The Daily Iowan Editorial Board endorses Texas Rep. Ron Paul for the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses.
The reasons for endorsing Paul over the other Republican contenders are numerous and warranted. The differences between their beliefs on governing primarily motivate our decision.
Paul is a candidate who appeals to voters across the political spectrum. He has also been exceptionally consistent in his time in Congress. He doesn't play political games — even with his opponents — and remains truthful to his word. This alone is a redeeming quality in a candidate in today's political sphere.
He holds many of the same political stances as former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson but is marketable to a wider base. He believes in a Constitutionally limited federal government that would give much of its implied power back to the states. His Plan to Restore America would rationally cut $1 trillion from the federal budget.
He would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, finally bringing our troops home and freeing money in the budget to focus on problems at home.
His bold tax-reform plan would promote job creation while reducing the burden on the middle class. Eventually, when the time is right, he would lead an effort to abolish the 16th Amendment to the Constitution and eliminate the federal income tax and replace it with various "user fees" as a form of raising revenue.
He would repeal Obamacare and replace it with the noncontroversial parts of the plan, giving individuals more control over their health-care.
Though his illegal immigration stance is harsh by most accounts, he does have some laudable plans to mitigate the perceived epidemic. For example, he would dissuade people from entering the country illegally by making it easier to become a citizen legally.
He would also make the southern border safer by advocating an end to the federal War on Drugs. He would stop the Drug Enforcement Administration from actively pursuing drug producers, distributors, and purchasers, and instead return that decision to the states.
The candidates who have a chance of winning the state often take stances that are not dissimilar to that of President Obama.
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney implemented many of the same policies that Obama has supported. Not only would he disenfranchise many of the GOP's core conservative and libertarian constituency, he also wouldn't bring many new ideas to the table.
Gingrich's abundant experience as former speaker of the House will in fact ail rather than aid him in a general election. Obama won't need to elucidate any of Gingrich's faults, because the media will likely do that for him. Between his objectionable marital history, his recently adopted moniker as a Washington insider, and his accumulated wealth over time, Gingrich will be torn apart by the Democrats.
Former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, Jr. has ran an all-around weak campaign. His lack of appearances in Iowa and New Hampshire won't get him the support he needs to win. His having been a part of Obama's administration and praising his leadership will come back to haunt him. The conservative base of the GOP would easily abandon him.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry would not be a strong nominee for the party. Amid his frequent gaffes, dodgy policy views, and his unacceptable stance on gay marriage, Perry has not proven that he could lead this country effectively.
Paul's stance on gay marriage is admirable, especially when compared with the rest of the field. He believes the federal government should have no role in the marriage process. He also voted to overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Bachmann is in a similar rut. Besides the ingrained GOP talking points of a repeal of "Obamacare," cutting taxes, and reducing regulations, she has not offered notable specifics on how she would accomplish her goals. She has often made egregious misstatements in the debates and during media appearances that clearly devastate her credibility.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania takes Bachmann's blunders to a whole new level. Not only is he a staunch religious conservative who would impose a quasi-theocracy on the entire country, he would also readily engage our troops into a war with Iran over its nuclear program.
Paul, on the other hand, strongly supports the withdrawal of all troops from the Persian Gulf area and southern Asia.
This leaves Johnson and Paul. Unfortunately for Johnson, he cannot secure the nomination with the way he has been conducting his campaign. His libertarian style of governing would be something that could cause a fresh debate with the antithetical policies of Obama, and he would quickly fix the debt problem in Washington. But his "un-presidential" polish and odd campaign-style have proven ineffective, and he polls in the low single-digits.
With these facts in mind, an endorsement for Paul is the only logical conclusion.
These differences from the rest of the GOP field would be a positive for the presidential process. We need leaders that stand strongly and firmly with their convictions and avoid the seemingly endless partisanship in Washington, and Paul would bring that kind of leadership to the White House.