Pat Toomey, President of Club for Growth, was good enough to answer a couple of email question about CFG’s recent white papers.
Would it be correct to characterize your evaluation of Romney as cautiously optimistic and Huckabee as decidedly pessimistic?
Yes, that is a correct observation. Economic conservatives should be very concerned about Mike Huckabee’s economic policies, especially in light of the left-wing populism he is brandishing of late. Indeed, some of his statements bristle with hostility towards limited government and the free market. While Governor Romney’s economic record is not perfect, his record as governor is better than Huckabee’s and his rhetoric on the campaign trail has been, for the most part, strongly pro-growth.
How key is political speech to your analysis and how does this tie to fiscal conservatism?
Political speech is very important to the Club for Growth’s analysis. Unfortunately, none of the first-tier candidates have outstanding records on the issue, though several are at least moving in the right general direction. Senator McCain’s continued support for restrictions on political free speech and cavalier disrespect for the First Amendment were weighed heavily on his economic record in our white paper analysis. Political free speech is one of the most basic building blocks of a free, open, and prosperous society. When government strays from pro-growth policies, citizens must be free to exercise their constitutional rights to petition and criticize those policies and the politicians responsible for them.