January 18th, 2008


Ranking Candidates

With the current chaos in the presidential race I might actually get to cast a real vote in the Texas primary. So let's look at where the current candidates stand philosophically. Here's my take on where they stand on domestic economic and social freedom, using the Libertarian Party's axes:

NOTE: Two-third of the readers are probably objecting to some or all of the placements here. I'm doing this subjectively, and everyone always thinks the candidates they like are closer to the middle than the ones on the other side. Even people who agree on where the candidates stand on every issue would get different graphs because of how they weight the different issues against each other. In particular there's a bias in this graph because I put zero weight on abortion rights to keep Paul and Huckabee from being mixed in with the other Republicans. The point here is to compare the relative positions of the candidates. Please feel free to post your own version of the graph and link to it in comments.
On this view I'm closest to Ron Paul. Not a big surprise given that my first presidential vote went to him.

But that graph ignores how the candidates stand on Iraq and the war against Islamofascism generally. So let's add a third axis to the graph, ranging from Hawk (put out all the effort needed to win) to Dove (bring the troops home today). This graph shows their positions on that axis vertically and against the top left-bottom right diagonal of the first graph horizontally (so pure liberals and conservatives would be in the middle).

That gives a good idea of how I feel about the candidates. Paul has some good stands but is hopeless on the most important issue. Thompson is a solid hawk and enough of a federalist to make me comfortable with him domestically. Giuliani and McCain I have qualms about but I'd vote for them in the general election without hesitation. Romney I have doubts about. Clinton I'd take over Huckabee. The rest . . . no.
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