While the presidential candidates on the political right seems to try to outdo each other in their "conservativeness", Conservative Review looks at key aspects of the platform of each of the current GOP candidates and assigns them a score of good, bad or mixed based on their views on:
1.) spending and debt
2.) civil liberties
4.) energy and the environment
5.) foreign policies and defense
6.) free market economy
7.) health care and entitlements
9.) moral issues
10.) the Second Amendment
11.) taxes, trade and economy
In this posting, I will open by looking at the rankings of all GOP presidential candidates for 2016 followed by a more detailed examination of the top- and bottom-ranked candidates.
Here is a graphic showing Conservative Review's overall ratings:
Let's look at the top-rated (i.e. most conservative) candidate and look at why Ted Cruz received the top ranking amongst all candidates and why he received the highest score on three key hot button issues; spending and debt, immigration and the Second Amendment:
1.) Spending and Debt:
3.) The Second Amendment:
Ted Cruz gets a good rating on all eleven aspects deemed key by Conservative Review except one, the area of free market economies. This is because he voted to protect tobacco grower subsidies in 2013 and voted in favour of extending the termination date of the Terrorism Insurance Program in 2014.
Now, let's look at the GOP presidential candidate who is voted least palatable by Conservative Review, Lindsey Graham, and his views on the same three issues, spending and debt, immigration and the Second Amendment:
1.) Spending and Debt: Conservative Review states that Mr. Graham is arguably one of the biggest spenders and has been a significant proponent of earmarks throughout his career Here are a list of his errors in judgement:
Key to his poor rating on spending and debt is the fact that he has voted 10 times to increase the debt ceiling by a total of $5.132 trillion.
2.) Immigration: According to Conservative Review, Mr. Graham has voted for every immigrant amnesty bill that he has come across. Here is a list of his errors in judgement on immigration:
3.) The Second Amendment: While Mr. Graham has voted against banning assault weapons, he has voted in favour of expanding background checks and allowing the PATRIOT Act to give the federal government access to firearms records of law-abiding citizens:
While we may not agree with Conservative Review's rankings of the current crop of Republican candidates for president, at the very least, it helps us to better understand what issues and actions are considered to be the most important to the right side of the political game. It is also interesting to see that both of the current GOP front runners in the race are considered to be middling conservatives at best, particularly when compared to those who are well back in the pack.