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The Republican Debate 8/5/2007
The Republican Debate
The Democrats "You Tube Debate"
"The Republican Debate, August 5, 2007" No Clear Winner, Edge to Rudy
Since I was unfortunately working the morning of the debate, I could only listen to the debate on radio. I realize that the visual media of television is as important these days as the actual message of the candidates, but I am not going to watch a replay of the debate on television because frankly I'd rather hit the beach. In any case, here is my rundown of the debate that occurred in Iowa.
There are some definite differences among the candidates on Iraq. They ranged from a pullout (Ron Paul) to a Biden-like partition (Brownback) to a position that the surge is working (McCain). None of the candidates seem to realize that a troop surge in far more meaningful numbers is needed to secure Iraq.
Senator Obama's recent comment that he as President would invade Pakistan unilaterally to battle Al Qaida even if Pakistan's President was not cooperative was the subject of several of the Republican candidates' attacks. In particular Mayor Giuliani and Governor Romney seemed to take issue with these comments, but not at the substance of what Obama was saying, mostly with the way in which Senator Obama presented this position. Governor Romney said in effect that such an invasion would be an option, but an option that should be discussed in an appropriate setting under the right circumstances. Mayor Giuliani likewise expressed similar sentiments. Romney added: "I mean, in one week he went from saying he's going to sit down, you know, for tea, with our enemies, but then he's going to bomb our allies," said Romney. "I mean, he's gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week." This was a reference to Senator Obama's comments that he would meet the leaders of those "axis of evil" countries. In reality, Romney said he would also look at invading Pakinstan but would not be so public in proclaiming this in a Presidential campaign when we are so reliant on Pakistan as an ally in a region where we have few.
Obama's campaign has already fired back: ""Before he makes more false accusations, Mitt Romney should tell us why he believes we should keep 160,000 American troops in the middle of someone else's civil war but not take out Usama bin Laden if we had him in our sights," said Bill Burton., campaign spokesperson.
Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican, gave perhaps the best example of a true conservative position in the classic sense, stated that we should simply pull out of Iraq. He also decried undeclared wars in general such as Iraq and Viet Nam. Brownback's plan is almost identical to the one that Senator Biden has proposed: a partition of the country along ethnic lines with Baghdad as the federal district.
There were no questions regarding Darfur, and no candidate seemed to think this genocide warranted any attention on this national stage whatsoever. or they would have found a way to work this issue into the debate. Although the Democrats offered little in their debate on Darfur, (with the exception of Biden and to some extent Obama) if genocide prevention in Iraq is a reason you use to justify troops remaining in Iraq, then show some courage and address a genocide that's happening right now in Darfur.
Taxation was heavily discussed. The fair tax and flat tax were kicked around.The fair tax is a proposal to do away the income tax and replace it with a consumption, or sales tax of 23% of all purchases, with a monthly tax rebate to those under the poverty line. Tancredo and Huckabee are supporters of the fair tax. An underlying reason given for the fair tax is that it would increase savings since interest would no longer be taxed. Does anyone really believe that if a fair tax is implemented that there wouldn't be a run on greenbacks so heavy that you couldn't cut down trees fast enough to supply the pipeline of cold cash? If the consumption tax is jumped to 23%, people will be paying for everything they could in cash under the table to avoid paying such a high 23% consumption tax. Those who use credit because they don't have the cash to pay for big ticket items would be absorbing the brunt of such a tax. Huckabee: "What the fair tax does, it ends the underground economy," Huckabee said. "No more illegal, no more gamblers, prostitutes, pimps and dope dealers will be able to escape the tax code." Right. In my hometown I could easily see a return of the early 80's where some people paid with cars with suitcases full of cash.
Brownback, on the other hand is favor of the flat tax. The flat tax is self-explanatory, it would tax everyone at the same rate. The main argument of flax tax proponents is simplicity and fairness.The main argument against it is that it shifts much of the tax burden away from the wealthy and onto those who make less income.
Abortion was a major point of contention in this debate. Romney was at the center of it, since he has changed his position from pro-choice to pro-life over the years. Brownback was most critical of Romney's stance on abortion. However, of all the Republican nominees I think that Giuliani stands the best chance of winning in the general election because he is pro-choice. If the issue of abortion is such a wedge issue with so many people, in that some will not vote for any candidate that is pro-choice and that some will not vote for any candidate that is pro-life, who will Republican pro-choice voters vote for if Rudy is the nominee? Many will stay home, but the majority of Republicans will still vote for Rudy. He will also pull from voters in the crucial middle, the group that decides these miniscule margins of victory. He could also pull from right to center leaning Democrats as well. A pro-life Republican would not have this same effect in the general election.
Again, I only heard this debate on the radio. Arguably, I can be more objective as to who won solely on the issues because of this. It seemed like Rudy was in control. He spoke with the most conviction, seemed tougher on terror, presented his credentials for getting things done most effectively, and got the best laugh of the morning. To have a description of my mistakes in 30 minutes? George, your father is a priest. Im going to explain it to your father, not to you, OK? (An answer about his biggest mistake when asked by Stephanopoulos). Romney was strong as well, but no one talks up security as good as Giuliani, and 6 years after 911, that is still the topic of the day, everyday. McCain speaks softly, but with the wisdom of many years a soldier and statesmen, but perhaps his time has passed him by. This was a serious debate, more serious than the Democrats's You Tube Debate, though not as entertaining, not as engaging, and not talked about as much. And unless you are a political junkie watching politics at 10:30 on a Sunday morning, you probably missed it. In that sense, maybe the Democrats won.
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