The GOP field of participants, post-Fred.

>My boy Fred Thompson is bowing out of the presidential race. (Fox coverage)

I’m disappointed, because I have felt that he’s the only real conservative in the race (apart from Ron Paul, but he’s done poorly in the primaries as well, and will likely be out soon).

Who does that leave?

In no particular order …

  • Romney
  • Rudy
  • Huck
  • McCain

I don’t know about you, but I have concerns with each of these.

Whether it be Mormonism, pro-choiceness, or liberalness/moderateness, none of these men jazz me.

Who’s your champion?

I’m hoping Fred stays in the mix, getting on someone’s good side as the VP nominee. He would have brought a lot to the table.

But, now that my boy is out, who should I throw in with?

If you’re GOP leaning, convince me of your guy’s mojo.


About Eric "Gunny" Hartman

Gunny is pastor of Providence Church in Plano, TX, and has taught at Dallas Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has completed coursework for a PhD in Rhetoric at University of Texas at Arlington and tries to be a good father to his 4 kiddos, exhibited by coaching a girls soccer team.


24 thoughts on “The GOP field of participants, post-Fred.

  1. >”The only thing I have any hope for from this field of Republicans is the placement of more conservative judges to the Supreme Court.”I agree. I am fairly confident that each of the remaining candidates would appoint good judges. I have more confidence is some than others but judges remains an issue that provides a sharp distinction between the two parties. “Having said that I’ll still end up voting with one hand (the other will be busy holding my nose).”Yes, that’ll probably be what many of us have to do.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 27, 2008, 7:42 pm
  2. >I’ll leave my 2 shekels worth.The only thing I have any hope for from this field of Republicans is the placement of more conservative judges to the Supreme Court.The only candidates that I see who I honestly believe would do this is Huckabee. He has solid credentials in this area and he speaks about them with conviction. It’s anyone’s guess how the others in the field will act.Having said that I’ll still end up voting with one hand (the other will be busy holding my nose).

    Posted by Darrell | January 27, 2008, 4:19 pm
  3. >I started a post called “Open Discussion on Illegal Immigration.”Lets continue the discussion on illegal immigration there rather than here. Thanks!

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 24, 2008, 1:04 pm
  4. >If that sounds harsh, let me come at it another way with a comparison. You are the pastor of the church. The church has a budget based on the tithes and offerings that typically are given. One day, a homeless man named Jim shows up at the church. You talk to him and find out he has an incredible story. He is even a believer. He has needs so, even though it is illegal to panhandle, you decided to use some of the outreach funds to give Jim some money and buy him some food. Probably a good choice. Not a big deal.The next week Jim shows up with a couple friends. You help them. Soon the word gets out and many homeless are coming to your church for help. You continue to help them but its putting a strain on your time, facilities, and the church budget. People are beginning to get concerned. Local shelters and missions find out what you are doing and actually begin to encourage the homeless there to come to your church instead. To keep up with the need you close several ministries and fire the associate pastor. Caring for the homeless is now taking up a considerable amount of the church’s time and resources. The people of the church are very concerned. They don’t like the idea of throwing people like Jim out on the street but they just cannot keep doing what they are doing. Should they take everyone’s name and continue to care for the ones who are already coming and turn away all new people? Should they stop altogether and send everyone over to the local mission? Or should they continue things as they are and deal with the consequences as they come (which very well could mean closing the church for good)? Are any of these options unloving, cruel?This may not be the greatest comparison to illegal immigrants in America but it is a complex situation and there are serious consequences for allowing things to continue as they are in the name of compassion. I agree that we don’t want political ideology to override Christian principle and mandate but I don’t think handling the illegal immigration problem necessarily has to be done in an anti-biblical, anti-Christian way. The question – where is the love for the illegal immigrants? – could also be joined with the question – where is the love for American families across the entire nation and our families who will come after us?That being said, the stereotype of the uncompassionate conservative is out there for a reason. I will not pretend that we are handling the situation as best as we could. We do need to seriously reflect on what we are doing and what we ought to be doing about illegal immigrants in our communities and the issue of illegal immigration as a whole. Good discussion! I am not trying to turn this into a battle, by the way. Just trying to push back on ideas and offer an alternative persective. And, as Nate says, perhaps a synthesis can emerge.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 24, 2008, 12:54 pm
  5. >To put on my Darth Vader helmet for a moment, personal stories can help us to see things we sometimes overlook but usually make for bad policy. The emotional appeal is strong and the temptation to allow anecdotes to hold more sway than they should is strong as well. We could make a movie out of the story of Ignacio and what he had to endure to get into the United States, find a job, and survive. It would be very influential. Everyone loves a story. It is very humanizing. Meanwhile, hospitals will still be going bankrupt. Federal and state aid agencies will still be overwhelmed. Medicaid, care for the uninsured, food assistance such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches, federal prison, the courts, federal aid to schools…billions of dollars are spent on illegal aliens through these programs. Bad policy will still be imposed against the will of the citizenry. Mexico will still openly encourage and help educate their people to illegally enter the US and demand rights when they get here. We could tell story after story of the Americans who are hurt by all of this. There are faces and names and stories attached to all of this. And one day soon, as we do nothing, systems will collapse. The nation our ancestors worked and sacrificed so hard for generation after generation will continue to be degraded unncessarily because we wouldn’t take responsiblity. That is not a loving course of action.What about the individual illegals we meet? Yes, help them. Encourage them to pursue citizenship. Decide what the church will do as a congregation. Pray from them. Share the Gospel with them. Show them love and mercy. But setting our national policy is another matter. Employers are not to hire illegals. Enforce the law when employers break it. There are illegals who are committing crimes. Deport them. We won’t even do these basic things. Have I said anything unloving so far? I do not think so. I affirm what has been said about the love we ought to show toward our neighbor, including illegals. But it is also loving, humane, and just to take aggressive steps toward changing the current situation.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 24, 2008, 9:17 am
  6. >Mark, that’s an interesting dilemma. Sitting here in my easy chair my knee-jerk reaction is that they should be encouraged and/or compelled to return home or to “get legal.”However, when you’re talking real people with real families and real issues, I know that black is not so black, etc.For some reason missionaries in Muslim countries illegally came to mind. They’re there as various other things, since missionaries are illegal, but we’re okay with that.I know (1) it’s because it’s not our country or our problem financially and (2) they’re serving Jesus in a way that necessitates a covert op, but that still came to my mind as at least one instance where the government doesn’t deserve a fair shake.I don’t know … is it one of those deals where we say, “Okay, you’re here. You can stay, but let’s do something to minimize this happening.”?That where I find myself, along with the compulsion for the illegal folks to get legal now that they’re here. Maybe give them a grace period to get their citizenship, etc. lest they be sent back.In some way, you’d be giving them a temporary visa.Also, McCain is looking better to me lately. Why does that scare me so? Perhaps I’m finding myself dealing with a case of “the devil you know versus the devil you don’t know.”

    Posted by GUNNY | January 24, 2008, 7:21 am
  7. >I’m also left out in the cold by Thompson’s withdrawal. After sulking for a couple days, McCain is starting to look better. Michael Medved had a column called “6 Lies about McCain” that disputed that he is pro-amnesty and a couple other objections people have brought up.link

    Posted by Gina | January 24, 2008, 12:26 am
  8. > “Supporting illegal immigration, amnesty, etc. (breaking the law and then being rewarded for it)is not a conservative position.”I understand that this is a hotly debated topic but I wonder about the statement that this is not a “conservative” position. I agree wholeheartedly that it is not a conservative position, but it is not as black and white as everyone makes it out to be. Now before I start let me say, I lived in Dallas for 4 years and there was NEVER a day that went by that I wasn’t complaining to my wife about how these illegals are killing half the population, dealing drugs, raping, etc. So I know the issues first hand. But it is not a thing you can deal with wholesale like the Hannity’s (he’s gone way over the top) and others who never give any details, just loud-mouth rhetoric about this issue. Anybody can get on the radio and do that. But let me give you a real life scenario.When I was in Bible college, I was the director of a homeless shelter for 2 years. I dealt with the dregs of society. In our mission we had a clothing store where we sold second hand clothes. I had a young Hispanic couple (David and Rosie) who came in every Friday and spent $100-$200 on clothes and they sold them in the Hispanic community. They had a precious 4 year old son who came with them most days. They were a great couple and I really got to know them well over a year period of time. They began to come to the Bible studies I would have and subsequently they both came to faith in Christ through that ministry. They always attended the chapel services on Sunday and continued to come to the Bible studies. They weren’t homeless or anything but kept coming to those services. I invited them time and time again to come to our church (the one that owned the mission) but they continually refused. One day I asked them why. David told me that he and his wife were here illegally and they were afraid to attend our church for fear they would be deported. Now what do I do? Pack them up in a truck and take them to the border and let them out? Fly them back to Mexico and say good luck my friend? Here’s the dilemma, I knew these people to be fellow believers, industrious people who worked everyday to make a living, responsible people trying to make in our country. I also knew that they were illegals and that they got here by breaking the law. Do I turn them in? Do I tell them because they are believers they now have to surrender to the authorities and make it the best way they can? I’m not sure what the right answer is. But I can tell you I didn’t turn them in. I did tell them that what they did was wrong. I also told them that I know our God is a forgiving God and that He loves them regardless. I told them they would have to come to their own conclusions. But their biggest fear was for the safety and care of their son. What would you do?My point is this, I too am very upset about the number of illegals creeping into our country every day. I lived in it for a long time. But is some kind of amnesty program where each situation is dealt with on a case by case basis more wise than the conservative over-reaction of “throw them all out!” Where is the grace in that? So, the question is, is this a conservative issue or a Christian issue? How do you deal with it as a conservative and how do you deal with it as a Christian? I think we are remiss to let our political grievances and opinions get in the way of being people who love other people. This is a difficult issue and I know I will now be branded a liberal, heretical, Democrat lover. Not the case. I am probably right where you are. But in my heart I know there are situations out there that are different. We should also remember that our being born in America is by providence, not luck, and certainly not of our own doing. It is by God’s providence that we were born in the US and we shouldn’t go throwing that around like we’re owed something.

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 23, 2008, 8:03 pm
  9. > “I don’t know if it’s a gut feeling or what, but he makes me nervous.” Gunny,I’ll have to say, they all make me nervous. Politicians are politicians, and I find it hard to trust any of them. I have lived for 43 years now and I have seen some good times and some bad. Right now our country is facing some really big issues in the immediate future. While I certainly don’t agree with everything McCain does or everything he stands for, he is mature, he loves the US, and I think he genuinely wants the country to do good. His longevity (perhaps too much so [71]) and his ability to remain calm in times of pressure are what I like.

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 23, 2008, 7:36 pm
  10. >”Maybe the immigration issue is a Texas thing, I actually support McCain on that. A more open border, i believe is at least a more libertarian if not a more conservative thing to work towards.” Conservatives are ok with immigration, just not ILLEGAL immigration. Supporting illegal immigration, amnesty, etc. (breaking the law and then being rewarded for it)is not a conservative position.

    Posted by J.Wizzle | January 23, 2008, 4:52 pm
  11. >Mark Mathews makes a good case for McCain, but I would probably be in the category of those who don’t trust him.I don’t know if it’s a gut feeling or what, but he makes me nervous.

    Posted by GUNNY | January 23, 2008, 4:47 pm
  12. >I just thought some may not personally trust McCain. On the Dem side, I’m pulling for Obama, even though he is more liberal, just because I think he is more moral. So personal support is not a bad thing.Maybe the immigration issue is a Texas thing, I actually support McCain on that. A more open border, i believe is at least a more libertarian if not a more conservative thing to work towards. McCain is not great on some of those issues (ANWR & Free speech) but one the BIG issues: the war, spending, pro-life, and taxes (even if he is not exactly where conservatives want him, he is on the right side of it) McCain is looking like the best candidate on the GOP side. According to Rassmussen he is also the only candidate that in national polls leads both Hillary or Obama.

    Posted by Jared Nelson | January 23, 2008, 4:34 pm
  13. >”Really, is a vote against McCain just a personal thing?”Believe it or not, there are some who do like McCain…based on principle and his record!McCain wants to cut spending. OK. Where is he on taxes? He opposes tax cuts for the rich which is a form of the Dems class warfare politics. He favors tax cuts for the middle and low class. Fine. That makes him much better than the Dems. If we’re going to cut taxes, lets cut them across the board. Dems complain about unemployment when it is at 5% and want to raise the minimum wage. Hmm, who pays those wages? That’s right, the rich, ie. business owners! But the story is they don’t need tax cuts. McCain wants to permanently end estate and death taxes and is certainly better than the Dems.On energy independece, he opposes drilling in ANWR. Foolish.He wants/wanted to limit free speech with his campaign finance reform bill.There was the gang of 14 fiasco where he opposes an up or down vote on Samuel Alito.He supports(ed) amnesty for illegal immigrants.He is pro-life, pro 2nd amendment, prefers homosexual marriage issues be left to the states but opposes gay marriage, wants to expand the military, favors school choice through vouchers…so there are many good things about him. He is not as conservative as I would prefer because he still thinks government knows best is so many areas and should dictate policy is so many areas (such as CAFE standards). However, he is a conservative as compared to a leftist. He’s not the first person you think of when you say conservative but there are some conservative aspects to his record. I will vote for him if he gets the nomination but I will not vote for him in the primaries. If that is making it personal, so be it. I prefer to think that my dislike for him is based on his record.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 23, 2008, 12:57 pm
  14. > ” McCain has a consistant pro-life record (contra Romney and Rudy), fights for lower spending (contra Huckabee), has experience in foreign policy (contra everybody). Really, is a vote against McCain just a personal thing?” Jared,I think you have hit the nail right on the head!!! McCain is by far the most consistent, has a longer track record (of course he is 71) of fighting for lower spending, and is by far more experienced when it comes to foreign policy. While I would not totally discount Romney’s record he has flip-flopped on the pro-life issue as well as Guiliani, whom I do not trust at all. The mantra in the ultra-conservative camps has always been that McCain panders to the Democrats. He is too moderate (or even liberal as some would say). But this is simply following the music of the Pied Pipers (Hannity, Limbaugh, and their flunkies). What they consider “pandering” or “caving in” is simply trying to work together. McCain doesn’t see the Dems as our enemies but as a viable part of our government. He listens to other people’s ideas and considers counsel from those with whom he might not agree. We could use more of that right now. The fact is, the President has very little power on his own. His greatest power is to unite and persuade both sides to work together. I think McCain far outweighs the others here. But that is just an opinion. I know, I know…….

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 23, 2008, 9:37 am
  15. >As a native Illinoisian, Keyes helped destroy the state GOP there with a carpetbag run that handed the formerly GOP Senate seat to a little known man named Obama. No thanks on Keyes, I didn’t vote for him for Senate in Illinois, won’t vote for him for Pres.McCain is a great choice compared to two candidates with questionable pro-life creds (Rudy and Romney) and a candidate (Huckabee) one should only vote for based on identity politics (I’ll leave that moral low ground to the Dems). McCain has a consistant pro-life record (contra Romney and Rudy), fights for lower spending (contra Huckabee), has experience in foreign policy (contra everybody). Really, is a vote against McCain just a personal thing?

    Posted by Jared Nelson | January 23, 2008, 5:31 am
  16. >Interesting stuff, hylander, and I’m right there with you on Alan Keyes. Why does the GOP so give him the cold shoulder? I don’t get it.Romney vs. McCain … I’m SO not into McCain. I think I’d have to go Romney, but don’t quote me on that.I’d like to see Thompson as VP. Can I just vote for that?!;-)

    Posted by GUNNY | January 23, 2008, 3:53 am
  17. >I am going to put off choosing my back up choice for now. I think the race is down to McCain, Romney, and Guiliani. I don’t consider Huckabee a contender still because he could not win in SC. If he can’t beat McCain in SC, he’s not going to get the nomination. If Rudy doesn’t win in FL, he is done. So by the time TX comes around it could be between McCain and Romney so I don’t want to waste my time considering Rudy until I see how FL turns out. Also, we may know more about Fred’s situation by the time TX votes. So I’m going to wait and see.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 23, 2008, 2:44 am
  18. >”If that is true then that is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard of. What a waste of a campaign!”From my post:”[For sake of clarification, Thompson’s presidential run was not a glorified trial balloon. The trial balloon was when his supporters began to talk him up last spring.]”In other words, once the trial ballon to test his popularity for VP consideration proved that he was a very popular candidate he decided to go forward with it for real.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 23, 2008, 2:27 am
  19. >Thompson Candidacy a Glorified “Trial Balloon” for VP?I read about that earlier today…I have a hard time believing it though. If that is true then that is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard of. What a waste of a campaign!

    Posted by J.Wizzle | January 23, 2008, 2:18 am
  20. >”I believe Romney fits more in line with the “Reaganesque” style of conservativism and will appeal to more of those who supported Thompson and join him I believe. Additionally, I believe Romney will pull those who were loyal Reagan Democrats as well.”I don’t think there is anything Reaganesque about Romney and don’t think he will have any Reagan Democrats supporting him. In fact, I think he would get killed in a general election.

    Posted by J.Wizzle | January 23, 2008, 2:16 am
  21. >Check this out: Thompson Candidacy a Glorified “Trial Balloon” for VP?

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 23, 2008, 1:30 am
  22. >Although religion is not a test for the office of the President, and many may have reservations, I think many from Thompson’s camp will most likely join Romney. Of course, there are those who happen to be more for defense and borders, and those peeps will go to Guiliani. Some may go to McCain because they want to ensure their Social Security is protected and McCain will appeal to the moderate to liberal conservatives. However, by and large, I believe Romney fits more in line with the “Reaganesque” style of conservativism and will appeal to more of those who supported Thompson and join him I believe. Additionally, I believe Romney will pull those who were loyal Reagan Democrats as well. I realize that there are no perfect candidates that will meet all our needs and pass our individual lithmus tests of what brands a perfect president. Granted, with that said, I think Romney is the package that is most accomplished and qualified to the task of this most high office. Personally, I really like Alan Keyes. I think this man is extremely intelligent on foreign affairs, economics, he is a proven leader. Unfortunately, the GOP never gives him an opportunity to speak before the conventions and he does not get alot of support from them. But, I think if he had the cash flow and the press behind him, he would make a great front runner. Anyways, I hope this gives you some food for thought Gunny.Peace,

    Posted by hylander | January 23, 2008, 1:16 am
  23. >Thanks for weighing in.Thou *almost* persuadest me, but not quite.;-)I really don’t think Huckabee would win a national election. He has some evangelical backing (excluding those who endorsed Rudy or Romney, which is still odd to me). However, he won’t be able to “go to the center” to get the popular vote. I’m convinced the liberal media will grab a sound byte to show that Huck just wants to make us a theocracy and take back America for Jesus.That will make even the evangelicals nervous because of the light in which he’ll be cast.I’m happy enough to be wrong, however.

    Posted by GUNNY | January 22, 2008, 10:12 pm
  24. >I’m sticking with Huckabee. I’m not gonna plead my case for him because we’ve already talked about this.

    Posted by J.Wizzle | January 22, 2008, 9:47 pm

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