Republican Debate Tampa (9-12-11)


Since the Republicans debated less than a week ago, CNN hyped up this one by introducing the candidates like starting players in a sporting event, and a woman sang the National Anthem, as if a game was about to start. If tax dollars could have been wasted on flying jets overhead, they would have done that too. But the big opening did not save the debate from becoming the usual bashing of President Obama, filled with generalized political philosophy.

FOREIGN POLICY: Ron Paul said he was tired of all the militarism and waste associated with it. We have 900 bases around the globe in 130 nations, he said, and we cannot be the world’s policeman. It angers foreigners, Paul said, when we occupy their lands. Santorum accused Paul of blaming 911 on the U.S., while the former Senator seriously thought the hijackers only wanted to kill us because we stood for freedom. Paul had to educate Santorum, saying we were attacked on 911, because we had troops in Saudi Arabia, and allowed the Palestinians to be harmed, comments that triggered boos from an obviously uninformed audience. Perry declared it is time to bring the troops home, but contradicted himself saying, we needed to maintain a presence. Huntsman said it’s time to get out of Afghanistan. Gingrich was concerned with North Korea, trade with China, Iran, and a civil war in Mexico.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Ron Paul said Social Security retirement funds should not have been used to fight wars. Social Security is an essential program, Romney said, and taking funds from it for other purposes was criminal. Perry said it must be saved for seniors and transformed for future recipients, even though in his book he wrote it should not be a federal program. Cain wants young workers to have options. Bachmann said Medicare is bankrupt and retirement must be reformed. Gingrich said more than 70 billion of Medicare is paid to crooks, no changes should be made as to seniors, but young workers need a right to choose. Santorum said older voters just want truth. Huntsman claimed to have the answers.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: As to prescription drugs, Perry and Romney would not repeal the program which was started under George Bush. Paul said we first need other reforms, like stopping wars overseas. Bachmann said we cannot provide everything for everybody.

HEALTH CARE: Romney tried to distinguish the Massachusetts plan from the federal approach. He said patients do not know how much their care costs, and showed how out-of-touch he is with average people, as he advocated co-insurance payments, which most Americans unfortunately already have. When the candidates were asked if they want people with no health insurance to die, physician Ron Paul said no one was turned away when he was a doctor, as churches took care of them. Bachmann said we should not force people to buy insurance. Cain wanted Obamacare repealed, saying we need market reforms.

UNEMPLOYMENT & JOBS: Regarding employment, Huntsman said it is a tragedy affecting millions, and we need to create jobs through regulatory reform, repealing Obamacare, changes in the tax code, energy independence, and an end to corporate welfare. Romney put the audience to sleep as he rattled off seven things he would do as to taxes, trade, energy, the budget, and so on. Perry claimed Obama created zero jobs, and he should not spend money we do not have. Perry claimed to have created jobs in Texas, while the nation lost them. He thinks people will risk capital and create jobs, if regulations and taxes were lowered. Bachmann thinks more free trade will create jobs. Gingrich correctly said most jobs are created by the American people and not the government. Paul said we are wasting money overseas, noting it cost 1 billion to build an embassy in Baghdad. Huntsman claimed to have had the best managed state as he said we must create an environment favorable to business.

IMMIGRATION: Texas Gov. Perry, whose state has a 1,200 mile Mexican border, said the federal government must secure it, but it is not realistic to maintain a wall from Brownsville to El Paso. Perry, who opposes amnesty and the Dream Act, had to defend his decision to allow illegal aliens to receive in-state tuition, as the Tea Party audience booed. He said he wanted them in college instead of doing nothing on welfare. Former Utah Gov. Huntsman would secure the border, but gave Drivers Licenses to illegal aliens. Romney said build a fence, but enforce the law and give no tuition breaks or Drivers Licenses to illegal aliens. Santorum wants more fences and security, more legal immigration, and English spoken by everyone. Although Bachmann wants aliens to learn English and History, no one suggested she learn history. Huntsman said Homeland Security needed to be fixed.

FEDERAL RESERVE: Cain apparently served on the Kansas City Federal Reserve and said we need to focus on sound money. Bachmann would not re-appoint the Fed chair, saying he should not use his unlimited power to make loans to private businesses and foreign countries. Perry said we need a strong dollar and the Fed should not be used to cover up bad federal policies. Romney wants a strong currency, Fed oversight, but he did not want Congress in charge of the currency.

TAXES: Cain would throw out the entire tax code and replace it with a flat 9% tax on businesses and sales. Santorum would attract manufacturing by relieving taxes on new manufacturers. When a young man asked how much of his paycheck he should be allowed to keep, Huntsman said the tax brackets should be 8%, 14%, and 22%. Gingrich wants people to keep more of what they earn, saying GE paid no taxes whatsoever. Romney actually thought he would help the Middle Class by eliminating taxes on dividends, interest, and capital gains.

ENERGY: Cain said energy independence requires the EPA to get out of the way. He would appoint those abused by the agency.

TORT REFORM: Perry showed deep hatred of trial lawyers, as he thought tort reform would actually make a difference federally. Cain wanted the loser of lawsuits to pay the winner’s costs, not realizing the insurance industry routinely opposes such proposals.

EXECUTIVE ORDERS: Paul said Executive Orders are only appropriate when moving troops and they should never be used to legislate. Perry admitted he used an Executive Order in Texas to require a vaccine, and he should have run it by the legislature. Bachmann accused him of issuing the order, because he received campaign contributions from a drug company. She and Santorum both said government should never force people to have vaccines.

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