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Monday, July 10, 2006

Republican Presidential Contenders on Social Issues

Social conservatives are values voters. Which potential Presidential candidates are social conservatives most likely to support?

Using the names derived from a recent CBS news article, the potential contenders will be examined based upon their past statements and voting records on key issues. I have really attempted to examine these candidates from their voting records and statements on social positions; not on their effectiveness in their roles or their positions on national security, the war in Iraq, etc.

One final note, that an individual has more or less statements is not an overall indicator of ‘good-ness’ or ‘bad-ness’; instead, it simply means that the potential candidate has not declared a stated position on issues important to social conservatives.

Governor Mitt Romney (MA)*
Does not support stem cell research
Supports school choice
Supports abolishing the Department of Education

Personally against abortion, but pro-choice as governor
Supports RU-486 the, “morning after pill”
Does not support gay marriage but support benefits of marriage to gay partners
Supports Universal Health Care
#8 on Human Events' list of Top Ten RINOs

Governor George Pataki (NY)
Supports parental involvement before an abortion
Support a moderate school choice
Supports a phasing out estate tax

Early 1990’s, Pataki described himself as “pro-choice”.
#6 on Human Events' list of Top Ten RINOs

Senator John McCain (AZ)

Support the Defense of Marriage Act
Supports balanced budgets and reduced pork
Supports Schools Choice
Support Social Security Privatization
Does not support partial birth abortions
Does not support public funding of abortions
Does not support abortion despite some conflicting statements during 2000 Presidential primary
Does not support adding sexual orientation as protected status

Does not support the Federal Marriage Amendment
Supports embryonic stem cell research
Supports a form of amnesty for illegal migrants

Senator George Allen (VA)
Does not support abortion
Authored Balanced Budget Amendment in 2000
Does not support adding sexual orientation as protected status
Supports School Choice
Supports privatizing Social Security
Does not support the estate tax and marriage penalty tax
Does not support amnesty for illegal migrant workers

Previous positions supported the addition of sexual orientation as a civil right
Previous positions supported embryonic stem-cell research until a recent vote against it

Mayor Rudy Guiliani (NY)
Supports School Choice

Pro-choice; no ban on partial birth abortion
Does not support a ban on gay marriage

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Supports Parental notification before abortions
Supports Ban on Partial birth abortion

She recently described herself as “mildly pro-choice”
Supports Affirmative Action

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (GA)
Support balanced budget and line item veto
“Abortion should not be legal”
Not in favor of gay marriage or gay adoption
Supports the acknowledgement of God in the public arena
Does not support amnesty of of illegal migrants
Supports private savings accounts for social security

His affair and multiple marriages limits the enthusiasm of social conservatives

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN)

Supports ban on partial birth abortion
Supported Defense of Marriage Act
Supported Federal Marriage Amendment
Supports Balanced Budget Amendment
Supports personal retirement accounts
Supports the elimination of the marriage penalty
Does not support human cloning
Does not support adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes
Does not support affirmative action

Support taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research

Senator Chuck Hagel (NE)

Supports ban on partial birth abortion
Support ban on human cloning
Supports balanced budget amendment
Supports school choice
Supports personal retirement accounts
Supports the elimination of the marriage penalty
Supported the federal marriage amendment in 2004*.
Does not support adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes

Does not support the Patriot Act
Did not support the federal marriage amendment in 2006*

Senator Sam Brownback (KS)

Supports ban on partial birth abortion
Does not support public funding of abortions
Support Balanced budget amendment
Supports the Federal Marriage Amendment
Does not support adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes
Supports school choice
Supports personal retirement accounts
Supports the elimination of the marriage penalty
Does not support embryonic stem cell research

Governor Mike Huckabee (AK)
Supports ‘covenant marriages’
Supports ban on gay adoption and foster parenting
Supports ban on gay marriage
Does not support abortion

Senator Rick Santorum (PA)
Does not support embryonic stem cell research
Does not support abortion
Supports the Federal Marriage Amendment
Support ban on human cloning
Support Balanced Budget Amendment
Does not support adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes
Support abstinence only education
Supports School Choice
Supports allowing personal retirement accounts
Supports elimination of the marriage penalty tax

*see comments for a broader, more positive perspective

More on McCain at RightWingNews

Thoughtful Readers Speak:
I'm not a "conspiracy theorist" but I'm afraid that this article's main objective is to convince Christian conservatives that Mitt Romney is not a conservative. The fact that he is listed first, that he has more "Bads" listed than anyone else (even with Pataki, McCain, and Giuliani on the list . . . now how did they get such short "bad" lists?!?!), and that nearly all of his strong conservative credentials were "left off" the list make me wary and suspect that this "objective list" of conservative credentials is a way to debase Gov. Romney.

Now, many Christians may have a problem with Romney's religion (being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and so might be more inclined to "look for the bad" in Romney. I fear that many who dislike him/his religion will hide behind the labels of "RINO" or "abortion Flip-flopper" when their real objection is doctrinal. However, those that really look at the issues will realize that Mitt Romney IS a strong conservative . . . both on fiscal and on social/moral issues.

Conservative credentials:

1--Turned $3 billion deficit into a $400 million surplus within one year without raising taxes and by cutting pork projects and needless "feel good" social programs

2--Most articulate and outspoken supporter of traditional marriage (i.e. anti-gay marriage) in the nation.

3--He is pro-life (see below for a discussion of this issue)

4--Vetoed Stem Cell Research bill in Mass.

5--Vetoed bill seeking to lower age of parental consent for abortions.

6--Vetoed bill seeking to approve the "moring after pill"

7--Strong on Homeland Security and War on Terror (suggested wire-tapping Mosques that have been know to promote terroist activities)

8--Managed to get Abstinence Education in ultra-liberal Mass

9--Supports drilling in ANWR

10--Strongly supports charter schools and voucher programs.
In rebuttal to the "Bad" list in the article:

1) "Personally against abortion, but pro-choice as governor" See below for discussion . . . has voted on the side of life on every bill that came to his desk as governor.

2) "Supports RU-486 the, “morning after pill”"--This is flat out wrong. He vetoed the morning after pill siting that such a pill is not contraception, but killing of an embryo . . . http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/07/26/why_i_vetoed_contraception_bill?mode=PF

3) "Does not support gay marriage but support benefits of marriage to gay partners"--Again, not true. He is the most outspoken political opponent of gay marriage in the nation! http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZmViZGQ2NjVhMGUxNTgwZGYxNjBhMDkxNDBkMjVkOWY= He is also against civil unions. He has supported some domestic benefits in the past for gay couples . . . like being able to visit a "partner" in the ICU, but nothing to put them "on par" with the benefits of married couples.

4) "Supports Universal Health Care"--This is a shameless attempt to paint things as they are not. The Mass healthcare plan has the support of most conservatives and he worked with The Heritage Foundation to nail out many of the great details of the plan. Research the plan . . . this is anything but "HillaryCare" http://jjfuller72.redstate.com/story/2006/5/29/0030/34495

5) "#8 on Human Events' list of Top Ten RINOs"--Finally something that is correct on the list . . . however, being put on such a top 10 list is a matter of opinion rather than a matter of fact. Someone could have an ax to grind with Romney . . . I personally spoke with #10 on that list, Jim Leach, my congressman about it and he was flaberghasted that Romney was on the list . . . saw it as a political ploy by someone to hurt Romney's presidential aspirations.

My question is this: Should Conservative Republicans altogether give up hope for turning around liberal states like Massachussetts?

Mitt Romney is a courageous politician. He is willing to take on liberals on their own turf.

Were he the Governor of Arkansas or Texas, or a Senator from Tennessee or Utah, he would have a perfect track record on all of these issues for ROMNEY IS AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN AGAINST ABORTION AND GAY MARRIAGE. No, Romney didn’t have the luxury that most GOP frontrunners have of governing a conservative state though he is, and has always been a moral and fiscal conservative.

Being a politician in the bluest of blue states, Romney has accomplished much that conservatives should be proud of (balancing the budget, no new taxes, trying to decrease the income tax rate, vetoing the morning after pill, vetoing a decrease in the age requiring parental consent for an abortion, etc . . .). But to get all of this accomplished, he has had to “shelf” certain issues, like abortion.

He had to communicate to the electorate that he would “shelf” these issues. This necessitated public declarations that he would protect the current laws (which, unfortunately, do protect a woman’s “right” to choose) and not add to nor take away from current laws.

A few quotes below strengthen my argument.

In a recent National Review article it stated: “Romney has done his best to defend the culture of life on what is probably the most inhospitable terrain in the country.”

Maggie Gallager, The President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy said: “Mitt Romney is a brave man. While the GOP glitterocracy attended the first gay wedding of one of their own, Gov. Romney was in Washington, D.C., making the single most eloquent and articulate defense of our traditional understanding of marriage I have heard from an American politician.”

Kris Mineau from the Massachusetts Family Institute stated: “On marriage and cloning, he has provided aggressive leadership as a positive, pro-family governor”

Charles Colson, a promient evangelical leader has also said: “I could in very good conscience support Romney as a fellow social conservative on most of the issues we care about.”

Kathryn Lopez, a Townhall.com columnist says:
"As more Americans meet Mitt Romney, I think they'll see beyond the handsome exterior and see not just a good salesman, but a thoughtful (and, yes, conservative) leader."

Hugh Hewitt--Conservative Radio Talk Show Host: "Romney is a true conservative, both fiscally and socially, and has the charisma and personality that reminds you of a younger Ronald Reagan. In fact, he might just be the perfect candidate."

Barbara Anderson, Citizens for Limited Taxation - Massachusetts: "We couldn’t be happier with him. Without Romney, we would have been slapped with a lot of new taxes."

Cal Thomas calls Romney "a Conservative" http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/index.php?s=&url_channel_id=36&url_article_id=16929&url_subchannel_id=&change_well_id=2

CHECK OUT THE NEW SITE--"EVANGELICALS FOR MITT"! http://www.evangelicalsformitt.org/
I have no agenda in listing these facts; and they are facts derived from statements and votes.

It was more of a personal quest to find out who I like and don't like for 2008. I let the facts stand for themselves and fervently reject your conspiracy theory.

Most of my facts were derived from:


Have a look.
Regarding Mitt, here is some supporting material:

"Endorsed legalization of RU-486, the abortion-inducing drug." Boston Globe review of 1994 campaign issues Mar 21, 2002

Romney was asked to clarify his position on abortion. Romney's stance appeared to have changed between his 1994 campaign against Sen. Kennedy and when he moved to Utah. He recently told a Salt Lake City newspaper that he preferred not to be labeled "pro- choice."
"On a personal basis, I don't favor abortion," he said. "However, as governor of the commonwealth, I will protect a woman's right to choose under the laws of the country and the commonwealth. That's the same position I've had for many years."

Source: Erik Arvidson, Lowell Sun Mar 20, 2002

Romney disclosed that he became committed to legalized abortion after a relative died during an illegal abortion. The disclosure came after Romney, who said he is personally opposed to abortion, was asked to reconcile his beliefs with his political support for abortion rights. "It is since that time that my family will not force our beliefs on that matter," He said the abortion made him see "that regardless of one's beliefs about choice, you would hope it would be safe and legal."
Source: Joe Battenfeld in Boston Herald Oct 26, 1994

All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual orientation. While he does not support gay marriage, Mitt Romney believes domestic partnership status should be recognized in a way that includes the potential for health benefits and rights of survivorship.
Source: Campaign web site, www.romney2002.com, "Issues" Sep 17, 2002
JR, Your quotes sounds pretty sound to me.

I gather from your article that your lists are not exhaustive. Maybe that helps.
Admittedly, I probably went too far with the claims of an agenda/conspiracy. I'm sorry if it came across as any kind of personal attack.

However, I find your reaction to my information as odd. If you were unknowingly just going to an outdated and incomplete website (www.ontheissues.org--who I've written to update Romney's stances on many of these categories . . . they must be too busy with 2006 issues I guess?) to get this information then I am sorry about any accusations I seem to have made. But your response was not one of an "honest seeker of truth." I would have expected an "I appreciate the clarifications" or "your information is interesting, I will try to verify ", or "I'm glad that Romney has done these important things in support of conservative causes."

Instead, you seem to have dug deeper into your opinions and not recognized the facts that I presented.

On the quotes you presented above in rebuttal:

1) RU-486: You seem more taken by a 12-year old opinion (before he realized that it was not a "contraceptive", but really, an abortifactant) than with the well-know fact that he vetoed it’s use. Which is more important? A 12 yr. old opinion during an election, or documented political record with action on the "side of life" (in ultra-liberal Massachusetts under vicious political attacks I should add)?

2) On abortion: From the Boston Globe article July 26th, 2005 "Why I vetoed the contraception bill":

"I will honor the commitment I made during my campaign: While I do not favor abortion, I will not change the state's abortion laws. I understand that my views on laws governing abortion set me in the minority in our Commonwealth. I am prolife. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view. But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate."

Romney's political views have "evolved" (his word) to being just personally "pro-life", to being a “pro-life” politician (compared to 1994). Bottom line, even if he was pro-choice in the past, he, like Reagan and Bush 41, has moved firmly into the Pro-life camp.

3) On Gay-Rights: As Governor he has not proposed or supported any legislation expanding gay rights. He is strongly against gay marriage and civil unions. The kind of benefits he feels gays should be entitled to are being able to visit a "partner" in the ICU (only family members allowed) and stuff like that. He is VEHEMENTLY HATED in Massachusetts by the pro-gay rights groups. That should at least tell you something!

Any conservative who wants to see the Marriage Protection Amendment passed through should strongly consider supporting Romney . . . he may be the only one who is able to convince enough congress members to support it!
It seems to me that the purpose of this beginning dialogue on who social conservatives may find as their candidate in 2008 was: no size fits all. Voters need to be discerning regarding these values but also consider other qualities too: 1) what is the candidate's 'global orientation' and willingness to compromise USA's rights granted by the constitution in favor of international law; 2)how can security be maintained without the undue forfeiting citizens' rights; 3) how can the US keep from unholy alliances with neighboring countries who values are offensive to America (ie, Canada and Mexico who mask as democracy's yet when looking closer seem more socialistic and dictatorial.
Romney doesnt need anyone to convince Christian conservatives he's not a conservative. His record does it quite well. Here's what Romney isnt telling you about his record.

1) Romney: "as we seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent (Ted Kennedy)."

2) Won Republican Gov. William Weld's endorsement and said he was in step with the famously pro-gay governor on many issues, including same-sex marriage.

3) Continued Weld's tradition of appointing openly gay people to key positions in his administration.

4)Offered political and financial support to two openly gay Republican candidates for state representative in 2004. Both candidates were promoted as part of the “Romney Reform Team.”

5) Proposed doubling the funding for the “Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth” for fiscal year 2006.

6) Has passed over GOP lawyers for three-quarters of the judicial vacancies he has filled, instead tapping registered Democrats or independents -- including two gay lawyers who support expanded same-sex rights and a 2005 district court appointment of a man who served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association.

7) In a Planned Parenthood questionnaire, asked if he supported “the substance of the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade,” he answered “yes.” Asked if supported “state funding of abortion services through Medicaid for low-income women,” he answered “yes.” Asked if he supported “efforts to increase access to emergency contraception,” he answered “yes.”

He ended his response to the questionnaire by stating, “I respect and will protect a women’s right to choose…the truth is no candidate in the Governor’s race in either party would deny women abortion rights.”

8) He is weak on the Second Amendment as an open supporter of the assault weapons ban contained in a congressional crime bill, and supporter the Brady bill.

1. So? Are you against equal voting rights, free speech, etc for gays? This doesn't include the "marriage right"!

2. Romney never said he was in favor of same-sex marriage, check your facts. It's pretty silly of you to attack him on this one. He's been in the national spotlight defending traditional marriage since he was elected.

3. Should gays be denied government office? Please, elaborate.

4. See #3.

5. Check a little more than the sensational headline. This is NOT a commission on encouraging kids to be gay.

6. He has managed to squeeze 25% conservative nominees past a 100% democratic committee. Do you really think Bork would make it past these guys? Do you know what you're talking about?

In the spirit of educating you, any nominee for the courts in MA has to make it past the governor's council, which in MA is 8 out of 8 democrats (6 of whom are hard-core lefties). The fact that Romney has managed to get 25% republicans through that briar patch bodes well for his abilities with SCOTUS and a 50% conservative US Senate.

7. He shelfed abortion as MA governor to accomplish other conservative successes. What would you have done? Would you prefer to see Romney run on the pro-life campaign, lose, and sweep his democratic opponent into office? This would have the effect of further liberalizing MA abortion laws (hard to believe, but true).

8. He supports the right to own a gun and hunt responsibly. Can you explain to me why people like you should have assault weapons?
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