Today, I will start an off-and-on series on the presidential candidates. I will profile various candidates and say what I like and dislike about them. I won't always be consistent, but that is often the case when I am thinking through the issues.
I will start with Senator Sam Brownback. Why him? Because I don't know how long some of these candidates will stay in the race. I want to comment on them while I still can.
When I first read about Senator Brownback, I saw that he was called "the darling of the religious right." That should certainly make him my kind of candidate.
And, overall, he appears to be a godly man. I remember reading him confess that he used to hate the Clintons because of their ideology, but that he changed when he became a Christian. I understand what the old Sam Brownback was feeling. I find myself hating the Clintons more than twice a week.
But Brownback's confession reminded me of two things. First, one can be a right-wing conservative without being a Christian. Even crusaders for conservative Christian causes can find themselves trapped in the desire for money, power, and sex. Jesus, however, told us to have different priorities. Second, we should love everyone, even those who differ from us politically, even the corrupt and the immoral.
Something else that I liked about Brownback's confession was that it showed how his Christianity helped him to grow as a person. We hear all sorts of candidates profess Christianity, but we don't often hear how their Christianity affects their day-to-day lives, or how it has made them more Christ-like. Sam Brownback is an exception.
And Brownback has been willing to grow some more. At the Tavis Smiley debate, he said that he voluntarily spent a few days in prison to see what it was like. He talked with the inmates to get a sense of their exeriences and backgrounds. He is willing to learn from different people and to allow that learning to make him a just and compassionate leader.
As far as his positions are concerned, my feelings are mixed. He is solidly pro-life on the abortion issue, and that is good. From what I have heard, he caved in on the recent immigration bill, and I do not like that. Maybe he thought that the bill was better than nothing, but I prefer a candidate who does not compromise on conservative principles. For Iraq, he supports the three-state solution, which would divide Iraq into three regions, Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish. I'm open to that idea. When I first heard Senator Joe Biden propose it, I thought, "You know, I don't like Senator Biden, but that idea makes some sense." Apparently, another Republican thinks so too.
In terms of persona, he is not overly impressive. He usually does not leave a great impression on me when I watch the Republican debates. Is this superficial? Yes, but a Republican candidate will need presence and charisma to defeat Hillary and her smooth-talking husband.
So I like Brownback, but I probably won't vote for him.
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