In my final category, I have reviewed my previous work to get an idea of just what impact I believe these candidates will have in two distinct directions: right-sizing government in terms of power and in reducing spending to take less money out of everyone’s pocket. (Because we don’t mandate a balanced budget, this is a little different than strict taxation, although taxation played a role in this effort.)
There are two other factors I think are important here. I believe Rand Paul is the only one on record to eliminate entire Cabinet departments now that Rick Perry is out. Paul will also end the Patriot Act, which should be allowed to expire.
On the fiscal side, Bobby Jindal is a governor who has actually cut spending since taking office. And we’re not talking the phantom Martin O’Malley-style “cuts” but actually less money, to the tune of nearly $3 billion from his predecessor in his first budget. Spending has only increased modestly in the years since. (Compare this to Larry Hogan, who was hailed as a budget cutter for only increasing spending a percentage point or two from his predecessor.)
For this understanding of the role of government, they get an extra two points apiece over and above what I would give them.
Ted Cruz gets extra points for this. We need a fighter.
Jeb Bush, of all people, has some idea of how to approach the issue, too. So I gave him an extra point and a half.
I liked what Ben Carson had to say about the size of government so he got an extra point for this. the same goes for Carly Fiorina’s critique.
On the other hand, this critique of Mike Huckabee enhances his reputation as a big-government populist, just like John Kasich has his critics. Marco Rubio also has a reputation as a “reformocon” embracing expanding government.
Populism such as that of Rick Santorum can also lead to bigger government.
Since this is a fourteen-point category, I started everyone off with seven points. Things I saw to reduce the size and scope of government got a + on my ledger and things which made government bigger got a (-). I added each + to 7, subtracted each minus, and gave the bonus points to come out with these numbers:
- Rand Paul, 14 points
- Ted Cruz, 13 points
- Bobby Jindal, 13 points
- Carly Fiorina, 9 points
- Lindsey Graham, 9 points
- Ben Carson, 7 points
- Mike Huckabee, 7 points
- Jim Gilmore, 6 points
- Rick Santorum, 6 points
- Donald Trump, 6 points
- Chris Christie, 5 points
- John Kasich, 5 points
- Marco Rubio, 5 points
- Jeb Bush, 3.5 points
- George Pataki, 3 points
So I have come down to a handful of intangibles and a final decision. That will be in my final Dossier post early next week – hopefully the field will stay at 15 long enough to let me write it.