Tuesday, October 18, 2011

GOP Presidential Candidacy Debate

night was the second GOP debate in a week and was hosted by CNN in Las Vegas, Nevada.  This Republican class of presidential candidates has looked like a one horse race with the occasional challenger, and the challenge for all the candidates not named Romney to move themselves into being considered a "contender".  I'll go person by person, sum up some key points, and give you my thoughts on their performance, how they helped or hurt themselves tonight, and what their economics look like in my eyes.

Herman Cain
Cain comes into the debate (somehow) as the new hot ticket in the Republican party, someone people seem to be getting behind who is currently challenging Romney in the surveys.  Cain's catchy 9-9-9 plan was immediately attacked (and it should be, it's ridiculous) by every other candidate.  Bachmann wanted to drive the point home that the tax could be increased, while others wanted to drive the point home that MIDDLE CLASS AND LOWER CLASS FAMILIES WOULD PAY MORE TAXES.  (Whoops, did I hit the caps lock there?  Must have been a slip.)  Cain's defense?  Basically he said "well you should hear how my guys do it".  It's insane, this guy really thinks people are going to buy it?
"The thing that I would encourage people to do, before they...engage in this knee-jerk reaction is read our analysis.  It is available at hermancain.com.  It was performed by fiscal associates.  And all of the claims that are made against it...It is a jobs plan, it is income neutral, it does not raise taxes on those that are making the least....The reason that our plan is being attacked so much is because lobbyists, accountants, politicans don't want to throw out the tax code..." Allow me to translate for you (I'm a business man as well, I speak Cain's language.)
"The thing that I would encourage people to do, before they...engage in this knee-jerk reaction" (what he means here is "yea that's true, but here's a cute saying and then I'm going to say it's not true)
"It was performed by fiscal associates." (what he meant to say here was "some intern in my office said this sounded like a good plan")
"It is a jobs plan" (It's not a jobs plan)
"it is income neutral" (it is, flat tax, except that we'll pay more for products cuz companies pay tons more in tax.)
"It does not raise taxes..." (it does)
"The reason that..." (I've gotta try to discredit anyone that says anything against this real quick)

For the rest of the time Cain continued to throw in cute little sayings with very little factual backup.  He admitted this past week that his taxes WOULD increase taxes on lower and middle class families.  There is no exception, so no matter what your income is you're taxed.  Look, I agree with this concept actually, but still he's saying it's one thing when the truth is another.

I truly can't believe people are getting behind Herman Cain, but they seem to be according to reports.  I wonder if channels aren't just bumping the numbers up to try to create the perception of a race, to give Romney some competition.  I mean seriously, did they really listen to his idiotic apples and oranges crap? Perry says "you'll pay the state sales tax plus the fed sales tax on purchases" and Cain says "No, apples and oranges" and then later tells Romney "yea, apples are fed tax and state is oranges, and you have to pay both".  Are you kidding me people?  This cannot really be the guy you're falling for.  WAKE UP PEOPLE.

Moving on...Cain is not a serious candidate.  This guy will flame out unless people are far more stupid than I give them credit for...crap, this guy might get the nomination.

Newt Gingrich

I have the same thought about Newt in every public interaction with anyone, any debate, anything.  He makes GREAT points and is clearly VERY intelligent.  The problem is, he's very unlikeable and he can't really change that.  At least that's the impression I get.  I don't know much about his social policies, but his economic policies and theories make a lot of sense to me.

There's nothing new or exciting about Newt, so his paragraph might be short.  He's not going to get the nomination, and may he shouldn't, I don't know but he needs to have a job somewhere high up for one of these other guys.  He seems too...crafty to me, I don't know.  I feel like he oughta run the CIA or something, I don't know, maybe I've read too many Tom Clancy type books.

Rick Perry

Texas Governor Rick Perry was a candidate many were looking for to separate himself-even if just by partaking a bit more than prior debates-tonight, and while he partook a lot more, he was really batted around pretty badly by Mitt Romney.  Romney put him on the ropes pretty early, and just kinda hammered him for a while.  At one point early on Perry started with the strategy of yelling over Romney when Romney was hammering him, but it didn't work, Romney just kept beating on him all night.

Perry is basically the male version of Palin.  Ultra conservative, not very bright, doesn't really know what he's talking about.  He knows a few talking points-primarily surrounding energy-but that's about it.  Overall he's a pretty unimpressive candidate.  I can't imagine he lasts real long, he can't beat Obama in a debate, on a stage, or any of that.  I could see him literally throwing a fit while Obama knocks em dead with a speech.  Obama's policies might be terrible, but he's a great motivator and a great speaker.  Sometimes issues don't matter so much (sadly).

On the question of children without healthcare Perry oddly sites his own state's serious problem with immigration.  Oddly enough his state's immigration problem is due to their own policies and as Romney pointed out several times his state's problem has increased by 60% while California and Florida's problems have not increased at all.  When Romney talked about the specific program I actually saw a woman in the crowd with her jaw on the floor.  Perry sounded like he was desperately throwing shots with the "hiring an illegal" thing.  I mean that's ridiculous, Romney hired a lawn care service.  Does anyone think he was ever even home when the lawn care service is doing his lawn?  Do you think he's ever seen them?  I doubt it.

Romney had some fun with him, saying things like "It's been a tough couple debates for Rick" and "If you want to be President of the United States you have to learn to listen".  I think the knock out blow came when Romney said something to the effect of "I don't have a record?  You were the campaign manager for Al Gore while a man from Texas ran on the Republican side."  Final nail in the coffin of Perry's presidential chances.

Ron Paul

Paul is another candidate that most of us know very well, like Gingrich.  He didn't put forth much new tonight (except for cutting all funding to Israel) and he also inspires me to think something similar to what I think of Ginrich: he has great ideas, great thoughts, very sound philosophies, but he's not a good enough public speaker and not charismatic enough to beat Obama (or anyone) in a race.  It's unfortunate, I think he'd make a great president with the right VP candidate.  Too bad he and Newt differ a great deal on many topics.

I like Ron Paul, but can't see getting the opportunity to vote for him.  He spoke very wisely about making the right cuts with great specificity, citing stations and programs that were wastes of money and going so far as to say that cutting that defense spending would increase our safety as it would bring troops home from stations in places like Korea, Germany, and other countries.  He also took a strong stance on foreign funding, saying he'd cut ALL foreign aid including all aid to Israel.  He went on (sounding like a parent cutting their child off) to explain that our aid enables Israel.  I really like a lot of what he had to say, but have some questions about wiping out the department of education or energy although to be fair I don't know what these departments really do.

Michele Bachmann

Okay first of all, Michele Bachmann wore the most ridiculously white jacket, it was like she was a walking neon light.  Bachmann has some strong stances, including pledging to build a double walled fence along the entire Mexico border.  I feel like there were a few times-specifically regarding immigration-when Michele got short-changed on opportunity.  I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but it certainly cost her some points.  She had an emotional moment later in the evening, but honestly I don't think that helped her.  At least it didn't with me.

I don't think Bachmann can hang in this group.  She's got a seriously good resume-former tax attorney, congresswoman, conservative.  I've been saying for a while that she'd make a great running mate with Romney, and I'll stick by that.  Romney needs legitimacy with conservatives, he can get it with Bachmann.  A female VP candidate is sure to draw strong female support as well, it would be a smart play and I think a winning ticket.

Rick Santorum

Santorum clearly came into this debate wanting to make an impression.  He made an effort to make his presence known several times, calling out Mitt Romney in the first few minutes of the debate and regularly exceeding his time limits, extending his time on center stage as often as possible.

Santorum rubs me the wrong way with his ultra religious outlook on things.  He keeps talking about things like faith and family, and that bothers me.  I need a focus on economy, I don't want someone telling me how to run my family, my life, any of that.  I feel like this guy would forget about the economy and lead a battle against abortion and gay marriage and that bothers me a great deal.

I don't feel like I heard enough from him on the economy, everything turned into faith and family, or was an attack on someone else it seemed.  When he was asked about the housing issues he turned it into an attack on his opposition regarding TARP-Governor Perry specifically.  Maybe that's just what I heard given my predisposition to disliking him as discussed above.  Either way, I'm moving on, I don't think he's going to be around long anyway.

Mitt Romney

Lastly we have Mitt, the leading candidate for the last 3 years as the Republican candidate coming in and he comes out as the best looking candidate in my mind as well.  He won almost every point, logically and systematically defeated anyone that challenged him, embarrassed Governor Perry BADLY and really just knocked every answer out of the park in a personable and agreeable manner.  He made some jokes, got some laughs, and was the focus of a great deal of the applause.

Mitt resembles a presidential candidate in every way.  He's got the background as both a politician and successful businessman.  He's been preparing for this for years, and has clearly been polishing his boxing gloves for debates. I think tonight he really showed that he can put someone away with all the pokes he took at Governor Perry before the knockout Al Gore campaign shot.

Romney is the only candidate with an economic plan that makes sense and isn't insulting (ahem, Herman Cain).  I think he could really lead the country to a financial turnaround, and I think his ticket to the presidential race on the GOP ticket is stamped.  His religion could be an issue, but I don't know that it's fair for that to be a problem in a country founded based upon freedom of religion.


Overall I think Romney is the candidate and the only one that can beat-destroy-Obama.  Right now my only question is whether he's picked his running mate already with all his preparation or whether he's auditioning his contenders to be that in these debates.  This thought trend prompted the following two thoughts:

1) Wouldn't it be crazy if Romney was more prepared than it appears?  What if, in all his planning for this presidential race he already picked his VP candidate and it's one of these competitors.  What if it's just a design to gain votes for the ticket later on down the road?

2) I wonder if any of these guys/women are thinking that Romney has the thing tied up and as such they're conciously auditioning-even if he's not looking for it-to be his VP selection.

Random thoughts.  The two best candidates that aren't Mitt Romney are Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, and for some reason these guys never get elected.  Ron Paul has some of the most popular opinions ("Who in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Wall St have gone to jail..." or talking about cutting foreign spending, bringing soldiers home, keeping everyone he can paying no tax, etc.  Maybe he's swinging for the fences, taking his last shot at the presidency anticipating this to be his last run at it?  I don't know.

Let me know what you think about the whole thing, any of the candidates, or me below.

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