In anticipation of tonight’s Republican Debate, all readers are encouraged to see this previously unpublished article responding to the candidates’ behavior in the CNN/Western Debate.
Presidential Politics in the Wild Wild West: A Brief Commentary
By Zach Foster
Last Tuesday’s CNN/Western Republican debate was nothing short on entertaining, though it was a far cry from what audiences actually expected to see from Presidential candidates. Nonetheless, the idea that in 2011 Americans have the audacity to expect only candidates that deserve to be taken seriously and who conduct themselves with decency and integrity renders that same American populace a pack of happy-go-lucky idealists, a group which this author was also audaciously a part of. While more than half of the eight candidates on stage managed to be civil, if not full of substance, there were a select few candidates who dragged Presidential politics and the art of public debating into a regression to elementary school sandbox mentality.
The three offenders were Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Rick Perry. The first political shout fest of the night came between Santorum and Romney. Santorum was correct in his assertion that Romney has no credibility in repealing “ObamaCare,” which was indeed the model after which the Obama administration crafted their titanic Health Care Reform Act. Romney was either delusional or blatantly lying when he denied that he would impose such a standard as he crafted in Massachusetts on a national level and he asserted how he has said on television that he would not impose such a program. The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming and blatantly suggests that, had Romney become President in 2008, what the Republican Party and the Tea Party Patriots so vehemently hate today would have been RomneyCare rather than ObamaCare (a rose by any other name…). The massive backtracking Romney has done upon realizing that many, if not most, Americans hate the Health Care Reform Act, either for the right-leaning view of it being socialism or the left-leaning view of government subsidizing the big evil capitalistic corporations, furthered by Romney’s vehement denial of what Americans now know to be true, added upon by his removal of certain unfavorable passages from the latest edition of his campaign book, make him the classical embodiment of a FLIP FLOPPER of the snake-in-the-grass deceptive variety.
While Santorum was correct to force Romney to account for the inconsistencies in his platform (and statements) between 2008 and 2011, Santorum lost much respect for interrupting another candidate and robbing him of his speaking time by inciting a shout fest. Santorum, who has been a bottom-tier candidate since the beginning of the 2012 campaign, partially attributed to his relative obscurity since he lost his Senate seat in the 2006 election, has attempted to compensate for being a bottom-tier candidate by interrupting and shouting at other candidates (namely Romney, Paul, and Cain) during their speaking turns.
Rick Perry, desperate to regain credibility in the race after perceived poor performances in previous debates, namely much stuttering and difficulty answering pressing questions, went for broke by attacking Romney’s immigration record. Perry made the false allegation that Romney knowingly hired illegal immigrants to tend to the gardening at his home. The truth is that the company Romney contracted to do the gardening was the party that hired illegal immigrants, not Romney. In no way did Romney know that this company employed illegal immigrants at the time of initiating his contract with them. Being fully aware of this while continuing to assert that Romney hired illegal immigrants and had no credibility regarding immigration reform (this from the man who approved in-state tuition rates for undocumented university students in Texas), Perry can be portrayed as both a liar and opportunist for knowingly asserting something that was contrary to the truth and for the sake of saving face after prior poor debate performances.
Despite his defense made by this author, by no means is Romney a saint, nor are his transgressions to be forgotten. Romney continued to pay the company for gardening services for months after knowing they employed illegal immigrants. Given the comment he made when recounting how he terminated the contract, “…I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake!” one can safely conclude that he terminated the contract with the company not necessarily because they violated the law, but rather to save his image as a candidate for office.
Herman Cain was attacked at the beginning of the debate for his 9-9-9 plan, and each candidate seemed to have a fresh angle of criticism for why the plan wouldn’t work. The common consensus, despite Cain’s fervent insistence that none of the other candidates understood the plan and they were “mixing apples and oranges,” was the correct observation that 9-9-9 includes a 9% national sales tax. Despite it offering a slight refuge from some higher state sales tax rates, this plan is a federalist attack on a state’s right to govern itself by nullifying the state tax codes set by state legislatures. While a 9% sales tax would appear as relief for states paying 10% sales taxes, it would become a tremendous burden to the states that pay either less than 9% sales tax or even no sales tax at all. Furthermore, the 9% individual tax (income tax) would be a tax hike for those at the poverty level who pay no income taxes, as well as to those who pay no income taxes due to legitimate write offs, usually excessive living expenses or extensive charitable contributions. 9-9-9 is a tax hike despite Cain’s denial. On top of that, his assertion that the other candidates are mixing apples and oranges is incorrect; what the other candidates did by pointing out the plan’s flaws was point out how Cain himself is mixing apples with oranges and expecting the result to be uniform in substance.
Ron Paul, though not given nearly as many questions or as much time as Romney and Perry, explained his positions articulately and adequately got his message across. Many of his opponents (non-supporters) within the GOP admit that they like Ron Paul’s ideas and policies except for foreign policy. They are encouraged to re-examine their approach to his foreign policy by listening to Jack Hunter’s editorial “I Like Ron Paul Except on Foreign Policy,” which will definitely challenge their thinking. The same people should also consult chapter 2 of Paul's book The Revolution: A Manifesto, in which he defends his foreign policy by proving it to be parallel to that of George Washington and other Founding Fathers.
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