Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Constitutional Freedom Party’s Ratings for the 2016 Presidential Nominees

The 2016 Presidential Race is the most important race of our time as our country is facing threats on many fronts.  CFP endorsed Senator Ted Cruz in June, and all Candidates have been vetted and rated since June/July 2015. Since we first posted all of the candidates, some have dropped out- and while there are still many remaining, we decided to update the blog and make all the information available again, but on one page.

So once again, Introducing the Constitutional Freedom Party's Ratings for the 2016 Presidential Nominees...

CFP has vetted each and each candidate has been rated on:
-How well he or she shows an appreciation, and a dedication to upholding the Constitution,
-How his or her views closely match CFP’s beliefs as laid out in our Mission Statement
-Trust and consistency
-Both good and not so good past and present views, votes, business practices, speeches and debates. 

We realize that no candidate is perfect and there will be various important issues which each individual needs to consider. We hope that the information and links we provide meet the needs to weigh when making decisions for your favorite candidates.
As we continue the vetting process, please check back often as we add more Candidates as they enter the 2016 race.


Constitutional Freedom Party’s Endorsed Candidate:

Senator Ted Cruz

Over all Score- 4 ½ Bells

Senator Cruz has a history of being a strong advocate for the Constitution specifically the freedoms of speech and religion as protected in the 1st Amendment, and a strong advocate of our 2nd Amendment, even arguing for rights before the Supreme Court.
He has always had a clear understanding and commitment to the Federal government’s proper and Constitutional roles, including fighting for the people against government over reach and intrusion. He has been steadily fighting against Obamacare, religious freedoms stemming from the mandates and against the IRS.

He is strong on defense and our military. He has never shied away from calling Islamic terrorism for what it is or taking a tough stance against ISIS.  He led legislation which was passed unanimously by Congress and signed by Obama to prevent known terrorists from entering the United States as ambassadors to the United Nations. Cruz wrote legislation which allowed victims of the Fort Hood terrorist attack to finally be awarded the Purple Heart and receive appropriate and much needed benefits. He is working on making existing law stronger to prevent discrimination or retaliation against military service members who express their religious faith.
Cruz joined Texas and 25 other states in a lawsuit to stop Obama’s illegal executive orders.  He also wrote legislation to triple the size of the U.S. Border Patrol and legislation to streamline and simplify our legal immigration system.
He is a strong and consistent supporter of Israel.
Senator Cruz called for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS targeting of conservatives. He has been fighting against Obamacare since it was shoved down our throats. He's argued before the Supreme Court and won on 2nd Amendment rights.
He's been solicitor general, used to delegating to staff members, he's been consistent on everything he has stood for or against, doesn't flip flop and his respect for the Constitution and our country is impeccable.
Senator Cruz matches or comes close to all of our platform issues, including protecting States rights when it comes to marriage between one man and one woman, and has always been a strong prolife advocate. He is for parents’ choice for education and advocates for education being returned to the States and local communities.
While Senator Cruz is strong in most areas, there are a few issues which people are concerned about, mainly questions about his views of the TPP and Fast Track:
And on his ‘yes’ vote on Iran, even though he opposes Obama’s deal with Iran over their nuclear programs which will give Iran the abilities to build a nuclear weapons arsenal.  http://therightscoop.com/ted-cruz-why-i-voted-yes-for-corker-iran-bill/
Endorsements include: Rep. Louie Gohmert R Texas, Rep. Jim Bridenstine R Oklahoma, radio host & comedian, Adam Carolla, Activist and Public Speaker Pamela Geller,  Actor, R. Lee Ermey, Actor James Wood, President of Media Research Center, activist and columnist, Brent Bozell, and Radio Host Michael Savage.
The Constitutional Freedom Party at this time believes that with Senator Cruz’s consistent stand on important issues facing our country, he is the strongest Constitutional Conservative candidate.

Candidate website https://www.tedcruz.org/
Twitter @Sentedcruz 
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tedcruzpage

Voting record https://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/135705/ted-cruz#.VUguP7N_wTo

Rated Nominees:
Donald Trump


Overall Rating: 2 Bells
There’s something about the Donald, that even if one doesn’t like him, you’ve got to respect that he says what he feels and doesn’t back down. Some of his recent opinions have been taking a lot of incoming from some fellow candidates and other people in high places, but he’s still sticking by his convictions.
Face it; people are sick of politicians spineless, caving, whichever way the wind blows styles of ‘leading’ and guys like Donald Trump seem like a breath of fresh air in spite of his own past political schizophrenia… http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/donald-trump/donald-trump-voter-history-567920
The fact that he’s a billionaire business mogul is like an added bonus. Trump’s bluntness speaks loud to a lot of people sick of the same old same and its making folks take note and throw in their support.
It’s understandable that people would be quick to jump on the Trump train by listening to his rhetoric; however by looking at where he’s travelled over the years, we can tell that the Trump Train will most likely not be stopping at Conservativeville.
Looking at the man who has repeatedly stated he’d love to have Oprah Winfrey as his V/P running mate, one can see he’s all over the political spectrum when it comes to past support with campaign donations. He has supported everyone from progressives such as Obama, Charlie Rangel, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Mitch McConnell and Charlie Crist to Conservatives like Tim Scott and Tom Cotton.  http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.php?&name=Donald%20Trump&employ=&cand=&state=NY&cycle=All&soft=&zip=&sort=A&page=1
While that may be to his advantage because it shows bipartisanship and no real political favoritism, he has donated a significantly higher amount to progressives than conservatives.  It also could be that he doesn’t really care about politics unless it’s something to benefit the economy which benefits Donald, no matter the potential consequences to others.
Donald Trump may be articulate when it comes to playing his audiences. He’s a master and he wouldn’t be where he is if it weren’t for knowing how to manipulate and speak whatever he needs to, to any given audience, depending on whom he’s talking to or what it will do for him. 
He may have a way of being hard core and doing what he says he’ll do. In our current climate that’s a rarity in many politicians, however there are a few including in this POTUS race that have always  stood on what they believe in even if it goes against what others believe. This isn’t a unique qualifier if that’s all you’re basing your vote on.
We need a constitutionally strong, conservative principled candidate who has been consistent on important issues concerning all of our country, from fiscal, social, domestic and foreign/diplomatic. Can Trump measure up?
Back in 2011 when Trump was considering throwing his hat into the political ring, Andrew Breitbart viewed it as a bad sign for America when people are elected to public office based on celebrity status.  Yes he has business experience, but during this most important election, it’s foolhardy to elect an ego driven businessman celebrity just because he says all the right things.
Many people remember Trump as a candidate in waiting during the last go. It seemed as if he was flirting with the idea out of something to do. What’s a billionaire to do when he’s bored? His last bid was more of a vote splitter than anything, and this time, he may end up taking votes away from seriously qualified candidates because his ego says he’s the best man to “Make America Great Again.”  Well, America is still great- it’s our leadership and the people who keep voting for them who are not. But is Trump the answer?
When asked who he believed was the best president out of the last four, he answered Bill Clinton.  The idea of Willie being Slick and with Hillary’s apparent coat of Teflon, he seems to admire that quality. He listed GW Bush as the worst. Not Obama- whom he did vote for and donate to. 
Speaking of Clinton, Trump did donate between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. http://dailycaller.com/2015/05/14/donald-trump-donated-at-least-100k-to-clinton-foundation/
On the issues, especially terrorism and foreign policy- Trump is gaining a lot of traction with his tough talk.  And yet here at home, he has an issue with freedom of speech when it comes to pointing out Islam’s hypocrisy of being called the religion of peace while threatening death to anyone who criticizes the ideology or their prophet. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/donald-trump-garland-shooting
Somehow calling Pamela Gellar and others publicity seekers when they’ve spent decades warning the west about the Islamic ideology is petty, and, especially from someone as ego inflated as Donald Trump is not so admirable.
On Healthcare, Trump has praised universal healthcare, but opposes Obamacare. In 2000, in his book The America We Deserve, Trump said, “I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on health…. Working out detailed plans will take time. But the goal should be clear: Our people are our greatest asset. We must take care of our own. We must have universal healthcare. Our objective [should be] to make reforms for the moment and, longer term, to find an equivalent of the single-payer plan that is affordable, well-administered, and provides freedom of choice…”
He is for school choice and giving more control back to the States in education.
On the 2nd Amendment, Trump is against gun control but is for infringement by believing so called assault weapons should be banned and through longer wait times and background checks.
On illegals and immigration, Trump has been pro border security and against amnesty consistently since the 1990s, and also believes in making it harder for people to immigrate legally. He is against using the 14th Amendment for anchor babies.
Speaking of babies, Trump is now prolife, but he has like many politicians ‘evolved’ over the years and was once very prochoice even to the point where he said, “I support a woman’s right to choose, for example, but I am uncomfortable with the procedures. When Tim Russert asked me on Meet the Press if I would ban partial-birth abortion if I were president, my pro-choice instincts led me to say no.” 
What it comes down to with Donald Trump, is that much like broken clocks are right twice a day, Trump has some good ideas and says some good things once in a while. He’s an entertainer and knows how to play an audience. We are at a most critical time and can’t afford not to nominate the best candidate possible. While he’s not in the top tier of our preferred candidates, with Trump’s toughness, we could do worse. But hopefully we can do better.
Twitter @realDonaldTrump

Senator Marco Rubio


Overall Rating- 2 ½  bells
Marco Rubio described himself when he announced, as “uniquely qualified” and as a “forward-looking, next-generation leader…” I believe we’ve heard similar from another candidate about 8 years ago.
Some people think Rubio’s age will set him apart with younger voters. Rubio isn’t much younger than half the other candidates. Ted Cruz is less than one year older, Scott Walker is only four years older and Bobby Jindal is actually younger than Rubio by a few weeks.
Some may think his Hispanic heritage is strength yet Cruz shares similar and should Bobby Jindal throw his hat in, he has an Indian heritage.  While heritage is a part of what makes us who we are, we have got to get back to picking candidates on their records, votes and issues, not their skin shades, heritage and gender.
Senator Rubio is known for his early status as a Tea Party favorite who lost a lot of support when he endorsed the Gang of 8 illegal immigration push. While Marco is staunchly conservative on some issues, and has “evolved” on others, as far as immigration goes, Rubio has always been pro amnesty even during his time in the Florida legislature.
Rubio has a strong record protecting the people’s right to keep and bear arms. He took part in the filibuster of gun control legislation in the Senate, voting against restrictions on the Second Amendment and against the expansion of background checks on private gun sales. He also introduced a bill strengthening the 2nd Amendment in Washington, D.C.
He introduced the Firearms Manufacturers and Dealers Protection Act, which would defund Eric Holder’s Operation Choke Point and prohibits the funding of other similar programs under a new name.  He also voted against the Manchin-Toomey amendment expanding background checks.
Senator Rubio has a mixed past when it comes to taxes. During his years in Florida politics, he proposed raising property taxes, and then later proposed raising the State Sales tax in order to eliminate property taxes. He is a proponent of small businesses and opposes excessive regulations. Rubio sponsored The American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Act, which contained tax relief for businesses and startups, but did nothing to simplify the tax codes. In some cases it made the codes more burdensome. He also proposed legislation to replace the earned income tax credit with a government imposed minimum wage for low wage jobs which was called, “federal wage enhancement”.
On the plus side, Rubio voted against the "fiscal cliff" deal in 2013, which increased taxes and spending by billions of dollars, supported extending the Bush tax cuts and called capital gains taxes double taxation.  
Recently Rubio and Mike Lee came out with their “Economic Growth and Family Fairness Tax Reform Plan.” which has its share of critics from both sides of the aisle.
Where again Rubio comes off tough on some issues, he is mixed when it comes to Terrorism and defense. He’s a strong supporter of Israel, has criticized Obama’s hostility towards Israel, he also introduced legislation that would further sanction Iran and Russia, called for increased U.S. involvement in the fight against ISIS and has been a strong opponent to Obama on normalizing relations with Cuba.
On the weak side, he was part of the Gang who vilified Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and a few other congress members when they questioned the Muslim Brotherhood connections of Huma Abedin and others in sensitive government positions.
He was on board with McCain and Graham again when it came to arming Syrian rebels even though there was no clear U.S. interest at stake, he voted for John Kerry’s appointment as Secretary of State, called for U.S. intervention in Libya and supported U.S. military intervention in Syria to remove Assad from power.

As far as Civil Liberties go, Rubio supports state-passed religious freedom and voter ID laws, has voted twice against reauthorizing the unconstitutional Violence against Women Act and is a strong advocate of religious freedom.
He opposed reforms to the NSA mass surveillance program, voted against an amendment ensuring Fourth Amendment protection in data collection by requiring warrants for all wire-tapping of U.S. citizens (FISA) in 2012, voted against reforms to the NSA mass surveillance program which included provisions for privacy concerns and introduced the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a bill that would permanently extend the NSA’s counterterrorism surveillance yet provides nothing to address privacy concerns. 
For more on Marco Rubio and the issues:
Congressional- https://www.opencongress.org/people/voting_history/412491_Marco_Rubio                 
Campaign Website https://marcorubio.com/
Jeb Bush

 Overall Rating: 2 Bells
Wow. What can we say about Jeb that hasn’t been already thought of or said out loud? While people may have issues with everything Bushes, I will say for me personally, I thought GW was the right man for the job when September 11, 2001 happened. And as far as Jeb goes, I did appreciate him as Governor for Florida and thought he did well. He was an outspoken champion of tax cuts, smaller government, school choice and vouchers, faith-based prisons and staunchly prolife.  During his terms, 8 major hurricanes hit the state and both before and after the storms he was tirelessly warning, then showed real leadership in getting rebuilding and relief efforts implemented.  Most importantly, Jeb was great on 2nd Amendment rights.
He signed Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law and expanded access to concealed carry for out-of-state residents and enhanced it for Florida residents.
His terms weren’t without controversy; as Bush’s attempt at a state wide voucher program was ruled by the Florida courts as unconstitutional and his attempt at ending affirmative action at Florida Universities and state contracting met with everything from sit in’s, student demonstrations and a huge protest on the capital led by Jesse Jackson.  There was also the Terri Shiavo case, when he signed a special law to restore Schiavo's feeding tube. The courts ruled no, and on March 31, 2005, the 41-year-old Schiavo died after having the feeding tube removed and being denied water.
He ran the state much in the same way his brother GW led from the Oval Office- standing hard on convictions, doing what he says whether people liked it or not and not asking for advice.
So what about now? How does Jeb match up to the other candidates and his own record?
As far as illegals and immigration goes, Jeb’s not feeling the love so much from Conservatives who know that the system is not “broken” and that illegals are not here out of an “act of love”, unless it’s love for free stuff and a pathway which Jeb and progressives would no doubt grant should they have their way.

Focusing on whatever Jeb’s opinion is on why they come is taking important focus off the open border and also ignoring the fact that the immigration process works and we have laws on the books that many people DO follow.  We don’t need reform. We need people to obey the laws and stop rewarding those who break them. Period.

We need to focus on border security.

From “Immigration Wars” in 2013, Jeb wrote “A Proposal for Immigration Reform” which would include what he calls Fundamental Reform, because he claims like many falsely do that the system is broken. He focuses on work based immigration, which in times of so many still under or un-employed in the US, favors illegals over citizens. He proposes an “Increased Role for the States” which would focus on social services and benefits. Again, in a time when there are more people in the US on food stamps already, and we have Veterans who are denied benefits while people breaking the law are given benefits.  Where’s the love Jeb?
He proposes a path to permanent legal resident status for those who plead guilty to having entered our country illegally as adults and who have committed no additional crimes of significance. Not sure what he considers crimes of significance. 
Ah, he finally mentions the Border saying “Many on the right say that we must secure the border before we do anything to reform our immigration system. The fact is that we can't do one without the other.”
Sure we can. Secure the border, cut benefits and welfare to illegals in this country and they will for the most part self deport. Close the door behind them until they go through the same process which legal immigrants follow.
While Jeb was governor, he was a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment; however that seems to have gone by the wayside as he is pushing background checks on private sales which will make a federal gun registry necessary to enforce it which is a clear infringement.
Jeb was and is all over the board when it comes to education. While he did favor vouchers and school choice as governor, he also disagreed with reducing class sizes at public schools claiming the cost would have been prohibitive. Instead billions were spent on new schools, which as far as student achievements and scores go, didn’t make much difference. Since then, he is one huge proponent of common core.  One has to wonder how someone can be for school choice,
while applauding one size fits all standards- unless he intends for all schools to implement it, including private and home schools.
On social issues, many people say they don’t matter, and would much rather leave such issues alone, up to the states to decide or keep all government out of them. These would be the ideal solutions, but unfortunately, government has been involved in social issues for decades, and people who don’t think social issues matter are why we have a supreme court who just decided that States have no right (nor the people who voted) to keep the definition of Marriage as between one man and one woman.
Jeb Bush was always strong on social issues, however where he once supported changing the Florida Constitution to include a ban on gay marriage, since the Supreme Court ruling, he has not challenged the ruling. He says he believes it’s a State issue, yet respects the court’s decision to trample State’s rights in the matter.
As far as health care goes, he reformed Medicare by allowing individual choice and access to private plans, which focused on patient-centered healthcare reform.  He has been opposed to Obama care, yet he also opposed Republicans efforts to defund it.
When it comes to defense and foreign policy, Jeb has no record, yet it’s telling that while he has criticized Obama’s leading from behind, he has no clear policies laid out yet. He backtracked and flipped on his position when it came to his brother’s handling of the war in Iraq, even though US forces were successful in spite of the demoralizing rhetoric from US politicians and media. It was only after Obama announced and pulled out all our troops that the region collapsed into chaos and became a breeding ground for ISIS and resurgence of terrorists.
He is pro-Israel, and supports strengthening ties with NATO and allies, has criticized Obama on gutting the military and believes in re strengthening the military and leading with moral clarity.
Jeb may be conservative in some instances, but is far from being the Constitutional Conservative that our country needs to get us back on track. He’s like warmed over pizza for breakfast- on the third day when it was good the first few times, but now just plain tiring and a little bit nauseating.

So… again, what can be said about Jeb Bush, except, please… no more Bushes.
Twitter @JebBush

Chris Christie
Overall Rating: 1/2 Bell
There’s something about being insulted by politicians that doesn’t set well with folks. Chris Christie talks tough on issues, yet he’s been in step with fellow republican contenders Bush and Perry when it comes to insulting his constituents such as when he appointed Muslim Judge Sohail Mohammed to New Jersey’s Superior Court. At a time when people were vocal about their concerns over sharia law which had begun being implemented in courts throughout the US, Governor Christie’s words echoed McCain’s most recent screed calling people crazies.  “It’s just crazy, and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies,” Christie said in 2011, “It’s just unnecessary to be accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background. I’m happy that he’s willing to serve after all this baloney.”
Liberal media sites were giddy in their reporting, following the lead of Christie’s insult with more colorful descriptions,

Speaking of courts, Christie had a chance to place 5 judges on the New Jersey Supreme Court. All of them have been far left, one being so liberal he was considered as an Obama pick for the SCOTUS. http://www.christiebadonjudges.com/
There’s something to be said about “Conservatives” who are elected in Blue States. There must be enough liberalism in their ideals or they’d never get the votes in the first place.  We all remember the infamous Christie/Obama hug, but that’s not really indicative of being a liberal.

On Obamacare, Christie says he opposed it, but he pushed back against attempts to defund it and blamed the handful of Republicans who voted to defund it for shutting the federal government down. He also expanded Medicaid eligibility which relied on increased Obamacare spending by the federal government.
Christie may be a conservative in some way if one chooses to really dig for examples, but definitely not when it comes to the fundamental right protected under the 2nd Amendment.
But all of a sudden, we need a right balance on Gun rights… in a primary year. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/chris-christie-gun-rights-new-hampshire-second-amendment-nra-117000.html


Mike Huckabee
 Overall Rating: 2 1/2 Bells
A lot of people like Mike. I like Mike. But what is it about Mike (and a few others) who believes that this time (out of running again for the third or more times) they will suddenly appeal to the people and win the nomination? This isn’t meant as an insult, but honestly, this is a problem with too many politicians, especially on the Republican side. 
Let’s just jump to the issues. Mike Huckabee is and always has been a pro-life champion. In recent days with the latest vile information out about Planned Parenthood’s selling of baby ‘parts’, Huck would be a great candidate to lead the fight to shut down PP once and for all, and focus on life choices.  He has also been strong on social issues such as Supreme Court rulings concerning Homosexual marriage and religious rights. However, there are more issues at stake in our country now. How would he measure up?
While Huck is pro strengthening the border and against amnesty; in 2005 he opposed a Republican bill to require proof of legal status when applying for state services that aren't federally mandated and proof of citizenship when registering to vote. As Governor of Arkansas, he discouraged government raids and supported an instate tuition rate for illegals.  When his effort to make children of illegal immigrants eligible for state-funded scholarships and in-state tuition to Arkansas colleges failed, Huckabee had this to say, "It hurts me on a personal as well as a policy level to think that we are still debating issues that I kind of hoped we had put aside in the 1960s, maybe at the latest the '70s, and yet I understand people have deep passions about things usually they don't fully understand."
As a legal immigrant who obtained Citizenship the same way millions of others have who have come through the supposedly broken system, I am tired of being mocked and criticized by politicians who claim we don’t “understand”.  Yes, I do fully understand- and so do the American people, when they know politicians are ignoring the system and rewarding lawbreakers for personal gains and self-preservation.

Next. Speaking of education, his past positions on education have been mixed. While in 2008 Huckabee promised to clarify the differences between the roles of the Federal and state government, he seemed to believe that the Feds have a role in providing a national set of standards. During an interview he said, “I think if there’s a role it is to encourage, it’s to recognize the value and importance. Ronald Reagan tried to get rid of the Department of Education, found that it was virtually impossible to do it. So, if we are going to have one, let’s make sure it serves a role that is consistent with the Constitution, which is to become a clearinghouse of best practices that are being employed by the states and by local school districts, rather than becoming a center of mandating educational initiatives pushed back down to the states.”
And yet he fully supported the No Child Left Behind Act and common core before he was against it…
In the past Huckabee has not clearly supported school choice while he does support charter schools and public school choice.
Huckabee is a strong conservative on social issues, but not so conservative when it comes to big government and supporting RINOs
He was for it before he was against it when it comes to global warming which he believes is real and man caused. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yt3Q_98hl4
And backed US Cap and Trade to reduce global warming emissions,

Defense and Military

Mike Huckabee has been a proponent of closing Gitmo,
As far as his record on Cuba goes, in 2002 as Governor of Arkansas he had said that the embargo against Cuba was harmful to American business. Then in December of 2007 he said he would veto any efforts to end trade restrictions and also promised to punish those who do business there. 
In 2007 he argued for a larger military and an increase in defense spending, writing "Right now, we spend about 3.9 percent of our GDP on defense, compared with about six percent in 1986, under President Ronald Reagan. We need to return to that six percent level."
He is a strong supporter of Israel, has been critical of Obama’s policies and believes that the deal with Iran is insanity.  “You don’t compromise with cancer; you cut it out before it kills you first.”
He believes we should have been arming the Kurds and talks tough on ISIS, saying we should “Bomb the daylights” out of them. http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/mike-huckabee-bomb-the-daylights-out-of-isis/
A lot of people like Mike, he’s had some good policies and ideas, but in a monumental election race such as this, we need someone who stands head and shoulders above everyone else. Someone we can trust, but also someone with a consistent record of Constitutional and conservative ideals.  Mike Huckabee might be a great guy, but after running multiple times for President, does he have the right stuff this time around?
Twitter @GovMikeHuckabee

Dr. Ben Carson
Over all rating- 3  bells
Ben Carson has been known by a lot of folks for quite a few years due to his incredible career as a top neuro surgeon, but most people remember his amazing speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013.  Since then he has been a ‘darling’ of Conservatives all over the country. He’s soft spoken, speaks common sense and from traditional values which is sorely lacking these days.
While the good Doctor has a lot of common sense which could benefit Washington, does he have what it takes to take the reins of the out of control government and help fix the serious threats both foreign and domestic which we face?  It’s hard to vet someone who has never been a political insider or politician. 
On immigration, Dr. Carson’s earlier views match that of most that ignore the legal and immigration system we have in place.  From his 2012 book, America the Beautiful, Dr. Carson said, "Is it moral for us, for example, to take advantage of cheap labor from illegal immigrants while denying them citizenship? I'm sure you can tell from the way I phrased the question that I believe we have taken the moral low road on this issue. Some segments of our economy would virtually collapse without these undocumented workers--we all know that--yet we continue to harass and deport many individuals who are simply seeking a better life for themselves and their families…”
When it comes to healthcare, who better to ask about our healthcare system than a Doctor? Dr. Carson has some good ideas and has been an outspoken critic of Obamacare.  One idea he spoke about in his book was the idea of a two tiered system. 
Dr. Carson seems to believe in some government involvement, borrowing ideas from other Countries with socialized 'care', and suggests regulating insurance companies as nonprofit services and government managing catastrophic coverage.

Carson focuses more on domestic policies than foreign Issues. He has been a critic of Obama's handling of the Middle East, and questions the lack of a "consistent policy that governs military intervention."
Speaking about Iran, Carson called the framework for an Iran nuclear deal "a slap in the face," for leaving Congress out of the negotiation process.  Dr. Carson supports and stands with Israel, recognizing the State as our only democratic ally in the Middle East. He also believes in maintaining the detention of terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.
His views on religion may or may not speak about his views of Islamic jihad and how he would deal with issues should he be Commander in Chief as he believes in confronting radical and violent groups of all religions, echoing Obama's "High horse" speech.
He has spoken of what he called a “void in ethical world leadership” over the past few decades.  He believes the US needs to “step forward and offer effective, morally consistent policies unconstrained by political correctness. If a bully faction or bully nation is beating up on those with whom it disagrees, we should immediately stop them with brutal force, if necessary, because it is the right thing to do. If that were done consistently, such incidents would cease almost immediately.”
On education, Dr. Carson believes in school choice, is against federal government intrusion through programs such as common core and believes in State and local education decisions.
On 2nd Amendment rights, Carson has flipped his position from when he told Glenn Beck in 2013, "It depends on where you live. I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I'm afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it."  He did add that if you live "out in the country somewhere by yourself and want to own a semi-automatic weapon, I've no problem with that."
While Carson used to believe in gun registration, He has said in 2014 that "I would never advocate anything to interfere with Second Amendment rights; however, I do think we have to be intelligent… We need to discuss, 'Is there something we can do?' We have to keep in mind that law-abiding American citizens absolutely should have gun rights."
For some of Carson’s more centrist comments and views, progressive sites have fun wondering what Conservatives think. While reading progressive sites isn’t a usual pastime, it sometimes comes in handy when fully vetting candidates, so in our process, some of the links you may notice are progressive and are included for a reason.
Dr. Carson’s campaign has run into some issues lately which raise important questions on how much or little interaction he has with those who keep him informed or pays attention to the details of the campaign. Armstrong Williams, a long time close associate and campaign manager told reporters, “Dr. Carson doesn’t get involved in the minutia… You have to understand his personality. He’s informed, but this whole process is new to him, and he’s relying on the judgment of others.”

While no one person can know every detail of every little issue, if Carson is having a hard time being involved in his campaign other than a once a week conference call, what will his management skills and style be like if he is the Commander in Chief?
For more on Dr. Ben Carson-

Campaign Website https://www.bencarson.com/
Twitter @RealBenCarson
Carly Fiorina
Over all rating- 2 ½ bells

The top thing many seem to think about when it comes to Carly Fiorina is that she’s a woman and perfect match against Hillary Clinton. She is tough, and has a lot of experience in business, foreign policy, and politics. She ran a hard race in 2010 for US Senate California against progressive Barbara Boxer in a heavy blue state and was within single digits when Boxer won the election. 
Fiorina has been a strong Pro Life candidate since 2010 and has had 100 percent ratings from California Pro Life Council. She is a strong supporter of gun rights and earned an A rating from both Gun Owners of America and NRA in 2010.
On healthcare, Carly Fiorina supports repealing Obama care, instead focuses on competitive insurance market, medical malpractice reform.
Fiorina’s business experience can help her as she was the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company when she took over as CEO of Hewlett Packard.  During her time, HP experienced doubled revenues, quadrupled cash-flow and grew from the 28th to 11th largest company in the US.  Critics will draw from some of the decisions Fiorina made as CEO and also from her time before HP as head of Lucent Technologies.
Fiorina at the time was one of the US most powerful women in business, and Lucent under her leadership saw sales growing from $15.7 billion in 1997 to $23.6 billion in 1999. However, much like the Subprime Mortgage scandals which helped create the housing bubble and eventual bust, companies such as Lucent were financing similar deals during the height of the telecom industry boom.  They lent to customers betting on the boom and in turn it helped keep stock prices up and kept lenders financial records on the plus side. Right after Carly left Lucent for HP, an SEC document filed showed that Lucent had $7 billion in loan commitments to financially unstable customers. When the market turned, they collapsed with other companies doing the same wheeling and dealing.
When she left, her stock and options were worth a total of $85 million, according to her. HP gave her $65 million worth of restricted stock to compensate her for the Lucent stock and options she was leaving behind. If she had have held onto the Lucent stock, it would have been worthless within a year. 
This may not seem like a big deal, maybe more like a lucky break that she switched companies at the right time, but it’s still a point which opponents are sure to capitalize on along with the controversies swirling about her time at HP.  When it comes to one of the issues which has had little focus on is when Fiorina was CEO of HP, HP was still doing business with Iran even though there were sanctions against the terrorist state.

One has to wonder why she ignored HP’s getting around the sanctions and dealt with Iran when she was at the helm.
Maybe because everyone else seemed to be doing it, but that doesn’t make it right. Especially if one feels so strongly now about sanctions.

Maybe her views on Islam after 9/11 have changed since, or maybe that explains her willingness to ignore a loophole to sell to a sanctioned terrorist state.
On Immigration, Carly does not support a pathway to citizenship for immigrants already here, saying in 2010 that she does not support amnesty.
When Arizona was facing so much heat for the State law SB 1070 signed by then Gov. Jan Brewer, Fiorina supported saying the federal government was not doing their job.
About Obama’s immigration “policies” she said, “He sunk comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. He did nothing to push forward immigration reform when he had the Senate, the House and the White House. He said in ’11 and ’12 he couldn’t do anything. And then he delayed his action for the elections. Unbelievable cynicism.” 
She did support the Dream Act, while saying during an interview with Katie Couric, “We have the cart backwards, when we pass something called the Dream Act before we've even secured the border all we're doing is making the problem worse…”
She is against amnesty as far as citizenship goes, however does suggest they can earn legal status. This is a problem which many politicians believe is fair to those who work hard for citizenship, yet giving  illegals “legal status” is still rewarding law breakers when millions work hard for the same status as legal residents or here on work visas.https://votesmart.org/public-statement/558336/debate-fact-check-6immigration-reform#.VX-RImfD-Ah

On issues such as “Climate Change” Fiorina believes it is real and manmade, but government has limited ability to address it. She claimed there is scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by humans. But she also argued that it is not clear that a single nation or state can reverse it. She believes government should work towards innovation not regulation when it comes to the environment and global warming… change.
Carly is running on a platform which separates her from the political DC insiders.  Her past as a businesswoman helps, yet she has political experience in working on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, being Chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation which hosts the annual CPAC event and her run in 2010 against Barbara Boxer. This could go either way, as a positive, showing she’s got enough knowledge on how DC works, or that she’s more of an insider than she’s leading people to believe.
She nails Hillary Clinton, and has proven she can go toe to toe against hard progressives even as she goes through personal battles.  While the CFP doesn’t consider her the strongest Candidate and we don’t believe in using her gender as a qualifier to win, we do appreciate her intellect, varied experiences and common sense approaches to many issues our country faces.
For more information on Carly Fiorina-
Twitter @CarlyFiorina
Senator Rand Paul

Over all rating- 3 bells
Senator Paul has been a Tea Party favorite as well as picking up a strong base of Libertarians who have supported his dad Ron in the past. When one thinks of Rand Paul, they think Constitutional and a champion of Liberty.  On the flip side, one of the problems the past few years with the Republican Party is the so called “tent widening.” On this, there is little difference between Paul wanting to bring in younger voters, independents and those who traditionally vote democrat, or with progressive republicans whose goal is to push out Constitutional Conservatives.
Paul has a “Different, younger, more hip and libertarian” type of republican who can appeal to the youth and minority voter approach going on and it can get confusing. 

Rand Paul is completely libertarian in priorities like shrinking government or surveillance and he fights hard for what he believes as we’ve seen recently with his filibuster against the NSA spying and Patriot Act.  On the other side, Paul insulted many conservatives when he said “Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing. I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”

While he’s not against voter ID, and much was made of the quote which was taken out of context, it assumes that he capitulates to those who claim to be offended by a perceived treatment and makes it about race when race has nothing to do with it.  The same thing with his working on restoring voting rights for felons going so far as co-authoring bills on reforming the criminal justice system with Democrat Senator from New Jersey, Cory Booker and meeting with Al Sharpton.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/07/08/cory-booker-rand-paul-team-up-on-sentencing-reform-bill/ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2014/11/24/rand-pauls-mistake-courting-al-sharpton/

As for Rand’s stance on big government, we had his awesome nearly-13-hour filibuster in opposition to Obama’s drone policy and the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA, and stood for 2nd Amendment rights against fellow republican senators who voted for more restrictions on private gun sales.
On the other hand, he has no problem engaging in political favoritism while climbing the political ladder by deal making with establishment rinos such as fellow Kentuckian Senator Mitch McConnell who promised before the 2012 elections that  “I’m going to crush conservatives.”
Rand Paul says he’s for term limits which are something most conservatives also believe in, and yet Rand has a problem with his own State’s law. Back in March, Paul met with Kentucky GOP leaders, and with help from McConnell, asked them to switch from a presidential primary to caucuses.  That would allow him to run for both the Senate and the presidency without breaking a state law that forbids a name from appearing twice on a ballot.

Rand Paul is strong on libertarian issues regarding States rights, and constitutionally he is a strong candidate.  When it comes to illegal immigration however, Rand falls in among other flip floppers on this issue.
On the one hand, Rand believes that birthright citizenship needs to end, which is an issue many conservatives agree with.   

On the other hand, in 2012 he wanted to carve a compromise immigration plan with an “eventual path” to citizenship for illegals. He said his plan would “assimilate” millions of illegal currently in the country who could apply for legal status.  Paul said the “trade-off” would be “not to accept any new legal immigrants while we’re assimilating the ones who are here.” 
Paul claimed republicans must “evolve” on immigration debate “So I am concerned, but I’m also open-minded enough to say that it is an issue that we do need to evolve on… But I’m not willing to be so much in adapting that I believe you allow people to come in without having a secure border and not without letting people get to the front of the line…”
It seems like he’s been evolving back and forth for a long time. If you have to keep clarifying yourself on an issue, that means you either don’t have a clue, you stink at communicating or you don’t believe what you’re telling people.
When it comes to foreign issues, terrorism and defense, Paul has been getting tougher in his language, yet still has enough of his dad’s views instilled in him. 
When talking about sanctions against Iran, Paul compared it with World War 2, “There are times when sanctions have made it worse. I mean, there are times... Leading up to World War II we cut off trade with Japan. That probably caused Japan to react angrily. We also had a blockade on Germany after World War I, which may have encouraged them … some of their anger.” http://therightscoop.com/rand-paul-america-partly-to-blame-for-pearl-harbor-world-war-ii/#ixzz3WrXgn8nU

Asfor taxes, Rand has come out with a flat tax style plan, which sounds promising, however more details need to be clarified, such as "inheritance" and charitable giving incentives.
For more information on Rand Paul-

Senate record- https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/rand_paul/412492
Rand’s Website https://randpaul.com/issues
Twitter @RandPaul

Rick Santorum
Overall Rating: 2 1/2 Bells
Rick Santorum is another name added in an already overcrowded field of Republican contenders. The problem is, when the field gets so crowded, very few seem to stand out. This will be round two for Santorum, having done well during the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Before announcing his campaign suspension in April of 2012, he had won 11 primaries and caucuses and received nearly 4 million votes, making him the runner-up behind Romney.

Santorum is well known for his conservative Catholic views and he has never been shy about standing on his Christian principles.  He was one of Washington's most outspoken traditional political voices on issues such as abortion, sexual morality and evolution. He is staunchly pro-life, and has been a favorite among Conservative Evangelical voters.
One reputation Rick Santorum has is that of a big government conservative. 
He opposed the Wall Street bailouts and the auto bailout, saying it was the “biggest government intrusion into the private sector.”
In 1997 he voted yes on a Constitutional Amendment for a Balanced-budget. In 2000 he voted to prioritize national debt reduction below tax cuts, and in 2005, he voted YES on $40 billion in reduced federal overall spending.  
That doesn’t sound so bad, but he did vote for taxpayer funding of the National Endowment for the Arts, against National Right to Work Act, Voted for mandatory Federal child care funding, voted twice for a congressional pay raise, and, in light of all the focus on the IRS lately, it’s interesting to note in 1998 Santorum also voted to exempt IRS union representatives from criminal ethics laws.
On the 2nd Amendment, as of 2012 Santorum did have a Lifetime A+ rating with the NRA; despite his voting for trigger locks, in 1999. However, he did vote YES on loosening license & background checks at gun shows the same year. His record is mixed when it comes to votes for rights and restrictions. http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/27054/rick-santorum/37/guns#.Va6UjrN_wTo
On Illegals and border security, Santorum has consistently opposed amnesty, however, in 2006 he voted to allow illegal aliens to receive tax credits under the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and against increased border patrol presence in 2005. He did vote yes in 2006 on the Secure Fence Act and also on a Triple-Layered Fencing Amendment in the same year.
On civil liberties and homeland security, Santorum defended the NSA mass surveillance program, saying the public does not have the right to know and that the program is not an invasion of privacy. http://www.ydr.com/newsfull/ci_3818806
On foreign policies and terrorism, Rick Santorum has never been afraid to call terrorism what it is, a war on radical Islam. He’s been consistent on the war from supporting GW Bush and Congress voting to go into Iraq, and most recently about ISIS, he said, “If these folks want to return to a 7th Century version of Islam, then let’s load up our bombers and bomb them back to the 7th Century…” http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/241542-santorum-bomb-isis-back-to-the-7th-century
All in all, in a crowded field, there is very little about Rick Santorum which makes him stand out from the rest.  During the last primary season, Santorum was popular among “values voters” but this time, we have principled men as well who are strong on values and social/moral issues as well as border security and foreign issues.
As far as conservatism goes, there’s nothing especially outstanding in his record which would have much of an impact among people who are desperate to rein in an out of control federal government, and who are tired of a lagging economy.
He’s not even a favorite among establishment Republicans and while he’s had a strong standing with Evangelicals, his past statements on contraception, gay rights and feminists most likely wouldn’t draw many over from the center either.

John Kasich

 Overall Rating: 2 Bells

John Kasich is the two term Governor from Ohio. He previously served as Ohio congressman from 1995-2001 and he also served on the House Armed Services Committee. He ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000.
Throughout his career, Kasich has shown strong conservative values when it comes to fiscal responsibility and budgets. When first elected as governor he eliminated Ohio's multibillion-dollar budget shortfall without raising taxes. He signed a balanced budget into law in 2011, and has cut taxes in Ohio several times. He cut small-business taxes in half, reduced Ohio’s income tax rates by 10 percent, and eliminated the death tax. He also strongly favored a labor law that would have imposed harsh strictures on collective bargaining rights in his state, but when that matter went to a popular vote, the proposition was defeated with 61% opposition.
On immigration, illegals and border security, Kasich is open to all options saying, "Now, I don't like the idea, personally, of a path to citizenship," he said. "But you can't start any discussion by saying, 'OK, these things are off the table.'"
In the same quote he says he’s not ready to give a definitive answer right now. Since illegal immigration and open borders have been a serious issue for over 20 years, I wonder when Kasich will be ready with an answer.http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2015/02/ohio_gov_john_kasich_straddles.html
On the Middle East, Kasich said, “We failed to arm the opposition in Syria to push Assad out, which would have been strategic because of the support for Iran and Russia in regard to [Syrian President Bashar] Assad. Then we had a red line and we ignored that. And now we find out that over in Syria, they're dropping barrel chlorine bombs on people. So, you know, it's been a feckless foreign policy."  The only problem is, we did arm the “rebels” in 2013 and again when Congress approved arming them in 2014, when after the ‘rebels’ in turn ran across to Iraq and started fighting with ISIS. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/john-kasich-ruling-vp-run-play/story?id=31274859
As far as foreign policies goes, he believes America needs to engage internationally but choose missions carefully and believes we ought to focus on terrorism, oil, & nuclear development.
He did vote YES on $156M to IMF for 3rd-world debt reduction and also for Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China.
On 2nd Amendment rights, Kasich most recently signed (H.B. 234) Gun Law Reform Bill into law, which wasn’t everything gun rights activists were after, but better than expected as well. http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/12/dean-weingarten/ohio-gov-kasich-signs-gun-law-reform-bill-into-law-h-b-234/
Kasich is pro-life, and signed a bill placing restrictions on abortion, voted yes on banning partial birth abortion and on prohibiting transporting minors to get abortions. He opposes federal abortion funding.
He runs counter to many conservatives however when it comes to Obamacare. While he has said he is opposed to most of the law and that he favors the “repeal and replace” goal of the Republican Party, he used increased federal funding made available by the law to strengthen Medicaid in Ohio. He also used the Bible’s Matthew 25:42-43 in support of Obamacare, and in defense of his expanding Medicaid saying, “I think, ‘I wanna feed the hungry and clothe the naked,’ and I have to tell you — I read a horrible story in The Wall Street Journal on the weekend about people, one man in particular freezing to death over in Montana. And they’ve turned down about half a billion dollars of help, I’m told. That disturbs me.”
On Education, Kasich believes in more after-school programs with federal and local funding. He is also a supporter of School Choice and believes local boards instead of bureaucrats should have power over education. He believes in creating competition in public schools and has voted yes on allowing vouchers in DC schools as well as for private & parochial schools. In 1997 he supported a Constitutional Amendment for school prayer. However, he is also a strong proponent of Common Core. http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/ohio-governor-john-kasich-voices-support-for-common-core/
All in all, compared to half of the other candidates, Governor Kasich is one of the more conservative candidates running even with his support of agendas which many conservative voters don’t agree with.

George Pataki

Overall Rating: 1/2 Bell
George Pataki served three terms as governor of New York and has been out of office since 2007.  He is the last Republican to win a major statewide election in New York in more than 20 years.  He has entered this Presidential race claiming that he stands out “from more than a dozen GOP candidates because of his appeal to the larger electorate.” 
The fact that we now have more than a dozen candidates running is stunning, and while it gives people a lot to choose from, it waters down the vote for more constutionally minded conservatives.

Pataki has said, “It’s not about holding a title, or being able to pat yourself on the back. It’s about changing government. And no government in America changed more than New York State did during the 12 years I was governor.”

So much like Governor Chris Christie, republicans in a blue state, Pataki’s more centrist policies may not be so popular among conservative voters across the nation.
Let’s start off with the 2nd Amendment. In 2000, Governor Pataki signed the strictest gun controls in the nation into law.  The policies in the new law included requiring all new handguns to be test-fired for ballistic fingerprinting before they could be sold and bullet markings entered into a state computer database. So called assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition clips were banned, and background checks mandated for handgun buyers at gun shows even among private citizens. All new guns sold were required to have trigger locks, and gun owners were now required to report lost or stolen guns to the police.

Of the law, Pataki at the time said, “We hope this serves as a national model. We hope other states follow.''
On illegal immigration, Pataki said he would like to “avoid an approach that favors incarceration, large fines or mass deportation”, saying those who don’t have a criminal record and are otherwise responsible would have to “acknowledge” that they broke the law and would have to complete 200 hours of community service to gain residency status. He also said he would limit family reunification rules to only allow spouses and children to join relatives already in the United States. According to him, in case where immigrants are found to have committed other crimes, the government should deport them and work with their home countries to make sure “that they will be monitored and not simply come back across the border time and again.”
Pataki said he doesn’t see his plan as amnesty, asking, “What is the alternative? Send back 10, 11 million people on buses? Is it a perfect solution? There’s no such thing as a perfect solution.”
Well, no there is no perfect solution especially when the border remains wide open, but then again, cutting all welfare programs for illegals including such perks as in state tuition and by implementing E Verify among other reforms, illegals would eventually migrate back to their own countries once the gravy train dried up.
On foreign policies and defense, Pataki was Governor of New York when the September 11, 2001 attack happened, so he saw up close and personal the effects of Islamic terrorist acts.
When it comes to here and now, last year Pataki said, "We just see this global network of extreme Islamic groups committed to attacking us and our citizens anywhere in the world," said Pataki. "We've had a porous border and ISIS is well funded, and if they choose or have chosen to fund people coming across the border of this country, they may well be here…”
He recently told the Clarion Project that he would strip the tax-exempt status of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and designated terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates.
Pataki is a moderate, and in the field with other moderates running, he’s not registering on radar with many folks, especially younger voters who have never even heard of him. However if one is voting largely on foreign issues, Pataki is one of the stronger candidates because of experience and his belief that we need to learn from our past.

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