Monday, January 07, 2008

TheDebate, republican politics, and what really matters

I didn't watch this debate on Saturday night, I was at a friends house watching NFL playoffs.
On that, note, The Green and Gold is returning to glory, BRING ON THE SEAHAWKS!
But, I did fulfil my political junkie hankering Sunday night by watching the debate on YouTube. (Wonderful creation, this Internet video thingy!)

If you haven't seen it, here's the first of 9 video segments.

First, I want to give a texas size round of applause to ABC news for their terrific coverage, presentation, and moderation of the Republican debate. Best debate I've seen in a good while. It felt like the candidates sitting in a coffee shop with me and a friend, and trying to convince me while discussing the matters amongst themselves in a gracious manner. While clash existed, it wasn't abrasive, rather, a highly entertaining look into the candidates reaction under pressure.

Now, for the meat, and my reaction to the candidates/issues.
I'll start going from right to left, which in this case, the seating arrangement had absolutely no bearing on the candidates

So, John McCain, please step to the plate.
When it comes to the War on Terror, John McCain is well 'nigh unparalleled by any candidate in any party. With the lone, stark exception of Guantanamo Bay, McCain has been backing the correct strategy against Islam since the beginning of this millennium, and is the only republican who can lay claim to influencing 'the surge' strategy.
But outside of this admittedly large issue, I don't agree with McCain on much. Blaming the pharmaceuticals for expensive medicine is ridiculous, as was his amnesty bill that withered under a public firestorm, the likes of which I have seen very few times in my life. Opposing the Bush tax cuts don't win me any favor either.
McCain's debate performance appeared a bit awkward to me, and far to quick to assail Romney for 'negative ads'.
Ultimately, if McCain wins the nomination, I will feel secure in the foreign policy, but alas, nothing else. He is most certainly not a conservative horse in this race.

On deck, Fred Thompson.
Watching this debate, Fred received the most 'yays' from myself. A rock on the war, free markets on health care (AS IT SHOULD BE!), and the best answer I've ever heard from a presidential candidate on high energy prices. Windfall tax on companies? hah!
He also got into a riff with Romney about mandates that I thought was an excellent defense of personal freedoms. Immigration was good as well.
After looking at all the candidates side-by-side, Thompson is likely to have my vote. I do realize he voted for campaign finance reform (a bill from McCain, incidentally), but I believe his record is solid otherwise.

Ron Paul, please go find that libertarian baseball bat you used to carry, and start swinging it again!
As sure as the snow falls, Paul seemed to completely forgo the principles of liberty that he has so long been the flag bearer of. Unfortunatley, he took this time to shoot off on a radically anti-war screed. I can't support this. Where I can support Ron Paul is domestic policy, but he seemed more interested in pushing theories about monetary policy then pushing free market solutions, which I find vaguely distressing.
Nevertheless, as shown in his past actions, if this man wins, he will be one of the greatest boons to our domestic policy in many, many moons. I just hope we'd be around to see it come to fruition.

Mitt Romney
came not with a baseball bat, but with an iron tipped oak quarterstaff.
His foreign policy I am confident in, and his comprehension of the Islamic threat seems to be well versed and highly competent.
I loved it when he was commenting on Huckabee's article on foreign policy, and Mike demanded to know if he had read it or not. Mitt said he had, but there was a LOT of tension between the two the entire night. (McCain and Paul had the funniest lines, 'did you read mine?' & 'what about mine?', respectively addressed to Romney)
He speaks a very good game when it comes to immigration. Not sure I trust him, in regards to his past actions, but his plan is there nonetheless.
Health care, which I don't care about that much, but he seemed far to eager to enact government mandates, which Thompson did call him on. His defense of 'big pharma' was well timed and necessary.
On the whole, it seemed like he was the most prepared, and most polished man on stage. While I would not have exuberance regarding a Romney candidacy, I could certainly back it truthfully.

To the Right of Romney (on stage, at least) was Mike Huckabee.
I know my previous post was very harsh on Huckabee, and I still feel they are valid points. The contention between he and Romney seems to have reflected all through out his campaign, and even when I discuss Huckabee with his supporters, many of my criticisms are deflected towards, or assumed caused by the Romney campaign. (Curious, then, that ABC sat them together. Random lots? hah!)
It may be that I had heard Huckabee the day before on Sean Hannity's radio program, but many of his responses seemed canned to me.
I did not much care for his immigration, but otherwise he managed to pass well enough as a republican candidate for president. I don't think he was challenged enough on his taxes, both past actions or future policies, nor on education.

Ironically, the man most known for his easy going charisma seemed just as terse, and at times snappy as Romney, who is cast as the establishment candidate. The governor from Arkansas just seemed to fade into the background at many times, contrary to Romney, who seemed ready to leap on anyone who deviated from the party line, or Thompson, who was the voice of reasoned wisdom at many times.
I think Huckabee fits in the same category as McCain, where I agree on one major issue, in Mikes case, taxes, but not in a powerful way on the other two majors, the War on Terror and Immigration.

Finally, the Mayor of Gotham, Rudy Giuliani steps to the plate.
(perhaps at the house that Ruth built?) (baseball phrase from new york...) (moving on...)
On foreign policy, Rudy was the anchor of the panel, smart, experienced, and ready to roll against Islam and it's terrorist adherents, rivaling even McCain when it came to hawkish policy.
Other then that, I don't remember hardly anything except incessant chatter about Regan's dark side, his amnesty for the 8 million illegal immigrants. Hardly something I'd like out of my candidate, and not very encouraging on the immigration front.
Again, Rudy fits with McCain and Huckabee, hitting one of three of the big issues, but going down swinging on Economy/Taxes and immigration.

So, over all? I really enjoyed the debate, and as much as I dislike some policies of some candidates, I would really only be uncomfortable voting for McCain, and seeing how Huckabee progresses with his populist agenda, perhaps the former Governor of the Natural State.

If you've read this far, then you have my sincere gratitude.
If you just read the summary, then thank you.
If you just read at this last line, thanks for dropping by.


SolaMeanie said...

I honestly have to say that I'm not really jazzed about anyone at this point. I think we all want another Ronald Reagan, and there just isn't one.

BTW, I tried to post this on the Huckabee article you did, but for some reason Blogger was being obnoxious. Here is a Rickenbacker:

Huckabee was playing a Fender in the photo you posted. I don't mind Fender guitars, but Fender basses are the dorkiest things. Huckabee has a cooler looking bass himself. Why he would borrow a Fender and be photographed with it is beyond me. ;)

kingdavid said...

Hey, I thought of you last Saturday night when we were at the Mall of America; and here's why---

My favorite (type) of shirt was one that read: Friends don't let friends become Viking Fans.

Of course it was green and gold. I'm sure they must sell them in purple and white that say the same thing about Packer fans.

Kingdom Advancer said...

I think the reason that Huckabee supporters always want to go after Romney is because of a few reasons:

1.) Romney, hinting at desperation, has been going after Huckabee.

2.) Giulani is a totally different animal. If you're willing to vote for someone who is pro-choice, pro-gay rights/civil unions, pro-gun-control, weak on immigration, immoral, and a nominal-at-best Roman Catholic, then Huckabee's positives probably are not going to attract you. Huckabee can stand on his own merits in comparison to Giulani.

3.) McCain also has issues on the topics of life, civil unions, immigration, and gun control, not to mention taxes and McCain-Feingold. Furthermore, you heard it here first: if either McCain or Huckabee gets the nomination, I would not be one bit surprised to see the other become the running mate. They've been really "nice" to each other, for lack of a better word. They seem to have a mutual respect for one another.

4.) Thompson, Paul, Hunter, and Keyes aren't really worth going after right now because of where they are at in the polls.

Now, for the rest of your post (of which I read ALL :)):

I don't see so much wrong with Huckabee's "populist" appeal. Finally, we have a candidate who is for the free market, yet is emphasizing how the free market, with lower taxes (in his case, the "Fair Tax") actually HELPS the little guy.

I thought his answer on immigration did sound a little soft. But when you combine it with his 9-point immigration plan, I think it makes a good mix: showing a respect for and desire to execute the law, but also showing compassion to illegals.

I don't think that his responses seemed canned was his fault. Did you notice that, after all the other candidates seemed to stumble and rumble, the moderator would oftentimes come to Huckabee last? How could you not be prepared to make a statement when you have that kind of time to think about it?

I don't know if you knew this, but there was also a debate on Fox News on Sunday night, and this is the main thing I got out of it:

Romney finally had to admit that he, too, raised taxes while governor. He put the number at $240million, but others (Chris Wallace of Fox News and Mike Huckabee) put the number at upwards of $500 million.

Palm boy said...

Joel, I believe your sentiments about Reagan are echoed throughout the party. Fortunetly, we haven't gone through another 4 years of carter to lead up to a Reagan.
Ah, you musicians...

KD, Thanks.
Although this item "Lambeau Field Pack Rats does disturb me.

KA, thanks for reading it all. I'm impressed. :D

1. Romney has gone after Huck, but I think he's an equal opportunity sniper, between Huckabee, McCain, and Guiliani. Still, valid point.

2. Even more valid point.

3. A McCain/Huckabee ticket would be hard to swallow, but I think your prediction has a good chance of happening.

4. Keyes... hehe. He makes Paul look moderate.


My issue with the populist appeal is that most leaders who appeal to 'the little guy' at the expense of the employers usually wind up being more totalitarian then I would prefer. The best example of this is what he said earlier this week, regarding the 'guy who fired you'.
I just don't feel comfortable with it.

Good point regarding his 'prepared' points. I thought the moderator did a good job tossing questions around, but Huckabee was necessarily only first in 1 of 6 questions.

I didn't catch the debate on Fox, and I didn't have time to watch or comment on it. So I focused on the
Saturday one, which I was able to watch in it's entirety. :D

Kingdom Advancer said...

The thing with a McCain/Huckabee ticket is that they don't seem to compliment each other on either taxes or immigration. Now, I'm not all that convinced that Huckabee is that bad on either (at least when you look at his current positions), but the perception is still there. Plus, they're both against waterboarding, although that's a dicey topic anyway.

Jeana said...

I watched the debate, it was much better than the CNN/YouTube debate, IMO. In fact I watched the both the Repblican and the Democratic debate, I so desperately needed some amusement. If you ever have too much time on your hands let me recommened the Democratic debate as a funny time waster.

Palm Boy, I pretty much agree with how you size up Huckabee, but what about Rudy-Mc-Romney? I wouldn't trust them farther than I could throw them.

Giulani is so liberal and to my thinking one must NEVER trust a liberal.

Romney is a huge flip-flop, big government lover, and has shown pressure durning debates, surely not something I'd want in the President of the USA.

And now for McCain, who I despise most of all the candidates for Republican nomination. He dumped his wife, who waited for him while he was in Vietnam, to marry some wealthy drug-dealer's daughter. He was the McCain-Feingold master-mind (as KA pointed out). And he and Hitlary Clinton get along too well.

Now all of the above is my opinon based on fact that I know. However if I were able to ask the cadidates one question, then all my doubts would be answered. I'd ask them what their policy about shooting American airliners down with American fighters over American airspace. If the cadidate answered either "It's for your protection" or "It's a secret, I can't tell anyone" I'd know that the more they talk of freedom and the Constitution, the more they're lying.

Now my point in bringing all this up is that if you can't trust them to tell the truth, how can you elect them based on their word. They might say that they intend to be hard on illegals and continue to press the war in the Middle East, but are they telling the truth?

Personally, I support Dr. Paul, because he has always been consistant, I agree with his domestic policies, and his foriegn policies make sense to me. I would enjoy reading your take, Palm Boy, on what our foreign policies should be and on the war.

I would vote for Hunter, Thompson, or Keyes, if any of them made it to the general election.

Do people get extra points for each time they read through the post? 'Cause I just read through it for the third time! :D

Palm boy said...

KD, Gore/Lieberman didn't really match that well.
McCain/Huckabee Huckabee/McCain don't really have to agree, just be chummy.

Jeana, thank you for reading through it!
I would have to agree, this was far better then the CNN/Youtube debate.

Rudy is hard to trust, and I don't agree with him much.
McCain is certainially not a man I would trust with the office, at least not with the label of Republican.

Romney is shifty, but his campaign has been conservative from day 1.
I would trust him to be a competent leader.

Interesting question to ask, btw.

3 times is crazy, glad you liked it. :D

Mercy Now said...

Since I haven't had time to watch the debates, I'm reading your analysis to educate myself:o)