The potential 2012 candidates have been going back and forth over who is a true Conservative. As I find this maddening, I thought it was time to discern who is a true Conservative and who is not.
1. Mitt Romney-Mitt Romney can talk a good game, that is clear. But his record is one that proves he never considered himself a conservative, but rather a moderate or even a liberal Republican. Anyone who believes that he is a true Conservative must soon realize that he is an Obama-light presenting no new changes and keeping government expansion on the same course.
2. Sarah Palin- Sarah Palin is clearly more Conservative than Mitt. With that said, her commitment too many conservative values can be questioned by her mixed record as Governor of Alaska. She appointed a former Planned Parenthood member to the Supreme Court of AK, and she often promoted more burdensome regulations. If the primary comes down to Palin-Romney as many expect it too, however, Palin would absolutely be the better choice as although her record is mixed, she at least is a Conservative, whereas Romney is a statist.
3. Newt Gingrich- Newt has promoted common sense Conservative ideas over the years, but he has also shown some dangerous tendencies towards globalism. Also, while he may be described as a Conservative, he is certainly not a conservative in his lifestyle, as seen by his long trail of ex-wives and, more importantly, his long trail of affairs. He also has shown far too many sympathies to the progressive environmental “red” movement.
4. Jim DeMint- As one of the most committed Conservative lawmakers, he is clearly a true Constitutional Conservative. He has fought for Conservative reforms for years that will limit government and restore liberty to America. There is very little fault that I can find with him (perhaps besides his vote for the PATRIOT act), so obviously, he is a true Conservative.
5. Mike Huckabee- Mike Huckabee is NOT a Conservative. The three legged stool of Conservatism is often referenced (the three legs being Social-Foreign Policy-Fiscal Conservatism, all being equally important), and Huckabee is liberal on the Fiscal side of things, silent on the Foreign Policy side of things, and good on MOST Social issues. This is a very, very unstable stool, leaning heavily on the shortened leg of Social Conservatism, obviously making the “stool” topple over. If we elect Mike Huckabee as president, our party, and furthermore our country, will fall apart at the seams.
6. Tim Pawlenty- A moderate who has supported pro-gay bills, and is radically green, with a fiercely pro-establishment record. Clearly not a Conservative. Nothing more needs to be said.
7. Mitch Daniels- I mentioned earlier the three-legged stool of Conservatism and Mitch Daniels seems to have overlooked one leg, the Social leg. He says we need to call a truce on Social issues. NO, no, and a gain no. As Conservatives, we must encompass all aspects of Conservatism. Ronald Reagan never called a truce on Social issues. You cannot be a Reaganite, true Conservative by looking over some aspects of it, just like you can’t claim to believe in the Bible, but choose not to believe in certain parts of it. To be a Conservative, you must believe in all aspects of our great ideology.
8. Haley Barbour- Haley has some Conservative values, and has been a successful governor, but there are certain issues I just cannot support him because of. For one, he campaigned for Ford over Reagan, and again John Connally over Reagan. He is an ex-lobbyist, and the quintessential insider, leading us to have to question his ethics and commitment to the American people.
9. Ron Paul- Ron Paul may be enticing to many Conservatives because of his strong belief in a limited government and free-market economics. He definitely is Conservative in those areas, and indeed , I find myself believing he would make an excellent treasury secretary. But his foreign policy is weak, and based upon the Old-rights non-interventionism, which cannot be applied in the modern world. While it is a Conservative ideal to want to fight wars fiscally responsibly and constitutionally, without any foreign aid, his foreign policy would weaken our nation indefinitely. (The Neocons are even worse though)
These candidates, in my opinion are the most likely to run and/or win. They have their good qualities, but few can be characterized as Conservative. Absolutely none of them are Reagan.