After having the opportunity to actually watch the recent CNN Republican Presidential Debate, it is time once more for me to exercise one of the freedoms I am sworn to preserve, and give my take on the whole thing. Granted, in a debate hosted by a far left “news” network, and headed by none other than the ultra-liberal Anderson Cooper, there was not much room for the freedom of speech on stage today. Mention the very document which clearly gives all persons that freedom, and there was a good chance you would be cut off from speaking entirely. At least if you happened to be a Congressman from Texas.
Typical to each debate I have watched, balance was nowhere to be found, either in the questions or the time given to various candidates to answer those questions. Instead of giving the voting public the opportunity to hear clear, uninterrupted, and direct answers to serious topics, the questions were again catered to whomever the network pundits have declared frontrunners. In short, this debate could have easily been called “The McCain and Romney Show!” More on that later.
The very first question posed to all four candidates asked for an opinion as to American’s being better off now, than eight years ago – before President Bush. In keeping with his long standing tradition, Mitt Romney responded by recounting for the umpteenth time his record as a governor. Despite being directly requested to clarify his position, in terms of the greater national public, Romney continued to dodge the question, and focus on his record as governor. On the same question, John McCain declared that yes indeed we Americans are better off today than we were in eight years ago. McCain went as far as to begin enumerating positive changes brought forth in the Republican Congress, but was cut short by an all-too predictable interruption by Cooper. Apparently even the possibility that someone could make such an assertion, and even begin to offer the grounds on which said claim is founded, was far too shocking for Cooper to remain silent.
In response to the same question, both Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul stated we were definitely not better off today than we were eight years ago. Huckabee acknowledged that there is a significant slice of America is economically hurting, and went on to say that without serious leadership touching all people, things would not start to get better. Ron Paul emphatically stated that we were certainly not better off, and placed the blame for our current economic crisis on years of unsound economic and foreign policies in Washington. Paul went on to explain, surprisingly without interruption, the long road we have taken toward this low point, and the poor monetary policy that drove the vehicle for crisis.
Half of the candidates feel we are better off for whatever reason, and the other half does not. From where I stand, I’m inclined to agree with the two who commented to the negative. Anyone unable to see the present economic plight, is either too rich to care, or dead. Everyone else is simply lying to themselves. Assuming you can comprehend the fundamental law of sound economics – that no matter how much you spend, it can not exceed how much you make – it should be alarmingly clear to you that our present federal expenditure is in gross violation of economic principles many of us first learned in the candy aisle of a 7-11. Simply put, Congress must trim the mountainous excess from its appropriations bills, unless of course national bankruptcy is something to which the voters of America have given consent. Whoever takes the Oath of Office on January 20, 2009, they absolutely need to be committed to real fiscal responsibility.
“The McCain and Romney Show” begins here, with another left-wing publication asking Romney why he feels McCain is a liberal, despite their assessment that his record is strongly that of a mainstream conservative. Romney and McCain traded verbal punches, insults, and refuted the merits of one another’s “facts”. At some point, Huckabee entered the picture to chime in as the true conservative among the group. How such behavior is tolerable in any form of debate, especially one between persons wishing to be the President of the United States of America, is beyond me completely. I suppose there are just some things a lowly soldier like myself just can not comprehend.
Four questions into the event, another question is finally posed on a real issue – one grounded in the Constitution itself – and is given to each candidate for input. That question, initially asked to McCain, centered on State’s rights. Specifically, McCain was questioned as to his position regarding the Governator’s (sorry, I couldn’t resist) request to allow California to enact and enforce emissions and other environmental policies far more stringent than those of the federal government. As these debates are surely available on YouTube by now, I will spare you the lengthy answers of each candidate, and simply state that all four spoke in favor of State’s rights, as well as alternative energy, and protecting the environment. The general consensus seemed to be that even if mankind is not to responsible for changing climatic trends, the worst that could happen as a result of reducing human pollution would be a cleaner world for our children.
The above is of major importance, for two key reasons. First, each candidate made a clear and direct answer aligning themselves with the Constitution of the United States, specifically acknowledging the right of each State to make their own policies. Secondly, despite Democrats’ rhetoric to the contrary, Republican candidates both care about the environment, and wish to ensure we leave the best planet we can for future generations. It seems some would be well served to remember where the entire idea of conservation started.
The remainder of the debate largely focused on the economy, and the war in Iraq. At least when McCain and Romney weren’t one-upping each other in the dirty politics game. Well, honestly, even when they were one-upping each other, that was still the focus. Every candidate stood the course of their campaign, and I’m not sure anyone’s minds have been changed as a result. For my money, Ron Paul is still the man. When allowed to actually speak, he well stated the things this country needs to return to the greatness we once enjoyed. Namely, fiscal responsibility, and responsible foreign policy. You know, the sorts of things the GOP once stood for.