I continue my look at the 2012 race with the second of my two multi-subject posts, beginning with a look at how they stand on Second Amendment rights.
Not every candidate addresses this subject directly, but it’s rather easy to find a wealth of information on this particular stance.
On Second Amendment issues, Michele Bachmann gets high marks from both of the two main gun lobbying groups (Gun Owners of America and National Rifle Association) and applauded recent Supreme Court decisions upholding the Second Amendment. She gets the seven points.
Herman Cain says he’s in favor of the Second Amendment, but a recent interview made people wonder if he was placing the issue too far into the lap of the states. I’m not quite sure what he means either, so I’m only going to give him four points. I think he’s on the right side, but I certainly don’t want a liberal state like Maryland overriding the clear language and intent of the Second Amendment.
“It’s not in defense of hunting, it’s not in defense of target shooting or collecting. The Second Amendment is defense of freedom from the state.” So said Newt Gingrich, and he tended to vote that way while in Congress. But there is something in this piece that gives me pause, so I’m only giving Newt six of seven points.
As governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman had a good Second Amendment record, like this pair of bills. He gets all seven points.
If you watch this video at about the 21-minute mark, you’ll see that Gary Johnson has a broad view of the Second Amendment. But this line in Slate is the clincher: “I don’t believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None.” I believe this will get him a bunch of points. Seven.
I honestly can’t find where Fred Karger stands on the issue, so he missed what’s pretty much been a layup so far.
Like Newt Gingrich, this short treatise from Roy Moore shows he gets why there’s a Second Amendment. Seven points.
I would have expected this from Ron Paul – he votes the right way and gets high GOA marks (an A+) so he’ll get seven points.
Tim Pawlenty doesn’t miss this opportunity as he’s racked up a solid record in Minnesota on gun issues. He gets the seven points as well.
I have the feeling I’m missing something, but the limited amount I can find on Buddy Roemer would make me guess he won’t trifle with the Second Amendment. Two points seems fair enough.
The same piece which was critical of Gingrich really questioned Mitt Romney‘s record. Because it’s somewhat mixed I can only give him four points.
With perhaps one or two exceptions, Rick Santorum has a good gun record so I’ll give him six points.
Updating the GOP standings – anyone who didn’t get six or seven points missed a golden opportunity here. Seven candidates are in the lead pack at the moment.
- Tim Pawlenty, 14 points
- Newt Gingrich, 13 points
- Michele Bachmann, 12 points
- Jon Huntsman, 12 points
- Thad McCotter, 12 points
- Roy Moore, 12 points
- Ron Paul, 12 points
- Rick Santorum, 12 points
- Herman Cain, 8 points
- Gary Johnson, 8 points
- Mitt Romney, 7 points
- Buddy Roemer, 3 points
- Fred Karger, (-3) points
As for Democrats, Barack Obama is definitely not pro-Second Amendment, so he’s docked the seven points.
Unsurprisingly, Randall Terry has no stated position.
- Randall Terry, 0 points
- Barack Obama, (-15) points
Now I turn my attention to education. In case you’re wondering, my key part of the issue is eliminating the Department of Education because it doesn’t educate anyone.
Several candidates address this directly, and this will likely begin to start separating the field.
Michele Bachmann doesn’t have her website up yet, but I can find her voting record on the issue. While she wants to abolish the Department of Education, I found a little bit of fault with some of her votes. I’m giving her six of eight points.
While Herman Cain wants to “unbundle” the federal government from education and has a number of valid ideas about accountability and school choice, the one thing holding him back is not openly advocating for the elimination of the Department of Education – that’s a necessary component in my book. Seven points.
Newt Gingrich touches on education in a minor way on his website, but the person who now talks about abolishing the Department of Education voted for its very creation. And in 2009 he was only too happy to join Al Sharpton on a tour to “highlight the Obama administration’s efforts to reform public education.” I think he’d like to continue the federal framework which needs to be abolished, and that’s not a solution I believe in. I’m giving him no points because I don’t think he stands with me on this.
Jon Huntsman has a mixed record on education, supporting school vouchers but not advocating for less federal involvement otherwise. I’m not convinced he’d be a leader on this issue so I’m giving him only two points.
Helping his cause immensely with me, not only does Gary Johnson have the right ideas on the educational issue but he explains it very well. He gets the full eight points.
Fred Karger wants to make school “more interesting and fun.” Well, I’d like them to learn more critical thinking and actually know something when they graduate without burdensome federal regulations. I will give him a little credit for knowing the key obstacle to improving education (the teachers unions) and at least giving a nod to charter schools, but we can go much further. One point.
It seems to me that Thad McCotter doesn’t mind federal involvement in education, whereas I do. He doesn’t go overly far, but doesn’t reverse the trend either. I think he only gets two points here.
Roy Moore states on his issue page that, “the federal government should not hamper the education systems of various states, as there is no authority for federal involvement under the Constitution. Competition between the states and freedom of various educational structures should be available to parents who are charged with the responsibility to teach their children. Charter schools, vouchers, tax credits, home schooling, Christian schools, and technical training should be encouraged.” The only part I don’t like is the part about tax credits, since I think controlling behavior through the tax code is a no-no as a permanent solution. So I’ll give him six points.
By and large Ron Paul has a similar view to Roy Moore’s, wishing the federal government out of the educational realm but supporting tax credits for Christian schooling. So he gets the same six points.
The example of Tim Pawlenty as governor is relatively good – among other things, Minnesota enacted “pay for performance,” but I think he’s going to seek the same old “top-down” approach to education. Charter states? What if your state is cluelessly going to follow the federal model? I think he’s only going to get two points on this issue.
As governor, Buddy Roemer linked teacher pay to performance and enhanced accountability standards. But that’s all I know and he hasn’t really touched on the subject yet in his one-man debates. So I can only give him one point.
While Mitt Romney supports school choice and home schooling, he’s backed away from supporting the demise of the Department of Education after once supporting its elimination. Supposedly it dampens the influence of the teachers’ unions, but I find that laughable. I can only give Mitt two points.
He may be coming around to sell himself to conservatives, but Rick Santorum‘s recent call to eliminate the Department of Education comes on the heels of a voting record too enamored with federal control. He only gets two points for his efforts.
As I predicted, this certainly has shaken up the standings as some of the “establishment” candidates fall a little behind the lead pack. This also vaulted Gary Johnson into my race. Yet most candidates are hanging around within five points of the top.
- Michele Bachmann, 18 points
- Roy Moore, 18 points
- Ron Paul, 18 points
- Gary Johnson, 16 points
- Tim Pawlenty, 16 points
- Herman Cain, 15 points
- Jon Huntsman, 14 points
- Thad McCotter, 14 points
- Rick Santorum, 14 points
- Newt Gingrich, 13 points
- Mitt Romney, 9 points
- Buddy Roemer, 4 points
- Fred Karger, (-2) points
Of course, Democrat Barack Obama is foursquare behind more federal control and pulled the rug out from under his own District of Columbia students, so he’s out another eight points.
While the other Democrat, Randall Terry, doesn’t explicitly state his position, the fact he campaigns at a homeschooler rally might mean something. Hey, I’ll give him one point.
- Randall Terry, 1 point
- Barack Obama, (-23) points
My next subject is one which has diminished somewhat in the overall scheme of things, but still remains rather important: the Long War and veterans affairs. I admit, though, my view on the subject has changed a bit since the last time around.
With nine points at stake, a candidate can help his or her cause immensely with the right viewpoint.