First GOP Presidential Debate- The Positions

The Republicans are opening up their 2012 primary season with a debate between five of the candidates in Greenville, South Carolina.  The five presidential-hopefuls participating are Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and Gary Johnson.

I’ll give a little bit of credit to them, they got right to the point.  So I will too.   Here’s a run-down of the talking-points we can expect to see.

Pawlenty

Pawlenty has a fairly radical view on  foreign policy.  With a particular focus on Libya, the gist of the Governor’s idea is that we need to follow through on our commitments.  Going so far as to call the United Nations “that pathetic organization,” Pawlenty criticized President Obama’s condoning Gadhafi, but not acting on it with boots on the ground. The United Nations is an important aid giving and international law organization, and their decision to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya was the right one.  Let’s be clear, folks:  The UN is not perfect, and they don’t have a lot of power.  However, they stand for peace and human rights, and a body like that is not pathetic.

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When Pawlenty left office as the Governor of Minnesota, the state had a 6.2 billion dollar projected deficit.  If this is the legacy that was left when he left office in a state, I am afraid of seeing him in the White House.  In Minnesota’s 152 year history, no governor has left office with such a high forecast for his (or her) successor.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul’s foreign policy is just… I don’t even have a term for it.  The closest I can get would be absurd.  Paul advocates the withdrawal of ALL foreign aid, but especially wants to stop sending money to the Middle East.  Our Aid is one thing that keeps people from wanting to kill us, and many people already have that feeling.  Pulling out won’t help.

One thing I DO agree with is that we should close the Guantanamo Bay facility, and give the terrorists fair and due process.  I don’t think that relating Osama bin Laden to petty criminals is fair to the petty criminals; however, our system will prosecute those that deserve to charged for their crimes, and appropriate penalties will be given.  Secret prisons aren’t what we need to show the world that we are pursuing justice, not just revenge.

Between economics and foreign policy, we find something Paul is strongly advocating for.  He wants to bring 1.5 trillion dollars worth of what he calls “militarism” back to our shores to spend on reducing deficit, helping people, and defending our borders from our borders.

Ron Paul’s views on social issues revolve around power to the state.  Paul believes many things should be legal as far as the Federal Government is concerned, but individual states should have the right to choose whether or not they would like to ban substances or practices.  Paul even states that states, and not the Feds, should have free reign when it comes to homosexuality and marriage.   Paul stated that the LGBT community should be allowed to do as they choose.  He will not force his standards on anyone else if they will not force theirs on him (does anyone actually believe that?).  This is an odd view for a Republican, but it’s what he said.

Cain

Clearly, Cain is the least qualified among each of the candidates here, especially when dealing in foreign policy.  He seems to recognize this, so he found a policy to always follow in debates.  Cain says he would not “tear up” a plan that the Joint Chiefs say will succeed.  He wants to get the right opinions, and follow those.  Cain is somewhat obsessed with the “roadmap to victory.”  He wants to know how we willw in before we start. The fact that plans change as soon as they are implemented seems to be lost on him.  He also wants to know how this fits into our policies, and how it helps our people.  Newsflash: If you can’t figure this out on your own, you shouldn’t be sitting in the Oval Office.  Cain also supports waterboarding in the case of terrorists.  To quote him, we should “do whatever we have to to protect our people.”  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’d side with Ron Paul over Cain any day on Enhanced Interrogation.

On economic issues, the main issues Cain will be running on, he seems to have a better feel for what he wants to do, and what his audience wants to hear.  Cain wants to establish energy-independence: understandable, but dangerous.  What happens when our oil reserves run out?  He also wants to incorporate the fair tax, or a flat tax of 23% on all Americans.  I’m no expert on the economy, and I will never pretend to be.  However, even the Fox commentator sounded skeptical.  He said something along the lines of it being another tax cut for the rich and a hike for the poor.  Just a thought.

Johnson

Johnson barely spoke, as far as I could tell.  He spent much of the first hour sitting there.  However, from what I did hear, he sounds a little bit crazy.  He wants to cut corporate taxes to zero.  More importantly, in my opinion, he wants to abolish minimum wage.  Raise your hand and comment “aye” if you think working for one dollar an hour is a big improvement over not working.  I don’t.  If you have no job, at least you can go and try to find one to support your family. Working a job prevents you from doing this effectively, and you still can’t feed your family.  This just plain won’t work.  Johnson also stated that he thinks the government helping the unemployed is exacerbating the problem.   I don’t think this is right either.  People don’t LIKE living unemployed.  It isn’t fun.  The only problem with cutting benefits is that won’t make a person less likely to be a bum, only more likely to not be able to find a job before he or she is flat broke.

Johnson wants to get out of Afghanistan NOW.  He admits that, if President, he would need at least a couple months to get them out; he does, however, reject the idea of a time-table withdrawal.  He wants to stop nation-building in a nation WE crippled.  This policy makes about as much sense as invading Iraq did in the first place.

Last, but not least-crazy, Santorum

Personally, I am more afraid of this guy becoming the Chief Executive than I am of anyone else, with the possible exceptions of Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann. Santorum’s social policies are just heart-breaking to me.  He wants to make English the official language of the United States.  We are often referred to as the melting pot.  We’ve always welcomed people of every race and religion to our land, even if some groups were opposed to it.  By trying to make English the official language of our United States, we are destroying our legacy.  I don’t want to see that happen.  From the bottom of my heart, I want to see a United States that will continue to welcome people from all over.  I want to see a country where a black man, or a Hispanic man,  or a woman of any race, can be President without being asked for his papers.  This kind of legislation is a brutal blow to that dream.  Before going too far off track, back to Santorum.

Santorum believes that we should not raise our debt ceiling, and prevent a default on our debt with global consequences, unless we defund Obamacare.  Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act IS NOT taking away people’s rights.  It is helping people to get the coverage they need, without having to pay an arm and a leg for it (amputations are expensive without coverage too).  This is not telling people what to do or how to do it, this helping people in need.   Santorum wants to reform Medicare for our seniors… in the same way Paul Ryan is doing it.  A vast majority, a supermajority, of people disapprove of this.  How much clearer should it be?

In the arena of foreign policy, Santorum is following the typical Teabagger line.  According to the presidential-hopeful, Obama only succeeded through continuing on the policies of George W. Bush.  I’m not here to talk about bin Laden, but I’ll mention that this is a load of bull*hit.

Something disturbed me though, more than anything all evening.  According to Santorum, Obama lost an opportunity 18 months ago.  According to him, Obama should have stepped in and toppled Iran.  I don’t think this man knows what this entails.  Iran has the capacity to wreak havoc across the Middle East, destroying what we’ve sink hundreds of billions into trying to build.  We shouldn’t play games with Iran, they won’t stand for it.  Another war to add to the list.

I’ll end with a remark of made by Rick Santorum: “Islam is stuck in the 17th century…”  If you think this is an unfair statement, well, don’t vote for the GOP.  I sure as hell won’t.

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