Positives (from strong to weak):
He is the most consistent conservative. His economic plan is strong. If he fleshed it out with some more detail, it would definitely be the strongest of the candidates. Although he has baggage, all the other candidates have much more. I cannot imagine any other candidate reducing the federal government more than him. His recent debate performances make a good argument that the early problems were caused by back surgery complications.
Bottom line – Perry would be the most reliable conservative Republican candidate.
Newt’s brilliance is easy to see. He thinks well on his feet. he also has the deepest reservoir of national, local, & political knowledge. Despite Perry’s radical improvement in the debates, Newt is much better. Newt may be as good a debater as Ronald Reagan was. Unfortunately, he has baggage. Lots of baggage. I don’t want to go into the details as they are pretty well known. We also know that he views government as a way to solve problems. As president, Newt would have the most spectacular successes and some significant failures. When things go well and he starts relaxing, he loses discipline and drifts toward “Bad Newt”.
Bottom line – Newt is a great candidate, but he would require conservatives to invest in nitroglycerin pills and defibrillator paddles (for the next 9 years).
How can I get excited about the candidate that started his campaign by giving conservatives the middle finger? I look at his record as the governor of Utah. For all his moderate/liberal rhetoric, he has a very financially conservative background.
Bottom line – Huntsman would be a solid candidate. No nose plugs required in the voting booth.
Negatives (from weak to disaster):
The best I can say is that he has been reliably socially conservative and would provide a solid foreign policy. Unfortunately, his “comprehensive” economic plan is missing in action. Although there are 31 bullet points on his website, he only communicates one of them to the public (reduce manufacturing income tax to zero). He seems to view government as an instrument of conservative social policy. Even worse, he champions earmarks and big government.
Bottom line – Santorum is Compassionate Conservatism 2.0™Romney
It is difficult to criticize Romney’s faults because it is a target rich environment. I will only highlight the worst, his legendary flip flops. The DNC put out a great preview of just one of their lines of attack with the campaign ad below. The pro Romney Washington Post fact checkers gave it one Pinocchio, because it was mostly true. If Romney is our nominee, we will see a lot more ads like this.
Bottom line – Romney has less spine than a jellyfish. He has no core beliefs and it shows.
Although Paul has some great ideas, only one of the 620 bills he has sponsored has passed. Worse yet, he is a totally unsuitable candidate due to his foreign policy lunacy. I cannot understand how any conservative voter could support someone who would not object to Iran getting nukes. I am sure that every RedStater knows that Iran is an Islamic theocracy that wants to wipe Israel off the map. Are there Republicans that do not know this?
Paul’s support of conspiracy theories are almost as bad as his foreign policy. He is perfectly happy listening to 9/11 truthers. He is a mainstay of Prison Planet and Alex Jones. The crazy theories in his old newsletters show he has thought this way for decades.
Bottom line – if Paul were to become president, the disasters would show up on day one, but success would never come.