There has been a lot of debate in many conservatives circles about the conservatism of the leading Republican presidential candidates. (Example
). While everyone's ideas of a qualified candidate differ, I decided to take all five leading Republicans, give them each a score from 1 to 10 on five major issues, and see which candidate won. The issues were: domestic issues (such as crime, guns, and immigration), foreign policy, taxes and spending, social issues, and electability (which isn't an issue, but is important). A grade of five is the "average" grade on the issue among Republicans.
Domestic issues- His performance in New York City was off the charts. From what I have read, crime there was incredibly bad, and Rudy made New York into a safe place. However, he has passionately supported gun control. He also made New York into a santuary city for illegals.
Foreign policy- His views on Iraq seem solid, as do his overall views on the war on terror. His crimefighting experience will be an advantage in the fight against Al-Qeada.
Social issues- Pro-abortion, pro-gay rights. Not so good.
Taxes- He cut taxes in New York city, and seems like a good fiscal conservative.
Electability-He trailed Hillary in the polls in his Senate race, and had to pull out in part because a messy affair. However, his 9/11 performance and nearly universal name recognition will probably help.
Domestic issues- As a Senator, he really didn't have an extensive record in this area. He seems very pro-gun. His immigration plan is the best of any candidates.
Foreign policy- He seems to have solid view on Iraq, and the war on Terror in general. He recently issued a statement supporting a free Cuba, which I like.
Social issues- He was pro-abortion for a while, then suddenly and without any fanfare turned pro-life in 2000. Now, however, he seems to have converted pretty solidly to the pro-life cause.
Taxes- Thompson has said that "the U.S. tax code is broken" and supports "dissolution of the IRS as we know it". Sounds good to me.
Electability- Thompson projects a pretty good image when he is doing well, and a very bad image when doing poorly. He has done poorly, for the most part, since he jumped in the race. However, I think we should view this as a few early bumps in the road, and not as a sign of things to come. Every candidate has made gaffes in the beginning- the difference is, they made their back in May when no one noticed.
Domestic issues- Very bad on immigration, would probably be tough on crime, and is good on guns.
Foreign policy- Was the first to call for a surge, which makes him look very prescient. However, favors closing down Guantanamo Bay and giving the prisoners there rights.
Social issues- Against abortion, against gay rights.
Taxes- He opposed Bush's tax cuts, and still doesn't like them. However, he does favor keeping them. Claims to want to slash spending.
Electability-He wouldn't project a great image, nor a terrible one. His life experiences might give him an edge against Hillary, who has never done anything.
Domestic issues- he seems to have the standard GOP line on most domestic issues.
Foreign policy- he seems to have the standard GOP line here too.
Social issues- he seems to have the standard GOP line here too. (Expect he suddenly converted two years ago).
Taxes- seems to have the standard GOP line here (can you sense a pattern?), except he seems to spend a lot of time explaining how even though he raised taxes sometimes, it was for a good reason, and he cut other taxes, and he likes cutting taxes. His story seems to make sense, but also seems to just barely hold together.
Electability- He is handsome and articulate. Unfortunately, he also looks and acts pretty robotic.
Domestic issues- he is protectionist, compassionate (in the expand welfare kind of way), is a health nut himself and do his best to make you one too, and seems sympathetic to illegal aliens. On the plus side, he is pro-gun.
Foreign policy- he doesn't seem to have a real vision of the world. I like his Iraq plans, but in the advent of a crisis, I'm not sure he understands the world situation enough. He does defend the Iraq war well though.
Social issues- if abortion was the only issue on the table, Huckabee would win the nomination hands down.
Taxes- he got an F on spending from the Cato Institute
. He does support the FairTax, which would abolish the IRS.
Electability-Huckabee is amazingly articulate. He is probably the best natural politician out there. When I hear Huckabee talk, I want to rush out vote for him, even though he is not really qualified. I know that intellectually, but emotionally he appeals to me very strongly.