ELECTION 2008: Where do the Republican candidates stand?

March 1, 2008

Choosing the best Republican presidential candidate requires a closer look at their stand on professional liability and reproductive rights.

Last month I outlined the positions of the leading Democratic candidates, and even before that issue went to press, former Senator Edwards had dropped out. Gone from the Republican side are former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. With primaries and caucuses nearly complete, the great quadrennial American political vetting process has nearly run its course.

I'd like to focus my last election editorial on the remaining Republican candidates. While Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) is clearly the front-runner, I will also discuss the policy positions of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

The Arizona Senator is no newcomer to presidential politics, having run an exciting although unsuccessful bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000. He has followed a remarkably independent course in the Senate, often reaching across the aisle to pass needed legislation and overcome ideological logjams. His willingness to place the nation's interests above partisan political interests on such topics as campaign finance reform, a balanced budget, and immigration has earned him the wrath of the far right. This is particularly ironic because, of all the major candidates, he is the most like Ronald Reagan in ideology, political skills, and temperament.

Unlike almost all of his vocal critics, Sen. McCain actually has military experience. He graduated from Annapolis, flew combat missions in Vietnam, was a prisoner of war for 5 years during the Vietnam War, and commanded the largest air squadron in the US Navy.