ABC has thus far had the best debates. MSNBC's debate was the boorish usual debate it always has, and the old questions were asked and rehashed a zillion times. In other words, it was a snooze fest. Guliani reiterated for the thousandth time about giving the Saudis back their check, McCain kept going over his same mantra about how the GOP is with him (Not!), and Romney looking presidential, went over his tax record again. Huckabee, well, he is becoming a non-entity in this race to the White House, but he continued trying to convince us that fees are not taxes. Maybe Schwarzenegger might agree with him. How about some new material?
It is widely known the media by and large has a liberal bias except for a few unconventional outlets such as Fox. So why do the GOP candidates continue to debate at these formats? - Because they don't want to appear as cowards. In an instant, the blogosphere can now keep the media accountable. In one GOP debate MSNBC planted questions from so-called independents. Within the hour, the blogosphere was abuzz. It had vetted the plants, and discovered by using mere Google searches that the questions were posed by liberal activists.
During Thursday's debate, it was evident from the style of the questioning that MSNBC was going to continue to throw out soft ball and "gotcha" questions that had nothing to do whether or not the candidate was capable of being commander in chief. The following "gotcha" question posed by Brian Williams is an example.
Williams: Governor, we've got an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll coming out in the morning that says, among a lot of other things, 44 percent of respondents say a Mormon president would have a difficult time uniting the country. And I know you've answered similar questions about what you were able to do with the Catholic vote in Massachusetts, but 44 percent nationally, is a large number.
In the same poll, it said an evangelical preacher would have a 46%, (a higher percentage than Mormons) difficulty in uniting the country, but Bryan neglected to ask Mike Huckabee the same question. It is obvious to anyone by now that Mike has no chance of coming close to the nomination. This question was made to make Romney look like an idiot: Romney answered it fine, "I don't think for a minute that people will say they won't vote for a secular position based on a candidate's church."
And of course there was the mention of how Guliani thought of McCain's endorsement by the NY times. For conservatives, that would be a reason not to vote for McCain. The left doesn't understand this.
There have been some 11 or 12 debates thus far, and there is still a lot that has not been said. Who knows about the new energy bill that Bush (rapidly becoming one of those progressives except for the war) signed after being approved surreptitiously by both the house and the senate, a bill that is going to kill a lot of jobs. What do the candidates think about it? Does McCain regret the McCain-Feingold bill? What about McCain putting Dr Juan Hernandez, a former employee of President Fox and an open-border immigration proponent as McCain's Hispanic outreach director? What about drilling for oil? McCain is against the drilling in Alaska, a pinprick of a cold and bitter wasteland in the middle of nowhere. I didn't hear anything about nuclear energy. I didn't hear anything about immigration. I didn't hear anything about how Bush saved the economy from going into a recession after 9/11, and how well the economy has been doing since then. The candidates acted as if we were already in a recession. The candidates should have been more upbeat on the economy. And, the war on terror was barely even mentioned.
We need debates in the style of the French when Nicolas Sarkozy debated Segolene Royale. In that debate the candidates sat at a round table, and they discussed what they would do in depth to solve France's problem. It wasn't about the ten second sound bite.
There were some interesting observations however.
Russert asked McCain about his assertion that he didn't know much about the economy. McCain then lied and said he never said that, and that he was very well versed in economics and he didn't know where Russert had gotten that quote. I guess Alzheimer's must be setting in with 72 year old McCain since it was just a few weeks ago he had stated he didn't know much about the economy but he was reading Greenspan's books. www.factcheck.org came up with several other instances of his dubious knowledge on the economy. What was most puzzling is Russert stopped there and didn't press him on it. The reason of course is the Media's desire to pump up John McCain and deride Romney.
McCain continued his rant on global warming. His argument goes something like this. If global warming is not true we will still have a cleaner planet no down side, but if global warming is true, we will have saved the planet. That sounds nice, but it's hogwash. I like the fact he is for nuclear energy even if it is because of global warming. However, he wants to institute a cap and trade system. Europe's cap and trade system has been an abysmal failure. He talked about a catastrophe fund for Florida and related it to global warming, "We are seeing more and more violent weather patterns," McCain said. McCain believes we need a global agreement. Do we really want other governments telling us what to do? I am sure Europe will do what is in the best interest of the United States. McCain also said he was working with Lieberman on a cap and trade system. McCain is always working with some Democrat on something, and he knows Lieberman is the most palatable of the Democrats to the GOP. I respect Lieberman a lot and his stance on the war, but he is social on everything else. This is only the tip of the iceberg of the global warming myth McCain has embraced, and he will institute policies on global warming that are anathema to the conservative base.
Rush Limbaugh has stated that if McCain were to be elected president, he would tear the Republican Party asunder. That is for you to decide. If McCain is nominated, I will support him because he is 100 times better than Hillary, and he does have some good attributes like his character and his stance on the war on terror. I do believe though once we get to winner take all states where independents can't cross over, McCain will lose front runner status. McCain has lost his conservative base. To date Romney still has the most delegates, but the polls have Romney and McCain running neck and neck in Florida with Guliani a distant third. Time will tell.
The other candidates support global warming if you can believe it, but they won't destroy the economy with global warming policies as McCain will do.
As much as I dislike Ron Paul on foreign policy, I like what he says about congress' willingness to overspend and deflate the dollar. In his remarks, he mentioned we are spending ourselves into oblivion, and he believes in lower taxes and deregulating the economy. He mentioned in particular the Sarbanes-Oaxley act. For all of you neophytes in accounting who don't know what the Sarbanes Oaxley act is – it was congresses overreaction to the Enron and World-Com debacle post dot-com. There were some good provisions like making the CEOs sign off on the company's financials making them more accountable, but it could have been called the full-employment act for accountants. The cost for public companies to do audits has been significantly increased. I doubt this act will have any impact on CEOs or interested parties that are determined to embezzle funds from their companies. Its only effect will be to increase the cost of doing business, and that cost will be passed on to the consumer.
Huckabee loves the idea of his fair tax and abolishing the IRS. Does anyone thing we will ever get rid of the IRS? Who is going to administer the flat tax? It will have to be some bureaucracy. The idea that the fair tax is a panacea for the ills of our tax system is foolish. Those who are already retired or who are living on their savings will be taxed twice since their earnings have been taxed once, and they will be taxed again with a consumption tax. In addition, the housing market will be thrown in disarray since the mortgage deduction will go away. You think the markets are in a downturn right now, wait until you see Huckabee try to pass a flat tax. Of course, then there is congress. Reagan tried to overhaul the tax system, and because of the myriad of special interest groups, he made a tax system that was difficult to understand to a tax system that was impossible to understand. A flat tax will only pass in Huckabee's delusional mind.
I shudder to think what this country will look like in four years if Obama or Hillary becomes president. I hope Republicans can get their act together and realize what is at stake this election.
Edward Morissey at Captain's Quarters makes a commpelling case for Mitt Romney. Click on Captain's Quarters.