Sunday, August 5, 2007

GOP Presidential Debate


Over the weekend there was a Republican presidential debate in Iowa moderated by political correspondent George Stephanopoulos. Because I'm currently in London without access to a TV, I wasn't able to see the actual debate but I've since been able to watch much of it on-line. For those of you that may have missed the debate, I'll try to summarize some of the highlights:

There was a contentious exchange between Mitt Romney and Sam Brownback regarding a robo-call directed at Iowa voters that called into question Romney's pro-life position. The Brownback campaign has sponsored these calls that make reference to Romney's pro-choice positions that he held as governor of Massachusetts (Romney since has declared himself to be pro-life). In the debate Senator Brownback stood behind the robo-calls calling them "truthful" while Romney dismissed them as "negative" and "desperate". This abortion issue will likely follow Romney throughout the primaries however when considering that none of his major opponents Guliani, McCain (although fading fast), and potentially Fred Thompson are the favorites of social conservatives, the issue of Romney's 'flip-flop' may end up being a trivial matter. In fact out of the major contenders I still think that Romney probably best encompasses the traditional family values that the social conservatives hold in such high esteem, although it still remains to be seen how enthusiastically the Christian right will get behind a Mormon candidate.

McCain is still sticking to his uncompromising Iraq pro-war rhetoric. McCain insisted in the debate that "we are winning the war on the ground" and in essence that we will win because we have to win, etc., etc. Same thing he has said in the previous debates. No candidate is as vested in the War in Iraq as John McCain. If things significantly start to turn for the better in Iraq, McCain's candidacy could experience a resurgence. However if Iraq continues on its current course, it seems that McCain will continue to fade in this race. Also McCain is looking and speaking older and older which is to be expected for a guy who is about to turn 71. McCain looks more like someone running for condo board president of Del Boca Vista than a person running for President of the United States. It's too bad because I like John McCain, it just seems that 2000 was his chance.

Giuliani from what I saw performed well. In the wake of the bridge collapse in Minnesota and the ensuing reports of the general disrepair of our national infrastructure, Giuliani took on the issue and gave a well-tailored republican response that Karl Rove couldn't have scripted better himself. Giuliani acknowledge that we need to invest in our infrastructure and argued that if we continue to lower taxes the economy will grow which will in turn increase governmental revenue which he would then allocate to infrastructure repair. Classic Reaganomics or as George H.W. Bush would call "voodoo economics." Not to say that I agree with his propositions or conclusions, but Giuliani supported his argument with the apparently successful plan that he implemented to deal with the serious infrastructure issues that he faced as Mayor of New York. Whatever the merit of Giuliani's idea it sounded good regardless, especially to the republican electorate whose vote he is vying for.

My personal favorite line of the debate was John McCain's subtle conclusion in his response to the question of how he would delegate power to his Vice President after the prominent and controversial role of Dick Cheney. McCain said, "I'd be very careful that everyone knew there was one President." Well said.

According to latest poll conducted by ABC News in Iowa Romney leads with 26 percent, with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at 14 percent and Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tied at 8 percent, followed by Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo at 5 percent, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson at 4 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 2 percent and California Rep. Duncan Hunter at 1 percent.

Also it should be noted that just 19% of likely GOP caucus attendees said they were "very satisfied" with the field of candidates (for the democrats that number is 53%). For what its worth Drudge report had linked an unofficial user poll posted by ABC on who won the debate, before the poll was taken down Ron Paul had tallied the most votes.

1 comment:

byrd said...

I heard one reporter describe this debate as "no runs, no hits, no errors" for each candidate. it will be interesting to see what the straw poll says on Sat. but because of the way the primary calendar works this time around, I do not think that Iowa will have much importance.