to its citizens. I will continue to work with the leaders in our country, as well as leaders in Iraq, to find a solution that protects the future of Iraq, and the pride and dignity of its citizens.
Rudy Giuliani believes winning the war on terror is the great responsibility of our generation. America cannot afford to go back to the days of playing defense, with inconsistent responses to terrorist attacks, because weakness only encourages aggression. Americans want peace. We’re at war not because we want to be, but because the terrorists declared war on us – well before the attacks of September 11th. Rudy understands that freedom is going to win this war of ideas. America will win the war on terror.
To watch Rudy’s commitment to staying on offense against terror, please click here.
Like all Americans, Rudy Giuliani prays for the success of our troops in Iraq and their safe return home. But he believes setting an artificial timetable for withdrawal from Iraq now would be a terrible mistake, because it would only embolden our enemies. Iraq is only one front in the larger war on terror, and failure there would lead to a broader and bloodier regional conflict in the near future. Building an accountable Iraq will assist in reducing the threat of terrorism.
To watch Rudy’s comments on the War in Iraq, please click here.
Duncan Hunter makes his arguments here.
Obviously John McCain, as a Vietnam veteran and POW, has strong feelings about this war.
Ron Paul explains his views here. I also got an e-mail recently where he notes in part:
As I told the crowd, with our non-interventionist foreign policy, there would be 3,600 young Americans still alive, and 25,000 more not badly wounded. It got the biggest response of the evening.
Then a 14-year-old girl told me she was helping the campaign so her daddy, a soldier, would not have to go to Iraq. I told her there are many thousands of us working to that exact end, to keep him and all the others safe. What an outrage that we are accused of not supporting the troops. What a scam when the warmongers claim to be pro-soldier.
Lots of military people turned out to be aware that our campaign got more donations from soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines than any other. Funny, that made a big impression in Congress too. Many of my colleagues were amazed and encouraged that you can be against this unconstitutional and disastrous war, and get military support.
I like Mitt Romney‘s website link, it’s called defeating the jihadists.
Tom Tancredo points out his views here and also says:
America’s noble sacrifice has purchased Iraqis a precious opportunity for democratic change; it is now up to them to ensure success. Setting the President’s November benchmark for shifting control as an actual timetable for disengagement will let regional powers and Iraqi factions cooperate to forge a new balance of power.
Homeland security plans which do not include enforcing our immigration laws and securing our borders are entirely inadequate. A CIS study of 94 terrorists prosecuted for their crimes in the U.S., found that nearly two thirds had committed immigration fraud. It is difficult then to justify the rigor, expense, and inconvenience of new safety measures at our airports and harbors, while leaving the door open for terrorists to slip across our southern border undetected.
Similarly, Tommy Thompson has a link and a statement:
Governor Thompson believes the nation must recommit itself to rebuilding the American military because our armed forces must have the capacity to dominate any war or any conflict we must enter – all while having the capability to fight a multi-front war. Our military is simply stretched too thin to protect American interests overseas and at home in these dangerous times. At the same time, our foreign policy cannot be based solely on military might. We must reach out to the rest of the world, and a good place to start is with medical diplomacy. Governor Thompson’s initiative would take America’s great doctors and health professionals, along with our medicines and technology, to some of the most distraught places in the world, helping to comfort and nurse the poor to better health. By doing so, we can begin to heal some of the wounds with our global neighbors.
All right, now it’s time to look at the cut and run brigade, also know as the Democrat Party. I’ll let the reader go ahead and explore the particulars on their own; in this case I’m just going to tell you by what date the Democrats want troops out.
Joe Biden: except for a “residual force”, the end of 2007.
Hillary Clinton: “before the next president takes the oath of office.”
Chris Dodd: March 31, 2008.
John Edwards: “complete withdrawal…in 12 to 18 months.”
Mike Gravel: “home within 60 days.”
Dennis Kucinich would immediately cut off funding for the troops for an “orderly withdrawal.”
Barack Obama: March 31, 2008.
Bill Richardson: “withdraw ALL troops in six months.”
It’s almost like a perverse “name that tune” for the moonbats:
“I, candidate A, can withdraw the troops in 12 months.”
“But I, candidate B, can withdraw the troops in 60 days.”
It goes without saying that every Democrat would lose the points (this part is worth 27 points, the highest number.) I guess just for comparison’s sake to the GOP I’ll put up their final scores at the end of the post.
But more importantly for me and my vote, I have to rate the GOP contenders.
Sam Brownback does his best to neither offend the people on my side by fully embracing diplomacy or offend the “cut and run” types by advocating military victory. What he says does absolutely nothing for me, so I’m not giving him any points.
On the other hand, Rudy Giuliani is exactly right, and I think he understands the best among the GOP contenders because he’s dealt with terrorism on our shores firsthand. He will get all 27 points because “America will win the War on Terror.”
Mike Huckabee has some very good points and also wants victory; however, there’s one statement that bothers me to an extent. He notes, “President Bush declared that all other countries were either for us or they were for the terrorists. Such a black-and-white stance doesn’t work in the Arab and Muslim worlds, where there are more shades of gray than you’ll find at Sherwin-Williams.” Personally I thought President Bush was correct.
Overall, he has a good stance on the Long War though so I’ll give him 23 points, because of just that slight difference of opinion.
Duncan Hunter has an excellent understanding about what’s at stake and if you watch the video (about nine minutes long) you’ll notice that he thinks beyond the obvious enemies and considers other sources of possible aggression from without. He also notes that the Iraqi Army is gaining strength and would seek to use them as well. I would be very confident with him as Commander-in-Chief, so he gets 27 points.
There is only one thing I don’t care for about John McCain’s approach, where he notes, “The answer is for the international community to apply real pressure to Syria and Iran to change their behavior.” To me that implies the United Nations and they’re far from backing our efforts. McCain is correct in stating that we need to win the homefront. But would he be able to seize the bully pulpit in a Reaganesqe style? I’m giving McCain 23 points for that slight flaw, much like Huckabee.
I have a problem with Ron Paul. I understand his principle about “entangling ourselves in the affairs of other nations.” However, if we wish to spread freedom around the world as I feel we should, and protect our vital national interests, we need a global presence. While I realize life is not a game of Risk, if you play that board game in an entirely defensive mode you’re bound to lose.
The other thing that I have to mention is that, yes, we’ve lost 3,600 soldiers who volunteered to fight and die for our country. What would the toll be on our shores had we done nothing and stood by awaiting another attack?
Because he has held to his beliefs throughout (even if they’re incorrect) I’m not deducting all 27 points, but he’s going to take a 20 point penalty.
Mitt Romney just doesn’t seem to go as far as the others in seeking victory. He understands that we face a “sinister and broad-based extremist faction” with a “very 8th century view of the world” but I think he looks more to diplomacy and isn’t as sold on a military solution, despite wanting to increase military spending. His solutions just don’t come across to me as well as some of the others, so I’ll give him 18 points.
Oh, Tom Tancredo, you came so close to the finish line with victory in hand. But like a steeplechase rider whose horse falls “at the last”, you snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by wanting a timetable for Iraqi withdrawal. Even if you keep forces close by, that still gives a propaganda victory to our enemies and the will to keep fighting. I’m giving you the same docking I gave Ron Paul, 20 points off.
Tommy Thompson has some good points and some bad points. I suppose it’s true that we are in Iraq at the pleasure of their government, but I think the Iraqi people can sense that we’re not there as invaders but as protectors from the larger threat to their own safety that al-Qaeda brings with their Iranian sponsorship. I do agree we should build the military, but the “medical diplomacy” leaves me a bit cold. I’ll give him a lukewarm 10 points since he’s not saying to cut and run.
Ok, we’ve reached the end, almost. It’s close enough at the top that I have to look at intangibles to make my choice, and that will occur tomorrow. At the moment, here are the GOP standings:
- Rudy Giuliani, 80 points
- Mike Huckabee, 76 points
- Duncan Hunter, 68 points
- Mitt Romney, 46 points
- Tom Tancredo, 40.5 points
- Fred Thompson, 37 points
- Ron Paul, 31.5 points
- Tommy Thompson, 21.5 points
- John McCain, 19 points
- Sam Brownback, 18.5 points
Final standings for the Democrats. How low can they go?
- Mike Gravel, -42 points
- Joe Biden, -62.5 points
- Bill Richardson, -75.5 points
- John Edwards, -75.5 points
- Hillary Clinton, -82.5 points
- Chris Dodd, -84.5 points
- Barack Obama, -93.5 points
- Dennis Kucinich, -124.5 points
If you want an illustration of the difference between the two parties, it’s made clear right here. Tomorrow I look at the intangibles for the GOP and finally stop dragging this out. It will be time to throw my support behind somebody.