The GOP Primary Debates – So Far

September 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I have watched all the GOP debates up until this point and I plan to watch all future debates as well.  Though, I cannot say particularly that I look forward to them.  The debates so far have been biased, and rather worthless as far as highlighting the differences between candidates.  What they do highlight for those paying attention is how the media attempts to pick favorites and how the favorite’s favorite activity is pointing fingers at one another.

The newcomer Rick Perry has been at the last three debates.  While new ideas and approaches should always be welcomed, Perry did not have any to offer.  His only contribution to the debates so far has been to give Mitt Romney someone to bicker with – which now happens at every debate.  Generally the topic of the bickering is who flip-flopped on what when.  The only thing this proves is that they are both inconsistent and would rather sling mud at one another than address the real issues in a thoughtful and creative way.

Michele Bachmann who narrowly won the Iowa Straw Poll has slipped in the polls since Perry’s entry in the race and now she sits outside of the top three, with Ron Paul taking her spot.  This has been evident in the debates as more focus has been diverted from her to Perry and Romney.  All of the other candidates, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and (included for the first time in the most recent debate) Gary Johnson get few questions, and little time to speak.

Aside from the obvious bias of the debate moderators toward Romney and Perry, the questions are something I take great issue with.  Many of the questions are not hard-hitting, and are only posed to a single candidate.  If we really want to see who stands out in the field, the questions must get more serious, and all the candidates must be given the opportunity to answer, and explain their reasoning briefly.  Too often candidates are permitted to sidestep questions that they either do not want to answer, or cannot answer.  This needs to stop.  The moderators need to step up and drill any candidate who doesn’t answer a question directly.  These are supposed to be debates, not the “how would you make the world a better place” round of a beauty pageant.  The questions must be solid and deep and the answers must be logical, precise, and intellectually sound.

Candidates should be questioned on the important issues of the day.  A lot of the focus is on jobs, which is an important issue but is a symptom of far deeper problems.  Those deeper problems need to be addressed head-on.  Over-regulation, the policies of the Federal Reserve, our currency, trade relations with other nations, our foreign policy… all of these need to be addressed in profound ways.  I would like to see more focus on these, and less on issues like abortion (which all of the candidates oppose), Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or whether the candidate prefers hot or mild buffalo wings.

The bottom line is that each debate feels a lot like a remixed version of the previous one.  The moderators need to step it up and start asking the deep fundamental questions that need to be addressed in an unbiased, take-no-prisoners fashion.  All of the candidates need to be given the opportunity to answer and if they are unable to offer a concise answer to the question asked, the moderators need to follow up until they do or they make it clear that they cannot.  There were nine candidates at the last debate.  It is time to thin the herd.

The American people need a president who understands economics and the delicate position our Republic is in regarding foreign policy.  Barack Obama has already highlighted his shortcomings in both areas.  Now it is time to analyze the Republican field for similar weaknesses.  The country cannot afford to continue on this path.

A common mindset among many of the Republican candidates (and a portion of the Republican base) seems to be that any one of them would be better than the current President.  I reject this concept.  We already know what our circumstances are like under Barack Obama.  We do not know what they would be like under any of the GOP candidates.  Sure, it can be argued that we will be better off, but all we have to go on is what the candidates say now, which historically is unreliable information.  So what are we to do?

I suggest we take a critical look at each candidate, their record, and their platform.  Do they address key issues like monetary policy, the Fed, over-regulation, and our empire abroad?  Do they advocate real change, or a different variation of the status que?  Do they believe that individuals are best empowered to run their own lives, or should the government have significant sway in that?  How does their record back up their platform?  Does consistency or waffling define their political history?  Do they believe in a constitutionally limited government, or a government that subscribes to the notion of a “living constitution” which can be interpreted however best fits the ever-changing wants of those in power?

No candidate, regardless of party affiliation will be better than the current President if they maintain the same core policies.

This election is not about Republican vs. Democrat.  This election is about saving what is left of our Republic.  It is about restoring the Constitution to power.  It is about taking back liberty and guaranteeing its existence for our children and the rest of posterity.  Look past the empty rhetoric.

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