Is it just me, or is the Presidential election cycle starting earlier and earlier? I mean since when do you hold Presidential primary debates before you’ve even had the preceding year’s general election? It was getting downright confusing for a while there, hearing people talking in the same breath about candidates that were running in different elections in different years. Nevertheless, the Presidential election cycle is upon us and people are talking about it and I find myself compelled to weigh in.
Wherever I go, people are abuzz with speculation and hype about this candidate or that – “I hear this one’s pretty good,” or “that one sounds really conservative,” or “they say he’s a Christian – maybe he’s God’s man!” I’m sorry, but I wish that Christians and conservatives would get themselves an objective standard to measure things by rather than continually resorting to the subjective, emotional, gobbledygook guess work of “I hear is; they say that; some think this; I feel that.” I mean really, does anyone honestly believe this is how our nation’s founders conducted their business and made the decisions that determined the rise or fall of the nation?
If we must begin talking now about next year’s Republican Presidential prospects, then may I ask that we at least talk about them in relation to some sort of standard that we can measure them by. To that end, I would like to refer you to a series of ‘Constitutional Report Cards’ on the Republican Presidential debates that have been generated by Vision Forum Ministries, a ministry known and respected for their understanding of and commitment to Biblical Christianity and the original intent of our nation’s founding documents. At the time of this writing, report cards have been generated for six of the debates. The report cards, which include a grade for each candidate on each topic addressed, can be found at www.visionforumministries.org
Admittedly, the report cards might not be a perfect representation of the candidates views as they are based on answers given in debates, which are not always complete answers as they are limited by time. Nevertheless, after reviewing six report cards, a definite pattern is beginning to emerge with the following grades being an average of the six report cards.
- Rick Perry: D
- Ron Paul: B
- Michele Bachmann: C
- Rick Santorum: F
- John Huntsman: D-
- Mitt Romney: F
- Herman Cain: D (dropped out, but still relevant for comparison)
- Newt Gingrich: F
These are the candidates grades as compared with a strict constructionist view of the U.S. Constitution – the document to which each of these candidates seek to pledge their oath of allegiance on Inauguration Day in 2013. With one exception, it’s hard for me to see why any Constitutionally minded Americans would be getting particularly excited about this field of candidates, unless of course you’re the type who revels in the animating contest of mediocrity.
Nevertheless, I hear the hints of excitement here and the allusions to conservative rhetoric emanating from a candidate there, as Christians and conservatives attempt to work themselves up to hope against hope that someone in this field will be able to carry the banner of ‘conservatism’ and save them from the feared and dreaded Obama monster.
As a Christian and a Constitutionist and as one who remembers what the tenets of conservatism used to be, I’m not inclined to get excited about any candidate for public office until I hear them addressing what I consider to be “The Real Issues,” e.g:
- Audit, then abolish, the un-Constitutional Federal Reserve.
- Return to sound, Constitutional money backed by gold.
- Abolish the IRS and put a stop to the misapplication of the income tax onto the wages of individuals.
- Bring our troops home from any and all military actions around the world that are not part of a Congressional declaration of war.
- Withdraw from the United Nations and remove the United Nations from the U.S.
- End deficit spending, balance the budget and stop selling future generations into bondage.
- Secure the borders and end illegal immigration.
- Stop regulating U.S. businesses to death. Stop rewarding corporations for moving overseas. Bring jobs – real jobs – manufacturing jobs – back to the U.S.
- No corporate bailouts, no corporate buyouts and no corporate welfare.
- Return the federal government to performing only those few functions enumerated in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution and begin dismantling every extra-Constitutional federal department, agency and program, the list of which would be too long to print here.
- Wipe the slate of all previously issued executive orders (Presidential directives) and remind bureaucrats everywhere that nothing has the force of law unless Congress passed it, the President signed it and its authorized in the U.S. Constitution.
Those are just the few items that pop into my head without having to think very hard. I’m sure there are plenty more.
These are the issues that once served as the bedrock of conservatism and they are the issues that must be addressed if we are even half way serious about returning to a Constitutional form of government, preserving liberty and ever regaining any real prosperity.
I recently heard a presentation by independent, Constitutionally minded talk radio host, Sam Bushman. While addressing a group of Constitutionists, Sam recited a list of issues similar to the one above, then pointed out that ‘if they’re not talking about these issues, they’re not one of us.’
So I have to ask, of all the candidates running (and not just for President), even if they are running with an “R” after their name, or the title of “Conservative” bestowed upon them, how many of them are addressing these fundamental issues that determine freedom or oppression for we the people and spell life or death for our republic? All God honoring, freedom loving Americans who have any amount of appreciation for the principles that our nation was founded upon, need to be asking themselves this question – if a candidate is not publicly addressing these core issues and is not overtly proclaiming these most basic Constitutional policies, then are they really “One of us?” And if they’re not really “One of us,” then why would we waste our time, our money or our vote supporting them?
While I’m on the topic of ‘whether they’re one of us’ – I recently heard Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida on the Sean Hanity radio program. Senator Rubio is looked to by many as one of the best examples of conservatism in Congress. During the 15 minute segment, I did not hear one of the items on my list of key issues even alluded to, much less committed to. Though there was plenty of talk about so called “conservative” answers to our nation’s problems, there was not one direct reference to what the plain text of the Constitution says about the issues of our day. Everything was about how bad the Democrats are and how Republican’s want to fix things by lessening the oppressiveness of the unconstitutional things the federal government is doing, such as to “flatten” the tax rate rather than eliminate the abhorrent and unconstitutional misapplication of the income tax onto wages. I don’t expect people to address every item on my list in every interview or acknowledge our Creator and His moral laws in every conversation. Nevertheless, when two of the top ‘conservative’ personalities of our day can talk for 15 minutes without addressing any of the things that Christians and Constitutionalists should deem key to our nation’s survival, you really have to wonder whether they’re one of us.