The N'West Iowa REVIEW (Sheldon, IA)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Our caucus endorsements

Huckabee: Only true conservative

During their endless march to Jan. 3, it has become abundantly clear to Christians in Iowa that the Republican establishment has taken them for granted. Nearly 40 percent of Republicans in the state identify themselves as Christian conservatives, so it is no surprise that most of the candidates have pandered to this important base, despite contradictory evidence that they have little regard for our core beliefs.

With that in mind, it is only fitting that we throw our support behind the only true conservative remaining in the race: Mike Huckabee. The former governor of Arkansas, he has a long and impressive record of being a unifying force with an ability to effectively work across party lines. He was an effective chief executive while in Arkansas, improving the quality of education in that state, establishing policies that created thousands of new jobs and putting his state first.

The Jan. 3 caucus must be about more than simply picking a compromise candidate who can defeat the Democrats during the next election. It is time that we stop compromising our values and, instead, stand up for the issues that we hold dear.

The establishment New York-Washington Corridor of Mainstream Republicanism has launched a barrage of attacks on Huckabee in recent weeks as his standing in various polls has risen.

Interestingly, their most venomous criticism came this week after Huckabee released a simple, even benign commercial wishing his supporters a Merry Christmas and reminding them that it is the season to celebrate Christ’s birth.

It’s unfortunate that a base of voters that the Republicans find so vital is disenfranchised by the party. Huckabee understands this, saying recently:

"There is a level of elitism that has existed, the chattering class if you will, who lives in that corridor between Washington and Wall Street . . . they were polite to us. They were more than happy for us to come to the rallies and stand in lines for hours to cheer on the candidates . . . But when they got elected, behind closed doors, they would laugh at us and speak with scorn and derision that we were . . . ‘the easily led.’"

Huckabee is easily the most socially conservative candidate running for president. He is a consistent supporter of a constitutional amendments to protect the right to life and the definition of marriage. He is a family-oriented candidate who always has valued the importance of quality education, first-rate health care and a clean environment. He advocated for a comprehensive "Bill of Rights" for veterans. And he consistently reminds voters of the religious and moral imperative that should govern the way government operates.

Huckabee promises to remain vigilant in the important battle against Islamic extremism. "This threat is one that we cannot negotiate, accommodate or placate — it is one which we must eradicate." He is an advocate of the Powell Doctrine, which calls for the use of overwhelming military force to successfully accomplish a mission. He has been consistent in his belief that winning the war in Iraq is essential to curbing terrorism around the world. He is a strong supporter of Israel, which he notes is the only true democracy in the Middle East and a longtime friend to the United States. But Huckabee also doesn’t have the neoconservative view of the world that democracy is an exportable product that can be force-fed on people around the globe. Rather, he thinks America can better promote democracy by providing a good example.

His moderate, evolving views on border security are refreshing during a time when many other candidates seem to be dedicated to a single proposition that hostility is the only path.

Huckabee also is a candidate that should appeal to fiscal conservatives. He has signed the Presidential Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Of course, Huckabee is not a perfect candidate. No candidate ever is or ever will be.

But we believe he possesses qualities that should be appealing and encouraging to conservatives and proudly endorse his candidacy.


Biden: Realist with bipartisan spirit

Most of our regular readers know that while we take a strong interest in politics and public policy, this page tilts to the right. Still, with the caucuses approaching, we felt it appropriate to talk about the Democratic field.

Because of our partisan leanings and concerns about higher taxes, the future of the Middle East and bigger government, we have concerns about the three front-runners in the Democratic race. Barack Obama is an inspirational speaker, but he lacks the experience to be president. John Edwards shares an impressive message on the campaign trail, but it doesn’t always seem to mesh with the personal choices he’s made in his life. And Hillary’s unevenness on so many issues, from her waffling on drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants to her baby bonds and expensive health-care proposals, to her about-face on the war, gives us pause.

In debates and on the trail, we’ve been constantly surprised by the strength of one candidate, however, and we are pleased to recommend him to our Democratic friends: Sen. Joe Biden.

We’re most impressed with Biden’s fresh ideas about ending conflict in Iraq, which would go a long way toward restoring order in a troubled region and allowing us to focus on other hot spots around the world. Biden and Republican Sam Brownback are in favor of separating Iraq into three separate regions controlled separately by Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds but still under the control of a united Iraqi government. The Biden-Brownback plan has been endorsed by the U.S. Senate and has been widely praised by analysts but mostly ignored by the mainstream press.

Biden has had a long and distinguished term as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has a comfortable, distinguished understanding of foreign policy. He is a realist with an ability to work in a bipartisan spirit. He seems honest, hardworking and committed to the country.

Copyright © 2007 Sheldon N'West Iowa Review.  Reprinted by permission (Jeff Grant 12/26/07).

Editor Jeff Grant stated, "These were made after discussions between our publisher, editors and reporters who covered the candidates' visits, often speaking to them in person."