Faithful readers know I went through all of the Presidential candidates and how I felt about their stances on the issues. It culminated in mid-August with my endorsement of Duncan Hunter for President. That post also links to each issue as a reminder.
However, Alan Keyes jumped into the race after I did all of these evaluations so I wanted to see where he stacked up. Thus I’ll go through the issues as I did with the others – luckily with one candidate it’s one post. Keyes has a laundry list of topics on his website but fortunately for keeping this a short post I can link to each as needed!
We’ll start with eminent domain. Keyes talks about the broader subject of property rights on his site. It doesn’t really read to me as addressing the issue of eminent domain, so I’ll give him just 1/2 point of 5 possible. So he has 1/2 point so far and would rank 4th.
The next issue in line was the Second Amendment. Keyes goes deeper into this issue and I agree with the sentiment, but without more specifics I can’t give him many points. I noted in July that Duncan Hunter had a similar statement without specifics, so I’ll give Keyes what I gave Hunter: 3 of 7 points. That brings the Keyes total to 3.5 points and he’d slip to 7th place.
On election and campaign finance reform, Keyes makes quite a statement and also has a video link. I agree with part of what Keyes says, the second principle and the idea of repealing McCain-Feingold. But I can’t abide the first portion because corporate entities and unions, despite their donation patterns, don’t forgo their First Amendment rights. In the video, he does show support for term limits which gave him a couple bonus points.
For that I’m going to give Alan 4 of a possible 9 points. Now he has 7.5 points and a tie for second.
Trade and job creation was my next pet issue. Keyes has a long spiel on the subject of fair trade. Alan really didn’t address the area of job creation, and while he makes some good points I thought he went a little too far toward protectionism. He is a little like Duncan Hunter in that he wants to renegotiate bad trade agreements so I think 5.5 out of 11 points is fair. It would bring Alan to 13 points overall and keeps him in second. At that time Ron Paul led with 13.5 points.
My next step up deals with education. Here’s what Keyes has to say about school choice. He wasn’t doing very well until the last sentence, which saved him to an extent but it’s still sort of vague what concrete steps he’ll take to achieve that end to the government monopoly. I’ll give him 5 of 13 points. At 18.5 points so far, he’s right up near the top – second behind the leader at that point, Tom Tancredo.
Surprisingly, Keyes had nothing on veterans’ affairs or energy independence so he gets no points on either subject. Luckily for him, no one else really made a big move in that time period so he only fell to fourth place overall.
There were 19 points at stake in my original post. On the plus side for Keyes is his advocacy of HSA’s and his eventual Social Security stance, although it doesn’t go so far as to eliminate it. Deductions include drug importation (which would harm the drug companies) and the preventative care portion, which is similar to something I jumped on Mike Huckabee about. Since Huckabee is in favor of a national smoking ban in public places, would Keyes react the same way? No one had more than 9 points in my original posting and Keyes is not better than any of those. I’ll give him 7 points of 19. That gets him up to 25.5 points and bumps him to third place overall.
Now we move to taxation. Keyes has this to say about the subject and also covers the next area with it as well (role of government vis-a-vis spending.) Had Keyes talked about the other necessary step of repealing the 16th Amendment, he’d get all the points. I’ll match what I gave Tom Tancredo as the highest total for a candidate: 14 of 21 points.
And while I like the idea of a balanced budget amendment, I can just see how many devious ways the government and courts will come up with to get around it. Fiscal conservatism doesn’t need a Constitutional amendment, just a President with cajones to risk a government shutdown to get a steamlined budget to pass. With a lack of specifics, I have to match what I gave similar remarks from Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo, 10 points for that aspect. By combining the two and adding them to his total, Keyes is moving smartly up the list – 49.5 points at this stage is one point off Tom Tancredo’s lead at the juncture.
Two to go, immigration and the Long War. On immigration Keyes is for enforcing existing laws. While it’s well put, just wish he were a little more specific on how you’d secure the border and treat employers who hire illegals. It’s reasonably close to what Ron Paul advocates, so I’ll say it’s worth 15 of 25 points. Surprisingly, Keyes grabs the lead at this point with his 64.5 points.
Unfortunately for Alan, this is where he blows it. When he talks about the war in Iraq, he notes:
I will not for the moment go into the question of whether it was right or wrong to choose Iraq as some kind of strategic priority in the war against terror. I frankly have said in the past and would say now — and not with the wisdom of hindsight either — it was not what would have been my choice.
I take that to mean he would have left Saddam Hussein, a member of the Axis of Evil, as a continuing supporter of groups like Hamas and al-Qaeda. Unacceptable. In particular, I think the statement contradicts what he says in the video here. Since the video is from his Illinois U.S. Senate campaign in 2004 and I’m assuming the statement above is more recent, to me it could even be considered a flip-flop.
Alan makes some good points with what he says about the Long War in general but I cannot let the first part stand. I’m not going to hammer him like I did Ron Paul or Tom Tancredo, but he does deserve some deduction so I’ll dock him 5 points. He’s at 59.5 points now before I look at intangibles, some of the other subjects he goes into on his website that are minor issues to me.
On the intangibles:
Subtract points for supporting a Constitutional amendment banning abortion. I’m pro-life but don’t think that belongs in the Constitution because it’s a states’ rights item.
His net on intangibles is +3, so his final total is 62.5 points. Here’s how the field now stacks up with Keyes included:
- Duncan Hunter, 82 points
- Rudy Giuliani, 79 points
- Mike Huckabee, 76 points
- Alan Keyes, 62.5 points
- Mitt Romney, 45 points
- Tom Tancredo, 41.5 points
- Fred Thompson, 37 points*
- Ron Paul, 34.5 points
- Sam Brownback, 20.5 points
- John McCain, 18 points
*Thompson will be discussed tomorrow since he’s updated the information on his positions for some of the issues since I originally did the list.
I sort of suspected Keyes would be up there and if not for his misunderstanding of the role of Iraq in the Long War he would’ve at least made the “recommended” list. But if you’re one who lies strongly in the “moral conservative” camp Keyes would be at or near the top of your candidates for President.