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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Updated: Evaluation of 2008 Presidential Candidates Against US Bishops' Criteria

Updated 1/31/2008: I posted an updated evaluation: http://defendlife.blogspot.com/2008/01/us-presidential-candidates-evaluated.html

Updated 12/01: I posted a new article with a revised scoring system:
http://defendlife.blogspot.com/2007/11/presidential-candidate-evaluation.html

Updated 11/21: I received feedback regarding Ron Paul and Mitt Romney and corrected some of my marks, thus raising both candidates' overall scores (reflected in the revised standings below)
Updated 11/20: I added two more "intrinsically evil" issues: Torture and Racism. This has resulted in a slight reordering of the candidates, most notably moving Giuliani to the bottom:

Here is how the candidates fared (revised 11/21):

  1. Ron Paul (R): 99 points
  2. Alan Keyes (R): 70 (not on the ballot in all states)
  3. Mike Huckabee (R): 69
  4. Duncan Hunter (R): 50
  5. Tom Tancredo (R): 48
  6. John McCain (R): 36
  7. Chris Dodd (D): 25
  8. Dennis Kucinich (D): 22
  9. Mitt Romney (R): 10
  10. Joe Biden (D): 5
  11. Fred Thompson (R): 4
  12. Hillary Clinton (D): (-11)
  13. John Edwards (D): (-13)
  14. Bill Richardson (D): (-15)
  15. Barack Obama (D): (-15)
  16. Rudy Giuliani (R): (-28)
In an analysis based on criteria found in the "Faithful Citizenship" document recently issued by the US Catholic Bishops, I attempted to complete a somewhat objective comparison of 2008 Republican and Democrat presidential candidates.

I evaluated their positions on 30 different issues, eight of which were the issues involving potentially "intrinsically evil" positions and 22 which were other important issues. I marked each candidate as supporting the Catholic position ("Y"), not supporting the Catholic position ("N") or unknown position ("?"). I then weighted the positions as follows: +10 per "Y" and -10 per "N" on "intrinsically evil" issues and +1 per "Y" and -1 per "N" on the other issues. Unknown positions were counted as zero points.

Here is how the candidates fared (see revised standings above):

  1. Keyes, Alan: 60 points (not on the ballot in all states)
  2. Paul, Ron: 60
  3. Hunter, Duncan: 50
  4. Huckabee, Mike: 49
  5. Tancredo, Tom: 48
  6. McCain, John: 16
  7. Thompson, Fred: 14
  8. Dodd, Chris: 5
  9. Kucinich, Dennis: (-8)
  10. Romney, Mitt: (-10)
  11. Biden, Joe: (-15)
  12. Richardson, Bill: (-25)
  13. Giuliani, Rudy: (-28)
  14. Clinton, Hillary: (-31)
  15. Edwards, John: (-33)
  16. Obama, Barack: (-35)
The "intrinsically evil" (10 points each) issues were:
  • Protect all unborn (no exceptions; unborn protected under the Constitution)
  • Oppose Euthanasia
  • Oppose Research that Results in Embyonic Destruction
  • Oppose all Human Cloning
  • Oppose targeting of Noncombatants (Use of nuclear weapons or landmines)
  • Marriage is One Man, One Woman; Oppose "domestic partnerships"
  • Oppose Use of Torture (added 11/20/07)
  • Oppose Racism (added 11/20/07)
The other issues (1 point each) were:

  • Oppose the Death Penalty
  • Support a "Responsible Transition" in Iraq & Afghanistan
  • Work to avoid war and promote peace while dealing with terrorism
  • Ethical treatment for undocumented immigrants & family reunification
  • Temporary worker program with clear path to permanent residency for immigrants
  • Secure borders from illegal immigration
  • Support responsible use of media
  • Affordable health care
  • Health policies allow for conscientious objection
  • No contraceptive or abortive mandates in health programs
  • Choice in education
  • Support for religious schools
  • Support fair wages & programs to decrease unemployment
  • Support affordable housing
  • Welfare should reduce poverty & dependence
  • Support good social security program
  • Support sustainable agriculture & food security for all
  • Good environmental policies that respect God's creation
  • Support faith-based groups
  • Work to alleviate global poverty
  • Promote religious liberty and other basic human rights worldwide
  • Peaceful resolution in Israel, support Palestinian State & Lebanon's sovereignty
If you have a Google account, you can view my spreadsheet analysis here:
http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pSaR9kLq8ruM0QDiil2RLJA&hl=en

If you know of any corrections of candidates' positions or know of their positions where I have unknowns please let me know.

63 comments:

Joe Healy said...

It's interesting to note that:

Mitt Romney falls below two of the Democrats;
Rudy Giuliani falls below four of the Democrats;
Hillary Clinton is only a few points lower than Rudy Giuliani;
Barack Obama scored the lowest overall;
The top three Democrats in the polls are the bottom three in this analysis;
The top four Republicans in the polls are the bottom four Republicans in this analysis;
The top five candidates in this analysis are averaging a combined 15% support in the polls.

Ben Decker said...

McCain beats Hillary head-to-head in national polls. No one else can say that. McCain has a pro-life record. Brownback likes him. He has the most experience out of all candidates for sure with being a US Senator since 1986. People should rethink the Senator from Arizona. With a young runningmate like Senator Brownback, he may be just what the pro-life movement has been praying for to succeed the current President --who the pro-life movement has also, hopefully, been praying for.

Joe Healy said...

Ben - Great comments. It will be interesting to keep up with this as the Republican candidate pool shrinks and running-mates are added.

The danger with McCain is that he thinks it's OK for a woman to abort her child if that child was conceived by rape or incest or if the child could negatively affect her health. That's a dangerous slippery slope that has been condemned by the Church.

McCain also supports embryonic stem cell research, which destroys the tiniest of human persons and turns them into objects to be used for other people's good. I would have trouble supporting McCain in the primary when there are candidates with much better positions on the ticket.

On the other hand, he is much better than any of the Democrat candidates, and the US Bishops' document says that we can justifiably vote for a candidate who has an unacceptable position if there are other morally grave reasons for doing that. This just may be that case. But we would still be required to point out that candidate's unacceptable positions and work for improvement.

However, it would be morally wrong to vote for McCain specifically because he supports embryonic stem cell research or abortion exceptions, but the case could be made that you could licitly vote for him DESPITE those positions.

Ben Decker said...

You are right about those compromises and that is why I adamently supported Bush over McCain in 2000. However, 8 years later, we have a different political climate...unfortunately. Like in 2000, the majority in our democracy now wants change-except this time the majority is upset with conservatives. We should also not forget that Bush barely won in 2000--after all that Clinton did. McCain is electable and fairly pro-life. I think as conservatives and pro-lifers especially, we really need to be careful now b/c of the current political climate in our democracy...a democracy full of people with wide-ranging political views. We are leaning heavily to a leftist, big government, pro-abortion US president. As a young man with a young family, the next 8 years are very important to me. I hope that no one tries to split the vote to "teach the Republican party a lesson." I wish politicians were teachable like children...Since they are not, let's please think about the next 8 years very carefully...so many unborn don't stand a chance with Hillary...not to mention young businessman!

Anonymous said...

You left out the intrinsic evils, racism and torture.

And the point system is misleading. The bishops said Catholics can't ever support an intrinsic evil. So each opposition to an intrinsic evil should be worth more than the total of all the non-intrinsic-evil issues. Something like 25 points each.

Anonymous said...

If each intrinsic evil is weighted at 25 points (outweighing the combined weight of the non-intrinsic evil issues), Ron Paul comes out on top and McCain and Thompson switch places.

D Dines said...

We need to push this analysis in all our parishes, perhaps in a leaflet. Most people don't have time to do the thoughtful analysis done here. I plan to bring this to my pastoral council at Immaculate Conception in Dayton, OH. Thank you.

That said, the writing is on the wall. Please open your heart and mind and visit http://www.catholicsforronpaul.com and http://www.ronpaul2008.com for more information on this truly unique and hopeful candidate.

Thank you,
David Dines and family

Joe Healy said...

I may add racism and torture to the issues that can be intrinsically evil.

Regarding racism, I think all of the candidates are against it, so that issue will most likely just add the same number of points to all of the candidates.

Regarding the use of torture, that may have an impact. It appears that most of the Republican candidates are not against using it when "necessary" and that most of the Democrat candidates are against using it.

Regarding the point system, I think that as long as the potentially intrinsically evil issues are given much greater weight than the other issues, we get a relative ranking and a feel of how the candidates stack up against the Catholic position on the issues. Maybe I'll add a second listing showing how the candidates stack up if the major issues are worth 25 points.

James said...

On the issue of "Support for Religious Schools" You have Ron Paul down as "N". After reviewing his campaign website I quote

"To help parents with the costs of schooling, I have introduced H.R. 1056, the Family Education Freedom Act, in Congress. This bill would allow parents a tax credit of up to $5,000 (adjustable after 2007 for inflation) per student per year for the cost of attendance at an elementary and/or secondary school. This includes private, parochial, RELIGIOUS, and home schools."

I think there should be a “Y” in that column.

http://www.ronpaul2008.com/issues/education/

Joe Healy said...

James - I made the change. The revised standings posted today reflect the change (+2 points for Ron Paul).

Anonymous said...

Regarding "racism," do you think the concerns mentioned in this article have been sufficiently addressed? I imagine if Paul gains more prominence on the national stage the issue will come up again. This article which appeared in 1993 on the Usenet group soc.culture.african.american, assuming it is a faithful reproduction of the original, would appear to be the source of the referenced remarks about "criminal" black men.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the analysis you have done regarding the USCCB's document and the 2008 Presidential candidates.

A few things should be remembered in regard to Bishop's conferences and their statements. Conferences do not have any magisterial authority, nor do they have ecclesial status, so their statements are to be taken with a grain of salt as experience has shown that statements by bishops conferences can be watered down versions of magisterial teaching and their statements can exceed the scope of their competent authority. For example, a bishop's voter's guide has magisterial status, but a conference voter's guide doesn't. This is why at Catholics for Ron Paul, we look to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church to get the most authoritative principles.

That said, in looking at your spread sheet, there were some designations for Ron Paul that I thought could be better clarified. As you probably know, Ron Paul has a very specific philosophical approach to many of these issues - an approach that I argue is more in harmony with Catholic Social Teaching than any other candidate on my blog Catholics for Ron Paul. So for many of these issues, Ron Paul is for the good that the bishops are seeking, but his means differ very much from the standard "government program" solution. His solutions look at deeper factors and that is where his policy finds its genesis. So obviously, I'm advocating for more "yes" marks here, but I think they are justified.

Thank you for taking the time to consider these points:


"Responsible Transition" in Iraq & Afghanistan - The bishops cite a number of points here: We support a "responsible transition" that ends the war a) in a way that recognizes the continuing threat of fanatical extremism and global terror, b) minimizes the loss of life, and c) addresses the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, the refugee crisis in the region, and d) the need to protect human rights, especially religious freedom. e) This transition should reallocate resources from war to the urgent needs of the poor.

On a), Ron Paul is the only candidate who is basing his policy on Catholic Just War Doctrine and a return to these principles. Just War requires a just cause and a just conduct of war. If the cause is unjust, how can we legitimize continuing an unjust war based on "transition" rhetoric? The best means of transitioning to peace is to cease engagement and occupation. Ron Paul is also the only candidate who is basing his policy on what the CIA and Terrorism experts tell us about the causes of terrorism - it is occupation by a foreign power. So how do you end the war in a way that recognizes the causes of global terror? Stop the war, come home and take our bases with us. When we stop occupying Islamic countries the world will grow safe from terrorism. This is the intelligence that our experts have given us. Obviously, ending the war ASAP is the best way to minimize the loss of life for b) of both Americans and the Iraqis. As for c) and d) these are important values, but it is the role of humanitarian agencies to offer this help not the US Military or the US Federal Government. Private aid can and should be sent to Iraq, but it becomes problematic when the Government is doing it, because it no longer becomes humanitarian but politically motivated. And for e) Ron Paul is the only candidate advocating that we end the war and retract our empire of 700+ military basis across the globe, and bring those resources home to pay for our looming financial bills domestically. So in essence, this is exactly and explicitly what Ron Paul is calling for those resources to be used for.

So, I think that Ron Paul is advocating for a "Responsible Transition" - one based on Just War, sound intelligence and policy. He effectively sees Vietnam as the model. We just came home (from that unjust war too) and now we are friends with them, we trade and we build good will through tourism, etc. An irresponsible transition is one that doesn't recognize the root issues and spreads this action out for anther 2 to 5 years of "transition." I think Ron Paul should be a "Yes" for this.
http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul387.html
http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul390.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P_vHlufc0Y&feature=related


Ethical treatment for undocumented immigrants & family reunification - Frankly, I'm at a loss as to how Ron Paul's immigration policy is not "ethical" or promotes the unethical treatment of undocumented immigrants. Ron Paul's policy is entirely based on fairness and the rule of law. He is not against immigration, but is for legal and orderly immigration. Massive disorderly immigration is and will tear America apart. Ron Paul is in favor of the family reunification programs as long as it is legal. There is nothing unethical about enforcing the law. My grandmother was deported twice for illegal immigration. She eventually did it the right way and became a citizen. So on this issue, he should get a "Yes."

Temporary worker program with clear path to permanent residency for immigrants - I think this is one of the areas where the bishops have it wrong. Between the principles of the moral duty to obey the civil law and authority, the responsibility of the state to maintain social order and the natural right to migrate, the balance is to have an open immigration system that creates orderly entry and that is obeyed by all. What the temporary worker program does is reward illegal behavior and penalizes those immigrants who have taken the legal path from the start. It also creates incentives to come here illegally and doesn't deal with the root of the problem. When the bishops advocate for specific policy models, they lose creditability because they are speaking outside their scope of competence. Can they really say that this program is objectively more suited to promoting the common good than Ron Paul's policy? This is one issue where, I think that the bishops are over reaching and perhaps shouldn't be included in your list. If you read the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church you will see that the Church magisterium advocates no specific models, but only principles. The bishops conference here is advocating a specific policy model - it is beyond their competency to judge. This policy is effectively an amnesty and Ron Paul is against rewarding illegal activity.

Support responsible use of media (oppose religious discrimination & access to pornography) - Here again the bishops are over reaching by suggesting that federal government ought to regulate and censor media, despite such a policy being contravened by the Constitution. Should media be regulated? Yes, but not by government. The better path is for citizens to be politically active on a local level, to work together to seek voluntary and market/contractually based solutions. The FCC has currently done a terrible job at enforcing decency laws. The better path is to have market based solutions where people have incentives to use media responsibly. This is effectively Ron Paul's position. Again this is a policy matter which doesn't address the root causes of the problem. Our country's problems with pornography are a result of social engineering that brought about the sexual revolution. It is our job and the role of the Church to transform our culture, not the government because they will abuse that power. This is an area where Ron Paul should have a "yes" - but recognizing that his methods are different.

Affordable Health Care for All, Health care policies allow for conscientious objection, and No contraceptive or abortive mandates in health programs - Ron Paul is the only medical doctor running for President and he is the only candidate who is addressing the structural problems that are plaguing our health care system. He should have 3 "Yes" marks for all of these. Ron Paul addresses the reason why health care is unaffordable for so many - it is government intervention (in the 1970's) that artificially created the 3rd party payer system. He knows because he lived through it. The following will provide the background as to what his policy position is. It is about restoring the doctor patient relationship and restoring the incentives that keep costs low and affordable to all.
http://dartreview.com/archives/2007/10/14/ron_paul_md_speaks_on_health_care.php
http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul339.html
http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul407.html
http://www.ronpaul2008.com/issues/health-care/

In addition, Ron Paul's policies are essentially libertarian, so he is going to defend the right of conscience and he is against abortion. Overall, he would do away with the kinds of programs that are used to create these mandates and violations of conscience. So he should have 3 "yes" marks for health care.

Support for religious schools - Ron Paul should have a "yes" for this item. Ron Paul supports the State's right to create a voucher system, but is against a federal program because it would attack religious schools through regulation and control of religious education. Ron Paul is in favor of eliminating the Department of Education and returning the power of education to parents in their local communities. As you might know the Dept. of Education system creates a more difficult environment for religious schools and is one of the reasons so many Catholic schools have had to close. Eliminating this Federal department would indirectly be a great support for religious schools. His also supports the "Education Improvement Tax Cut Act ( H.R. 611) that provides a tax credit of up to $3,000 for in-kind or cash donation to public, private, or home schools." This is a measure that puts control of education in the hands of parents and permits them to make the choice about religious school education and not a federal bureaucrat. Also, Ron Paul is perhaps the candidate who most supports homeschooling. Ron Paul should get a "Yes" mark for this item.

Support fair wages for all workers & programs to decrease unemployment - I'm amazed that you gave Ron Paul a "No" for this. Ron Paul is a self educated expert on economics, particularly in the Austrian school of economics. Of all the candidates, his solutions recognize the deeper structural issues that lead to wage depression and unemployment. 1st - he is about the reform of our monetary system. You can't have fair wages when you have a monetary unit that is debased by government policy. It doesn't matter what amount you are paid if that amount loses value in your savings account because of the " inflation tax" and everything gets more expensive. 2nd, the way to create fair wages is by eliminating the federal income tax. Currently an American works close to 6 months of the year for the government - that is how much taxation the Government is taking. If you eliminate income tax, that is a huge boost to what is taken home each payday. 3rd, wages are determined by the market place, but our international trade agreements like NAFTA, etc. has artificially distorted the American labor market to drive down prices. Ron Paul would take us out of these agreements which only serve special interests to the detriment of Americans. A healthy economy based on sound economic principles will grow and so too will employment. The false idea here is that a Government program will solve this problems. The evidence shows that it is government policy that has created these problems. Ron Paul is the only candidate who has real policies that will correct these problems. He has a 83% rating by Global Trade Watch for his pro-fair trade positions. Frankly, I'm surprised that the bishops have not addressed the issue of the devaluation of our currency and how this is a structural injustice that directly attacks the poor and middle class to the benefit of special interests. He should have a "Yes" mark for this issue more than any other candidate.

Support Affordable Housing for all - Ron Paul should get a "Yes" for this issue too, but not via big government programs, but rather by understanding the root problems. Housing is unaffordable because of the fiscal policies of the government and the Federal Reserve. Have a look at this analysis. Between 1959 and 2007 the median price of a house increased by 1,700% - the reason is because of our monetary policy and the way that the Federal Reserve has created housing bubbles through that policy. See this graph, which shows when all this began to happen. You can see that the root of this problem is in monetary policy and central banking that price fixes the cost of credit. Housing is not a true asset, it shouldn't grow in value by 10% in 12 months because there is not objective value created. However, an artificially low lending rate will create speculation and drive up housing. So how do you fix this so that we can have affordable housing for all? You have to fix the monetary system and Ron Paul is the only candidate running on this issue. One of the above videos on the inflation tax discusses the "housing bubble" that the Fed has created. Ron Paul is the only person addressing this, sound monetary policy will restore sanity to the housing market and it will become affordable because the speculative incentives will no longer be in place. He should have a "Yes" mark.

Support sustainable agriculture & food security for all - Ron Paul is a country doctor and his district is rural. He is constantly re-elected even though he is against government farm subsidies. The farmers who vote for him understand that subsidies destroy their markets. His agricultural policy is based on sustainability rather than artificial incentives that hurt small farmers. http://www.house.gov/paul/press/press98/pr033198.htm He should have a "Yes" mark.

Support faith-based groups - Ron Paul should have a "Yes" mark here. He is a defender of the Constitution and the 1st Amendment. He wants to repeal all the judicial legislation that has erected barriers to religious expression through the We the People Act - stating that Congress should pass no law prohibiting the religious expression of the states and faith-based groups. He is against any federal funding of faith-based groups because it is prohibited by the Constitution and would only lead to government control and curtailing of the faith-based mission. He is in favor of the States funding faith-based groups where this kind of activity is permissible under the constitution. Ron Paul should have a "Yes" for this one too.


Work to alleviate global poverty - Ron Paul should get a "Yes" mark here because his policies are about removing the impediments to global development. He is against World Banking (which has created the poverty with their lending practices), he is against global trade agreements which hurts both Americans and the global poor. However he follows the Constitution and thinks that it is the job of voluntary associations and Churches to send aid, not the Federal Government. What the Government should do is get out of the kind of trade deals that hurt the global poor and seek to have fair trade practices. Global Trade Watch has given Ron Paul a rating of 83% for his policies in support of fair trade and helping lift the global poor. He should get a "Yes" mark.

Peaceful resolution in Israel protecting their security, a viable state for Palestinians & respect for Lebanon's sovereignty - Ron Paul's policies are non-interventionist. He believes that Israel's security is its own business not ours. Our foreign policy should be humble and not try to fix the world's problems. Frankly, I'm surprised that the bishops are advocating that we protect Israels security when they have their own army and nuclear bombs. Ron Paul's policies would actually dis-entangle America from Israel and that might go a long way towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict there. But really this shouldn't be an issue in your list because it goes beyond the bishop's competency.

Thank you again for taking the time to review these issues.

Ron Paul is the one candidate whose message embodies Catholic Social Teaching.

Thank you for your work.

Joe Healy said...

Thank you for the feedback regarding Ron Paul. I evaluated your comments and modified my spreadsheet accordingly; the scores at the top of this post reflect the updated scores.

Regarding the two areas where you feel the US Bishops overstepped their bounds (temporary worker program and support for Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon), I might agree with you, but seeing as they are only 1-point questions, I will leave them for now.

Joe Healy said...

M.Z. Forrest: I'm the one who posted the candidate rankings and did the spreadsheet evaluation. Having taken your opinion on the point system into account, I re-scored the candidates based on your suggestion of +3 for agreeable positions, -2 for disagreeable positions, and -5 for disagreeing with the serious positions. Here is how they came out:

Paul, Ron 82
McCain, John 50
Keyes, Alan * 49
Huckabee, Mike 46
Hunter, Duncan 40
Tancredo, Tom 36
Romney, Mitt 25
Dodd, Chris 21
Clinton, Hillary 16
Giuliani, Rudy 14
Kucinich, Dennis 13
Biden, Joe 13
Edwards, John 11
Thompson, Fred 10
Richardson, Bill 5
Obama, Barack 5

Ron Paul is still way out on top. The others get shaken up a bit.

Peace,

Joe

Christopher Sarsfield said...

Catholic Social Teaching is NOT the Austrian School of Economics. Some Catholics who support Liberalism in the economic sphere are very honest in admitting that the Church is wrong on these issues, and more than that the Church has no right to teach on these issues because they are about science, the example used I believe was 2+2=4. The Austrian School unambiguously disagrees with all the great social encyclicals of the last century. I support Ron Paul, but he is wrong on many economic issues, and in disagreement with all the Popes that have written on Economics.
Finally, with regard to immigration: if you were a head of household in Mexico, and could not support your family, not only would you have the right to come to America and work (legally or illegally) but you would have the obligation to do so. Just as you would have the right to steal in order to feed your family, if there was no other way to do so. We need a sane immigration policy in this country that recognizes the right of migration (which is in taught in documents of the Holy See, ie they are magisterial). Of course this right is not absolute and should be balanced against the right of a country to protect itself from terrorism, and have an orderly immigration process. However, the right of the individual to provide for his family via migration must be recognized if you are to consider your position Catholic.

Tony M said...

I love the general idea here, but totally DEPLORE the method of carrying it out. You simply gloss over way, way too many variables, imponderables, and nuances for your numbers to be useful in the current form.

For example, in opposing abortion: It is possible for a person to be 100% total in opposing abortion, but still not be in favor of a Constitutional amendment. Or, to be in favor of a Constitutional amendment eventually, but not yet. Or to want laws against abortion to be within the states' powers, not federal at all. EVERY ONE of these positions is totally consistent with Catholic teaching.

Or, in the war. It is possible for a person to be absolutely, totally in agreement with the Vatican's position on whether we should have gone to war, but have doubts about whether course A or B will be more fruitful and less destructive now that we are in there. There is no definitive "Catholic" position about this question, as there is about war as a generality. It is a matter of prudence, not doctrine.

Or, a candidate may agree that torture is always wrong, but disagree with some of the bishops about whether a given prison usage constitutes torture. Well, some of the bishops are pretty extreme about that - probably ALL of the candidates disagree with some of the bishops about what constitutes torture. How do you nuance that in the numbers? Maybe one candidate should get a -7 instead of a -10, or +4 instead of +10 on that.

Lastly, even with respect to those acts which are intrinsically immoral, some are more evil, and some are more gravely disruptive of the common good (or of the polity) than others. They just don't have the same weight. Also, although two issues may be about actions which are intrinsically immoral, one may be in an area where the truth is readily accessible to all, with unaided natural reason, whereas the other may be more obscured to those without faith. Or, error in one may make one inherently unable to rule at all, where as error in the other simply makes one an evil individual. Neither the Pope nor the bishops have ever tried to represent that these constitute obstacles to the ability to rule in an equal degree.

I work with statistics professionally. It is my job to know when a set of numbers fails of a reasonable capacity to reflect the actual known facts that underly the numbers. This is such an example here. These numbers give an appearance of intelligibility and precision which the underlying knowledge SIMPLY DOES NOT BEAR.

You would do far, far better to set up a list which actually states the specific stance each candidate has on the topic, and let people make their own judgments on weight, suitability, validity, and significance. In any case, an actual published voter's guide put out by bishops has to refrain from applying a measurement of how well they adhere to Catholic teaching, or the bishop will lose tax-exempt status for the diocese. You can bet they will never do that.

Tony M said...

I love the general idea here, but totally DEPLORE the method of carrying it out. You simply gloss over way, way too many variables, imponderables, and nuances for your numbers to be useful in the current form.

For example, in opposing abortion: It is possible for a person to be 100% total in opposing abortion, but still not be in favor of a Constitutional amendment. Or, to be in favor of a Constitutional amendment eventually, but not yet. Or to want laws against abortion to be within the states' powers, not federal at all. EVERY ONE of these positions is totally consistent with Catholic teaching.

Or, in the war. It is possible for a person to be absolutely, totally in agreement with the Vatican's position on whether we should have gone to war, but have doubts about whether course A or B will be more fruitful and less destructive now that we are in there. There is no definitive "Catholic" position about this question, as there is about war as a generality. It is a matter of prudence, not doctrine.

Or, a candidate may agree that torture is always wrong, but disagree with some of the bishops about whether a given prison usage constitutes torture. Well, some of the bishops are pretty extreme about that - probably ALL of the candidates disagree with some of the bishops about what constitutes torture. How do you nuance that in the numbers? Maybe one candidate should get a -7 instead of a -10, or +4 instead of +10 on that.

Lastly, even with respect to those acts which are intrinsically immoral, some are more evil, and some are more gravely disruptive of the common good (or of the polity) than others. They just don't have the same weight. Also, although two issues may be about actions which are intrinsically immoral, one may be in an area where the truth is readily accessible to all, with unaided natural reason, whereas the other may be more obscured to those without faith. Or, error in one may make one inherently unable to rule at all, where as error in the other simply makes one an evil individual. Neither the Pope nor the bishops have ever tried to represent that these constitute obstacles to the ability to rule in an equal degree.

I work with statistics professionally. It is my job to know when a set of numbers fails of a reasonable capacity to reflect the actual known facts that underly the numbers. This is such an example here. These numbers give an appearance of intelligibility and precision which the underlying knowledge SIMPLY DOES NOT BEAR.

You would do far, far better to set up a list which actually states the specific stance each candidate has on the topic, and let people make their own judgments on weight, suitability, validity, and significance. In any case, an actual published voter's guide put out by bishops has to refrain from applying a measurement of how well they stack up against to Catholic teaching, or the bishop will lose tax-exempt status for the diocese. You can bet they will never do that.

Catholics for Ron Paul said...

I agree that Catholic Social Teaching is not equal to the Austrian School of economics. And I also agree that it is the Austrian School that is off when it comes to divergent issues with CST. Economics is about the choices of human persons - therefore it is fundamentally under the moral sphere, and not a cold science. As such economics must reflect on moral standards and this means regulatory models (be they on the local, associative, or state levels) That said, an economic system is not going to produce utopia - but an economic system that is in accord with the natural law will better contribute to human flourishing in its fullest sense. That said, there is much to laud in the Austrian School - most especially hard currency.

Go Ron Paul!

Joe Healy said...

Tony M: I agree that my analysis leaves a lot to be desired. I wish it were as simple as making a quick spreadsheet with a few formulas and we could have our answer, but it isn't. I recognize the limitations of my evaluation.

However, doing this type of analysis can help separate the wheat from the chaff. It can help us take a more objective view of the candidates rather than leaving it to emotion or what the national media are shoving down our throats.

This was an interesting exercise that I think has some value. This has been a stepping-stone for a lot of valuable discussion, and I hope everyone goes deeper into the positions of each of the candidates, learns what they stand for, and makes an honest decision in the coming elections.

Madd Chatter said...

The largest flaw of this project is the idea that the USCCB is completely correct in their assessment of the issues. Upon reading the document, the USCCB is neither here nor there on taking a firm stance on any issue of serious moral consequence, but seeks to have it both ways. They assert that one must support an end to abortion, and then demands that the voter must not be a "single issue voter".


Something the USCCB document fails to address is the concept of subsidiarity, or the idea that big government should not do what charities, private business, the market, and other organizations may do for themselves.

The USCCB supports the idea that healthcare is a basic human right, and that we are to vote to support that every man, woman, and child receives adequate healthcare. They do not define exactly what needs to be done, but one may extract that the USCCB means to support a universal healthcare system. This is a system which has failed in every country which has tried, and only further demonstrates the necessary practice of subsidiarity.

The USCCB is a flawed institution, created by men, which has become greedy and prideful and posits itself as a member of the hierarchy of the Church. It would do more good for the country if they suggested that we all read Gaudium et spes or Evangelium Vitae to help us discern the best candidate.

phil said...

While Ron Paul seems like a candidate that fits well in line with much Catholic social teaching, I think we need to seriously consider and ask questions about the means by which he proposes to address the evil of abortion.

Paul would like to overturn (invalidate?) Roe vs. Wade on grounds that it was not addressing a constitutional issue and is riddled with unsound, even ludicrous legal and philosopical judgements. That's nothing new, even the pro-choice folks know that Roe vs. Wade stands on shaky ground, that's why they're always looking to strengthen their position with further precedents. Here's what I'd like to consider though: Ron Paul, after abolishing (however that's done?) Roe vs. Wade as the precendent "law" regarding abortion, would then have a federal "hands off" policy, allowing the states to make their own laws regarding abortion. No federal laws.

So, my questions:
Can we afford to have the resulting disunity in our nation?
Will states with legal abortion become havens of death? Shouldn't we be concerned about the sanctity of life in our nation, not just our state?
Is the "right to life" a federal issue? A constitutional issue? Is murder?
Shouldn't the standard that acknowledges the sanctity of life be something we can claim as part of our national identity?

I'm sure there are other questions in this issue too, but I'd like to hear some thoughts please.

Anonymous said...

"The USCCB supports the idea that healthcare is a basic human right, and that we are to vote to support that every man, woman, and child receives adequate healthcare. They do not define exactly what needs to be done, but one may extract that the USCCB means to support a universal healthcare system. This is a system which has failed in every country which has tried, and only further demonstrates the necessary practice of subsidiarity."

Given a national healthcare system and one administered by the states, I would hope and assume that the USCCB would endorse the latter. That is subsidiarity.

Universal healthcare is doing pretty well in Massachusetts.

Anonymous said...

From Jack Ames:

Several years ago, I asked Howard Phillips, a founder of Young Americanns for Freedom and a Presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, who on Capitol Hill best represented constititional values in both the Senate and the Congress, Wihout hesitation, he said Congressman Ron Paul!

I was privleged to interview Ron Paul after the Morgan State debate on September 28. I could not have been more impressed. Pon Paul says the FOUNDING FATHERS had it RIGHT and AMERICA must get back to that system of limited government and individual rights which they brilliantly wrote into the DECLARATION and the CONSTITUTION.

I am 66 years old and have been following presidential campaigns closely since my college days back in 1960 when Jack Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon by a whisker. I was extremely active in the 1964 Goldwater campaign as well as Ronald Reagan's campaigns for president in 1968, 1980, and 1984.

In all my years, I have never seen a grass roots campaign that cuts acrosss traditional pary lines like Ron Paul's 2008 campaign for President!!!

There were easily 3000 persons at the Ron Paul rally at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, November 10. This rally was completely ignored by the establishment-controlled media.

Amazingly, at least 75% of those in attendance were under 30 years of age. I talked to college students from numrerous campuses such as Penn State and Shippensburg State. I talked to high school students all the way from the Boston area. Without exception, these young persons see how BIG GOVERNMENT and the NANNY STATE have failed miserably and are bankrupting our country financially and morally. One friend who works full time in the PROLIFE movement said he loves Ron Paul's idea to eliminate the FEDERAL INCOME TAX. He said the extra $50 a week he would take home would help him to pay off his college debts much more rapidly.

How fitting that this rally was held in the shadow of Independence Hall where our FOUNDING FATHERS declared their independence from British tyranny in 1776.

One student held a sign that said it all: LEGALIZE FREEDOM! I was reminded of what Ben Franklin said when leaving the CONSTUTIONAL CONVENTION in 1787. A person asked him what type of goverment have you given us? Franklin replied, YOU HAVE A REPUBLIC, IF YOU CAN KEEP IT!

The RON PAUL REVOLUTION may be our last best chace to hang onto what our brilliant FOUNDING FATHERS gave us. We must make the most of this wonderful opportunity remembering that WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

Madd Chatter said...

@phil

You commented that universal healthcare works in Massachusetts, it continues to fail miserably in Cuba, France, Great Britain, Canada, and handfuls of other countries. As Rudy Giuliani said, (paraphrasing) if the U.S. adopts a universal socialized healthcare system, where will Canadians go when they get sick?

Massachusetts has a universal halth INSURANCE program, not universal healthcare program, which is a HUGE difference. All people are required to have insurance in Mass., and the State simply made it easier and more affordable to do so.

Furthermore, the program required no "new tax monies" which is a far cry from the rob-from-the-rich agenda of the Democrat Party.

The Massachusetts insurance program and the national healthcare programs proposed by the likes of Hillary Clinton, etc. have almost nothing in common. The Mass. program works on deregulatory philosophy, while the national plan works on regulating to the hilt.

http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed012806a.cfm

PROUD MITT SUPPORTER said...

I think that there is a considerable amount of anti-mormon bias from the catholic faithfull.

This is indeed sad and unfortunate, given the same treatment that was given to John Kennedy, a man that didn't have 1/10th of the character of Mitt Romney!!!

Joe Healy said...

Mitt Supporter:

Why is it that people like you have to invent non-existant bias and persecution when your favorite candidate for office is not being supported?

I'm against Mitt's acceptance of a mother's right to kill her innocent child if she was conceived in rape or incest.

I'm against Mitt's position that killing the sick or infirm can be OK.

I'm against Mitt's position that the use of nuclear weapons can be justified.

As Catholics, we know something about bias. Anti-Catholicism is the last remaining socially-acceptable form of discrimination in this country of ours.

It's too bad you had to bring JFK into it, may he rest in peace.

Madd Chatter said...

JFK was publicly, a miserable Catholic and one of the worst Presidents. His relationship with Marilyn Monroe was more blatant and scandalous than that of Slick Willie.

Let's just say he didn't seem to try very hard to live beyond reproach.

RonPaulForLife said...

"Furthermore, the program required no "new tax monies" which is a far cry from the rob-from-the-rich agenda of the Democrat Party."

Actually it did require more funding. The program subsidizies insurance for the working poor.

"The Massachusetts insurance program and the national healthcare programs proposed by the likes of Hillary Clinton, etc. have almost nothing in common. The Mass. program works on deregulatory philosophy, while the national plan works on regulating to the hilt."

You may be surprised to learn that Hillary, Obama, and Edwards all support a program similar to the Massachusetts program. None of them want socialized medicine. Instead, the top three Democrats want people to obtain private insurance.

There's a lot of misinformation that goes around equating universal healthcare to national socialized medicine. Universal healthcare simply means that everyone has access to healthcare. Mandatory private funding doesn't make it any less universal.

A Truth Seeker said...

Thank you for providing a comprehensive starting point for readers to use in beginning our candidate research.
Can you please comment on what you know about the information in the following article pertaining to Ron Paul. I am very interested in knowing the legitimacy of the accusations and what response, if any, Mr. Paul has provided since the article's publication.
www.americanthinker.com/2007/11/the_ron_
paul_campaign_and_its.html
Hopefully, if these accusations are inaccurate, someone will be able to reference his denouncing of such groups and any support they try to provide his campaign.

Joe Healy said...

There has been quite a lot of talk on this blog about Ron Paul's position on a "responsible transition" in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, going by the Bishops' document and my scoring spreadsheet, that issue is among the other lesser issues, not among the Big 8 (abortion, euthanasia, embryonic destruction, human cloning, use of torture, targeting of non-combatants, sanctity of marriage, racism).

Only Ron Paul is perfect on those 8 issues, while his means of achieving those lofty goals may be unorthodox. He is solid. Alan Keyes and Mike Huckabee are also good, but Keyes would authorize torture and Huckabee would use nukes (noncombatants at serious risk).

Tancredo and Hunter come out with six of the 8; John McCain is with two of the Democrat candidates (Dodd and Kucinich) with 5 of 8; Mitt & Fred are with Joe Biden at 4 of 8; the rest of the Democrats are at 3 of 8; and the unflappable Rudy Giuliani, crowned King of the Primaries and Republican Darling to Beat Hillary, sits absolutely last with only 2 of 8 favorable positions on the big Catholic issues.

Michael said...

Dear Truth Seeker:
There is an article in the Chicago Tribune which discusses contributions Congressman Paul received from a bunny ranch. The article quotes Congressman Paul,
"“Now I don’t know much about him (Mr. Hof- the owner of the prostitution establishment), but I don’t screen anyone who wants to send me money,'' he said on Fox today. "If they believe in freedom and want to endorse it and they want to give me money, what they do with their freedom is their business, but I don’t screen people.

"We got 37,000 donors in one day,'' said Paul, who has been raising big money on the Internet, "There’s no way I could find out what each individual believes in. As long as they endorse what I believe in, the Constitution and individual liberty, freedom means people have a choice with what to do with their lives and their money and what they want to do with their religious beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that if you believe in freedom you endorse what people do with their freedom”.''

Posted by Mark Silva at 11:01 AM


Mike Hargadon

Anonymous said...

I looked over the spreadsheets, read your various versions and agree with what Tony M said, above. (BA, Mathematics)

"I love the general idea here, but totally DEPLORE the method of carrying it out. You simply gloss over way, way too many variables, imponderables, and nuances for your numbers to be useful in the current form ......

I work with statistics professionally. It is my job to know when a set of numbers fails of a reasonable capacity to reflect the actual known facts that underly the numbers. This is such an example here. These numbers give an appearance of intelligibility and precision which the underlying knowledge SIMPLY DOES NOT BEAR.

You would do far, far better to set up a list which actually states the specific stance each candidate has on the topic, and let people make their own judgments on weight, suitability, validity, and significance.....

November 23, 2007 2:54 AM"

Joe Healy said...

Regarding the last post:

I took Tony M's recommendations into consideration and I created a new spreadsheet that rates the candidates on a points scale rather than a Yes or No scale, allowing for more flexibility. I posted the results in a separate article:

http://defendlife.blogspot.com/2007/11/presidential-candidate-evaluation.html

I, too, have a BS in Mathematics with a follow-on MS in Computer Science with Advanced Mathematics.

I think I nuanced my results appropriately, and I offered my analysis simply as a way to gauge the candidates against the Catholic social issues.

As far as posting their actual positions, there are many sites on the web that already do that, so I do not feel it is necessary for me to do.

Peace,

Joe

Gerald Yeung said...

In a choice between a candidate who opposes all the intrinsic evils and one who does not, I interpret the USCCB statement and Catholic teaching to mean that the conscientious Catholic must choose the former regardless of the candidate's position on other "negotiable" issues. In this context, the spreadsheet would indicate that Ron Paul is the only conscientious choice. Before I accept that, I would like to know on what basis Huckabee is classified as "authorizing nukes" and Keyes as "permitting torture". Is it formal policy statements, casual interviews or something else? Has the candidate changed his stance on the issue? Same question for McCain, Hunter and Tancredo regarding their "N" scores in the "intrinsic evil" categories. Thanks.

Joe Healy said...

Gerald,

I agree that we have to look at the non-negotiables first.

I have posted a new evaluation that eliminates the strict Yes or No positions and implements a points scale based on the candidate's postion aligning with the Catholic position. You can find the new evaluation at:

http://defendlife.blogspot.com/2007/11/presidential-candidate-evaluation.html

Huckabee has said in an interview (or was it a debate?) that he would authorize the use of tactical nuclear weapons against a known threat (I think the example was a nuclear-weaponed Iran).

I have revised Alan Keyes' position on the use of torture after reading more about him.

Peace,

Joe

Madd Chatter said...

In the issue of the general election, if pro-abortion candidate and a pro-life with exceptions candidate were running, would you vote for a third party or write in candidate?

It is unreasonable to do so. There is no positive outcome from doing so. Limiting the expansion of abortion is more important than pushing for complete ban on abortion when it isn't going to happen at this point in time.

Take the option of third party voting off the table so there are only two candidates, each of them viable. Who would you vote for? The one who is more likely to defend human life. If you choose to vote for a 100% pro-life candidate, but that person has no chance of winning, then you have weakened the possibility for a more pro-life or less pro-abortion President.

Bill Clinton won both of his terms by the Republican vote being split between the viable candidate and the third party. Bill Clinton, with the help of the legislature, legalized RU-486, RICO and FACE laws to be used against pro-life sidewalk counselors. So voting third party allowed evil to strengthen its grip on America.

Joe Healy said...

Madd Chatter,

Your points are well-taken. I've thought long and hard about those issues and have not yet come up with a clear path.

On the one hand, if you have, say, Romney or McCain (both of whom want to restrict abortion, but allow for the exceptions of rape and incest) against Hillary in the general election, I believe that you could in good conscience vote for Romney, McCain, or Thompson as long as you voice your objection to their anti-life exceptions.

One the other hand, though, this strategy has led to the support by the "Republican Establishment" of many candidates who are not pro-life but otherwise hold Republican positions. Look at Rudy Giulian, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee, and so on. We in the pro-life movement have been marginalized because these Republican candidates know we will just roll over and vote for them rather than vote for the pro-abortion Democrat.

So I would say that in the upcoming primary election, we need to send a clear signal to Republican leadership that we will not have a pro-abortion candidate. We need Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, Alan Keyes, Duncan Hunter, or Tom Tancredo.

We must also keep in mind that a good end can NEVER justify an evil means. There is no way that I could vote for Rudy Giuliani. In many ways he is worse than Hillary Clinton.

A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil. May we not be faced with such a decision next November!

Madd Chatter said...

"We must also keep in mind that a good end can NEVER justify an evil means. There is no way that I could vote for Rudy Giuliani. In many ways he is worse than Hillary Clinton.

A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil. May we not be faced with such a decision next November!"

Voting third party is not the way to get the Republicans to change, it gives Democrats the power to attack Catholic values even more. A vote for the lesser of two evils is better than having the worse of two evils.

The fallacy in your argument is that voting for the lesser of two evils is in itself evil. It is allowed to vote for a viable candidate that is in conflict with Church teaching as long as the candidate is the lesser of the two evils, and the voter makes it known that they do not support the candidate's moral flaws. It is not the increase in good, but the prevention of a greater evil.

I don't think anyone in the race is worse than Hillary Clinton. She is a liar, a cheat, completely pro-abortion, pro-stem cell research, pro-gay marriage, and has absolutely no experience of her own. Rudy Giuliani at least has some emergency management and criminal justice experience. Hillary has nothing. Hillary has a record of being a very far left Democrat for the sake of "the team". Giuliani at least seems to be intelligent enough to examine the issues and at least try to some sort of reasonable conclusion in line with his brand of conservative Democrat values.

The fact is, Alan Keyes could run a thousand times, but our society isn't yet ready to choose a complete ban on abortion.

Joe Healy said...

Madd Chatter:

You and I are both in agreement that it is permissible to vote for the candidate who is most aligned with Catholic teaching even if there are serious issues with some of his or her positions.

I have not once advocated voting for a third party or write-in candidate.

The Republican field is wide open before us. The mainstream media, who would love a Giuliani-Clinton general election, is trying to make us believe that Giuliani is the only hope for Republicans.

I say, "Hogwash!" There are five Republican candidates to pick from who do a great job of upholding Catholic teaching on the issues of grave importance: Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, Alan Keyes, Tom Tancredo, and Duncan Hunter.

Mike Huckabee looks to be a proven winner and is doing very well in the polls of late.

Ron Paul has a very large following and could make things interesting.

Keyes, Hunter, and Tancredo are pretty much doomed, unfortunately.

So I feel there is no need to talk about Giuliani, Thompson, Romney, or McCain at this point, except to say, "Don't vote for them in the primary elections!"

Believe it or not, Giuliani actually comes out lower than Clinton on the 8 big issues. I don't think he's the lesser of two evils; he and Hillary are both evil. And he's Catholic, so he should know better.

Madd Chatter said...

Ron Paul has a tiny following of loud voters. He has no more than 4% in any of the polls I found.

Mike Huckabee has only recently achieved high numbers, and only in Iowa. His support will fall to pieces once everyone realizes that he wants to give amnesty and in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.

I believe it would be morally acceptable to vote for Thompson, Romney, etc. (given they are pro-life with only the exceptions of rape, incest, life of the mother) over the 100% pro-life candidates because none of the ones you mentioned are considered viable. Huckabee has only recently achieved stardom, and it will be short lived.

The difference between Giuliani and Clinton is that Giuliani has been who he is the whole time. Hillary has moved closer and closer to the center over the past couple of years in order to look more reasonable. She's all about positioning and running on her husband's accomplishments. She has nothing. She's insincere, not very smart, deceitful, has to prepare an answer for everything rather than speaking from her heart.

Don't get me wrong, Giuliani is a terrible choice, but I don't think any of the Republicans can even come close to the destruction that Hillary will cause.

Madd Chatter said...

@Joe Healey

"We must also keep in mind that a good end can NEVER justify an evil means."

Many aspects of our society and our faith allow for the use of evil means to achieve a good.

1. The use of deadly force by a police officer when his life or the life of another is in imminent peril.

2. The use of deadly force when defending one's self or family.

3. War, which is a necessary evil, is sometimes even justified by Church teaching.

4. The death penalty is even justified by the Church in some rare cases.

There is a plethora of examples, too long to list, which are evils necessary to bring about a good. justified

Gerald Yeung said...

Response to Madd Chatter:
I believe it is immoral to vote for candidates who support intrinsic evils when there are candidates available who do not support intrinsic evils. Political viability is not one of the criteria set forth by the bishops in determining for whom one should vote. In fact, it is such thinking that ensures the non-viability of good candidates. If Catholics would simply vote their conscience, we could actually put a good moral candidate in office.

"The end does not justify the means" still holds true. The examples you gave presumably have good ends, i.e. to defend innocent life, and they employ good means, namely, neutralizing an attacker. The employment of good means may result in unintended evil but the means themselves are good.

Madd Chatter said...

Idealism is not an excuse for denying reality. The reality is that Catholics don't vote according to Church teaching.

The papal documents which address voting and civic duty not only state that we must vote according to Church teaching, but also that we must vote to benefit the common good. Voting for an non-viable candidate does nothing to further the common good. but actually does more to destroy the common good by allowing a more seriously pro-abortion person to take office.

"The Church, however, also recognizes that it is sometimes impossible to avoid all cooperation with evil, as may well be true in selecting a candidate for public office. In certain circumstances, it is morally permissible for a Catholic to vote for a candidate who supports some immoral practices while opposing other immoral practices. Catholic moral teaching refers to actions of this sort as material cooperation, which is morally permissible when certain conditions are met. With respect to the question of voting, these conditions include the following: 1) there is no viable candidate who supports the moral law in its full integrity; 2) the voter opposes the immoral practices espoused by the candidate, and votes for the candidate only because of his or her promotion of morally good practices; and 3) the voter avoids giving scandal by telling anyone, who may know for whom he or she has voted, that he or she did so to advance the morally good practices the candidate supports, while remaining opposed to the immoral practices the candidate endorses and promotes. " From Archbishop Burke's letter "On Our Civic Responsibility." http://www.ewtn.com/library/bishops/burkecom.htm

It IS morally permissible when the person is a viable candidate.

gerald yeung said...

Let's not jump the gun, MC. At the Republican primary level, there are certainly viable candidates who "support the moral law in its full integrity", e.g. Huckabee, Paul. Remember that "viability" does not mean a guarantee of victory - it means the ability to garner meaningful support. Whoever the Republican nominee is, it is presumptuous to assume that he will not be viable at the national level against the Democratic nominee. It is also presumptuous to assume that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. If the only goal is to prevent Hillary from becoming the Dem nominee, then following MC's logic we should register as Democrats and vote for Barack Obama! Conscientious voters should not set aside their principles in order to pre-empt a presidential candidate that may not even be running in the national election. Even if the moral candidate does not win, it is important to send the winner a strong message that he/she should pay attention to the natural law. I reject the politics of defeatism and Faustian compromises. Let's use the democratic process the way it was intended, to indicate our core values and beliefs. If we are faithful, God will take care of the rest.

Michael said...

Gerald:
I couldn't agree with you more. After running for Lieutenant Governor as a registered write-in candidate in the last election, I wrote a reflection, A Time to Flock. Joe posted it below

http://defendlife.blogspot.com/2007/02/standing-up-for-life-and-not-counting.html
We really do have to start trusting in God.

Mike

Madd Chatter said...

Did you ever see the movie "Dumb and Dumber"? There's a scene where the two villains break into Lloyd and Harry's apartment to look for the briefcase. One villain says, "Maybe we should trash the place and send them a message." The other villain says, "I don't think they'll get that message".

The percentage of people who would even consider voting third party is so minute they are considered fringe. The Republicans don't look to see how they can win votes from the minuscule 3% of third party voters, but look at how they can win a larger percentage of people who voted Democrat.

Sending a message during the General election is not the way to go. They're not gonna get that message, and sacrificing the next 4 + years doesn't help. Just look at the Bill Clinton elections. People sacrificed 8 years in trying to "send a message" and it furthered abortion rights. Third party voters guaranteed Clinton's election and reelection.

If you want to send a message, vote for the viable less pro-abortion candidate in the General election, then write letters. Write letters to your elected officials and to the President. People will get the message.

Finally, concerning the primary, vote for the person you want most to succeed. If it's Ron Paul, go for it. Mitt Romney, knock yourself out. Fred Thompson, go ahead. They may get the message. The General election is not a good platform for "sending a message" because the end is a more pro-abortion president.

Joe Healy said...

Madd Chatter,

Once again I state that no one has advocated a third party candidate.

Rudy Giuliani is not a practicing Republican; he's a Democrat in Republican clothing.

We have a primary election cycle ahead of us where we can put a better candidate up for the general election, such as Huckabee or Paul.

You can't tell me that Huckabee is not a viable candidate. At this point, Tancredo, Hunter, and Keyes are probably non-viable.

Dismas said...

I don't trust Romney at all. He is too much like John Kerry. He has flip-flopped on key issues on several ocassions, so for all we know he could be saying one thing then when he gets elected do the exact opposite. Therefore, I feel Romney should be lower.

Analisa said...

Please help me with the white supremacy charges against Dr. Paul. I am a huge fan of his, and I don't believe he's a white supremicist, but I also don't know how to answer the charges.

Thank you for a wonderful blog.

Joe Healy said...

Analisa,

Thank you for your comments!

I am not a Ron Paul apologist, so I cannot with any good authority speak about the charges of white supremacy against him.

I do not believe those charges to be true. I know people who know him personally and whose opinions I value greatly, and they vouch for Dr. Paul's good character.

I also know that Dr. Paul uses the Catholic Compendium of Social Doctrine to help steer him on social issues, which is another indication that he would not discriminate against anyone's race.

I like what Ron Paul stands for. I am not a left-leaning anti-war Libertarian, as some in the GOP are trying to paint supporters of Ron Paul. I have done what I feel is a good analysis of not only his positions, but his implementation plans and feel he is the best candidate for me to support.

Peace,

Joe

Catholic Hosting said...

Pingback from http://www.catholichosting.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14

"I found this here: [url]http://defendlife.blogspot.com/2007/11/evaluation-of-presidential-candidates.html[/url].

I'll also attach the Excel Spreadsheet version.

[attachment=0]presidential candidate evaluation.xls[/attachment]

Even if you don't agree with his scoring, I found it very helpfull to have a list of what each candidate was for or against, and he has feedback on his blog about it.

Any thoughts?"

lisa s. said...

The Y on all candidates' environmental positions seems suspect to me. Something you might consider looking at is how they view coal, particularly coal-to-fuel production. Those who support Mountaintop Removal Mining, are no friend of the environment. Over 500 mountains have been destroyed 3,000 miles of stream covered up with the overburden. It's a nightmare in some spots.

Coal-to-fuel production would further this devastating process. Here's a good chart on the candidates' positions on coal production which may help. http://www.grist.org/candidate_chart_08.html

Thanks, Lisa in Kentucky

CyberusFaustus said...

Someone on here stated that Huckabee supports nuclear weapons usage. I can not find anything where Huckabee has affirmatively stated this position.

Therefore, it might be wise to place a zero, at least on him in this issue.

Madd Chatter said...

There's nothing wrong with the U.S. having nuclear weapons. Actually, it's good that we have nuclear weapons, and we were justified in using them during WWII. They saved countless American lives (far more than the 3,000 that the liberal media loves to count over and over again). Getting rid of our nukes is as idiotic as banning firearms. Then only the bad guys will have the weapons.

CyberusFaustus said...

Can one really say that Hillary is opposed to all forms of racism when she and her campaign have made race an issue in this campaign? I would say these actions speak pretty loudly about her own heart. Good political strategy? Yes. However, if one were truly non-racist, it would have been a strategy that she should find abhorrent. Her single comment about hoping neither candidate made this about race or gender, did more in its timing to making it about race and gender. It is one of those things that once it is named, even in the negative, is suddenly on the minds of everyone. It is how she is getting votes from women and trying to pigeon hole Obama as 'the black candidate'. She deserves to be penalized on the USCCB scale in my book.

CyberusFaustus said...

I made a copy of your spreadsheet for my own analysis... if you take Hillary's campaign strategy as racist, it puts her at -31 (below even Giuliani). Conversly, if you look at Huckabee's website he clearly supports school choice. He also supports affordable health care for all, albeit via a different strategy than government controlled universal health care - however the Church does not prescribe HOW the goals are achieved, simply that we strive for them. I maintain that based upon the reports I have read I can see no indication of his stance on tactical nuke usage, so I put a '?' there. This puts Huckabee at 81.

Gerald Yeung said...

This article sheds light on the Republicans' (except Ron Paul) attitudes towards tactical nuclear strikes - http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/jun2007/
repu-j07.shtml.
I believe the U.S.'s use of nuclear weapons was morally wrong because it indiscriminately killed noncombatants. The intent may have been to reduce the number of American GI deaths, but the end never justifies the means. We give up the higher moral ground on respect for life if we support targeting of noncombatants or ignore the strict criteria for a just war.

gerald yeung said...

Ron Paul may not be as strong on abortion as indicated. He has only a 56% rating from National Right to Life. His "hands-off" libertarian philosophy led him to vote AGAINST 1) making it illegal to transport minors across state lines for abortions 2)making it a federal crime to harm a fetus while committing other crimes and 3) forbidding human cloning for research. If Roe vs. Wade were overturned, Paul would allow individual states to decide on the legality of abortion.

Robert said...

Gerald Yeung said...

..."I believe the U.S.'s use of nuclear weapons was morally wrong because it indiscriminately killed noncombatants. The intent may have been to reduce the number of American GI deaths, but the end never justifies the means...."

in point of fact use of the bomb saved countless JAPANESE lives. If we had invade japan, as was necessary to end the war, countless more japanese civilians would have died.
It was a mercy to the japanese people, harsh as it may seem.

Anonymous said...

Will you please do this again for 2012!! PLEASE!!

Joe Healy said...

Yes, that's a great idea!

Michael Hargadon said...

An honest comparison of all the GOP candidates would only have credibility if done by someone like Joe Healy.

Joe Healy said...

You mean like the one from 4 years ago that put Ron Paul on top and Rudy Giuliani below everyone, even Hillary and B.O.? I have no pre-conceived notions; I apply the criteria to the candidates based on their positions and plans.

Thanks, Mike! I hope all is well.

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