Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Republican Debate - Thoughts

The debate is being covered by a large number of bloggers, many of whom are far better at analyzing it than I am.  So rather than making an attempt to do something of lesser quality than you'll find elsewhere, I will give my thoughts on it.

Biggest takeaway:
I like Michelle Bachman.  I had not paid close attention to her as a candidate previously, as I didn't think it likely that she would run.  To my knowledge, no one holding the elected office of Representative has ever won a general election.  The higher house of Congress, yes, but not the lower.  That said, she came out strong, didn't hesitate in her answers, spoke directly and succinctly, and didn't have an apologetic attitude about her stances.  I think she handled herself better than the men on the platform last night.

Biggest letdown:
I know many people are going to say Pawlenty not taking on Romney and his health care plan.  That isn't my biggest letdown of the evening.  I think Herman Cain was my biggest letdown.  I had extremely high hopes for him based on what I understand of his politics.  While I didn't see a weakness there, I did see a weakness in how he handles himself in public forums, and in this kind of pressure.  While I personally don't mind someone who forgoes political correctness, and speaks his mind and heart freely, that rarely gets one very far in politics.  I am certain that is one reason why I will not ever win an election at -any- level, should I ever decide to try. 

I will say that I was not surprised in the least that Pawlenty did not go after Romney more aggressively.  I say this because he is no true conservative.  He sounded far more conservative last evening than I have heard him previously, and I believe that is because of the competition on the stage.  Looking at the state of Minnesota, sure he's conservative - because compared to the rest of the state he is.  He's not quite as liberal as Romney, but he is a progressive. 

Romney surprised me with a couple of his answers.  He did make one point that managed to get me to agree with him and disagree with him in the same thought process.  That's a neat trick.  When he was confronted on Romneycare in Mass, his response was that it is appropriate for the states to institute that sort of thing, but not the federal government.  While I am a strong supporter of states' rights, the idea of forced medical care is still socialism verging on communism. 

Ron Paul is still Ron Paul.  He has some good things to say, sounds like a conservative, but it doesn't take long to realize that he doesn't hold the same values that most of us do.  While there are areas where I consider myself a libertarian, he takes that concept in a direction that would not be healthy for this country.

Being from Pennsylvania, I was hoping for a stronger showing from Rick.  He's a solid, upstanding man, and I have a lot of respect for him.  I don't know that his place is in the White House though.  I don't think he has the presence, or the executive style that it takes to lead from that seat.  I don't think he's going to make it.  I have mixed emotions about that, as it will be sad to see him lose, but I don't think he's the strongest candidate we have available.

Should I ever bother mentioning Newt?  He's done nothing to impress me since he was Speaker many moons ago.  There is too much of a cloud surrounding him today for him to be effective should he win the vote.  Additionally, I doubt his true conservative motives, as he's been part of the establishment within the GOP for entirely too long.  I think we'd be better off with him out of the race.

That about sums up my thoughts after last night's debate.  Let me know what you all think.


  1. What values does Ron Paul not hold that the rest of us (Republicans? Conservatives? Americans?) do not hold? Is it his defense of freedom or the Constitution? I would have to agree that the great majority of Americans do not really love or respect either.

  2. There are two areas where his differences from traditional conservatives are somewhat glaring.

    The first is his take on drugs. There has not yet been a good case made for why drugs should be legalized. Certainly we'd see a drop in drug crime, since they would not be legal, but I think we'd see other crimes rise, and other problems emerge which are currently not existing problems with how things stand currently. I agree the the 'war on drugs' is failing, but that is because it is being fought the wrong way. The best first step we can take in this is to properly secure the borders, and stop the flow of illegal persons. They are already committing crimes being here, so to them, bringing some drugs along for the ride isn't an especially large risk.

    The second is his take on weakening our military. The one thing which I see in the constitution that our federal government has the responsibility to do above all else is protect us from foreign threats. His ideas of shutting down 'the bulk' of internationally military bases is a bad idea. That is one thing which has stopped other nations from being silly enough to attack us. Our positioning globally the way we are gives us an agility and the ability to speedily respond to any threat against us. For example, he suggests closing the bases in Germany, because we're not at war with them now. However, that base provides important services for our troops who are in the Middle East, as well as a staging point should the need arise. Let's say (picking at random here, I am not suggesting it's going to be the next major threat) Ukraine decides to attack American citizens who are traveling around Europe. Having a base in Germany gives us the ability to respond nearly immediately to the action, and protect our people where they are. It also deters others from doing that in the first place. The one part of the budget which should not be cut significantly is the defense spending. Listening to him, that's where he'd start cutting.

  3. Paul's stance on drugs is that they should be decriminalized at the federal level because the Constitution gives the federal government to regulate them - which is true. He would not support the federal government making a law that made drugs legal but would leave it to the states to decide how they would regulate them. That is Constitutional. Most people make it an issue of "Drugs are bad, we need to make them illegal!" but the real issue is about Constitutional authority and giving power to the federal government that they are not given by the Constitution. Sure, many people may want drugs illegal and policed by the federal government, but if you give that authority over then it could be policing Christians or something else next and they would have the authority, the ability, to do so, which is clearly something that the Founding Fathers never intended.

    Our occupation of other countries is expensive and it is most likely is the very thing that makes us unsafe. Our enemies have always cited occupation of their lands as PRIMARY causes for their declarations of war and have used these same tools for recruitment of soldiers/terrorists to fight our soldiers on their sand. So far, they have killed around 6,000 US soldiers since 9/11 and have wounded thousands of others while this has cost us over a trillion dollars. And this has done nothing to objectively secure America any more but in reality is likely to build further resentment of American occupation of the Middle East. BUT, in any case, the important thing is that we CAN NOT afford to continue these wars and occupations of foreign lands. Our country is 13+ trillion dollars in debt and growing. The troops will have to come home one way or the other. Supporting a strong national defense has nothing to do with occupation of over 130 countries around the world. But, again, the Founding Fathers agreed and the Constitution gives the President no authority to conduct wars and foreign policy without a declaration from the Congress. No one gives a hoot about the Constitution though. The other candidates (that are all 100% the same) will pay lip service to the COnstitution occasionally, but when it comes down to it, the only candidate that will follow (and has followed) the Constitution is Ron Paul. Some of his stances are unpopular. Freedom is unpopular because sometimes people make poor choices with it. Does that mean it should not exist? Some would say yes.

    I would say that the Constitutional stance and the positions that Ron Paul has taken on these issues is the correct moral choice and are the most reflective of tradational American values of liberty and freedom. I think we need that back or America is in serious trouble....