Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I don't like debates

The weather folk tells us we're in for a couple days of rain, some rather heavy at times.  We're told it'll all begin this afternoon and end Thursday morning, depending on where you live, or afternoon.  The accompanying winds will join the rain in raising havoc with our fall foliage.

I watched a Republican debate for the first time Tuesday night.  At least I watched part of a debate.  I'm not sure I'll watch another one, or at least part of another one, until the number of wishful people in the running is cut down.  We in Maine won't have any say until late in the process, and even could be voting for just one or two when our caucus arrives.

I don't know if it were typical or not, but I am sure if it was typical, we're in for a long election period and one that I suspect that will have the Obama people licking their chops.

Please don't read this thinking I'm going to be a reporter and give you "just the facts, ma'am, just the facts."  I say that only because some of you who know me know my academic work at Florida was in journalism and I spent 30 years as a part time reporter for a great Maine news outlet.

Nope.  These are just my reactions to the Las Vegas debate last night on CNN. 

Seven of the eight remaining candidates for the Republican nomination were there.  The eighth, Jon Huntsman, did not debate but rather spent his time in New Hampshire.

Probably not much changed.  Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney went into the debate leading in the polls and I suspect they came out leading, too.  Personally, Perry showed me he's just a little weak.  I always feel that anyone who can't let an opponent finish a point is too scared the point is correct so has to constantly interrupt to keep the point from being made.  Perry's biggest attribute was his bickering.

Romney fired back well enough, but what did we learn new about Romney? 

Cain was also on the defensive over his 9-9-9 tax plan.  He should be.  The more I hear about it the more I dislike it and he did nothing last night to prove it would work.  Basically, he wants to eliminate the existing federal tax code and replace it with a 9% income tax with no deductions, 9% national sales tax on all goods and services, and a 9% business tax.  We'd all pay higher taxes under his plan.  I think it was Rick Santorum who tore it apart the most.

Ron Paul demonstrated why he won't get the nomination.  He had a very weak appearance in my observations.  He did say all foreign aid should be cut, including aid to Israel.  He softened his stance a bit later, however. 

Perhaps the biggest applause from the audience came from several saying they would oppose cutting the defense budget as America must remain strong. Paul said he was opposed to just a percentage cut of all the budget but there are many elements within the budget that could be cut without hurting the country's ability to defend itself. He asked why we kept troops in Korea, for example, and in several other post around the world. He was generally against all foreign aid.

Perry jumped in telling the audience we should immediately stop funding the United Nations, and I don't disagree with that, and Romney said we should stop most all humanitarium funding to foreign countries.  He asked why are we borrowing money from China to send to other countries.  China, he said, should be doing the funding itself. 

Michelle Bachman jumped in on Israel.  She said President Obama has created the biggest gap in relationships between the U.S. and Israel since it became a state.  She said it is that gap that is causing all the conflict in the Middle East today.

One especially contentious exchange took place when Perry accused Romney of hiring a company to mow his lawn that employed an illegal immigrant.  Perry did all he could to outshout Romney's defense saying that when he learned that, he dismissed the company.  But it was, perhaps, one of the most contentious times of the night.

Well, perhaps not "the" most.  Romney was also under attack for his statement he would eliminate the Obama health care plan, commonly called ObamaCare, but others pointed out it was Romney's RomneyCare when he was governor of Massachusetts that was the basis for ObamaCare.  Romney said the plan, which many analysts say is an expensive failure in Massachusetts, like Dirigo was in Maine, should not be for everyone but that the states should decide for themselves the best way to handle health care.

Romney's religion, Mormanism, also came under attack by a member of the audience, but most of the candidates, if not all, said that religion had no place in the selection of a President.  The consensus seemed to be that a person's values should be more important.

It was a very contentious debate as I suspect most all of them are.  It was Newt Gingrich who pointed out that the road to the White House is not through bickering.  I think I liked that line as much as anything said last night.

So, I have watched my first debate of the season so I guess I'm not "into it."  I think I learned nothing I didn't already know.  I did get some reactions to the evening.  Of the front runners, both Cain and Perry dropped in my estimation and Romney stayed about where was began the night.  I feel a little sorry for Bachman, Gingrich, Huntsman (who wasn't there) Paul and Santorum. 

I think I'm still hoping that someone will come out of the darkness that can lead America.  Each passing minutes puts that possibility even more improbable. 

As I said earlier, this was not intended to be an accurate report of the debate, only my observations according to my values.  I know Romney has more space here, a violation of my JM training, but he was the one under constant attack last night.  I'll probably vote for the R no matter which wins the ultimate nomination simply because we desperately need change in Washington.


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