Friday, January 04, 2008

What I look for in a Candidate

This is part 1 of a potential series of posts. Today I am going to explain the values that I look for in a presidential candidate and the issues that I am keenly interested in. Over the next few days I am going to do research on each of the candidates and report back which candidates match up with each item and then tally up who matches the most. I am an issues voter more than a good vibe voter, so you will see my points slanted that direction. Also note that I plan on actually researching each candidates info from first hand sources (i.e. each candidates websites) rather than what I heard some radio commentator say the candidate believes. I also think that past record is important. In looking at that, you can tell if a person is just saying something to get elected or actually believes something. Without further ado, the issues in random order:
  • Tax Policy It is hard for me to believe that anyone who receives a paycheck does not want tax reform. There is a ton of money taken out of each paycheck. I like lower taxes and am all for them. I think we need several things including simplifying the tax code and drastically reducing or eliminating the IRS. The tax policy is not investor friendly and lends itself to punishing those who attain success. Down with the taxes!

  • Immigration Living in Texas I know that this is a sensitive topic. I know that immigrants do many jobs that we wouldn't dream of looking at. I know that many immigrants work very very hard. I also know that people we don't want sneak into our country as well. I am for several steps. First, securing our borders and stopping those who want to sneak in. This has to be the first step. Second, reviewing and redoing our legal immigration policy to encourage law abiding people to come here and prosper. As for those who are here illegally, I am not sure what to do. But I can't imagine kicking them all out at this point. We have to find a way to integrate them into our society.

  • War in Iraq I think at this point debating who did or did not support going in originally and to how much extent is sort of a moot point. Several candidates have taken so many sides that I don't know what to make of it. What I am interested in is how they will handle the situation going forward. I will first admit that I am a fan of General Petraeus. I do not think that this war has been managed perfectly, but I think that he is doing an excellent job at this stage. I really hope that the next president will finish the job over there. I personally think that the next president will, no matter what he or she says. To leave too soon will create the biggest mess ever and almost certainly cause more harm than the national poll numbers matter on the subject. I want a president who will look for solutions to the issues and finish the job.

  • Free Markets vs Big Government This is a big pet peeve of mine. I really think that government is too big and that it meddles too much in our lives. This includes business, regulations, and other laws. The bureaucracy is huge and part of the reason that our budget is not under control.

  • Moral Issues This one is a huge one for most people. I am most certainly pro life. I am also a follower of Christ. So I fall that direction on moral issues as much as I can. To me this category comes down to the word character. I know that we aren't going to have a perfect person in the office, nor do I expect it. But I certainly hope for someone who will earnestly try to do the right thing.

  • Conviction I am looking for a leader that takes the right stand whether or not the polls support him or her. This means not flip-flopping on issues. Now that term has become synonymous in recent years with certain people, but I am not singling them out. I want a leader who will stick to their guns when it isn't easy.

  • Experience I for one don't want a Washington outsider that many people claim to be. I think being an outsider has distinct disadvantages. Connections are huge in the beltway and get things done. This does not mean that I want a lobbyist for president, but I don't want a greenhorn either. I think that governors are qualified, but other than that, you need to be involved in Washington somehow. With that, I want experience that the candidate is proud of and that has been consistent. This experience needs to show a pattern of staying on the right side of issues.

  • Budget Reform and Earmarks Here's an idea for the government: SPEND LESS. This would be my battle cry as a candidate. We often talk about tax cut or tax hikes and we are always worried about the budget. This happens in my own household. There are two options when you have a budget problem: make more or spend less. I choose spend less. Some politicians will have you believe that we just need to raise taxes on this or that class, but I say no. I think that it is time to figure out what we really need, and what we can do without. I am sure that this sounds oh so lovely, but I think that it really necessary. Our nation, just like its people, has a problem with overextending its debt. I am looking for a fiscally responsible leader. I also want earmarks done away with or at least regulated better. Congressmen are constantly stuffing bills with pork after the bill has been voted on running up our bill. This spending can be and should be eliminated.

  • Judicial Appointments I really appreciate judges that make decisions based upon what the law says. This is not what they think the law should say, but what it actually says. I want a president who will appoint judges that do not legislate from the bench. Say what you will about Bush 43, but his appointment of John Roberts to chief justice was one of his best decisions. I hope that our next president can appoint judges in that mold.

  • Energy Policy and the Environment I live in the grand state of Texas, the home of the Texas T. I have worked at two different oil companies as an intern. I can say from my limited experience that there was no evil conspiracy at either to destroy the earth or rip off the world. I actually found that some of the most environmentally conscience people I have ever met worked for the companies. Also, my grandpa runs a solar energy company so I know all of the great benefits of it as well. My view is this: First off, I do not think that the world is on the brink of disaster. I have done some study on the subject. It is a very hard subject to study by the way because of the excess of passionate diatribe that clouds the cold hard facts. Having said that, I don't think that we really treat the planet that well, or at least don't put much thought into how we treat it. We are making great strides towards being much more fuel efficient across all sorts of technologies. Besides coal and oil being used better, solar, wind, and a host of other nifty ideas for harvesting energy have come a long ways. I am a nerd who followed the Ansari X prize. This is an ideal model in my opinion for spurring innovation. I really hope that more of our federal budget can be spent to make us extremely efficient. The other side of the coin is that American's just pollute, even the environmentally sound. I am not sure how to egg people on to do less, but I am not sure that the government should be all that involved in the process.

  • Foreign Policy I might be different than some in my way of thinking, but I am not quite the expansionist that others may be. That means that I really want to take care of the home front first. A biblical thought on the subject might be taking the plank out of my eye before the speck in yours. I think that there is a lot that needs fixing here in our own place before we stick our necks out to fix others. This is not a state of illusion where I pretend that our world is perfect and ignore problems. Rather, it is a mindset that our citizens come first and that we should take care of them above other nations. I would love a more domestic policy than perhaps we have had of late that tackles the big issues of our nation, not everyone else's.

  • Homeland Security Having now worked in the real world for several years, I am beginning to understand the effect that bureaucracy can have on solving real problems. And I am not complementing the system. I am quite excited to see that we have taken steps to remove walls and get people the information they need to do their jobs. I am not super excited about seceding all of my rights in the process, but I realize that something has to be given up in order to obtain higher security. I general fall on the law enforcement side of the argument, but that assumes that they are inherently good. Since I am not totally disillusioned, I realize that we need reasonable checks in place for the process. So this is one of my less passionate issues, but one that should still matter.

  • Poverty and Education I group these two items together because I think that they are tightly coupled. Education is the key to getting out of poverty. I am not a big fan of no child left behind. I think many people have hashed that one out. If there ever was a program that I would expand in the government, it would be student loans. I think first off that we are not a poor country, but that those who are less fortunate can pull themselves up quite quickly via education.

  • Social Security
  • Being a young lad of 25, I personally have absolutely no hope of ever seeing a social security check. This is not necessarily a bad thing because that knowledge has motivated me to prepare on my own. I wish however that some of that money taken out of my paycheck could actually go to my own retirement account. A lot of people have plans for fixing social security, I want one that slowly takes the government out of my pocketbook.

I just realized that I just wrote a chapter in a book that is way too long. Therefore I will leave my explanations at that and explain further on specific issues if prodded.

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