Here’s the overview of what I saw in this debate:
- 9-9-9 needs a better explanation / sales pitch to answer objections
- All the second tier / third tier candidates brought some interesting ideas to the table and I appreciated their contribution because that’s not something we would get without these important voices.
- It’s not clear to me that Mitt Romney or Rick Perry would implement the kind of radical reforms we need to get our government’s fiscal house in order.
- Those who said (mainly Ron Paul) that everything should be on the table when it comes to spending are correct. Even foreign aid. There tends to be a knee-jerk reaction against cutting military spending. We need to define what this means. Are we talking about not giving the active military the tools they needs to effectively do their jobs? If so, I’m opposed to doing that. If however, the question is reevaluating our spending priorities on things like the UN and passive military deployments in countries that are not currently at war, why shouldn’t this kind of spending be on the table? We can’t afford this kind of thing anymore. Let’s look at cutting some of this. There is also waste in military spending, authorizing money for tech we don’t really need. So yes, put all of this on the table.
- Rick Perry has the edge on Romney on health care, mostly because he doesn’t have the albatross of something like Romneycare in his state. The criticism by Romney about the uninsured in Texas is unfair because as Perry points out, this number includes illegals as well.
- Why is no one else talking about Dodd-Frank? This is an important issue that someone other than Michelle Bachmann should be discussing at length because these regulations hurt the economy and the average person having to deal with the consequences of this legislation.
I have doubts about Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. Herman Cain admits that his national sales tax will apply in addition to the state and local taxes. That means that this will be a new tax for those who don’t currently have a tax. This will be a hard sell to the average American voter, who won’t take the time to understand the whole hidden tax thing but will instead see a clear increase in their sales tax which would make a concrete impact on what they spend on essentials like food and gas for the car. There aren’t any exceptions to the tax as far as I can tell, so each person would be hit with the same level of taxation no matter how much their income is. At least with the fair tax there are allowances for this double taxation with the pre-bates. 9-9-9 needs more tweaking IMO.
On Mitt Romney – the verbal fisticuffs between him and Rick Perry was ugly to watch. I understand that something like this was inevitable because of Perry’s previous debate performances but it still made both of them look petty and definitely not presidential. Now I think that the CNN analysts were wrong in suggesting that Reagan’s 11th commandment prohibits legitimate criticism of one’s fellow Republican candidates, but that’s not what that exchange was. I don’t know the real story with Mitt’s lawn care service, but what struck me was his comment to the effect that once he realized that the lawn care people were employing illegals, he decided to stop using them BECAUSE he was running for President and it wouldn’t look right. Not because it was wrong. He made this decision based on his fear of public opinion and because he didn’t want it to damage his political ambitions. That’s what he said. I’m not adding anything. That pretty much summarizes the chameleon nature of Mitt’s entire political career. I’ll get back to that in a future post.
It’s hard to learn anything new and to decide which candidate to support when there are still so many candidates vying for time in these debates. There are ideas I like from just about every candidate on that stage. But while I recognize that Rick Santorum has some impossible hurdles to overcome, I think he’s the closest to the total package when you look at his record, his experience, and his solid social conservatism. And now everyone reading this is going to call me absolutely mad for even suggesting that he might possibly be the best overall candidate. I’m even surprised that I’m actually writing this in a post. No, I don’t think he will end up with the nomination. However, if you compare resumes for all the candidates on that stage, Rick Santorum has something that few other socially conservative candidates have credibility on foreign policy. This is very important for our next president to be aware and knowledgeable about foreign affairs. We have seen the damage that could be caused globally by making the wrong moves. We need someone as our next president who has the knowledge to make good decisions regarding China, South Korea, Iran, Pakistan, and many other countries whose motives remain suspect in their current relationship with the United States. I like many things about Herman Cain, and I think he could surround himself with people who will advise him in this area. Same with Michelle Bachmann. But this needs to happen while Republicans are still deciding which conservative to support. It could make or break candidates’ chances going forward.
Being the anti-Romney may seem to be enough for all the other Republican candidates, but eventually our nominee will stand or fall on his / her own record and experience. We should decide who fits the majority of our qualifications and vote for that person, not just against a candidate we don’t like. Let me just say though – I think Mitt Romney will have a tough fight against President Obama. There are so many areas of weakness to be addressed when attacking the status quo under the Obama administration, and there are candidates who could make more of a clear distinction between their views and those of Barack Obama. This is the main problem I see with Romney as the Republican nominee. So, don’t let the talking heads and the media decide who our nominee is. Look at the evidence and decide for yourself.