Rating the Candidates

My current views on the candidates (Republican and Democrat):

Rick Perry:  Paul Begala recently noted that the people who want Rick Perry for president are those that think George W. Bush is too cerebral.  Wednesday night’s debate again proved his theory correct.  For his extremism and inability to put two sentences together, he fails miserably.  I would not want him to sit in meetings with foreign leaders.  He would not have the respect of a Congress that would think him an illiterate buffoon.  Being a conservative is meaningless if you cannot express it intelligently.  Grade: F

Mitt Romney:  What some people call “flip flopping”, I consider as being pragmatic.  To effectively manage a liberal state with a liberal legislature would require a different pragmatism than to run as a national leader.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I do not want a leader who runs the nation exactly like he runs a state, as they are different.  Reagan was also pragmatic, and made some decisions that would seem liberal today.  Meanwhile, Romney exhibits oratory skill in the debates. He appears presidential.  He focuses on the economy and middle class, where he ought to.  While he is for bigger government than libertarians would like, he could and probably would get our economy back on target.  Grade: B+

Herman Cain: Excellent debater and good 999 program. Concerns about his past, but we need to realize that if he harassed these women, it was over a decade ago, and perhaps it is time to move on.  We all make bad choices in our lifetimes, and to allow a person to move on is a good thing.  Now, if a woman with evidence complains that she was attacked just a couple years ago, that’s another thing.  Such side issues still affect grade slightly.  Grade: B

Ron Paul: Average debater.  Great Libertarian principles.  Good policies for truly shrinking government. Good foreign policy.  Concern on radical statements regarding America at fault for foreign struggles.  Sometimes takes too harsh a libertarian tone in condemning America.  Grade: B+

Newt Gingrich: Excellent speaker. Man of ideas.  Has issues with being a man of too many ideas (100 ideas a day, 10 are good).  Concerns with his inability to stay married for very long.  Shot himself in the foot as Speaker by forgetting the Contract with America, and focusing on destroying Clinton.  Grade: C+

Michele Bachman:  Strong conservative. Decent debater.  Wears the Tea Party label a little too tightly.  Misstatements occasionally affect her.  Forgotten by Tea Party that seems to flit from one hopeful to the next.  Grade: C+

Jon Huntsman: Average debater.  Good governor.  Attacked Romney for wanting to stand up to China, but not offering any other solution. Strange opening commercials on a motorcycle.  Grade: C

Rick Santorum: Articulate, decent debater.  Seems stuck on himself.  Repeatedly states bills he’s been for in the past, though few have passed.  Seeks strong control of federal government for conservative issues, rather than reducing government.  Grade: C

Barack Obama: Likeable person.  Great at running for office.  Terrible at governance.  Often speaks moderately, but ends up with liberal decisions usually (leaves things to Nancy Pelosi or others to decide). Most expensive president in history, with almost no real impact on recovery.  Grade: D

Hillary Clinton: Although probably not running, one to compare with Pres Obama.  While very liberal early on in Clinton administration, she learned pragmatism and moderate action through time as First Lady, in Senate, and now as Secretary of State.  Smart in her opinions.  Had she been elected president, current crisis probably would not be as bad, as she would not have given us Obamacare and useless Pelosi-style pay offs to unions in stimulus.  Grade: B

Your grades on the candidates?

21 thoughts on “Rating the Candidates

  1. I’ve gotta say, you surprised me twice: first, that with the exception of Rick Perry, no GOP candidate scored lower than a C. I guess this is Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average ;)

    But seriously, if this is a grade on how they’d do as president (not just as candidates) I’m surprised that Santorum, Bachman, and Cain scored so high. Santorum and Bachman would be as bad as Perry—he can’t articulate anything, whereas they can adeptly articulate their bad ideas; which is worse? Well, maybe Bachman would be a D and not an F. Cain seems rather ignorant on foreign policy (or even foreign matters, nevermind policies on how to address them). He’d be fine on domestic issues, possible great in some areas, but that wouldn’t make up for failure abroad; C grade at best.

    I like Huntsman better than you do, but I’m not sure how effectively he’d handle Congress so I might agree with your grade here (C or B range for him). As for Ron Paul: I can’t imagine him getting his way on anything in Congress; he’s an extremist compared to almost anyone. Thus, there are very few things that I think he could accomplish as president—most of them good things, to be sure—but ultimately he’d be alone in Washington. Thus, D grade for him overall. (You left out Gary Johnson, who I think seems more pragmatic than Paul.)

    The second place you surprised me was with the grade on Clinton. Now, I’ll admit, I’m a bit skeptical/cynical. I can’t help by wonder if you wouldn’t grade her that high if she were actually the Dem nominee running against, say, Romney—or better yet, Gingrich, in which case you’d actually be advocating her. I can see her inclusion here purely as a foil against Obama: undermine support for him by proposing Democrat alternatives. But I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt….

  2. Sexual harassment is not about sex. It’s about power. If Cain harassed these women (and it’s looking increasingly to be the case), then ultimately he didn’t do it out of sexual attraction – he did it to assert control. It doesn’t matter if it was ten years ago, it should – no, it MUST be brought against him.

    Moreover, the rest of your grades are ridiculous. Not one of the monkeys on the Republican side should be within 100 yards of the presidency.

  3. Hillary Clinton will not be the Democratic nominee. Anyone that even suggests it is living in a dream world where people are hoping everyone will ignore how poor the GOP field is right now. Only crackpots on the Left and people on the Right hoping for a fight would say this seriously. I will bet any of you this crisp twenty in my pocket right now that this will not happen.

    Speaking of a dream world, I don’t believe I’ve seen any serious political commentators giving the GOP group marks as high as yours.

    Perry: D. He’d have been the one to beat if Republicans weren’t trying their hardest to disavow George W. right now.

    Romney: C. The reason every other candidate still has a shot. A large portion of Republicans dislike Romney so much that they’d risk someone like Bachmann or Cain who doesn’t stand a chance. Doesn’t mind telling some pretty big whoppers about Obama.

    Cain: D. A joke. 999 is a joke, and his treatment of women is a joke.

    Paul: B. Great at what he does, and doesn’t have a chance at being the candidate. Rush and Fox News will make sure of that. He’s too extreme for a national race. His followers can’t overload the actual vote like they seem to for every internet poll.

    Gingrich: D. Not as smart as he thinks he is. I have a hard time believing someone with so few values can really lead the supposed party of Family Values.

    Bachmann: D. A zealot. Would probably get beat by a higher percentage than anyone else in this group.

    Huntsman: C. Should be going on the attack. Wasted opportunities. Is probably the guy that would give Obama the best run after Romney. Sane. Doesn’t pander as much as the rest of them.

    Santorum: D+. Slightly better than Bachmann. Has a strange habit of blaming things like the economy on moral issues. Likes war.

    Obama: C. Too moderate. Almost always stops short of going full-on.

    Romney is the only one that could beat Obama if unemployment and the general mood doesn’t get much worse. If it does, even Bachmann could put up a fight. If the vocal GOP gets what they truly want they’d pick Paul and lose in a spectacular fashion. If they value beating Obama over pretty much every single thing they’ve screamed about in the past two years, they’ll nominate Romney.

  4. Count me in as feeling Romney’s ‘flip flopping’ is mostly just pragmatism and (usually) not seeing a problem with it.

    In fact, I think it does make him moderate instead of conservative, which is what I want in a candidate.

    But, of course, even as the leader of the pack, I still predict he doesn’t get the nomination due to the Evanglicals. (Which hopefull intentions of printing a post nomination retraction.)

    I have to disagree with this: “Had she been elected president, current crisis probably would not be as bad”

    Truth be told, it’s bad because it needs to be bad for a correction to take place. So I have my doubts Obama either negatively or positively impacted it more than anyone else can or will. I suspect the only real political choices to make now are will we hurt in the short run or the long run? (i.e. will we pay or will we make our kids pay?)

    And we all know what the only possible answer for a democracy is, so really it’s not a political question at all. Stick it to the kids.

    I have to disagree with this also “Concerns about his past, but we need to realize that if he harassed these women, it was over a decade ago, and perhaps it is time to move on.”

    Here’s the thing: he either did it or he didn’t. If he did, then he’s lying now in a very scary sort of way. Including, apparently, still lying to his wife. So if he did it, then he’s still ineligible for being President in my opinion for the scary lies that are happening now. Even if he’s a changed man, he’s still a lying ******* and should be treated that way.

    If he didn’t do it, then… well… this is an awful thing being done to him. Scary awful. But it’s so effective there is no way he’s still eligible as President unless he can ‘prove his innocents’ in the ‘court of public opinion’. (Which is, of course, not a court.) It just can’t happen now without being too much of a distraction. That’s why these things work, unfortunately.

    Again, I have to say that the current evidence suggests that “most likely” (whatever that means in this context) he did it. Or that is to say, the evidence against him is stronger than the evidence for him at the moment. (Though the future could change that rather quickly if, for example, we could check out some of these women’s stories and show them to be fabrications based on given details.)

    But when you have two actual settlements, four women separately accusing you, two with gag orders on their settlement, and you’re not even the forerunner that the enemy party wants to take down (that would be Romney still in the democrat’s eyes), I just can’t make a good case for you. I’m sorry if he’s innocent and I admit there is a chance he is. But you have to go with the data you currently have when voting.

  5. we need to realize that if he harassed these women, it was over a decade ago, and perhaps it is time to move on. We all make bad choices in our lifetimes, and to allow a person to move on is a good thing.

    I would agree, if he admitted to that behavior and apologized and renounced it. He insists that none of it is true–and maybe it isn’t true, maybe all these women are lying–but it seems unlikely that there’s nothing at all to the accusations. Perhaps the women have ulterior motives, perhaps they’re mischaracterizing what happened (for whatever reason), but making it up out of whole cloth seems the least likely scenario to me. (Five women, all of them lying through their teeth? Where have we seen this before? *cough*Bill Clinton*cough*) In any case, he’s handled it very poorly thusfar. It’s just another example of him not being quite ready for the big leagues.

  6. I’ve done some research on the Cain issue. First off, many corporations will settle such sexual harassment suits out of court, because it is much cheaper. There have been suits gone to court, where the woman sues for $50,000 and the jury awarding millions in damages, as well. Much cheaper and better for one’s image to just settle quietly with a nondisclosure agreement. At least one of the women that recently came out happens to have a 13 year old child born out of a one night stand, approximately the time she claims to have been with Cain, yet she says the boy is not his. So….

    The problem here is if he’s innocent, people are still looking at him suspiciously because of the accusations. I believe in a person being innocent until proven guilty. I have yet to see any strong evidence of any of the claims against him. I work as a hearing officer/judge in the Indiana prison system, and have done so for almost 5 years. I’m pretty good at studying the evidence and determining guilt, or questionable claims. I’ve known people to make wild claims for their 15 minutes of fame before. As for the idea that two of the women have non-disclosure statements, these are by their own choice. They do not have a right to try and end those non-disclosures. Even if they did, it would only become a “he said, she said” event.

    As for the ratings, I like to be kind to the people I grade. Perry has shown himself to be a complete buffoon in the debates. Yes, some of the others have not faired much better, but they still have faired better.

    I am not looking for the perfect candidate. Chances are, if Jesus were to run, many of us would possibly disagree with at least some of his platform….

    I do think most of the Republican candidates could do a better job than President Obama.

    That many Democrats have quietly discussed or even published their desire that Hillary would run against him, is no secret. I think Bill Clinton was a decent president. I think Hillary has shown through her own leadership that she could be as pragmatic as Bill could be, and would seek real results, not just politicking or spending trillions in order to benefit the unions and crony capitalists, as Pres Obama has done. Under Pres Bill Clinton, we saw a balanced budget, welfare reform, and many other good things happen. I believe we would see the same out of a President Hillary Clinton.

    And while the extreme liberals in the Democratic party would want a liberal President Obama instead, the last 3 years have shown he is not a domestic leader, doesn’t understand that “it is the economy, stupid”, and has hired radicals and economic idiots (communist Van Jones, Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner who helped destroy our economy, etc). He left the biggest issues to Nancy Pelosi to decide, and she squandered a chance for real change in order to pay off unions and others. Remember the stimulus was to keep the unemployment rate under 8%? Or that the 2 million jobs saved cost almost $300,000 each? I could go on with the tragedy of errors this presidency has been.

    I would gladly and happily vote for Hillary Clinton over Pres Obama, and over some of the Republican candidates, as well. She’s pragmatic and effective. And that’s what we need right now. I only wish she were running, so we could possibly have a choice between two decent people.

    Nero fiddles while Rome still burns.

  7. At least one of the women that recently came out happens to have a 13 year old child born out of a one night stand, approximately the time she claims to have been with Cain, yet she says the boy is not his. So….

    So…she’s a whore which means she’s also a liar and can’t be trusted?

  8. JJ,
    You said “whore” not me. I was thinking of character issues. Should we trust her any more or less than Herman Cain? Again, I ask for proof, not hearsay. Were there any witnesses?

    I will say that if she were an upstanding member of society and not sleeping around back then, her claims could be taken more seriously. It is like the claims against the Duke Lacrosse team. Everyone believed the woman’s claim of gang rape. The prosecutor looked to be the next governor. The media destroyed reputations. Only when the real evidence came out: DNA in her clothing showed she recently slept with several guys, but not with any of the accused. Are we willing to do the same here? Destroy a reputation over claims with no evidence?

    Here is an accusation made over a decade after the alleged incident. She waited until others made their claims, and the media was aching to hear stories to bring down Herman Cain. How convenient. She’s possibly making some decent money in some of the interviews she’s doing with some of the sleazy tabloids that will pay for her full story.

    Does that make her a liar? No. But it does cast major suspicion on her claims.

  9. “She waited until others made their claims, and the media was aching to hear stories to bring down Herman Cain.”

    That’s a terrible reason to doubt her claims. If her claims are true: she chose not to go public with something that was traumatic and embarrassing; she changed her mind when she saw that her attacker could become president—i.e., she’s trying to protect her country from a horrible man.

    That’s if she is telling the truth. I don’t know. But I think you’re wrong to cast doubt on her for such spurious reasons.

  10. BrianJ,

    I am a skeptic at heart. I have to see evidence, not just claims. Background information helps us to determine the character of a person.
    While you may be right that she waited because it was traumatic, it could also be that it was a lie.
    BTW, here’s some voice detection evidence that shows Bialek was not being truthful, but Herman Cain was:
    Cain innocent of sexual advances

    I’m aware of the voice detection software. They use it in many police departments, as it tends to be more accurate than a polygraph test.

    So that brings me to being more cautious on the whole thing. Accusations do not mean a lot to me without evidence to back it up.

  11. Cain was never a good candidate because of his complete lack of foreign policy knowledge. The charges against him are just the nail in the coffin. I must admit I am becoming more comfortable with the idea of a romney presidency because romney has been showing some signs he is willing to reform entitlements. Romney will be a disaster on foreign policy, but the economy will improve modestly, so things will be slightly better. Losing hope for a Ron Paul surge, unfortunately.

  12. Ram says: “I believe in a person being innocent until proven guilty.”

    You know, here is the thing about that. I don’t believe you mean this.

    Don’t get me wrong. I believe you have thought through the Cain situation and I believe you have as rational a position as anyone. You have looked at the same evidence I have and have drawn a different conclusion. Fair enough. (My claim is really only that probably most neutral people will draw the same conclusion I have — regardless of whether or not it’s true.) So I’m not taking issue with the fact that you believe Cain is “most likely” innocent. I think that’s a fair position.

    But you can’t possibly believe that quote above. No one could. If it were true, then people who wouldn’t vote for O.J. Simpson are being silly because he wasn’t proven guilty in a court of law; regardless of the evidence.

    The problem is that you just cited the legal standard *only for crimes.* In a civil case the winner is the one with the preponderance of evidence. When it comes to deciding who you are going to vote for, I can’t even imagine why I’d follow a crime based legal standard and I don’t believe you would ever do so either if you didn’t already believe Cain to be “most likely innocent”.

    Of course “perponderance of evidence’ is the correct standard here and not “innocent until proven guilty.”

    So can we strike that one from the record please? It’s the sort of thing a person only says if they already believe the person innocent.

  13. Rameumptom: “Accusations do not mean a lot to me without evidence to back it up.”

    Hmm. Your comment #8 is as close as an insinuation can get without being an outright accusation that Bialek is an opportunistic liar.

    Look, I want to side with you on withholding judgment of Cain—I’ve argued for the same course several times over the last week. But I think you go too far.

    Related question: If this kind of character assassination (that you allege is being directed at Cain) is so easy to invent and get away with, why isn’t every male political figure accused of sexual harassment? I do not, to be clear, think this is in any way evidence against Cain, but I do think it is a strong argument against the notion that this kind of attack is perfectly effective and indefensible (as has been suggested in this thread).

  14. Bruce, as a hearing officer, I work on the proposition of “preponderance of evidence.” The key point here is “evidence.” Even though 51% evidence fits under preponderance of evidence for guilt, would you want to ruin someone’s reputation or life over such a close call? I’d like to have the evidence pointing closer to 70% probable before making a conclusion towards guilt.

    If Bialek could bring up several reliable friends or family members that remembered her speaking about the incident back when it happened, that would be evidence.

    I’m not saying she is lying. I’m saying I need to see the evidence and judge from that standard. “he said, she said” is not evidence. It does not even fall under “preponderance of evidence.” It is a claim.

    Should the claim be researched? Yes. And if the evidence supports it, then Cain should step down. If the evidence does not support it, then she should retract her statement.

    BrianJ, my point about Bialek is that character and reliability of a person is one type of evidence. She could very well be telling the truth. But in a criminal case (or civil), character is judged. Would you want a LDS bishop or a drug dealer testifying on your behalf in court? The reality is, the jury will more likely believe the LDS bishop than the drug dealer. Her past makes her less likely to be believed.

    Whether one sees that as fair or unfair does not matter in a court. It is reality. As a hearing officer, I must follow the evidence. And given a preponderance of evidence in the cases I hear, 51% can determine guilty or not. But it still requires evidence.

  15. Some see Romney as pragmatic. I suppose that lets him off the hook for his ends-justify-the-means politicking. Others might see a political panderer, someone who wants to be elected so badly he will reverse the most cherished positions he ever held to do so. Right now, I have absolutely no idea what Romney stands for, other than he wants to be president.

  16. Ram says: “Even though 51% evidence fits under preponderance of evidence for guilt, would you want to ruin someone’s reputation or life over such a close call?”

    Well, if they are innocent, I’d rather not ruin their reputation for life even if there is 99.9% evidence (whatever that means) against them.

    I suspect what you are really ask me is ‘how sure do I need to be’ before I’m going to consider them guilty. Your example of 51% and 70% makes a certain sort of sense at a folksy sort of level. And I basically agree with you – at that level.

    I think the problem is that there is really no such thing as measuring % of surety. It’s a myth and possibly even a dangerous one. We assign percentages like this all the time and they suggested a level of knowledge that we do not have in reality.

    So here is the real truth: I think the evidence is currently against him. I am not attempting to assign a level of surety in a percentage. I don’t believe I can do that and I don’t believe anyone can. If I did have a 51% way to measure his guilt, the truth is that it would feel like a dead heat to me, and I’d not be saying ‘the evidence is against him.’

    I’m perfectly willing to re-evaluate as new evidence comes forth. And hopefully that will happen. But as the moment, I couldn’t personally in good conscience vote for him. And I suspect I’m fairly typical given the current state of the evidence.

    BTW, Ram, I think your response in #14 was well put together. How rare on the internet. ;) And I agree with you that an accuser’s character is a type of ‘evidence’ and therefore relevant. Coming back with ‘hey, your blackening the character of the victim’ is presumptuous precisely because we *do not know* who the victim is with surety.

    The problem is that most people can’t say “I don’t know.” So instead they assume their evaluation of the uncertainty is equivalent to knowledge. Look over people right here on this thread. There are a number of assumptions that we know who the guilty party is. I think this bothers me the most.

  17. Ron Paul’s principals represent my way of thinking. He is the only real alternative to the variations of the same failed thinking by most Republican and Democrat politicians today. I am sticking with Ron Paul to then end, and hope he gets the nomination as the Republican Presidential candidate. If he does not get the nomination, I will vote for a third party candidate like I did last time. Obviously, I cannot explain all the reasons for supporting Ron Paul here, so I encourage you to google him and watch his interviews and speeches. You might be surprised to find he represents your political beliefs also.

  18. Just got out of jail and coming in late on this.

    Notice: Hilary is running. She will push Biden off the ticket for VP before he completely loses his mind.
    Obama win or lose, she is sitting sweet for 2016.

    Cann is actually running for VP. Think how splitting the Black vote in the big Midwestern states will tip the electoral college. Can you spell Penn. Mich. Ohio. Ill. Wisc. Maybe NJ?. Also solidifies South.

    Sexual harassment in the south: Every govt & business department has an agency that investigates these claims and 995% are without merit. It is just another way to sling mud. Live here long enough and you will have a complaint filed against you. This is right out of the Obama play book. His people dreg up these charges at crucial times.Habitually. Don’t fall for it. I do agree Cann doesn’t sound that intelligent.

  19. Meldrum,
    If Mitt Romney wins the nomination, I think Cain would not be his first choice. First off, the scandal Cain is now having to deal with. Second, he just does not understand foreign anything.

    Where Mitt would do well is to ask someone like Condoleeza Rice to be his running mate. Conservative, well liked in the South (from Birmingham), well educated, strong foreign affairs views, clashed with Rumsfeld and Cheney over Afghan/Iraq wars (wins my vote just for doing that), teaches at Stanford (California vote), and is an African American woman. Very compelling woman that could rally the woman vote and the African American vote better than Cain does.

    My second choice would be Marco Rubio, who would get the Hispanic vote, the conservative vote, and turn Florida to Romney.

  20. BTW, unlike Pres Obama who was born in Hawaii and lived overseas, Condi Rice lived through the Jim Crow era in Birmingham. Her best friend was killed in the Church bombing in Birmingham. She rose above all of that to become a concert pianist, foreign affairs professor at Stanford, and Secretary of State. Amazing woman. She saw it all, and so will connect with them better than probably any other Black Republican could.

    I hope her new book is coming out just in time for her to become a VP consideration. I’d love to see her as VP.

  21. Can I spell Cain? Sorry.

    I agree that Rice would be so much better and might have a similar political effect. I think this is why Cain is running. He knows the time is ripe for black person to run.

    Living in the South, I realize that many blacks have slightly different attitudes about women. This is driven by the sad fact that too many don’t have fathers in the picture and mothers have to take up the slack. I don’t know how this might influence the choice in a ballot box, if any at all.

    Even though I think Mitt would do a great job, I don’t think he can win without strong support from the evangelicals and after he wins he will be so vulnerable to the late night TV joksters with is garmies and all.

    It seems to me like the Republicans are saying: Obviously Mitt is the best and at the same time, anybody but Mitt.

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