Rick Akin: Does the talk match the walk?

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— Super Tuesday, including the Colorado caucuses, is only two days away, and it is clear that the race for the Republican presidential nomination has come down to John McCain and Mitt Romney.

In evaluating these candidates, please ignore the predictions and biases of the news media as to who is the better candidate (better for whom?) or who can or will win. In the end, 95 percent of the media elite will vote for neither Republican. Isn't it ironic that the national news media would have you believe that the Conservative Movement died, and yet, each Republican candidate has claimed that they are in fact the most conservative?

Remember, actions speak louder than words, and if past positions or votes of a candidate do not reflect your values, what have you really won by their election? Nothing.

Neither of these Republican candidates perfectly fits the conservative mold, but either is infinitely preferable to any of the Democrats, who are bent on enlarging government, raising taxes, increasing regulation and fostering class warfare for political gain.

Romney's limited public record is as governor of Massachusetts. He has been in private enterprise for virtually all of his adult life, creating jobs and meeting a payroll. During his tenure as governor, the state enacted a mandated health insurance program involving substantial government subsidies. This certainly is a matter of concern. On the plus side, his performance in straightening out the Olympics is worthy of a gold medal.

McCain's record is 25 years in the Congress (the past 21 as a senator) and far too many as a prisoner of war. McCain understands the threat from Islamic radicals and would vigorously confront this threat. However, he has, like the Democrats, favored closing the detention center at Guantanamo and treating terrorists in the criminal justice system, which is not what the criminal justice system is designed to do.

McCain opposed legislation to reduce your taxes, and until recently, opposed making the Bush tax cuts permanent. I think that I am paying enough in taxes now, thank you.

McCain, along with Sen. Ed Kennedy, also championed last year's failed immigration reform bill featuring a visa system that, in effect, granted amnesty to the vast majority of illegal aliens.

He has opposed various measures to make the U.S. energy independent, such as drilling in ANWR, thus prolonging our entanglement with the Middle East and high oil and gas prices.

He sponsored the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Bill, claiming it would "take the money out of politics." Instead, it opened a floodgate of money from semi-secret 527 organizations and made the whole process more confusing and annoying. This bill has limited your free speech rights by prohibiting certain forms of straightforward political speech, such as certain types of ads near an election.

He also was a member of the "Gang of 14" that effectively legitimized the filibuster of federal judicial appointments.

Reasonable minds may evaluate the facts and come to different conclusions. Different people may place emphasis on different issues, but at least conservatives would agree that a decision should be reached by evaluating the issues.

Speaking only for myself, while McCain served his country honorably as a member of the Armed Forces, Romney is the clear choice for president. Romney's record is that of a successful business owner, savior of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games and successful leader of Massachusetts. He has a proven track record as a chief executive (as opposed to one member of a 100-person deliberative body) - in the real world - outside of Washington, D.C.

I believe that Mitt Romney is the conservative choice, and I support him for the Republican Party presidential nomination.

Rick Akin is an Attorney practicing in Steamboat Springs and Austin, Texas, a former member of the Pilot and Today Editorial Board, and a Director of the Conservative Leadership Council of Northwest Colorado. His great-grandparents moved to Steamboat in 1926. He holds a BA from Oklahoma and a doctorate from the Univ. of Texas. He is the Routt County Chairman of the Romney Campaign.

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