Since I did the last of these, another Democrat, Governor Bill Richardson, has dropped out of the Presidential race. That means I've only got four, maybe only three candidates left to examine, depending on whether or not Mike Gravel got on the ballot in Texas.
But for now, here's the final Republican on my list, Mitt Romney. Romney is reported as needing to win Michigan, a state which has had half its delegates removed by the Republican leadership for trying to leapfrog New Hampshire, in order to remain in the contest. Personally I don't see it that way. Romney currently holds the lead in delegates. He doesn't have to place first so long as he keeps placing second and no other candidate places first on a routine basis. If John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee split up first-place finishes, and if Romney can score one or two wins in winner-take-all states, he could well go into an undecided Republican convention with the greatest number of delegates... a position of strength from which he can negotiate, possibly even a strong enough foundation to swing himself the nomination.
So Mitt Romney still has a chance... but how does he stack up to my ideal candidate?
WAR: Supports permanent and expanded occupation of Iraq. Favors war with pretty much every Islamic-majority nation. Supports War on Terror. Would expand military. 20%.
SEPARATION OF POWERS: Approves of expanded Presidential power. Supports line-item veto, right of President to refuse to spend Congressional budget allocations. Supports USA-PATRIOT, FISA. 0%.
HEALTHCARE: Created individual mandate system in Massachussetts which is in state of near-total dysfunction. Would abolish must-care laws forcing hospitals to treat the indigent. Tort reform. Would devolve healthcare issues to the states, taking it entirely out of federal hands, while encouraging states to reduce regulations on insurance corporations. 15%.
TAXATION AND BUDGET: Silent on borrowing. Lower taxes for all, especially lower corporate taxes. Would require supermajority before raising taxes. Calls for cuts only in "pork barrel projects," calls for cap of inflation-1% on all discretionary spending (effectively cutting everything), but calls also for vastly expanded education, job retraining, foreign aid and military aid spending. Abolish death tax, retain Bush tax cuts. 20%.
CIVIL LIBERTIES: "Double Guantanamo." Supports torture enthusiastically. "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom." Supports faith-based initiatives, screening government employees and elected officials on basis of religion. Would overturn McCain-Feingold, but favors sexual censorship of the Internet and all publications, including book, magazine, and film. 0%.
IMPEACHMENT: No position. 0%.
IMMIGRATION: Supports border fences. Opposes amnesty, path-to-citizenship. Supports restricting immigration to skilled or wealthy immigrants. Opposes mass round-ups of illegal immigrants in favor of employer crackdowns. 20%.
TRADE: Supports GATT, WTO, NAFTA. Supports unrestricted free trade. 0%.
ENERGY: Supports nuclear. Supports oil and petroleum based energy over and above alternative sources. No stance on making conservation economical for the non-wealthy. 15%.
ENVIRONMENT: Supports carbon sequestration. Opposes eminent domain. Supports economic development of federal reserves such as ANWR. 33%.
TORT REFORM: Calls for caps on punitive damages. Would increase punishment for frivolous lawsuits. 40%.
AVERAGE SCORE: 14.8%
THEOCRACY: "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom."
IRAQ: Supports indefinite, permanent and expanded occupation of Iraq.
TORTURE: Supports right of President to order "enhanced questioning techniques" and denies right of Congress to outlaw them.
RANKINGS TO DATE
Candidates in italics are not in consideration due to vote-killer positions.
Dennis Kucinich - 40.9%
John McCain - 33.6%
Ron Paul - 28.2%
Rudy Giuliani - 22.3%
Mike Huckabee - 16.9%
Mitt Romney - 14.8%
Duncan Hunter - 11.8%
Fred Thompson - 11.1%
Next time: The one Democrat who could get me to stay home on Election Day: Hillary Clinton.