My Thoughts on the Second GOP Debate
In my opinion, Michele Bachmann “won” tonight’s GOP debate. She made news by announcing that she had filed the necessary papers to run for President. She gave strong, principled answers with passion and conviction. GOP voters further learned that she was a former tax litigator who now serves on the House Intelligence Committee. Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Tim Pawlenty also turned in solid performances. Overall, I thought this debate went much better than the first GOP debate.
During tonight’s GOP debate, a question came up on gay marriage. AP reported the candidates’ positions as follows:
Several praised a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman, a position popular among conservative voters. Bachmann said she supported that, but she added that states have the right to write their own laws and said that if elected president, she would not step into state politics — a nod to tea partiers who cherish the Constitution’s 10th Amendment.
Bachmann’s position seems confusing at first, but I think I understand it. The proposed amendment preserves the constitutionality of the traditional definition of marriage. But each state would be free to expand the definition to include gay marriage. A state could recognize gay marriage, or decline to do so, without fear of constitutional challenge. If I’m right, I think this is a sensible position for her to take.
Rick Santorum was much better tonight. Like Bachmann, he spoke with passion and conviction, but this time he also seemed much better prepared. He also spoke forcefully against the bailouts and in favor of Ryan’s Medicare plan.
Tim Pawlenty scored points with me by calling for a 5 percent growth strategy. We know how to do this: cut tax rates, reduce government regulations, expand domestic oil and gas production, and restore sound, non-inflationary monetary policies. And, of course, reduce government spending. We need to increase private investment spending from its current 12.5% to the high teens. We can find at least some of the additional private investment capital by reducing government spending.
I am not a Mitt Romney fan, and I disagreed with some of his answers. But stylistically, I thought he did well. He looked and sounded like a President. He stressed his business experience, a plus with GOP voters. He promised to repeal Obamacare. But he also attempted to distinguish Obamacare from Romneycare. I was unconvinced. And although Romney also spoke out against the bailouts, his main objection seemed to be that they wasted too much money. This answer, to me, was pragmatic, but not principled.
I don’t have much to say about Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, or Herman Cain. Newt gave thoughtful answers but sometimes seemed angry. Ron Paul gave some great answers on some questions – he does that sometimes. But he’s going nowhere. In my opinion, Cain was okay tonight, but he needs to be doing better than just okay to make a serious run for the nomination.
I was disappointed in CNN’s questions. CNN stayed mostly away from economic and fiscal policies. I remember several questions about social issues, but nothing on the high gas prices and very little on the rotten economy. The foreign policy questions focused on when we should withdraw from Afghanistan. I suppose that’s an important issue, but I really wanted to hear about what they intended to do about Iran and related Middle East turmoil.
Overall, I think Republicans should feel better about their candidates than before the debate. They should feel even better if Texas Governor Rick Perry decides to enter the race. Or Sarah Palin, although I don’t think she’ll run.