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Thursday, February 23, 2012

2/22 Debate

What a night! I was laughing my head off throughout the entire thing. The candidates really had a good time up there, kept their cool, enjoyed the night or seemed to. Don't trust any media report on it, you'll just have to see it.  Winner? Romney, hands down. Santorum did well, but not well enough to stay on top. Ron Paul dinged him repeatedly on big government issues, which is funny because that what Santorum always goes after Romney for. Ron Paul continues to stick out like a sore thumb on anything related to foreign policy, and doesn't take the nuclear threat in Iran seriously enough for my peace of mind. He shines on anything related to the workings of Congress and the economy. Romney shines on anything related to business and holds his own in all other areas. Gingrich was forgettable. Didn't shine but didn't combust either, a good thing in my opinion. I'll next include a few educational quotes from the transcript.

On Earmarking
RON PAUL: "But this whole idea of earmarking -- earmarking is designating how the money's spent. What a lot of people don't understand is if -- if the Congress doesn't say the way the money should be spent, it goes to the executive branch, and that's the bad part. If you were actually cutting, it would make a difference. But you don't want to give more power to the executive branch.

"Even if I'm president, I don't want more power over that -- over that funding. That should be with the people and -- and with the Congress. But earmarking -- the reason we get into trouble is -- is the irresponsibility of Congress.

"Take your highway funds. We're supposed to pay a user fee. If we pay our gasoline tax, we should get our fair share back. But what do they do? They take the highway funds and other of these trust funds and they spend this money overseas in these wars that we shouldn't be fighting. And then when the highways need building, then you have to go and fight the political system and know who to deal with and maneuver and try to get some of your money back.

"But if you say you're against -- against the earmarking and fuss and fume over, the answer is vote against the bill. That is what I do. I argue for the case of the responsibility being on the Congress, but it's the responsibility of us who believe in fiscal conservatism to vote against the bill. We need to vote against the spending is what we need to do."

A line-item veto (mentioned by other candidates, and struck down by the Supremes) would  give too much power to the executive branch. At the same time, putting through these bills of 1000+ pages of earmarks lumped together as a take it or leave it can't be the answer. Maybe a limit to the number of pages for any bill to pass? Anyone else have an idea?

On Bail-outs
ROMNEY: "Because, you know, I wrote my piece and I said look, these companies need to go through managed bankruptcy. And the head of the UAW said, we can't go through managed bankruptcy. The industry will disappear if that happens. And the politicians, Barack Obama's people, oh no, we can't go through managed bankruptcy. Six months they wrote, I think it was $17 billion in checks to the auto companies. Then they finally realized I was right. They finally put them through managed bankruptcy. That was the time they needed the help to get out of managed bankruptcy.

"Those monies they put in beforehand were -- it was wasted money. And number two, because they put that money in, the president gave the companies to the UAW, they were part of the reason the companies were in trouble. Giving these companies to the UAW was wrong."
GINGRICH: "It's not tough. First of all, there's a huge amount of the American auto industry that was just fine. BMW in South Carolina was terrific. Mercedes in Alabama was doing just fine. Honda in Ohio was just fine. So the -- Toyota was just fine. What we have is the United Auto Workers and a management system that had grown very, I think incapable of tough decisions because they were used to selling out to the United Auto Workers. And so they came in and said, oh we can't change. And this president on behalf of the United Auto Workers said, you're exactly right.

"Now, the fact is, Chrysler is now Fiat. So when we talk about saving the American auto industry, let's be clear what they were doing. I think that they would have been much better off to have gone through a managed bankruptcy, I agree with Governor Romney. I think it would have happened. I think what would have happened is the UAW would have lost all of their advantages and the result was, what you had I thought was an unprecedented violation of 200 years of bankruptcy law by Barack Obama to pay off the UAW at the expense of every bondholder."

There was a lot of dialogue about bail-outs last night, and it's work your time to read over that part if you don't plan to watch it. This idea of managed bankruptcy and violation of bankruptcy law were new to me, since I'm not in business. They're a vital part of business that voters should properly understand if we're going to avoid this mistakes in the future.

Freedom of Religion (why birth control is an issue)
ROMNEY: "John, what's happened -- and you recall back in the debate that we had George Stephanopoulos talking out about birth control, we wondered why in the world did contraception -- and it's like, why is he going there? Well, we found out when Barack Obama continued his attack on religious conscience.

"I don't think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we've seen under Barack Obama. Most recently, of course --
ROMNEY: "-- most recently requiring the Catholic Church to provide for its employees and its various enterprises health care insurance that would include birth control, sterilization and the morning-after pill. Unbelievable.

"And he retried to retreat from that but he retreated in a way that was not appropriate, because these insurance companies now have to provide these same things and obviously the Catholic Church will end up paying for them.

"But don't forget the decision just before this, where he said the government -- not a church, but the government should have the right to determine who a church's ministers are for the purposes of determining whether they're exempt from EEOC or from workforce laws or labor laws.

"He said the government should make that choice. That went all the way to the Supreme Court. There are a few liberals on the Supreme Court. They voted 9-0 against President Obama. His position --
ROMNEY: "  -- his position -- his position on religious tolerance, on religious conscience is clear, and it's one of the reasons the people in this country are saying we want to have a president who will stand up and fight for the rights under our Constitution, our first right, which is for freedom of religion."

This is another thing vital to understand in today's political climate. The contraception battle has nothing to do with contraception, and everything to do with religious freedom and illegal power grabs by our president.

Illegal Immigration
GINGRICH: "Look, the fact is I helped Duncan Hunter pass the first fence bill in San Diego when I was Speaker of the House. San Diego and Tijuana are the most densely populated border. It turned out it worked. It worked dramatically. Duncan and I would be glad to testify. He's former chairman of the national -- of the Defense Committee -- how much it worked.

"However, it stopped. It stopped in part because there was a wetlands. It turned out none of the illegal immigrants cared about wetlands policy. Then you had to go and build around the wetlands, which we did. The further we have gone with the fence, the fewer the people have broken into California.

"Now, the thing that's fascinating, though, John, is you quoted a government study of how much it would cost. That's my earlier point. If you modernize the federal government so it's competent, you could probably do it for 10 percent of the cost of that study."

Ain't that the truth of it! Everything costs more under this behemoth of a bureaucratically-heavy federal government. Gingrich sounded this theme of modernizing the government out of and away from centuries-old civil servants laws frequently. The other main point of illegal immigration was that if we begin with securing the border and enforcing the laws already in place, we'll see our societal costs drop because of fewer freeloaders in our schools, hospitals, and prisons. Which is true. It was also brought up that Arizona illegal immigrants are in fact self-deporting because it's harder for them to find work with the use of E-verify.

Foreign Policy
SANTORUM: "Syria is a puppet state of Iran. They are a threat not just to Israel, but they have been a complete destabilizing force within Lebanon, which is another problem for Israel and Hezbollah. They are a country that we can do no worse than the leadership in Syria today, which is not the case, and some of the other countries that we readily got ourselves involved in.

"So it's sort of remarkable to me we would have -- here again, it's -- I think it's the timidness (sic) of this president in dealing with the Iranian threat, because Syria and Iran is an axis. And the president -- while he couldn't reach out deliberately to Iran but did reach out immediately to Syria and established an embassy there. And the only reason he removed that embassy was because it was threatened of being -- of being overtaken, not because he was objecting to what was going on in Syria.

"This president has -- has obviously a very big problem in standing up to the Iranians in any form. If this would have been any other country, given what was going on and the mass murders that we're seeing there, this president would have quickly and -- joined the international community, which is calling for his ouster and the stop of this, but he's not. He's not. Because he's afraid to stand up to Iran.

"He opposed the sanctions in Iran against the -- against the central banks until his own party finally said, "You're killing us. Please support these sanctions."

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have a president who isn't going to stop them. He isn't going to stop them from getting a nuclear weapon. We need a new president or we are going to have a cataclysmic situation with a -- a power that is the most prolific proliferator of terror in the world that will be able to do so with impunity because they will have a nuclear weapon to protect -- protect them for whatever they do. It has to be stopped, and this president is not in a position to do that."

He's right. Everyone on stage but Ron Paul recognizes the dangers and shows a lot of understanding of foreign policy. Everyone but Ron Paul seems to recognize the precarious position Barack Obama has placed us in under his tenure. Any of these people could beat Obama. I would still vote for Paul over Obama should he become the nominee because he could scarcely do worse.

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