Early Thoughts on Election 2008

It’s after Labor Day, and I think every serious candidate who is going to get in is in; so it may be time to begin writing more about 2008. At least today.

As a conservative pragmatist, evangelical Christian, and an increasingly rare supporter of President Bush, what do I want in the next president?

I want sound conservative policy that seeks to limit the role of government, accentuates the value of personal accountability and responsibility, recognizes the values of the free market, and respects the role of spiritually infused moral character in the maintenance of a civil society–and in forging a balance between order and freedom.

One Nation, Speaking English
I want the president to seek to maintain the values and identity of America by addressing the central issue of domestic policy, the control of national borders, immigration—legal and illegal—and the return of the melting pot, not a cultural Balkanization that destroys nationhood. Making English the national language would be a nice touch, and important to this goal.

Keep Battling Jihadism
The new president must recognize that the central international issue is the isolation and discrediting of radical Islam and jihadism, and the defeat of the terrorists that emerge. My president should acknowledge that Iraq is a necessary part of that battle.

The president cannot shrink at the possibility that we must take solid, even military action, against Iran, which is clearly toxic and dangerous and the leading sponsor of international terrorism. We must show Iran strength; they think we are weak.

Total Life Ethic
I want the president to have a total life ethic. For me that starts with persuading people to stop choosing abortion. That is the most important priority, and it is separate from our need to reverse Roe v Wade, which I also believe needs to be done.

(Could just one national Democratic candidate mount a campaign to stop women from choosing abortions? The right to choose has to include the right to choose life. That would be a start; but no one has staked out that ground).

I believe part of a total life ethic is raising the standard for application of the death penalty. I like Romney’s standard of “no doubt” on death penalty, which I have written on.

We need to assure a healthy life for our children by reversing environmental degradation and resulting climate change. My favorite candidate will stop ignoring sound and widely accepted science–the overwhelming proof that human-induced global warming is a problem. Just what the solution should be can be debated; but to deny that it is a problem means the candidate is playing to what he thinks the based wants to hear; pure and simple. The Republicans need to talk more about climate; it is hard to discern their opinions, although from what I’ve seen, Guiliani and Huckabee seem the most open to finding solutions.

Marriage is the Sacred Union of a Man and Woman
I think the president should lead the nation to assure that marriage is protected as the sacred bonding of a man and woman, grounded in faith, history, tradition, all that we have known for all time.

But I also would support states’ rights to establish civil unions between any two consenting adults of any gender. If we give two homosexuals special rights in a civil union, however, we need to also provide them to two heterosexual men who establish households, or a man and woman who set up a household but don’t marry (perhaps aren’t even sleeping together). It provides some benefit to those who in some way establish a stable household.

Democrats Fail on Almost Every Measure
None of the Democrats qualify because they’ve all taken the wrong position on Iraq and on abortion.

On the Republicans
I don’t care if Romney is Mormon. I just want him to be more human. His reaction to the Larry Craig incident was heartless; he feels like a Dukakis automan at times. Is it the Massachusetts air? I like his business sense and his innovation. He just needs to loosen up and be real.

I was a supporter of John McCain in 2000 He is an American hero; I like his candor and passion; I know all of the conservative complaints. I just think he is too old. The presidency is too hard; it makes young men old; it makes old men senile.

There is something very attractive about Guiliani’s strength and honesty. I agree with him on far fewer issues than most of the others, but I feel like he’d be a good president.

Fred Thompson looks like the president of the United States, and I like that he has been in the D.C. trenches as counsel to the Watergate committee. I like that he’s shown partisan independence enough to make his own party mad, but that he’s got a great conservative voting record. I don’t think federalism is the answer to as many things as Fred thinks it is—but there are far worse things in a candidate. He’s formidable, and if he can let his personality come through on the stump, and during debates (remember Bob Dole, who couldn’t), he can beat Hillbama.

I like everything I’ve read about Huckabee, except that he comes from Hope, Arkansas, which is kind of weird, with Bill Clinton and all. His Christian faith resonates; I like his openness on the environment. He supports the Fair Tax, which would change America for the better. Anyone who can conquer obesity and stay thin, has shown great strength and courage. That means more than he’s being given credit for. I just don’t think he has enough gravitas to make it. As I’ve said, Romney or Guiliani should select him as VP—for regional balance and all that Huckabee is.

Maybe Brownback another year. He’s a good guy.

I think a lot of Newt Gingrich—he is smarter than all of the rest of them– but I don’t he can overcome the baggage and I don’t think he’ll jump in.

–Jim Jewell

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About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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