There is a flurry of activity on the blogs about the recent debates. I watched both of the last two Republican Debates and thought I would add my thoughts as well. I have refrained from making comments as my connections to the political circles and dialogue is much more removed that in the past. Those with whom I am most likely to associate now are those whose opinions come from media exposure and relationships that don’t have close association with the actual contenders. My own experience tends to fall in line with this more and so I question some of the validity of my opinions. I don’t know all the details or what is really happening behind the scenes.
Out of the debates a couple things are clear. A few seem to know what they are really doing and are confident in it. Others seem to have a prepared line or facade in which to convince others of their opinion. Rudy is one that certainly believes what it is he is saying and is not about to be manipulated. Romney is also one who has done his homework and knows where he sits and what he believes. Lastly, Ron is well entrenched in his thoughts and opinions. The rest of them seem to be giving us a line, trying to impress us with laurels, or out to make political statements and force a change rather than the whole package.
McCain rings out as a politician of the true sense. Saying what needs to be said and trying to look Presidential. Truth be told, he just looks old, feeble, and that cheesy smile gets old.
Thompson definitely could be a strong contender but he just keeps talking about the past. Wisconsin this, Wisconsin that; why doesn’t he just talk about LaFollette and it would be complete. Rather than really running a campaign it seems he is a bit stuck on himself which never really works out well.
Hunter and Tancredo have their little pet projects for which they are primarily running. Both ring in often and loud about the immigration subjects. Neither really have anything that points they are leaders or great men to be at the head our country.
Brownback is just another Senator who has failed to even gain much notoriety in the Senate. If he can’t shine there, why do we expect him to shine as President?
Jim Gilmore has his leader experience as a Governor like several of the others. He has a quiet confidence but comes off as not having a great grasp on national issues. I am sure he does know more but perhaps it is his delivery. But he seems to be running more for the title of most conservative rather than President which will not sway those independents and other fence sitters.
Mike Huckabee is the only one that seems like he could be a serious contender but he appears to be out of timing. It is a bit like he should have spent some more time in the incubator. He has some great ideas, knows where he sits and stands, just don’t express himself fully and completely. Perhaps it is the lack of forcefulness in his tone. He is one that comes off as more along for the joy ride. He is doing what he feels is expedient. He is out promoting his way of thinking, his actions and example, but that he isn’t totally serious. Perhaps this will change, but he is just dabbling right now. His campaign and much more show this.
So, let’s look at who appear as the three big boys of the debate.
Ron Paul certainly knows where he stands and what his thoughts are. He is so completely predictable in his thoughts and comments that he doesn’t even need to speak on the stage. We know his thoughts. That is something which certainly comes to his aid. He is dependable and will not shirk at the moment of trial. He was, is, and always will be. His major weaknesses are that he has an awkward delivery. First he comes off as an intellectual. The Dr instantly injures him in some of the same way that it did John Kerry. Nobody questions he is smart but can he connect with the every day citizen and voter? His message is stark and clear. However, it is not the every day thoughts of your typical American. While he would totally have been center of the road even up until the 1940’s somehow Americans have moved away from his strict interpretation of the Constitution, Monrovian/Washingtonian/Jeffersonian ideas of non-intervention, and smaller government. Even Republicans are shifty when he speaks of what were once hard-core Republican doctrines. In order for Ron to win, he will have to teach American history, the importance of history, and convince all citizens of its importance. Otherwise there is no way we can return to the old moorings of our national and even republican cornerstones. He may end up like Burton Wheeler and find himself elected out of office if the trends of the past 60 years continue. (Having said that, it appears we are returning to some of those moorings, but how much I don’t think we really know) Lastly, his age is a minor unnoticed question. He does appear some of his age and usually a bit ragged. As if teaching history were not burden enough, looking Presidential is a struggle for him.
Rudy Giuliani come off looking like a fighter but the audience’s reaction to his challenge to Paul shows how far Ron Paul has to go. The audience and Giuliani show their obvious ignorance. If he read the 911 Commission’s Report, he didn’t pay much attention. After all, that was one of their premises concerning our state and the blow back we were receiving due to our interactions economically and militarily in the middle east. Paul’s optimium response would have been “Did you read the 911 Report? If so, you would be very familiar with what it is I am speaking” and left it at that. Instead he came with a long response that lost the majority of Americans who were awake at this point in the debate. Rudy gave a zinger, which shows his disregard for parliamentary procedure, debate rules, and the common decorum required. Nevertheless, Paul was given a response in which he could have nailed Rudy to floor for his lack of security homework but did not. The debate went on and Rudy was comfortable and confident. That did everything to help him. They went after him for his position on abortion and he stood his ground. He tried to weasel away from the questions but the moderator at a moment of being good required he answer. We have to question whether he will always be straightforward and honest or will the citizens always have to corner him? Regardless of personal feelings I may have for or against abortion, Rudy will still have a struggle with many of the Republican Party since this is a topic of interest for them. In all likeliness, if elected, he would nominate a justice or two and for Republican’s this is the chance to change the tide with Roe. Will they go for the man who cannot guarantee their position? Or will they, hoping to get consensus from independents and hope for the best? Lastly, a question I have is concerning his political credentials. Yes, he ran New York City, but city government has some stark contrasts with a state or the national government. Do we really know he can navigate those channels?
Lastly, there is the enigma of Mitt Romney. Where in the world will he take the country? He is the only person on the roster who appears to need to answer questions about his religion. Each of the candidates has their changes or “flip flops” as they like to refer to Mitt’s reversals. I am not sure that is totally the issue at hand. Romney appears confident and well thought out, much like Giuliani, except Romney has appeared to have that the whole time. This is all the more true when compared with the first GOP debate. Romney has real work experience. He is not just a lifelong politician. It is obvious that he worked his way up through the world of business and can understand the true forms of efficiency, responsiveness, and having a vision/charter. What is more, he is specialized in knowing how to weed out problems and rebuilding an organization from the ground up. That does not deal with consensus but in flat out making decisions, learning, and pressing forward. A politician has the long history of always making sure his rear is covered so he can be reelected. He has to second guess everything and reevaluate things to recast them to a variety of people for their acceptance. Opinions rule in politics. But in business, those things are not rewarded and not often encouraged. Leadership and pure blazing the trail is what really makes one successful. Romney has shown that he can do that with absolute power in an organization and has stepped into the government realm to add his help. That seems to be of great value. Make decisions and then see who you can line up as friend or foe rather than the other way around. That is his strength. He understands the need of fiscal and financial leadership. Capitalism does not long reward debt and operating in the red. This is something which will be of great value to him in office. He took it to Massachusetts and it seems he would take it to Washington. He has many characteristics which make him agreeable to be among the best for the options for GOP Nominee. But I still have some serious reservations about a the man who professes complete fidelity to his religion but wants to bash some of its fundamental doctrines.
We will have to see where these things move.