Republican Leadership Conference, Day 1

The speakers for Day 1 of the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans included luminaries such as Mike Huckabee, Michael Williams, and Ted Cruz, along with our own Erick Erickson. I’ll confine my remarks to the presidential candidates.


Newt Gingrich

Newt has a vision and a plan that appeal to this fiscal conservative. President Gingrich would hit the ground running in his first week with a series of executive orders designed to roll back the Leftist domination of the last 80 years. In particular, he proposes to eliminate all of the “czars” and to fight the tyranny of the judicial branch by eliminating federal judgeships.

Newt understands that the only way out of our country’s fiscal abyss is to unleash the incredible potential of the American economy. His plan:

  • No tax increases
  • Set the tax rate on capital gains to zero
  • 12.5% corporate tax rate
  • 100% expensing for new capital equipment
  • Permanently abolish the death tax

Newt would also move to repeal Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, two measures which unnecessarily hobble our economy. He’d replace the EPA with the Environmental Solutions Agency, dedicated to finding workable solutions rather than erecting roadblocks.

It would work. But it’s what Newt didn’t say that troubles me, and would keep me from enthusiastically supporting him as a candidate.

Newt’s embrace of ethanol subsidies may help his chances in Iowa, but it leaves me cold. I’m not sure where he stands on Climate Change.

Then there’s the matter of his disappearing campaign staff. The first test of a presidential candidate is his ability to manage a campaign. If you can’t sustain the loyalty and enthusiasm of paid staff, it raises serious questions about how you’d perform in office.


I want to like Newt, I really do. He’s a deep thinker, a philosopher and historian. We’ll see how this plays out.

Thad McCotter

Rep. McCotter is on the straw poll ballot. Notable quote: “The era of Big Government is not over, it is imploding.”

My reaction? Too cerebral. I see why Dennis Miller likes him.

Gary Johnson

The former governor of New Mexico was a successful entrepreneur and job creator before selling his company and entering politics. Of particular note was his use of the veto – some 750 times, 1/3 of those against Republican bills.

Johnson lost me on his endorsement of the Fair Tax and his push for legalized marijuana. My fear is that legalizing dope would do little to stem the violence on the border, but it would make Americans a lot less concerned about the problem.

More to come in Day 2: Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Stay tuned.

Cross-posted at


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