Morning Briefing: July 31st, 2012
By Steve Deace
In an online universe full of them, the website isidewith.com might be the best candidate matching quiz there is. That’s because this website isn’t just a typical “where do you stand” website that then matches up your general positions with the current crop of candidates. It offers some very specific applications of your positions as well, which puts a finer point on whose views most line up with your own.
I would urge everyone to take this quiz, because some of the questions really make you think beyond the clichéd talking points. In fact, you might want to take the quiz before reading today’s morning briefing, which will walk you through how/why I answered each question, and then reveal the results as well as my reaction to them.
1. Should abortion be outlawed in the United States?
I answered a simple “yes” to this one, because my pro-life conviction requires no clarification or exceptions. I also said this issue was “most” important to me.
2. Should gay marriage be allowed in the U.S.?
I answered “no, marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman.” And I rated this issue “most” important to me.
3. Should the government require health insurance companies to provide free birth control?
I answered a simple “no” here and said this issue was “most” important to me.
1. Is global warming a threat to the environment?
I answered “no, global warming and global cooling are natural cycles beyond our control.” I rated the issue “more” important.
2. Should we expand offshore drilling?
I answered “deregulate and let the free market determine the best energy sources.” I rated this issue “most” important.
1. Should the government raise the federal minimum wage?
Although I am opposed to such tinkering with the free market, the question was specifically about federal intervention. Therefore I answered “leave it up to the states to decide” since there is nothing in the Constitution granting the federal government the power to regulate wages. I rated this issue “somewhat” important.
2. Should Congress raise the debt ceiling?
I answered a basic “no” because I wasn’t satisfied with any of the more specific options. I rated this issue “most” important.
3. Should the U.S. have bailed out the major banks during the financial crisis of 2008?
I answered “no, remove the federal reserve and go back to the gold standard” because I believe it is immoral to have a fiat currency, not to mention you’re just begging for corruption and over-regulation with what amounts to a cabal of bankers determining public policy largely outside the scrutiny of the voters. I rated this issue “most” important.
4. Do you agree with President Obama’s 2009 stimulus plan?
I answered a basic “no” because I wasn’t satisfied with any of the specific options. I rated this issue “more” important.
5. Should the federal government regulate U.S. farmers?
I answered a simple “no” because there is nothing in the Constitution giving the federal government power to subsidize anything. I think American farmers growing the best food in the world would do best in a truly free market, but I also recognize they’re competing globally with farmers who are heavily subsidized, I rated this issue “less” important.
6. Should we expand or dismantle the Social Security program?
There is nothing in the Constitution allowing for Social Security, but given how embedded it is into the psyche of the average American just quitting cold turkey isn’t an option. Therefore, I answered “privatize the current system by allowing younger workers to contribute a portion of their payroll tax obligation to a private investment account” as a means of weaning us off of this Ponzi scheme. I rated this issue “most” important.
7. Do you believe the 2001 and 2003 George W. Bush tax cuts should be extended?
I answered “abolish the IRS and pass the Fair Tax legislation.” While I would certainly favor the flat tax reform to what we currently have, I prefer the Fair Tax because it goes further in taking away the most sweeping source of government intrusion into our lives that current exists in this country—the IRS. That is especially newsworthy in light of the recent Obamacare ruling, when Chief Justice John Roberts said as long as the feds use the 16th Amendment they can do whatever they want. I rated this issue “most” important.
1. Do you support further gun control laws?
I answered “no and the federal government should pass national stand your ground laws.” I rated this issue “most” important.
2. Do you support the Patriot Act?
I answered “yes but limit the scope of the government’s powers, because while I agree with it conceptually I think it’s also a Pandora’s Box that goes way too far.” I rated this issue “more” important.
3. Should the federal government regulate the internet to deter online piracy?
I answered a basic “no” because I believe the feds would love to get their clutches on the internet, which provides the means to disperse content and information outside of its sycophants. I rated this issue “most” important.
4. Are you in favor of decriminalizing all drugs?
I answered a basic “no” because I strongly oppose the government doing anything to enable the government distorting the sanctity of life. I rated this issue “most” important.
5. Should we limit federal funds to public schools that do not meet performance standards?
Since there is nothing in the Constitution allowing for the federal government to regulate education, not to mention the statists would love to turn it into Satan’s youth ministry, I answered “the federal government should not be involved in education.” I rated this issue “most” important.
6. Do you support affirmative action programs?
I answered a basic “no” because I believe the government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers regardless of skin color, gender, or being too big to fail. I rated this issue “more” important.
1. Should marijuana be legalized in the U.S.?
I answered a basic “no,” but since I’m open to studies that show its medicinal benefits without too many negative side effects I rated the issue “least” important.
2. Do you support Obamacare?
I answered “no, open the markets so insurers can compete across state lines and drive down costs.” Healthcare has to be one of the few things in America you don’t really own and isn’t portable once you purchase it. Heck, you can even move a house if you want and afford it, but you can’t move your healthcare. That is ridiculous. I rated this issue “most” important.
3. Should we expand or dismantle the Medicare program?
There is nothing in the Constitution permitting a welfare state, and I didn’t agree with the wording of the specific answer choices. However, just like with Social Security, I recognize we will have to wean ourselves incrementally off of these programs. That’s why I said “reform” instead of a basic dismantle because there needs to be a transition process. I rated this issue “most” important.
Foreign Policy Issues
1. Should the U.S. intervene in the affairs of other countries?
I answered “only if there is a direct threat to our national security.” I rated this issue most important.
2. Should the U.S. end the war in Afghanistan?
I answered “yes, bring a majority of the troops home but maintain a strong diplomatic presence.” One of the other options said “yes, and only approve future wars through Congress.” The reason I didn’t choose that answer is because while the Constitution says Congress has the power to declare war, it doesn’t specify exactly what that looks like. For example, President Bush sought and received Congressional approval for the military action in Afghanistan, not to mention the ongoing approval he received for the funding of the conflict. Does that constitute Congress declaring war? I’ll let smarter people than me decide that one. Since I’m also not in favor of nation-building, particularly in Islamic countries, I rated the issue “most” important.
3. Should the U.S. maintain a presence at the United Nations?
I answered “no, and remove the U.N. headquarters from the U.S.” I grow weary of coddling the despotic regimes and tolerating the tomfoolery that is that organization, which is about as useful as mammary glands on a bull. I rated this issue “more” important.
4. Should the United States end its trade embargo and travel ban on Cuba?
With Castro not getting any younger, now might be the time to start preparing for the future, so I answered “yes, lift the travel ban but keep some provisions of the embargo in place.” I rated the issue “somewhat” important.
5. Should the U.S. continue to support Israel?
I’m pretty much opposed to any foreign aid except in extreme circumstances, but also recognize Israel’s vital strategic importance. So I answered “yes, but respect Israel’s sovereignty and do not dictate how it should interact with its neighbors.” I rated this issue “most” important.
6. How should the U.S. deal with Iran?
I answered “strategically eliminate their nuclear bomb making capabilities” because a nuclear-powered Iran is simply not an option for national security, let alone the civilized world. I rated this issue “most” important.
7. How should the U.S. handle the genocide in Sudan?
I didn’t really like any of the answers here, but the closest to my position was “support a NATO effort to contain the Sudanese military.” To whom much is given, much is required. God has blessed our nation more abundantly than any other, and with that comes moral responsibility. On the other hand, we are not morally obligated nor constitutionally permitted to become the world’s policeman. Earlier I answered the military should only be deployed when our national security is at risk. Given who is responsible for the genocide in Darfur, it could be argued that anywhere in the world that worldview is allowed to flourish is an issue of national security—on top of any moral responsibility we may have here. I rated this issue “more” important, and not “most” important, because there weren’t any answers I was completely comfortable choosing.
1. Should children of illegal immigrants be granted citizenship?
I answered “no” because according to the U.S. Senator who actually wrote the 14th Amendment, the Constitution grants citizenship on the basis of jurisdiction and not geography. For example, why isn’t the child of the French Ambassador to the United Nations considered an American even though he was born in a New York City hospital? Because his parents are under the jurisdiction of the French government, and not the United States, that’s why. Similarly, when a family from Honduras crosses our border illegally they don’t cease being Honduran. Since they haven’t immigrated here legally, they are still under the jurisdiction of the government of Honduras, and they and all their offspring are as well. The current policy to the contrary is simply an invention of anti-constitutional statists. I rated this question “most” important.
2. Should illegal immigrants be given access to paid healthcare?
This question has confusing wording, especially when you consider the answer choices. For instance, one of the options is “yes, provided they can pay for it.” Well, if they can pay for it, why do they need access to paid healthcare? Would anybody actually turn away a fellow human being made in the image of God that is in need of immediate healthcare based on their citizenship if they could pay for it? Makes no sense to me, thus I chose that answer but rated it “least” important so it wouldn’t be heavily weighted in my overall survey.
3. Should illegal immigrants currently working in the U.S. be granted temporary amnesty?
I answered “no, and fine companies that employ illegal immigrants.” I rated this issue “most” important.
1. Do you believe the theory of evolution?
I answered a basic “no.” Given how destructive this worldview being taught exclusively to the past two generations of American schoolchildren has been, I rated this issue “most” important.
2. Should the federal government fund stem cell research?
I answered “no” since there is nothing in the Constitution allowing the federal government to be funding any of this research. Plus, I am morally opposed to embryonic stem cell research, which is really the camel’s nose under the tent for human cloning. I rated this issue “most” important.
3. Should the United States increase our space exploration efforts and budget?
I answered “regardless, we should only use government funds for national defense purposes and leave exploration to the private sector.” I’m certainly not opposed to militarizing space if we have to for national defense, but I also think this is a pretty low priority so I rated the issue “least” important.
Now for the Results
The problem with matching your views to a candidate is that these surveys never take into account what a candidate has actually done or said in the past. Granted, all of us evolve our views on some things over time, but some candidates have gone way past evolve to a complete metamorphosis that is the antithesis of their previous records. Given that, take these results with a grain of salt:
- Ron Paul, Republican 83%
- Mitt Romney, Republican 82%
- Gary Johnson, Libertarian 78%
- Virgil Goode, Constitution 69%
- Barack Obama, Democrat 7%
The survey also said I sided with the Republican Party platform 83% of the time, the Libertarian Party platform 82% of the time, and the Democratic Party platform only 7% of the time.
Issue-by-Issue here’s which candidate agreed with me the most:
- Social issues—Virgil Goode
- Domestic policy—Mitt Romney
- Environment—Virgil Goode, Ron Paul, Gary Johnson (tie)
- Foreign policy—Mitt Romney
- Economy—Gary Johnson & Ron Paul
- Healthcare—Gary Johnson
- Immigration—Ron Paul
- Science—Ron Paul
Frankly, I was surprised I didn’t agree with Goode more. Although he did agree with me the most on the moral issues most important to me. I was surprised to see so many of my positions agree with Johnson, given that he is more from Ayn Rand school of libertarianism, and Rand certainly was no friend to Christians or Christianity.
Now let’s narrow this down even further on the 10 specific policy issues that are the most important to me at the moment.
Sanctity of Life
Goode is the only candidate that agrees with me that child killing should be outlawed across the country with no exceptions. For those wondering, Romney is “pro-life with exceptions,” which I believe really means you’re pro-choice with fewer exceptions than Planned Parenthood.
Goode is the only candidate that agrees with me that marriage ought to be nationally defined as a man and a woman, while Romney allows for civil unions (which is so-called homosexual marriage by another name).
Johnson is the only candidate that agrees with me we should abolish the IRS and replace it with the Fair Tax. Romney favors extending the Bush tax cuts, but is not in favor of any substantive income tax reform.
Bailouts & Monetary Policy
Paul is the only candidate that agrees with me we should not bail out banks, go back to the gold standard, and remove the Federal Reserve. Romney was pro-TARP.
Johnson, Paul, and Goode are the only candidates that agree with me on free market reforms in place of Obamacare. The survey says Romney has only committed to repealing Obamacare.
Interestingly, no candidate agreed with my positions on Israel and Iran.
Johnson, Paul, and Goode are the candidates that agree with me we need to get the federal government out of education. Romney is in favor of modifying the Bush Administration’s policy.
Goode is the only candidate that agrees with me on a national “stand your ground” law. All Romney has said is he opposes new gun control laws.
Paul and Romney agree with me there are no such thing as “anchor babies.”
Paul, Johnson, and Goode agree with my free market approach to energy policy.
Assuming this survey is accurately reflecting each candidate’s current views, it appears I have a lot of general issue agreement with the likely Republican nominee for president. However, when it comes to substantively doing something to stop the statist’s new plans to trash the republic, let alone nullifying the old ones, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and I unfortunately have too little in common.
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