I have a quick summary of last night’s ABC debate below, and two sources where you can find more. Stacy McCain at The Other Cain has summarized the media analysis and asks:
Does a liberal have any reason to overrate Newt’s performance?
White House 2012, a great stop for everything concerning candidates, culls it down to best and worst moments, with remarks on Mitt Romney’s surprising attempt to get Rick Perry to make a $10,000 bet.
Here’s a few of my thoughts this morning. Find my actual live-blog here, where I believe I caught most of the essence of the candidates words, with the exception of the details of Rick Santorum’s proposed tax cuts to boost businesses and job creation. I’m looking for that, and will update.
The most meaningful discussion to me, was Newt’s honest assessment of the Middle East. He said it was time to stop lying about the history of Israel and Palestine. I won’t go into the details here as I’m working on a post about his remarks, but saying: “Palestinians are an invented people,” is correct.
Romney hit Newt hard on that one. Said he was fueling the fire between the two peoples and Newt should have called Benjamin Netanyahu and asked permission to make the statement, since we are allies. It is our job to support but we can’t fight the fight ourselves. (paraphrased)
We are fighting the fight, and have actively since 9/11/01. We are sending aid to both countries. Until we lead by speaking truth to power, Hamas is under a shield of protection. I believe Newt was spot-on.
Rick Santorum agreed that technically Newt was right, and he agreed with Newt’s history, but said he would have contacted Israel first. I can see this position as reasonable and prudent when speaking from the Oval Office.
For now, Newt is signaling that he will embrace the history of the area, because there is real, documented history that has been hidden and ignored (not destroyed) by the Free World. We will make no progress by tiptoeing around the fact that Hamas, The Palestinian Liberation Organization, and the Palestinian Authority refuse to acknowledge Israel’s existence. That’s about all Israel has insisted on. At times thought these “peace” talks, it has been the only thing Israel has demanded. There have been a couple of times when rhetoric suggested Palestinians would do so, but there has never been a time when the death of Israel was removed from their Constitutions and declarative documents.
I cannot praise Newt enough for bringing Israel and Palestine under this spotlight, where it should have been for years. I appreciate Santorum acknowledging the truth of there never being a Palestinian people or Nation. Paul did the same. Technically Newt was right, but he thought the comment stirred up problems in an area where we should not be involved: “I believe in noninterventionist policies,” said Paul. Romney doesn’t believe the Palestinians are “invented.” Romney is wrong. All he has to do is check the documents from the time around Israel’s nationhood.
In response to Romney, Newt said this:
I’m a Reaganite. Reagan didn’t call anyone to clear “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
Santorum made the point that the Soviet Union was not an ally. Israel is. He’s right about that – it was a different time.
I contend that Presidential candidates should speak boldly and truthfully about every important issue.
Perry had a good answer, saying Newt’s comment was a minor issue. The problem is not what Newt said, but Obama’s Middle East policies. That scored a big one with me, but I believe Newt hit one out of the park. I can’t remember a politician every stating the truth about Palestine. Not ever. Perry hit Obama hard throughout the debate, saying he was irresponsible.
Marital fidelity was a big issue, and Newt was rightly the target. Ron Paul had an excellent take on this, and I agree with him. He said when it comes to public servants, and a president of the United States, the most important fidelity should be to their oath of office. Paul and his wife have been married for 50+ years. He believes fidelity is important, but shouldn’t be a deciding factor. He also talked about how America would be in a much better place today had public servants honored their oaths of office.
Incredible answer from Paul in my opinion. I’ll just say this, we need to believe that the person we send to the Oval will not be unfaithful to his/her marriage, in particular, because of the risk of blackmail, along with the other obvious reasons.
Newt was not defensive. He said it was an important issue and people would have to weigh hsi past, and that it was important to do. He said he has asked for forgiveness, has a great marriage, and indicated he had completely turned that part of his life around.
BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT:
Romney continued to say that he was not a career politician, and claimed that Newt is. Gingrich said (paraphrased), Let’s be candid. The only reason you were not a career politician is that you lost the Massachusetts Senate race to Ted Kennedy. Had you not, you would have spent your life as a career politician.
There was much more on health care. As Bachmann hit Romney and Gingrich on their previous support of mandates, Newt said this:
(paraphrased) During the fight against HillaryCare, Conservatives came up with the idea of a mandate program to stop HillaryCare. What we came up with at that time, and the Heritage Foundation supported it, was less oppressive than HillaryCare. In the end, we stopped her program. The mandates were a dead issue. As we continued to look at health care, we realized that it was unconstitutional.
Bachmann insisted that Gingrich was still touting mandates as late as last May. He was asked about that a couple of times, but there was no clarifying statement from him.
PAYROLL TAX CUTS AND SOCIAL SECURITY:
Santorum was brilliant on the Social Security Trust Fund, asking, “do we have an SS Trust Fund or not?” That’s the bottom line. When you and I pay payroll taxes, do they go into the Trust Fund or not? When we are paying our payroll taxes, they are at least credited to the Trust Fund, although our government has spent all of the money that should be there. By continuing forgiveness of the payroll taxes, it helps the taxpayer, but nothing is going into the Trust Fund. My opinion: find another way to give the taxpayers a break. Put the money in Trust Fund and make it hands off – now.
Bachmann said when the Social Security checks go out, we have to open the door to the U.S. Treasury, but nothing comes out but moths. She’s right. We have to print the money. She points out that Social Security is only an issue for Democrats at election time.
We have great candidates. We must support them and talk-up the good that we see and hear. I deeply feel that anyone on that stage last night will make a president far superior to Barack Obama. I believe we are entering an age of recognizing the Constitutionality of actions coming out of the White House and Capitol Hill, and I believe we are in a place to demand it, and get it. The key is bringing in freshmen to the Senate who are Tea Party-types. That gives power to the Tea Party freshmen in the House who have been thwarted at nearly every curve in the road. I’m looking forward to Thursday night’s Fox debate.