Four Republican Candidates Competing Strongly Against Obama – Where Do They Stand on the Issues?

James Daniels

Various polls match incumbent President Barack Obama with the GOP field. The polls assess each candidate’s chances of winning in the general election. Lately, these polls have placed 4 candidates in tight competition with the President in head-to-head match-ups. They are Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, and Ron Paul. Their head-to-head statistics among registered voters in the latest Gallup poll are as follows;  

Obama – 47 percent; Perry – 47 percent

Obama – 46 percent; Romney – 48 percent

Obama – 48 percent; Bachmann – 44 percent

Obama – 47 percent; Paul – 45 percent 

A recent poll by RealClearPolitics.com has somewhat similar results with the exception of Rick Perry, who is 6 percentage points behind Obama in that Poll. Ron Paul is closest to Obama in this poll. The latest Rasmussen poll also has Ron Paul as Obama’s top competitor, with Paul being 1 point behind. In general, Romney and Paul fare best against Obama in most polls and Perry and Bachmann also both compete strongly. As these are likely to be the strongest contenders in the GOP Primaries, let’s examine the stances of each candidate on key issues. 

Abortion.

The Republican Party is generally an anti-abortion crowd. In this category, Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul are the most staunch anti-abortion candidates. Bachmann has stated that she is 100 percent pro-life from conception and voted in favor of banning federal funding for abortion. She also co-sponsored a bill to declare pre-born children as people under the 14th Amendment. Similarly, Ron Paul takes the stance that abortion is murder and voted in favor of banning federal funding for abortion. He claims to have delivered over 4,000 babies in his career as a medical doctor and has been given a 0 percent rating by pro-choice group NARAL, indicating that he is a pro-life candidate. Ultimately, he believes that it is a matter for the states to decide.

Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are also anti-abortion. However, they are not as strongly opposed to it as Bachmann and Paul. Perry believes that abortion should be allowed in cases of rape, incest, or for the mother’s health. Romney is a bit weaker on abortion, as he was once pro-choice. He has stated that women who have partial-birth abortions should not be punished. Overall, he has a mixed political record on the issue.

Second Amendment

Bachmann, Paul, and Perry all perform rather well on gun rights. Bachmann called for a ban on the registration and trigger lock law in Washington, DC, supported a cross-state standard for concealed carry laws, and stood against the ban on semi-automatic weapons. Paul supports the right of airlines to decide whether or not pilots may carry firearms, has been given a grade of “A” by the NRA for his pro-gun stances, and also opposed the DC gun laws. Perry has governed Texas, one of the most gun-friendly states, since 2000 and is said to support the Second Amendment. However, his stances on the issue have been limited, so he is not as clear of a pro-gun candidate as Bachmann and Paul.

Mitt Romney is a bit of a mixed bag on the Second Amendment. Romney claims to support both the Second Amendment and the assault weapon ban. He also believes it is OK to ban weapons that threaten police. As any weapon could threaten police, this should raise an eyebrow for gun owners.

HealthCare

Fiscal conservatives generally oppose government interference in the healthcare market. In this regard, Bachmann and Paul score big yet again. Bachmann was the first member of Congress to call for a repeal of ObamaCare. Her statements and votes have generally favored free-market healthcare and opposed government healthcare. Similarly, Paul is also against ObamaCare and is an outspoken advocate of a free-market healthcare system. He is for abolishing Medicare and leaving the issue for the states to decide. 

Rick Perry is also generally in favor of a market-based healthcare system, but is not as strong of an advocate as Bachmann or Paul. He has called ObamaCare a “Trainwreck” and hopes for it to be repealed. However, He has favored government interference at the state level in Texas on occasion, including a $200 funding pool for Texans without health insurance. Romney is weak on this issue, as He was behind the infamous “RomneyCare” in Massachusetts, the first universal healthcare system in the United States and the predecessor for ObamaCare. He has talked the talk of a conservative on this issue, but his actions have been more on the side of the big-government left.

Defense and Homeland Security

This is an area where all candidates are sure to score big with some of their views and draw ire from voters for others. In general, Bachmann, Perry, and Romney tend to favor variations of the status quo. Bachmann favors an unbreakable bond with Israel, which will likely keep the US heavily involved in the Middle East if she is elected. On the home front, she voted in favor of extending the PATRIOT Act’s roving wiretaps and voted against requiring FISA warrants for wiretaps, which is troubling for liberty-minded individuals. Perry is a clear supporter of the Iraq War and favors a robust military to protect the homeland. Romney similarly believes the US should meddle in foreign affairs, favors holding terror suspects at Guantanamo without access to lawyers, and generally favors aggressive action against terrorists.

On this issue, Ron Paul breaks ranks with mainstream Republicans. He is opposed to foreign aid and does not want to US to be the world’s policeman. He favors free trade with all nations and a strong defense of the homeland, but wants to remove our troops from the approximately 900 bases in 135 countries (you read that right). He asserts that Muslims are angry at the US because their lands are occupied and that we’d be angry as well if our lands were occupied. 

Economy

This is where Ron Paul truly shines in the eyes of fiscal conservatives. One of His most publicized agendas is to end the Federal Reserve – a worthwhile idea to many who view the group as nothing more than a cabal of international bankers. He also wishes to end the IRS and abolish personal income taxes. In His 12 terms in Congress, he has never voted for a tax increase.

Romney also does reasonably well compared to the other candidates in this field, except for his RomneyCare plan. He opposed the bailouts and generally favors the market versus the Government.

 

Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry are a bit weaker on this issue. Bachmann voted in favor of stimulus spending, but generally supports limiting the Government’s role in the economy. Perry’s aggressive foreign policy stance would cost taxpayers a huge sum of money and has supported hundreds of millions being spent on healthcare in his own state. While neither candidate is very weak overall and both would be an upgrade over the current President, they are overtaken by Paul’s brand of fiscal conservatism.

The Bottom Line

Each candidate has their strengths and weaknesses in the eyes of various voting groups. Bachmann will be seen as too socially conservative for some and this may hurt her in the general election. Perry has the stigma of being another George W. Bush and also has troubling ties to the Bilderberg Group, which is a group of international elites that is said to have significant influence in world events. Romney will be seen as another John Kerry is some circles, as he has been known to change his stance on issues and his past with RomneyCare may cause problems. Paul will be seen as weak on foreign policy in the eyes of those who prefer and aggressive foreign policy.

As far as their strengths are concerned, each candidate is likely to appeal to different groups of voters. Those who prefer a moderate change to the status quo and those who are passionate about socially conservative values will likely see Bachmann as a viable candidate. Those who thought George W. Bush was a decent President and prefer an aggressive foreign policy will probably like Rick Perry in this regard. Moderates and those who are not looking for a drastic change from Obama will probably view Romney as a good candidate. Finally, those who are completely disgusted with the status quo and view the Government as corrupt and far too large will flock to Paul. 

Does 1 or more of these candidates appeal to you? If not, do you prefer a candidate such as Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, or someone else? Which issues are important to you? Who is your candidate? 

 

Various polls match incumbent President Barack Obama with the GOP field. The polls assess each candidate’s chances of winning in the general election. Lately, these polls have placed 4 candidates in tight competition with the President in head-to-head match-ups. They are Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, and Ron Paul. Their head-to-head statistics among registered voters in the latest Gallup poll are as follows;  

Obama – 47 percent; Perry – 47 percent

Obama – 46 percent; Romney – 48 percent

Obama – 48 percent; Bachmann – 44 percent

Obama – 47 percent; Paul – 45 percent 

A recent poll by RealClearPolitics.com has somewhat similar results with the exception of Rick Perry, who is 6 percentage points behind Obama in that Poll. Ron Paul is closest to Obama in this poll. The latest Rasmussen poll also has Ron Paul as Obama’s top competitor, with Paul being 1 point behind. In general, Romney and Paul fare best against Obama in most polls and Perry and Bachmann also both compete strongly. As these are likely to be the strongest contenders in the GOP Primaries, let’s examine the stances of each candidate on key issues. 

Abortion.

The Republican Party is generally an anti-abortion crowd. In this category, Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul are the most staunch anti-abortion candidates. Bachmann has stated that she is 100 percent pro-life from conception and voted in favor of banning federal funding for abortion. She also co-sponsored a bill to declare pre-born children as people under the 14th Amendment. Similarly, Ron Paul takes the stance that abortion is murder and voted in favor of banning federal funding for abortion. He claims to have delivered over 4,000 babies in his career as a medical doctor and has been given a 0 percent rating by pro-choice group NARAL, indicating that he is a pro-life candidate. Ultimately, he believes that it is a matter for the states to decide.

Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are also anti-abortion. However, they are not as strongly opposed to it as Bachmann and Paul. Perry believes that abortion should be allowed in cases of rape, incest, or for the mother’s health. Romney is a bit weaker on abortion, as he was once pro-choice. He has stated that women who have partial-birth abortions should not be punished. Overall, he has a mixed political record on the issue.

Second Amendment

Bachmann, Paul, and Perry all perform rather well on gun rights. Bachmann called for a ban on the registration and trigger lock law in Washington, DC, supported a cross-state standard for concealed carry laws, and stood against the ban on semi-automatic weapons. Paul supports the right of airlines to decide whether or not pilots may carry firearms, has been given a grade of “A” by the NRA for his pro-gun stances, and also opposed the DC gun laws. Perry has governed Texas, one of the most gun-friendly states, since 2000 and is said to support the Second Amendment. However, his stances on the issue have been limited, so he is not as clear of a pro-gun candidate as Bachmann and Paul.

Mitt Romney is a bit of a mixed bag on the Second Amendment. Romney claims to support both the Second Amendment and the assault weapon ban. He also believes it is OK to ban weapons that threaten police. As any weapon could threaten police, this should raise an eyebrow for gun owners.

HealthCare

Fiscal conservatives generally oppose government interference in the healthcare market. In this regard, Bachmann and Paul score big yet again. Bachmann was the first member of Congress to call for a repeal of ObamaCare. Her statements and votes have generally favored free-market healthcare and opposed government healthcare. Similarly, Paul is also against ObamaCare and is an outspoken advocate of a free-market healthcare system. He is for abolishing Medicare and leaving the issue for the states to decide. 

Rick Perry is also generally in favor of a market-based healthcare system, but is not as strong of an advocate as Bachmann or Paul. He has called ObamaCare a “Trainwreck” and hopes for it to be repealed. However, He has favored government interference at the state level in Texas on occasion, including a $200 funding pool for Texans without health insurance. Romney is weak on this issue, as He was behind the infamous “RomneyCare” in Massachusetts, the first universal healthcare system in the United States and the predecessor for ObamaCare. He has talked the talk of a conservative on this issue, but his actions have been more on the side of the big-government left.

Defense and Homeland Security

This is an area where all candidates are sure to score big with some of their views and draw ire from voters for others. In general, Bachmann, Perry, and Romney tend to favor variations of the status quo. Bachmann favors an unbreakable bond with Israel, which will likely keep the US heavily involved in the Middle East if she is elected. On the home front, she voted in favor of extending the PATRIOT Act’s roving wiretaps and voted against requiring FISA warrants for wiretaps, which is troubling for liberty-minded individuals. Perry is a clear supporter of the Iraq War and favors a robust military to protect the homeland. Romney similarly believes the US should meddle in foreign affairs, favors holding terror suspects at Guantanamo without access to lawyers, and generally favors aggressive action against terrorists.

On this issue, Ron Paul breaks ranks with mainstream Republicans. He is opposed to foreign aid and does not want to US to be the world’s policeman. He favors free trade with all nations and a strong defense of the homeland, but wants to remove our troops from the approximately 900 bases in 135 countries (you read that right). He asserts that Muslims are angry at the US because their lands are occupied and that we’d be angry as well if our lands were occupied. 

Economy

This is where Ron Paul truly shines in the eyes of fiscal conservatives. One of His most publicized agendas is to end the Federal Reserve – a worthwhile idea to many who view the group as nothing more than a cabal of international bankers. He also wishes to end the IRS and abolish personal income taxes. In His 12 terms in Congress, he has never voted for a tax increase.

Romney also does reasonably well compared to the other candidates in this field, except for his RomneyCare plan. He opposed the bailouts and generally favors the market versus the Government.

 

Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry are a bit weaker on this issue. Bachmann voted in favor of stimulus spending, but generally supports limiting the Government’s role in the economy. Perry’s aggressive foreign policy stance would cost taxpayers a huge sum of money and has supported hundreds of millions being spent on healthcare in his own state. While neither candidate is very weak overall and both would be an upgrade over the current President, they are overtaken by Paul’s brand of fiscal conservatism.

The Bottom Line

Each candidate has their strengths and weaknesses in the eyes of various voting groups. Bachmann will be seen as too socially conservative for some and this may hurt her in the general election. Perry has the stigma of being another George W. Bush and also has troubling ties to the Bilderberg Group, which is a group of international elites that is said to have significant influence in world events. Romney will be seen as another John Kerry is some circles, as he has been known to change his stance on issues and his past with RomneyCare may cause problems. Paul will be seen as weak on foreign policy in the eyes of those who prefer and aggressive foreign policy.

As far as their strengths are concerned, each candidate is likely to appeal to different groups of voters. Those who prefer a moderate change to the status quo and those who are passionate about socially conservative values will likely see Bachmann as a viable candidate. Those who thought George W. Bush was a decent President and prefer an aggressive foreign policy will probably like Rick Perry in this regard. Moderates and those who are not looking for a drastic change from Obama will probably view Romney as a good candidate. Finally, those who are completely disgusted with the status quo and view the Government as corrupt and far too large will flock to Paul. 

Does 1 or more of these candidates appeal to you? If not, do you prefer a candidate such as Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, or someone else? Which issues are important to you? Who is your candidate? 

 

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