Here’s my ratings of the Debate in Iowa today…
- Paul – By far the winner in my mind.
- Romney – Slipped up at the beginning arguing with Fred, but he let it go, but had a great debate other than that.
- Huckabee – A good debate overall.
- Tancredo – A good overall debate
- McCain – A good debate, probably tied for 4th.
- Hunter – A good debate, probably tied for 4th.
- Giuliani – A decent debate; he had some rough patches, but didn’t perform poorly.
- Thompson – A good debate, but he didn’t talk much, and continues to make jokes about Romney being an actor. It got old a few times ago, and it hurt in this format because the moderator did not like being interrupted.
- Keyes – Um, he wasn’t getting questions for a while, but he just got annoying. I agree with his religiosity, but he wouldn’t make a good President.
- The moderator – gosh, she was just pointedly mean to Keyes, even though he was frustrating her – all the Dems. watching the debate agreed with me here. I hope she’s not moderating tomorrow – she was awful. And then that bit at the end where people laughed and Tancredo got 1 word out and she cut him off – come on!
On to my commentary:
Alan Keyes showed up – good for him!
Financial situation facing our country – both Iowan parties #1 issue: Our nation is facing a tsunami of national debt which is a threat to national security– agree? Rudy Giuliani – reduce spending, reduce taxes (corporate taxes, death tax), where was your #3? (I missed whether he said yes or no, but I’m guessing he said no). Duncan Hunter – China’s becoming our banker – it is a national security risk. Ron Paul – absolutely. “We’re in the midst of a currency crisis.” Spend money at home; change foreign policy. Tom Tancredo – yes. We import oil from people who aren’t friends – and that’s the biggest threat. Fred Thompson – yes – social security plan. We have to spend more on the military. Mitt Romney – the future isn’t bleak “the future is bright.” Make sure we have good jobs, schools, and health care. Didn’t answer question. Mike Huckabee – country has to put food on tables for citizens, fuel itself, and fight for itself. We can’t outsource everything. Yes. John McCain – yes – we’re losing economic strength, and that will lead to losing military strength. Alan Keyes – cut off spigot that funds leaders – abolish income tax – establish fair tax system. That will encourage politicians to stop funding their own stuff.
What should people sacrifice for debt reduction? Giuliani – Federal government has to restrain spending, and leave more money in people’s pockets. What would it require to cut non-military spending 10%? Giuliani – they’ll have to find a way to do it – don’t rely on government. Rely on people to make their own choices. It’s a bold, but American solution. Ron Paul – they shouldn’t have to – America needs to cut its spending – give them freedom and liberty – close overseas bases. Huckabee – do things differently, not less. Kill the snake, don’t treat the snake bites.
Are there programs/situations that you’d be willing to run a deficit to pay for them? Romney – don’t have to. Eliminate the things that aren’t important. We don’t need as many programs/departments as we have right now – a lot aren’t even working. Protecting country/defense, free market are the most important. School choice and better pay for better teachers – these are the most important things. Tancredo – Follow the constitution – it tells the government what to do and not do. We are focused on doing what’s right – protecting the country. Follow the constitution, and do what is right. “The rest is extraneous.” “Don’t ask the government for womb to tomb protection.” Thompson – Yes: Military, security of people, and research and development. Don’t take care of rich people with Medicare – don’t waste money.
Who’s paying more of a fair share of taxes? Keyes – Sacrifice the incumbents, not the citizens. McCain – low income Americans. We have to reform the tax code. Huckabee – “Tax code is irreparably broken.” Make the poor rich if possible – fair tax. Romney – worries about taxes middle class families pay. Thompson – shouldn’t have to worry about taxes – preserve tax cuts of ’01 and ’03. Tancredo – everybody’s paying too much. Fair tax. Paul – inflation tax is the worst part – it effects the middle class. Hunter – IRS uses up too much money and it costs too much to even get taxes prepared– fair tax. Giuliani – “Give death penalty to the death tax.” Should be flatter or a fairer tax.
30 second statements: McCain – devoted life to keeping nation safe. This has given him judgment to have a good strategy in Iraq. He can ask every American to serve. Keep America safe and maintain our greatness. Hunter- national defense. Protect our borders. Finish the border fence in 6 months.
1 in 5 jobs in IA depends on exports to foreign countries, but we manufacture jobs. How do we keep markets open while protecting jobs? Free trade agreements – open markets to Cuba. We close markets because our chief export is our dollar. We have to look at the monetary system. Romney – he’s spent 25 years in private sector – understand why jobs come and go. Invest in technology, education. Get off foreign oil and get on a level playing field with other countries. Huckabee – job migration results because of taxes, regulations, and litigation. “I can’t part the Red Sea, but I can part the red tape.”
Some big trading partners commit human rights violations. Should we alter trade policies with those countries? McCain – no. We should encourage human rights, but not keep our trading policies dependent on human rights. Biggest free trader there is. Subsidies for ethanol.
What specific changes should be made in NAFTA? Giuliani – it should be enforced. He was concerned about it, but now realizes it helps us. “We should think about free trade as something we want to embrace – something we’ve always wanted.” Indian, China are new customers for us. We need a level playing field, but “shouldn’t lose the goal of free trade.” Thompson – free trade and fair trade has been the backbone of the economy. Mexico should take a look at us – “they export more people out of the country than we do.” Enforce the agreements that we’ve got. Other countries put too many restrictions on us. Tancredo – NAFTA killed southern Mexico and they fled to us – it’s been a disaster. There is a lack of sovereignty – Mexican trucks cross our borders freely. Hunter – we now have a massive trade loss – we’ve had it for many years. We pay 15% tariff into Mexico, which they made after NAFTA was passed. “NAFTA is a bad business deal.”
30 second: Paul – “we need more freedom in the country.” “ We have drifted so far from our constitution.” “The constitution is now used to restrain the people.” Have to stop policing the world. Thompson – has always been a common sense conservative – we need to focus on national security and this will require strong leadership.
Is global climate change a serious threat caused by human activity? Thompson – won’t answer it unless he has a minute. Thompson – funny but kinda cocky and stupid by doing that. Shut up people – they’re all freaking talking! Let McCain just talk – ok. McCain – climate change is real – we can adopt green climate and either be wrong and give our kids a clean world, or if we don’t and we’re right – we’ve messed up for our kids. Giuliani – thinks it is happening – we need energy independence. This moderator sucks – don’t interrupt Giuliani when he’s answering. Romney – get off foreign oil – good for economy AND environment. Moderator – SHUT UP – gosh she’s getting annoying! Keyes – All other candidates represent elites – wow, he’s intense. Keyes didn’t answer the question, just went on about how he’s not getting any questions asked to him. OK – he wants to reduce emissions – reduce hot air from politicians. Who just said “Dr. Hill himself” – was that Keyes or somebody else – if it was somebody else, that won’t play good for them.
Something about cattle and flex fuel. Huckabee – we have done no harm if we take better care of the planet and give it to our children – government – we need to reduce energy used by government. There’s no market for alternative energy. Hunter – don’t use mandates – use incentives. Tancredo – doesn’t believe in mandates. Do some research and investment. Mandates never work – just let the market work it out.
30 second statement: Tancredo – we’ve had 45 years of unlimited massive immigration – no assimilation – it’s now a catastrophe. We’ve come to where Teddy Roosevelt warned of. Can’t trust government’s judgment – they got us in this mess. Huckabee – don’t represent the elite, but the ordinary. Remember that politicians work for the people, not the elite. Keep the country safe.
We are 16th place for literacy at age 15. How do we improve standards? Timetable? McCain – we need more choice and competition. We need vouchers and homeschooling. “Reward good teachers and find bad teachers another line of work.” Great work being done in NYC under Bloomberg in a system that was broken (dig at Giuliani?). Giuliani – here because of the educational choices his parents made. Parents should choose schools their children go to. Our higher education is best in world – where there’s the choice. Hunter – inspire young people – have teachers who inspire people. Take away bureaucracy of teachers – bring exciting people in – aerospace engineers.
Biggest obstacle to education. Do we need to have more standards in education from state to federal (I missed some of the question). Romney – Bush was right in fighting for No Child Left Behind (WHAT!). We need school choice. We need higher pay for better teachers. We need more parental involvement. Huckabee – education is a state issue, not a federal issue. (YES!). Share practices that are working in one state with other states. Federal government CAN do this. Kids drop out because they’re bored, not dumb. Need to develop fun and logical sides of the brain. Paul – ok, nevermind, Keyes – not getting time. The major problem is that we allow God to be driven out of our schools. We need to put God back in – don’t let judges take God out. We have a national creed and it needs to be taught. Stand on a moral education. OK, back to Paul – the federal government – We now doubled the size of our education department. The cost of education went up, but not the quality. We need to encourage homeschooling and private schooling – let parents write that off (as in taxes? I’m not sure). Lessen the bureaucracy. Thompson – the NEA. The NEA goes on TV and misrepresents what’s happening. Inner-city people need to be able to have choices, not just people in suburbs. Stop people from standing in the way of that. Tancredo – Served as something under Reagan for education – we’ve gotten rid of 80% of people in the department – if we went to 0, you wouldn’t notice the difference – the Departement (of Education, I think) is useless – it’s the job of a Governor, NOT a President (directed at Huckabee). Huckabee (rebuttal) – I was a governor – and I had the most impressive education record. Looked at what states did that worked. The President should use his power to implement good practices. 2nd behind Commander in Chief is Communicator in Chief – it’s unacceptable how many people leave schools and President should say that. Romney – I had the best record, not Huckabee. His state’s kids outperform him – OK, that was just making yourself sound stupid. I had the best record – not EVERYTHING has to be about your Mitt, stop being so cocky.
What could you accomplish in your 1st year as President: Giuliani – make sure country is secure against Islamic terrorists. Stop illegal immigration. Tax reduction. Reduce size of federal government. Move toward energy independence. Do things we hadn’t done before/thought were impossible. Hunter – strengthen military – look past Iraq and Afghanistan – look at North Korea and Iran and China. Strengthen border. Bring back industrial base of U.S. Bring back high paying manufacturing jobs. Paul – There’s a limit – end a war – bring troops home. Become diplomatically credible. Even our allies resent what we do – no preemptive war. No threatening Iran – they have no weapons according to our CIA. Bring the home! Major step toward peace. Tancredo – Free Ronald Sancopian (Who?). Something about illegal immigrants. A war is not going on in Iraq – it’s a battle. We are fighting a war against radical Islam – must be willing to say that. Thompson – wouldn’t take him a year – would tell them truth and establish credibility – we don’t know the nature of who we’re facing, we’re bankrupting future generations (just talk?). Romney – I want to do more than talk. Stop global Jihad. End illegal immigration. End growth of federal spending. Reduce tax burden. Get schools on track for global competiveness. Huckabee – none of this will happen until we bring country back together – have to unify country – we’re polarized. Who’s fighting for the country – we just fight among ourselves. Have to be UNITED people of the UNITED States. McCain – must make the nation safe. Even in cyberspace. Must restore trust and confidence in government. Fix Medicare and pork barrel spending. Fix borders. Trust must be restored first though. Keyes – restore the sovereignty of the country – moral sovereignty. No violations of the constitutional rights of the unborn. We start with the womb first. Actually implement the fair tax proposal. People will then change their spending ways. National border guard – must remain border integrity.
30 second statements: Romney – thank you to Iowa. Iowans are nice – blah blah blah. He’ll improve education and schools, and national security. Vote for me! Keyes – if you want to see change, we have to restore credibility of Republican party – we need to secure border. Can’t restore self government until people become active. BAD moderator – don’t hold grudges against candidates! Giuliani – have to deal with terrorism effectively. We need an optimistic leader. And I missed some of what he said.
Videos and talks about them: Character and leadership: What will you do to make sure that a Giuliani White House won’t have another incident like what happened with the mistresses and expenses? Giuliani – I’ll keep a transparent government and learn from mistakes. I’ve always had one. Mod: Could you have been more open? Giuliani – no – it was done as a bookkeeping practice. It was all very well known and open. Mod: Guarantee open White house? Keyes – don’t say things now that contradict who you were before, like Governor Romney (wow – harsh – he turned to the pro-life side, give him a break!). Use technology. Romney (rebuttal) – had been pro-choice. When the first bill came, I could just not take the life of a child. Ronald Reagan took the same course – I am now pro-life (GOOD REBUTTAL). Giuliani – (why did you bring him into this?) – personally pro-life, but not the government’s job.
When do you disagree with available intelligence and then what do you do? Thompson – nobody has real confidence in the results they get. The British and Israelis are sometimes helpful to us.
Videos: Huckabee – (religion) faith will define people. McCain – have to balance violating rights and national security when battling radical Islam.
Faith defines you? How would that translate to public policy, in health care and education? Huckabee – treat others as you want to be treated. A person who’s sick shouldn’t be treated differently because they’re in poverty. The second principle is that all of us are equal – and what we do to others is what we do to Christ. Everyone should have opportunities. Education – touch every child, not just a few.
Is it more important to be a fiscal conservative or social conservative? Romney – it’s important to be a conservative – have to pull together both conservative sides. As well as foreign policy/defense conservatives. I’ll draw on those strengths (didn’t answer question). Hunter – repeat question, “I was lost in Governor Romney’s explanation, but it was quite good though.” Both sides are extremely important – don’t send technology to our adversaries.
Video: Romney – we need to follow the constitution. If we want a right, go to the people, don’t have judges legislate new rights or constitutions. Tancredo – 2 sides to people – God-[jumbled] and human-side. Whichever side is stronger will play out more. Thompson – something about real patriotism – I couldn’t hear it.
Something about his website? Tancredo – we can’t leave Iraq. We CAN stop being the police force.
Paul calls himself a revolution – how would you get your agenda through Congress? Paul – the term revolution was coined by my supporters, not me – it IS revolutionary to go back to the constitution. People are free to chose how they live their lives – it’s appealing to left, right, and middle, and WOULD be able to get through Congress.
McCain – known as a Maverick – when should you have compromised your ideals? McCain – can’t think of a time when I should. I’ve joined with the other side of the isle to pass legislation. I’m proud of that and will hold to ideals, but will reach across the aisle.
New Years’ Resolutions. Keyes – resolve to respect that we are created by God. McCain – raise dialogue of discussion and debate, not criticism of character. Huckabee – be careful of what I say because it gets amplified. Mod – this is for your opponent. Huckabee – well, I’d make it for them too. Romney – something about supporting and getting along with each other. Thompson – be a better man. Tancredo – too much laughter. Moderator sucks – Tancredo never even spoke. Paul – read the constitution – don’t disobey the constitution. Hunter – many young people need jobs – buy American goods – may save jobs of neighbors. Giuliani – take a better look at America.
Moderator – out of time – debate tomorrow – hopefully she’s not moderating. Happy Holidays everyone.