Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Evaluating GOP Candidates for Kentucky's Fourth Congressional District
I am taking some time today to do something I consider very important: evaluate the candidates for the U. S. House seat for the fourth district in Kentucky. As you might guess, this is where I live. While I am not really a Republican in spirit, I am registered as one and am thus entitled to vote in the upcoming May primary in Kentucky.
I am not going to take the time to visit rallies for each of these candidates in an attempt to find out who they are and what they stand for. In our digital twenty-first century, that should not be necessary. I have simply located the respective campaign website for each candidate, and done my evaluations based on the information I found there. I try to be a rational voter. What follows is my evaluation of the candidates based on today’s research. (It is subject to change if new information or reasoning comes to my attention.)
The good news is that, from what I have seen, none of these candidates is horrible. In fact, in a very general way I would say that they are all above average. We are blessed with decent people running for office around here, something I greatly appreciate about this area.
But at this point, I have a preliminary ranking. So I am going to list the candidates in my current (April 25, 2012) order of increasing preference (so it is not good to be first on this list!) along with a link to each candidate’s website. I also have a few comments on each candidate.
Seventh Place, Marc Carey - Marc touts his Republican credentials, but when I come to his “issues” section he tells me nothing. He promises to say something in the future. Marc, the future is now. The election is next month. We need specifics on where you stand, and we need them yesterday.
If you post some specifics, and they are good ones, you might move up my list. And by the way, it’s very nice that you have been active in the Republican Party. But there are plenty of people with horrible ideas who have been active in the Republican Party.
Sixth Place, Brian D. Oerther - Brian has given me a bare bones outline of his positions. But it is so brief that I am unable to do a significant evaluation. Most of what I see looks very good, as far as it goes. But I need more detail if you want any hope of getting my vote.
For example, under “Reform Government” you say you want to “Cut Government Programs.” Nice, but which ones do you want to cut. Are you willing to cut some of the things that many people clamor for? You don’t even mention the abortion issue, and that is very important to many people around here. Tell us more and we might change our minds.
Fifth Place, Walt Schumm - Walt’s platform is not unattractive. But it is also very limited - not as limited as the preceding two, but limited. And even in what is presented, I find some ambiguous items, and even a somewhat troubling one.
You say you want to “promote a consolidated and viable national energy policy.” What would that include, exactly? Why do we even need an “energy policy”? Why not let people buy what energy they want and likewise allow producers to produce it? You need at least some more explanation.
On the troubling side, you also say that you want to “Balance interests of environmental groups and businesses.” This makes it appear that you do not understand that “environmental groups” have been given special legal standing to file lawsuits to promote their own flawed ideas. The interests of environmental groups do not need to be “balanced” with anything. Such groups should have no special standing.
I do like your mentions of the Constitution. I especially like your point of “asserting that only Congress has the right to declare war.” You are not a bad candidate. We just need more clarity from you. It is not so much who you are as what you think and propose that interests me.
Fourth Place, Alecia Webb-Edgington - From what I can see at her website, if Alecia is nominated, I could vote for her with some enthusiasm. She touts her endorsements by other Republicans, and while that is fine, it does not impress me. Again candidates, I don’t care who likes you. I care about what policies and idea you like.
Alecia, you have some solid ideas, and obviously you have much experience in state government. But sometimes experience in government in a candidate worries me a bit. Rand Paul is a good example of a guy with no office-holding experience who jumped right into the Senate of the United States and is doing a great job if you see defending individual liberty as the job of your Senator - and I do.
One specific part of your “the issues” section that disturbed me a bit was your statement under “Energy” as follows: “I will work to enact an all-of-the-above energy policy to increase America’s energy supply.” If by “all-of-the-above” you are including things like wind and solar, you don’t really understand our energy problems. What we need is a government hands-off energy non-policy.
Third Place, Gary Moore - These top three spots were very close in my mind - almost tied, in fact. But not quite tied. Gary has many good proposals that show a good understanding of what government should, and just importantly, should not, do; of what government can, and cannot, do. Gary, this statement on your “Issues” page under “Job Creation” catapulted you to my top tier of candidates: “The Government does not create jobs - the private sector does.” Well said.
Your Right-to-Life endorsement attracts me to your campaign, as do many of your positions. You are obviously a guy who understands individual liberty.
Second Place, Thomas Massie - Thomas, you and the next guy are nearly tied for first. Your statement on the issues tells me that, if you are nominated, I will be able to vote for you with a very high degree of enthusiasm. It is clear that you understand what is wrong now, and what could be done to fix it. Your ideas on education are especially good.
(Note to the Massie website builders: get rid of those “read more” links on the “Issues” page. There is never that much more, and they just become very annoying. Just extend the page a little. But I didn’t take off any points for that!)
One thing that makes Massie a first-rate candidate is his clear assumption, revealed throughout his statements, that government has definite limits. He is clearly a smart guy, with two degrees from MIT! (I would almost hate to trap such a smart fellow in Congress!)
Thomas, know that in my mind you were only barely edged out of first place by . . .
First Place, Tom Wurtz - Tom Wurtz has a plethora of direct policy proposals that he explains in well-written detail. And they are good, liberty-enhancing ideas from which we would all benefit. You don’t have to guess what Wurtz thinks - its all there for you to read. And it is in a very attractive format, for that matter.
Not only does Wurtz have an in-depth platform, he has additional entries on all sorts of relevant political topics that help me understand not just what he thinks, but how and why he thinks it. This is what I need to understand a candidate. I can believe he wrote all this stuff himself because he has written several books. I saw nothing that I didn’t like - and with me, that is quite something!
Tom, as far as basic idea content is concerned, you were about tied with the second and perhaps even the third place guys. But in reading much on your very attractive website, I picked up something repeatedly that made me put you in first place. You not only understand individual liberty and its blessings, but you demonstrate a certain “butt-kicking” attitude toward promoting our liberty. It is going to take that kind of attitude to save our country.
And while this might be a bit superficial, your picture looks like the old-enough-to-know-the-score but still young-enough-to-pull-it-off kind of guy called for in these troubled times. So you get first place, and my vote in the coming primary, unless I get some new information between now and then.