Monday, September 05, 2011

GOP Presidential Debate in South Carolina on Labor Day

I watched the entire Palmetto Freedom Forum Presidential Debate today online at The format was radically different from previous debates. Each of the five participants, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney was allocated 22 minutes to give an opening remarks and then they were grilled by three panelists with the remaining time. Each Presidential candidate was asked essentially the same question with a slight variation each time. They were given time to answer, as opposed to some of the previous debates, like the one held on Fox, which allowed only 30 seconds for a response.
The panelists consisted of Senator Jim DeMint, who was instrumental in organizing and designing the debate held in his home state of South Carolina. Congressman Steve King, who is from another early GOP primary state Iowa, was the second member of the panel. The third panel member was Professor Robert George of Princeton and the American Policy Project. Their questions were all insightful and challenged the candidates.

Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul both did exceptionally well. Newt Gingrich was best prepared intellectually, Ron Paul was the best prepared ideologically. Both candidates were entirely comfortable and confident in their responses to some tough questions. They both graded out as As. Cain received a B grade. Michele Bachmann and Romney received a C grade, though I still feel she is the best overall candidate in the race. Bachmann didn’t seem as sharp as I expected and her answers were not as comprehensive as Paul’s or Gingrich’s.  I still don’t trust anything that Romney says. It is hard to be objective with a person who seems to be totally unprincipled and who flip flops on the issues. Somehow I think he would appoint another Sandra Day O’Conner to the US Supreme Court despite his rhetoric to the contrary.

I would have liked to see Governor Rick Perry involved in this debate, since we have not had opportunity to watch him in any of the previous debates, because of his recent entry into the race. Why Senator Santorum, Governors Huntsman and Johnson or Congressman McCotter where not in the debate I’m not sure. Maybe because they were polling so low and there was not enough time for the debate format to include all the announced candidates.

Ron Paul emphasized the need for sound money, which was a theme that wove through all of his responses. Herman Cain wove his basic canned campaign themes into his answers. He was well organized and well-spoken. Regarding illegal aliens, Cain wanted a100% secure border, regarding keeping out both law-breaking people and illegal drugs. Michele Bachmann said that making profit was a good thing.

For my money, the “winner” of the debate was a tie between Gingrich and Paul. I am beginning to agree more and more with Paul’s foreign policy of getting out of foreign entanglements and alliances. However, I don’t think we should close all of our foreign bases. Maybe most should be evaluated, and reduced but not totally eliminated. We need to have strategically placed presence in order to respond to situations that advance our national security.

I don’t agree that any of the five would be better than Obama. Certainly Romney would be Obama-lite and like I said before I could not trust him to remain true to conservative principles, which I wonder if he even hold any apart from the political necessity to do so. He would be another unacceptable RINO in the John McCain mold. I still have my doubts about Gingrich, but he sure is persuasive with his response regarding his seeking God’s involvement in his decision-making.  But did he say that for the audience’s sake?

1 comment:

  1. Ron Paul gave good answers to most of the questions, but he did not answer the abortion question correctly. He used to just say that 14th Amendment was not properly ratified. But now he is just watering it down. This is a big mistake. Paul correctly stated that the 14th Amendment does not abolish the 10th Amendment (as least not technically speaking), but the 14th Amendment expanded the powers of the federal government greatly. Section 5 says:

    "The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."

    Section 1 says in part:

    "No State shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

    Clearly, if an unborn baby is a person, and if murderers of the unborn are not receiving an equal punishment as murderers of born persons under the laws of a particular state, and if the 14th Amendment was really properly ratified, then the Congress does have the power to rectify the inequality. The original constitution contains the necessary and proper clause which allows the Congress to pass laws in order to execute powers given to it. This does not necessarily mean that they have to do this by using a national police force, but there is nothing that says that they can't. My question to Ron Paul would be, "What does the Federal Government have the power to do under the 14th Amendment which it did not have the power to do without it?" The fact of the matter is that the 14th Amendment was used to give the Congress the power to send troops into the south to prevent the south from enforcing laws which treated black victims of crime differently than whites.

    And Bachmann really got caught off guard. Terrible. After all of that about the importance of following the Constitution and not using it as a means to an end, then she couldn't identify what part of the Constitution would protect individual from a state healthcare mandate. Of course, there is no such place in the Constitution, unless you count the 14th Amendment, and even there you have to stretch it a bit.

    I agree that Paul and Bachmann are the two best candidates, but with those answers, God help us even if one of them gets elected! I'll expose Newt Gingrich later. Basically, he is a liar.

    BTW here are the links to the (frequently interrupted) video:

    Michele Bachmann

    Herman Cain

    Newt Gingrich

    Ron Paul

    Mitt Romney