Thursday, January 24, 2008

Recap of The Florida GOP Presidential Candidate Debate

If Monday's Democratic Debate was a battle then tonight's GOP Debate was a love fest.

At one point I thought that Mitt Romney and Rudy Guiliani were going to run across the stage and hug each other. The anticipated gang attacks on McCain never manifested. And, they were even respectful to Ron Paul. The only person under attack in Boca Raton was Hillary Clinton. They left no doubt that they want to run against the former first couple.

You certainly can't accuse the Republicans of playing the race card because they never mentioned Barack Obama once.

There were also no real surprises here. Here's my very brief recap.

All of the Republicans support the economic stimulus package, except of course, Congressman Ron Paul,

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani and Senator John McCain all stated that they believe that the tax cuts should be permanent and didn't go far enough. John McCain made it clear that he wants to cut corporate taxes in order to encourage businesses to stay in the US. I guess that the wind-fall profits that many of the corporations raked in over the past seven years haven't been enough encouragement. McCain also made me smile when he stated that he wanted to encourage consumer saving.

I have to applaud former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for being the first to state the obvious. When consumers go out and spend those refund check they will probably be buying goods made in China. So whose economy is being stimulated?

Another Kudo to Huckabee for reminding everyone that at the GOP Debate in Michigan he ( and Ron Paul whom he forget to credit ) was the only one honest enough to state that for most working class Americans the economy was not in good shape.

Ron Paul was the only candidate to point out another obvious fact. The fact that the cost of the Iraq war is a large reason the nation is in its current financial condition. Congressman Paul also made it clear that he has been waving the "red flag" about the economy all along.

Historically, the sad truth is that wars have stimulated lagging economies, However, now that the US no longer manufactures anything, grows anything and is turning into a service society, the war drained instead of bolstered the economy. I'm no economist, by a long shot, but I figured that out.

While John McCain's age certainly may not disqualify him from fulfilling the duties of the Office of the Presidency, I worry that he may be a little delusional. When asked a question on how the US can sustain a long term presence in Iraq with a poor economy he launched into his standard philosophy that America can "win" this war. And, in response to another question, he stated that he still believes that this war was justified because Saddam Hussein had WMDs.

Overall Romney came across well. Tim Russert went for another one of his "gotcha" moments by asking Romney to disclose exactly how much of his own money he is spending in Florida. Romney didn't flinch and stated that he'll report his finances when everyone else does. Good for him.

In my view there were no clear winners and no decided losers to this debate. However, a MSNBC text poll is showing that viewers indicate that the winners were Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Oh, how easily the media dismisses Ron Paul.

I will say that if Rudy Guiliani was hoping that this debate would launch him to victory in Florida, he may be really disappointed.

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