In picking a candidate, my early qualifiers for Republicans were, do they believe in climate change and will they do something about it? Do they support stem cell research? Do they oppose the constitutional amendment making gay marriage illegal? Do they oppose torture? For candidates in both parties, my main question was, what will they do about Iraq and foreign policy? This was a top-level question for me because I believe the way we handle ourselves in Iraq, as well as other areas, could affect us as a country for decades to come. I lean to the right on fiscal matters, so my main question for Democrats was, how would you pay for all the services you are promising, and is it really the role of government to provide them?
I basically consider myself more of a history person than a politics person. I hesitate to say that because I’m towards the bottom of the barrel in terms of knowledge among real ‘history people.’ However, that is the basis of much of my interest, and that influenced my perspective on Iraq. I’m certainly no foreign policy expert, but I have read enough to know that wars and conflicts can impact a region and a country’s relationship with that region well after the situation is resolved. While I was not happy about how the U.S. went into Iraq, and particularly disappointed that the claims that the government knew where nuclear weapons were located turned out to be false, I was more concerned about what the U.S. would do next versus what they had already done. Also, my questions about foreign policy were not as ideological as they were practical. ‘How do we fix this?’ and ‘How do we keep from making these mistakes again?’ were the type of questions to which I was most interested in hearing a response.
The issue that DQ’d most of the Republican candidates for me was torture. This issue made me crazy throughout the primaries. During the South Carolina Republican debate, the candidates were all asked to state their position on torture, and the only one to oppose it decisively was Senator McCain.
While I generally agreed with the Republican position on Iraq (not how we got there, but what to do now that we’re there) more than the Democrats’ position on Iraq, it would have been very difficult for any other Republican to win my vote during the general election due to their inability to see torture as wrong. Some debate about what torture is, and what methods of interrogation are appropriate, is not completely without merit, but for the whole line of Republicans on stage not to simply state that torture is wrong, I found disturbing.
Independent Criteria for 2008 #7
An Indpendent Call by Katherine J. Morrison available at Amazon.
Romney and the Early Primary States – Exerpt #6