Where things stand.
WKanninen at AOL.COM
Wed Feb 14 11:16:53 MST 1996
With Gramm's withdrawal, where do we as conservatives stand? We needd to
decide what are the factors upon which to base support of a candidate, and
how do the remaining candidates measure up on these factors.
I always felt that the factors I will base my choice(s) are as follows:
1) The character of the candidate.
2) The philosophical dependability of the candidate.
3) The electability of the candidate.
4) The support of the candidate for the three major conservative sets of
A) The social issues.
B) The economic issues of small government, low taxes, and free trade.
C) Support for a prudent foreign policy, devoted to America's self
(As a long-time activist in the conservative movement, and participant of
many debates at YAF conventions, I realize that many in the movement do not
support all of these policies, or give them equal emphasis. Ronald Reagan is
a good example of an individual who gave full-fledged support for all of
Any candidate who possesses all of these factors should be supported.
Unfortunately Phil Gramm did not, in practice, possess electability. If he
had, he would have been the only candidate who had all of these factors.
Let us now consider the arguments for, and against, the remaining
Alan Keyes: A complaint has been made against him on the character issue,
because he makes an income from campaign-related sources. I do not give this
any weight because the alternative is to elect either the posessors of
personal wealth, or those who have a governmental salary, and are campaigning
while not giving their full effort to the jobs the taxpayers are paying them
to perform. All candidates other than Keyes fall into one of these two
categories. As far as electability is concerned, if he were perceived to be
a possible winner his rhetorical abilities would make him clearly electable.
On all other factors, he has a perfect score, and is the only candidate who
Bob Dole: His electability is in question, just as his personal character is
not in question. His lack of philosophical dependability, based on his
record over the last quarter-century, and his obvious personal
uncomfortability with philosophical conservatives make him an apparent Bush
clone. In Bush's case I voted for him in 1988 and against him in 1992,
because I felt that his compact with the voters on taxes were as binding on
us as it should have been on him. The history of 1988-1996 shows us that a
Bush type presidency is somewhat better for the country than Clinton, but is
far more damaging to the Republican party. I would vote for Dole, if no
electable conservative were available in November, but not campaign for him.
Lamar Alexander: He seems to be a younger, more electable, Dole. Since he
has less experience compromising than Dole, perhaps he would be less likely
to do it. His apparent attack on the concept of a flat tax (not just Steve
Forbes's version of it), would preclude my support.
M. Taylor: He is unknown, or undesirable on all the above factors, and is
not a serious candidate either in terms of issues or electability.
Richard Lugar: He is actually rather good on the substance of most of the
issues, although he recently has taken the bad side of certain hot-button
issues, apparently to gain press attention. His long-time participation in
the legislative process as a minority member give him most of Dole's
problems, as well as Dole's advantages. If we were voting on character
alone, he and Dole would be 1 and 2, but that is not how we are (or should
Patrick Buchanan: I have worries about the first two factors, based on Pat's
non-rejection of support from David Dukes. It is true that Dukes supported
Pat in Louisiana. It is also true that Pat dissasociated himself from Dukes'
vile stand on racial issues. This is morally and politically insufficient.
While it is late, it is still possible for Pat to denounce these posistions,
and to reject the support of those who hold them. It is far too late in the
day to dance around the issue of the KKK. If he does not do so his campaign
will be a walking political corpse, just waiting for the eventual, and
justified, media hatchet job. I could not support Pat in good conscience
until he has done what must be done on this issue. However, since I have a
degree in economics, I still have problems with his total rejection of free
trade, as well as his apparent willingness to use government economic
regulation as a tool. Since he is basicly a solid conservative on most other
issues, and since he could never get his non-conservative economic policies
through Congress, and since the NAFTA and GATT treaties were both damaged so
badly by the use of Buchananite regulations in their final versions, and were
therefore only marginally beneficial, I would be able to work for Pat, IF he
solves the Dukes cancer on his campaign.
Forbes: I still have reservations about Forbes' philosophical dependability,
but am not so concerned as I have been over his positions on the primary
social issues. If his abortion position is that we should use the 'baloney
method', slicing off as many abortions as we can get electoral support to
eliminate, while working to convince the public to accept it's near total
elimination, while not emphasizing our commitment to positions that are not
now obtainable, that is a position that I can support, although not in total
agreement with. On the other hand, if he is essentially taking the Clinton
position of being totally pro-choice, while stating that he wants to make it
'legal but rare', then it would not be possible to support him.
For this conservative, at this time I can only be comfortable supporting
Keyes, while agreeing that his lack of money and organization make his
victory unlikely. If the problems referred to above are cleared up
satisfactorily, I would be willing to work for Forbes or Buchanan (if they
are not cleared up, I would not be willing to vote for them).
I would not work for Dole or Alexander, but probably would vote for them,
unless Howard Phillips conservative convention in San Diego, right after the
GOP convention (obviously designed to receive a conservative walkout from the
Republican meeting), produces a morally supportable candidate, electable or
not. I expect that in the case of a Dole or Alexander nomination this is the
It is clear that we are now very unlikely to be able to elect a Reagan
conservative as President. What we need to do is try to reduce the damage to
our country and to the conservative control of the GOP. My belief is that
an Eisenhower-Nixon-Ford-Bush- Dole-Alexander type nominee would be only
marginally better for our country in the short term than a second, and, last,
Clinton term. The damage to the conservative and therefore the long term
national position would range from signifigant to catastrophic, depending
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