January 23, GOP Debate–Florida

I missed this debate last night because of Family Home Evening, which begs the question: Can you really miss something that you actively decided NOT to do in favor of something that is worth more? Hmmmm….

Anyway, I decided I’d do a slightly different review this time than normal…. LIVE! Well, not really since I’m watching the debate post-live, but still…

My thoughts will be in the moment so to speak. If you’d like to catch where I’m referring, here’s the link to the online video. I’ll try to give a clock time in relation to my comments so that you can follow along. And here we go….

0:26–I love the idea that anyone even follows the “rules.” I do like the rule to hold applause. I thought the last debate was very much influenced by the audience.

2:50–Why the Speaker should be nominated…. Most of the examples that Gingrich is using are not uniquely associated with his successes. He can claim some of that, but to think he was everything in that is false, and it ignores the fact that he was pretty much removed from his seat.

4:20–Romney nailed it for me. Gingrich had four years at the head of the party, and he resigned in disgrace. That doesn’t even touch on the rest of his character flaws.

5:20–Gingrich: I’m not going to spend the evening chasing Romney’s misinformation. In other words, you have no argument. Dodging the question doesn’t invalidate the question. Gingrich makes me sick.

6:40–Romney’s going after Gingrich, and I like it. I’m glad for it. I’m not normally one to really encourage the negativity, but I honestly have to wonder if people realize how bad a choice Gingrich could be. The man is angry, rude, and full of revenge. I don’t want that.

10:35–Santorum: Any prediction you make is probably going to be wrong. Now that’s an understatement. I still really dislike Santorum, but I’m glad he’s still running. As long as he’s in, I think he has a dampening effect on Gingrich which is important.

And you can’t argue that he does stand firm on his beliefs. I’ll give him credit where credit is due.

13:14–The question turns to Paul, and I don’t really want to comment on his answers but just say that I like him. I was disappointed to see that he’s not holding for Florida, even though it makes sense not to compete in a winner-take-all state where he’s not polling as well.

14:45–Nice to see Paul set the record on Gingrich (personally there).

16:30–Gingrich talking about building a coalition…. Right….

16:50–Is anyone else tired of the “release your tax returns” train? Romney (and the others) have released what they are required to release. And if you really want to see his returns, are you going to release yours? Seriously people…. NON-ISSUE!!!

17:50–Romney made a nice shift from his taxes to the taxes that people pay. I like his tax plan. It’s a simple change in the near-term followed by broader changes that I strongly agree with.

19:15–Yet another nice shift from talking about his taxes to moving to tax reform.

21:14–Is Romney surprised about the attacks on his wealth? I don’t think he has been necessarily surprised, but I think he (and me) are shocked at the attacks from the right. His line (I will not apologize for being successful) is the right response, and anyone who disagrees with has a basic misunderstanding of economics and finance.

Success is not a sin.

24:24–Gingrich’s contract with Freddie Mac…. This is one that I’ve wanted to see for a while. Gingrich–Romney did consulting, I did consulting. And then he asks why Romney is considered lobbying. Uh… Context? For a smart guy, Gingrich can be pretty thick when he believes he can fool someone.

Gingrich was working with government institutions. Romney worked with corporations. Lobbying is a government function. Simple as that. And hearing Gingrich claim “LIE” is almost as obnoxious as Santorum’s shaking head.

26:30–Romney’s response…. I wish Romney would play this face and this card more commonly. It’s a passion that he typically doesn’t show. I was talking to a friend yesterday he made reference to Romney as a robot, and it’s a fairly accurate portrayal of him. He’s very automatic and trim. This new Romney is a nice change.

28:20–Gingrich tried to hide his work again, but Romney is pulling it back again. Gingrich is trying to make it stick to Romney, but Romney is doing a great job of pushing and pushing and pushing.

FUN stuff.

29:20–Now THAT is awesome. Romney pushed Gingrich to the point of silence, so much that Gingrich had to step back and go back to his “you’re wrong” line that is frankly weak. I hope that people start to recognize that Gingrich’s primary defense isn’t evidence, it’s a claim that “you’re lying!” Ugh….

30:40–And Romney lands the death blow…. Sorry, Gingrich–You’re a lobbyist, and Romney nailed you to the wall on it.

And that’s the first break….

Current thoughts? Romney is nailing Gingrich hard, and I’m glad. Paul and Santorum were largely silent and ignored. Winner goes to Romney for this round.

On to round 2.

32:10–Did government make it too easy to get homes, which caused the housing bubble? Uh… duh? Yes, of course it did. And it’s important to recognize that this was NOT a conservative led initiative. This was a liberal agenda hallmark which set this up. Now, I will admit that neither side did much to stop it or control it, but this was a liberal initiative on its face.

33:30–Paul is talking about the housing crisis, and he’s right that the government forced this issue on the country by being too involved in the banks. Paul could and would run circles around any other financial argument the other candidates could make, and it is for this reason alone that Paul is high on my list. The man is brilliant and dead on!

Win or lose, I desperately hope that people catch on to Paul’s ideas in this area. I’ve said it before–If Paul ever won and got his ideas through, we’d enter the deepest depression we’ve ever seen, BUT we’d come out of that stronger than ever. The price is high, and it is worth it.

38:00–Romney is talking about regulations on banks. He’s right that regulations need to exist, but that they should be modernized and effective. I do believe that regulations are essential, but they should control the situation, not mandate it. Our current regulations mandate too many things and force institutions to make decisions that they would not typically make.

39:00–Speaking of Cuba…. I have to disagree with Romney and Gingrich. Both are talking about taking an aggressive stance. I don’t know why I disagree so strongly, especially since I agree strongly with them on a related issue, such as Iran. Why is Cuba different for me? I guess I don’t see Cuba as dangerous. I don’t see Cuba as an enemy.

Ron Paul is… right on this issue of foreign policy. As he said, “The Cold War is over.” Cuba would benefit from an open communication, and I think they are ready for that. I think we are ready for that. Maybe that’s the difference between Cuba and Iran for me.

43:00–And Santorum is right back to the hardline “beat them into the ground” policy on Cuba….. Sorry, it’s not the right approach.

44:30–Straight of Hormuz… Romney says closing the straight is an act of war. I think I agree and not because of oil. That is an internationally recognized waterway. Now, do I think that we should be the ones to police it? I don’t know. We’ve been that police arm of the international community for too long. I would like to see that shift to more of an international response.

46:00–Gingrich points out Obama’s weakness in canceling the training exercise in the Straight. Gingrich is right on this point, and it’s one of his greatest strengths. As much as I dislike Gingrich, he has very real strengths in the foreign arena. Not saying he’d make the best decisions, but that he’d have strong policies that he’d push through.

48:00–Paul on the Taliban and the Straight. He’s pointing out that our efforts in the Straight is an act of war by us on Iran. And he’s right. I’ve softened considerably on this position over the last few months as I’ve come to recognize that our own actions are part of the problem.

At what point do we all just take a time out?

And that’s the second break.

The winner of this round is Paul. With the heavy focus on finances and foreign policy, he was arguably the most consistent and stable voice. I’m a little surprised to find myself saying that since I’ve disagreed with Paul for so long on foreign policy, but on these specific issues (Cuba, the Taliban, the Straight of Hormuz), Paul is clearly right.

Round 3 (49:30)

50:00–Santorum on Iran. And here’s where I still struggle with Paul on Iran. Paul would claim that our actions have led Iran to do what they are doing, but I also see what Santorum is saying.

It comes back to the idea of when do we all just take a time out for a while?

One more point… How does only one side cause the conflict to subside? It’s a simple truth that it takes two to tango. We can encourage it, but I think we have the right and the obligation to push back as well.

54:00–English as the official language of the US. Ugh… this is such a non-issue. We’re a nation that has assumed hundreds of languages over the course of our history. English-only is not a recent initiative nor is it a recent “need.” However, the way we encourage English as our official language is not by mandating English-only policies. People will adopt the language over time in a natural and normal process.

Now, where I do agree with English-only policies is in the expectations of the nation. We are an English speaking country, and I do not expect nor want to see road signs in another language. I do not expect or want to see businesses mandated to speak Spanish, French, Chinese, and so on. Government is performed in English, but we don’t need to mandate it.

57:45–And Paul is totally right that this needs to be handled on the state level as well.

57:30–The Dream Act…. Gingrich supports allowing people in the military to gain citizenship through that act. I can support that. Romney agrees.

58:30–Deporting illegals…. Romney promotes self-deportation. In a nutshell, if we can control the employment for illegals, it becomes a disadvantage to stay here, thus self-deportation. I can agree with that.

The point I struggle with on illegal immigration is that illegal immigration requires a long-term commitment to consistently break certain laws. I have a problem with that. If you want to be a citizen, respect the law. Ah… Santorum just said almost that same thing. Agreed.

1:01:00–Sugar subsidies… Maybe subsidies in general? I haven’t quite made up my mind about subsidies in general. A lot of the subsidies are in place to encourage low-value–but essential–crops and products.

Romney wants the subsidies gone, and the truth is that if something is truly valuable, it’ll find a price at which it is profitable to make. Gas is a proof of that, and its fluctuations represent that changing value and need. The issue I see is that removing the subsidies could bring inflation.

1:03:00–Romney is going after Obama…. Ah… music to my ears.

And that’s the end of that round.

Winner? Hard to say. Romney had a great attack on Obama’s economic policies, but no one really stood out. I’m calling that round a draw.

On to Round 4 (1:04:47)

Terry Schiavo? Really? I didn’t know that was still an issue.

I’m VERY much looking forward to Paul’s opinion on this. Hopefully he gets asked.

Gingrich is talking about the role of government in this issue (and related issues). He believes there should be some government oversight (that’s not the right word…). Still waiting on Paul….

And here he is…. Paul is putting the responsibility on us through living wills and talking to spouses. Such a simple solution, and I hope everyone does just that. Courtney knows what I want, and I know what she wants.

1:08:45–Space Race! First, a disclaimer: I’m a HUGE NASA fan.

Romney thinks go. I agree. It needs to be done intelligently and more effectively, but I do say go. The benefit of the technologies developed and the advances made makes space exploration beneficial and an effective use of our resources.

Gingrich also agrees. Like Romney, he believes that space exploration should be a combination of government and private enterprise. He also advocates the prize system for encouraging development and growth in this effort. I think that’s a valid and legitimate means of achieving that end.

And that’s Round 4….

Again, I’d call it a draw. Pretty benign.

On to Round 5 (1:13:15)

1:13:40–What has Romney done to further the cause of Conservatism? First response? His family. Second? His work in business. Third? Involved politically. That works for me.

1:15:00–Gingrich’s turn…. He’s outlining his efforts in government. It’s an impressive list, but it speaks closely to being a Washington insider. That may or may not be a positive.

1:16:10–Santorum on electability. Romneycare. Gingrich on individual mandates. Santorum doesn’t believe that either candidate is capable of defeating Obama on that issue. And this is one of the reasons I don’t like Santorum. He comes across as a firm line kind of person who is unwilling to listen and look at other options.

I’m fine with standing tall and firm on issues and principles. What I struggle with is someone is so firm on some things that they cannot learn, cannot grow, and cannot create a unified platform that makes sense. Washington said that part of our responsibility in government is to create that central, unified position, and Santorum is a key figure of why that doesn’t work in our government.

Paul, talking about his definition of conservatism, is painting a better picture. Santorum paints strong lines that cannot be moved. Paul paints lines that are based on broad position, such as limited government. I can find principles in that position that work with more people than Santorum’s hard lines.

And there are doing closing thoughts now…. I’m not so much interested here, so I’m going to stop commenting on the debate itself.

Coming away from this debate, Mitt Romney is still my candidate of choice, but I’m recognizing Ron Paul’s ideas and his attitudes. Hmm…. Am I shifting?

I don’t know yet. But in the face of a potential Gingrich candidacy, Ron Paul is looking awfully attractive.


Looking forward, this week is going to BUSY with reviews of the State of the Union address and the various rebuttals. It’ll take time to get them all out, but look for them!

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2 Responses to January 23, GOP Debate–Florida

  1. Anthony says:

    I’m glad to see you’re making favorable comments about the genius of Ron Paul. You’ve been quite dismissive in the past.

  2. daveloveless says:

    On the contrary. I’ve ALWAYS liked Ron Paul…
    … For his monetary and fiscal ideas. I also strongly agree with his get-the-government-out-of-my-life stance.

    Where I struggle with Paul is on the foreign policy.

    Dismissive in my case is more a recognition that Paul is a limited factor in a national election. He gets just enough votes to be there, but he will not win. His impact, and therefore value, comes in the momentary ideology.

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