Aug 11th, 2011
Well. That was shallow. There was no significant, or even interesting, specific policy proposal from any candidate that actually addressed collapsed job creation. The candidates payed homage to the BBA which is nearly universally condemned by experienced economists. There was support for another 2004 style tax repatriation holiday in spite of it having been a provable failure as a growth medium before. In typical fashion, some of the candidates spoke more passionately about the survival of Israel than the survival of America. All in all, it was actually a pretty ugly affair. Chris Wallace, in particular, deserves a mighty dose of criticism for his methods and his questions.
Closing Statements -
Santorum - Hi Iowa... come "kick my tires!"
Cain - We need a "real" leader.
Paul - End these wars, lower taxes, property rights!
Romney - Implies Obama has never had a real job. Oh, he also "loves this country." I am sure glad he cleared that up. What an asshole.
Bachmann - ?
Pawlenty - Basically quotes the movie Spider Man "great responsibility" blah, blah, blah... far out
Huntsman - He also loves our country. What a relief. I was wondering. "God Bless America"
Gingrich - "First of all, let me thank Fox..." Repeal everything... apparently.
9:54 pm CST - Huntsman says No Child Left Behind must be totally abolished. God for him! Backs "more vouchers." Bad for us! He backs the BBA. Bad for everything!
Cain goes after federal involvement in education altogether
At the fourth break before closing statements, there has not been a single clear economic policy proposal. Audit the Fed? Well, okay. What is the benefit. No explanation. It sounds good to their base, for some reason, but that makes it talking point... not a policy. The Romney suggestion that we will somehow take care of the unemployed (with no specifics) while still demonizing public expenditure on the unemployed sums up the whole bunch. We have a choice between a group of candidates for government who simply are required in this day and age to declare that they don't believe in government.
Paul thinks auditing the Fed sounds groovy. Santorum says he didn't necessarily oppose the Tea Party goal of returning to the Gold Standard in response to a question about his having said he opposed the Tea Party goal of returning to the Gold Standard.
9:48 pm CST - Gingrich - "Audit the Fed!" Calls them the "primary villain."
9:46 pm CST - Cain gets behind the lie that a corporate tax holiday on offshore profits is a job creator even thought he question made clear that it didn't work before. Amazing
9:42 pm CST - Bachmann continues to not understand that the debt ceiling is about paying existing bills and seems to actually believe it is about future spending. This woman is just not that smart.
9:40 pm CST - Jobless benefits. Would the candidates extend them? Romney is a total mess. "Reform the system" and make people responsible for their own unemployment. Or something. Stunning. He wants to privatize unemployment benefits by creating "individual accounts." He offered not one explanation for where the hell that money is going to come from and ignores what top do about the currently unemployed. Huntsman alleges that the real problem is the "EPA reign of terror." Which is competing for the biggest WTF? moment of the evening.
9:38 pm CST - Santorum stands his ground on a total ban on abortion for all reason, in all cases and with no exceptions for rape or incest. Dodges life of the mother issues altogether and the panel of questioners lets him.
9:36 pm CST - Huntsman, to his credit stands strong in support of "civil unions" but hedges a little in framing it as "local" issue. Says we "haven't done a good job when it comes to equality." Tepid cheers. Ron Paul utterly fails his Libertarian principles in the one hand (man-woman only) and holds them high on the other (no government involvement at all). Santorum proudly touts his involvement in the removal of three Iowa justices who voted in favor of marriage equality. Likens marriage equality to abortion. Bachmann supports the "federal marriage amendment."
9:33 pm CST - Romney backs a federal marriage amendment.
9:32 pm CST - Byron asks Bachmann about the "marriage pledge" and its call for "submission" by women. The crowd boos the question. She beams and says how mush she "loves" and "respects" Marcus. The crowd cheers. The crowd is flat out, bat shit crazy.
9:29 pm CST - Gingrich is asked about his proposal for an Administration "loyalty test." He brings up the failed Times Square bomber, gins up old historical fears about State Department commies. Wow. Cain is queried about his fear-mongering over Romney's faith and ... defends the ignorance of Southern "protestants." He says his focus on "other people's religions" is not hurting his campaign. He seems to be trying to walk back,well, essentially the entirety of his whole first 6 months on the campaign.
At the third break, the nearly fundamentalist refusal to consider any form of engagement with Iran has been exposed by Ron Paul's passionate plea for international pull back.
9:23 pm CST - Bachmann is asked about Paul's commitment to civil rights and open trials for terrorist suspects. She repeats the lie that torture got Bin laden. She demonstrates her continued and total failure to comprehend that the Constitution was intended to represent universal rights... not merely rights for our own citizens. Paul says, outright, that she turns the rule of law "on its head." Good for him. Santorum says that Iran is actually "a threat to this country." He never says why. Has the audacity to throw in that Iran tramples the rights of gays" which is officially the new, top WTF? moment. Paul shoots back in a vain attempt to push back against the hawks. Receives both wild applause and the only significant boos of the night.
9:18 pm CST - Santorum goes angrily nuts in response. Outright lies that more American casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan have been at the hands of Iranians and then trots out the "existential threat to Israel" line... which serves to shut off any chance for diplomacy.
9:16 pm CST - "We tolerated the Soviets" having the bomb - Ron Paul. There really is nothing like Ron Paul on Foreign policy. Far out.
9:13 pm CST - Gingrich continues to look like an angry child and complains... again... about "gotcha questions." Name drops a general, Obama bad, blah, blah blah. Huntsman say he would "absolutely" regard cyber attacks as "acts of war" but then gives a primer on what cyber attacks are (as if we didn't know) rather than addressing what the tactical response to those acts of war would be. Pawlenty reaffirms his bellicosity to Iran and his endorsement of "sanctions." He calls Assad a "killer" in order to accuse Obama/Clinton of appeasement and... yes, makes sure to affirm his support for Israel even the questions had nothing to do directly with Israel. Ron Paul, in classic form, dares Americans to consider actually engaging in diplomacy with our enemies.
9:08 pm CST - Pawlenty is asked whether, after nearly ten years of permawar, it is "still worth it." He first deflects by saying we should pray for the dead. Manipulative. Then complains that Obama is drawing down too fast. Then he says, yeah, it's worth it. Romney tries to explain his flip (from endorsing the W imperialism) flop (opposing continued implementation of those basic policies under a Democrat) and then, get this, says we have "instituted freedom" in Afghanistan. This, I am sure, is news to Afghanistan.
9:04 pm CST - Paul says he's is looking forward to the entry of Gov. Perry because Perry represents the "status quo." Cain says "welcome." Huntsman gets nary a response from the crowd with a hilarious dig that hopefully Perry will bring all that "prayer" because "the country needs it." Newt touts Perry's "great record of job creation" which is stunning... since the jobs are paper hat/ditch digging jobs. Nuts.
9:02 pm CST - Bachmann was off stage at the return. Odd.
At the second break, it notable that their has not been a single acknowledgement that there is such a thing as a good tax. Which really is nuts. The questioning has been consistently appalling and designed to encourage inter-candidate fighting. This does a tremendous disservice to policy discussion which is never well served by contemporary debate structure as it is. Bachmann has taken a real beating. However detestable I find her, it has been unseemly. Newt is coming across as gruff and angry and unpleasant.
8:59 pm CST - Santorum suddenly comes out swinging against 10th Amendment extremism by... highlighting the evils of polygamy and stuff. Wild times.
8:58 pm CST - Paul endorses "medical savings accounts" to big applause but makes no mention of state to state restrictions.
8:55 pm CST - Bachmann gets the follow up about the 10th Amenment and, without specifics, says any state commercial transactional requirement is "unconstitutional." Which makes me wish that Wallace would bring up auto insurance.
8:52 pm CST - Wallace pits Pawlenty against Romney but Pawlenty sidesteps. He opens the door for Romney to make the 10th Amendement appeal to distinguish "Romneycare" and "Obamacare." Facepalm.
8:50 pm CST - Newt says the "super committee" is "stupid." Tries to scare the crowd with threats they will "gut the military." Say it is "secret" and "phony."
8:45 pm CST - Pawlenty gets the same question with a subtext about the MN cigarette tax increase and he says... "no." Actually touts his high rating from "the Cato Institute." Which tells us all we need to know. Says Barack Obama should "cancel his vacation." Profoundly and transparently shallow. Bachmann, who voted for that tax increase, tries to spin it as consistent with her pro-life values. Pawlenty and Bachmann are actually devolving into sniping at one another outside the rules of order. Amazing
8:42 pm CST - Romney gets a chance to say that tax increases are actually sometimes necessary... and he simply say "nope." Seriously. "Nope."
8:41 pm CST - Ron Paul suggest we pay less attention to the borders in the Middle East and our own borders can get more resources. Wow.
8:39 pm CST - Gingrich manages to bring "Obabamcare" back up when the topic is border security. Promotes "official English" as a panacea.
8:37 pm CST - Cain is asked about the "alligators in that moat" gaffe and says "America has to learn to take a joke." Says he believes America can be a nation of "high fences and wide open doors..." Which doesn't mean anything but the crowd claps.
8:35 pm CST - Romney is questioned about past support for "foreign labor." Romney, to his credit, makes the distinction that he was talking about high level academic benfactors being allowed to stay here when degree programs are completed. But, then, he devolves into "secure the border" nonsense.
8:34 pm CST - Wallace is in uncharacteristically tough form. Puts Cain on the spot about his "right to ban mosque" pronouncements. Cain denies he actually really said it.. then gets a cheer from the crowd by throwing out a meaningless riff about "Sharia Law." Empty. Utterly empty.
8:32 pm CST - Huntsman is asked to defend his support of marriage equality... and totally evades the question.
8:30 pm CST - Gingrich responds to Chris Wallace's question about the mass resignations from his campaugn by tweaking the crowd and suggesting it's a "gotcha." Question. Compares himaself t5o Reagan and says repeal "Obamacare." Say stop playing "Mickey Mouse games. Wallace actually fights back, "if you think question about your record are "Mickey Mouse," I am sorry."
At the first break, the most dramatic occurrence so far has been the nakedly vicious exchanges between Bachmann and Pawlenty. She very nearly accused him of leftism using popular right wing code words like "unconstitutional" and "individual mandates."
8:24 pm CST - Romney manages to work in the phrase "private sector" again. Which is tiresome considering that we need a leader in the public sector and they are not the same thing.
8:21 pm CST - Bachmann seems confused about what "results" actually are, repeating that she "fought" when others didn't... or something.
8:20 pm CST - Bachmann touts her record as a fighter who "led" the movement to prevent the raise of the debt ceiling. Uh oh... here's the light bulb conspiracy.
8:17 pm CST - Wallace begins questioning and encourages acrimony. Asks Pawlenty about his smears of Bachmann over her migraines. Pawlenty ignore and touts his economic record of budget cutting in Minnesota... which is amazing considering their current crisis is a result of his policies. Bachmann shoots back by linking Pawlenty to "individual mandates."
8:14 pm CST - Pawlenty says he will "cook you dinner" of "mow yoyur lawn" if you can tell him Obama's "specific plan" on any number of issues... without offering any specific plan on any number of issues...
8:12 pm CST - Twelve minutes in and the only specific policy proposal was Herman Cain calling for the W tax cuts to be made permanent