The debate last night raised some interesting points from nearly all the candidates, and gave us a better look at the kind of individuals that are running for Prez on the right-hand side of things. Unfortunately, I didn't see much that I appreciated, and much that was very concerning.
First, we have the current GOP target Rick Perry, who tried desperately to get out from underneath the avalanche of criticism piled on him by Bachmann and Romney. This was useful, though, in bringing to light some of Perry's less favorable moments, such as when he mandated unsafe vaccinations be given to every female 12 and older in the state of TX. One of the things that Romney, Perry, and Huntsman all mentioned were their respective jobs numbers as governors of Massachusetts, Texas, and Utah respectively. They each conveniently forgot to exclude jobs that were created in the government, which they believe don't count.
Herman Cain mentioned his "9/9/9" plan, meaning a 9% income tax, 9% sales tax, and 9% of some other tax. The other thing that Cain came out with was his belief in getting a handle on the "rampant EPA" by setting up a de-regulation committee to essentially dismantle our environmental safequards. The problem with this plan is that Cain proposed appointing individuals to that committee who have directly lost out because of these regulations (i.e. big business and other big polluters). Cain said that this is because he believes in getting as close to the problem to find the solution. To me, it sounds like allowing major industries to decide which regulations there should be. In my mind, it's the equivalent of allowing people to decide their own tax rate. Who in their right mind is going to voluntarily take on a higher tax burden if they can choose not to?
The biggest issue I had with the entire debate, however, came when Ron Paul made a very good point about our National Security and Bin Laden. Paul had recently been attacked by Santorum for posting something on his website that, according to Santorum, blamed the United States for 9/11. Santorum expressed his outrage that Paul would express such a thing. Santorum explained that Al Qaeda attacked us because they are jealous of our freedoms and our democracy and wealth. Paul then took the floor and tried to explain that this wasn't true. Bin Laden himself, Paul said, claimed that Al Qaeda's aggressions towards the U.S. have to do with the fact that America has a military base in their holy land, has marginalized the Palestinians, has killed tens of thousands of Middle Eastern people, and has suppressed their culture and society socio-economically and socio-politically for years. Paul then tried to get people in the audience to reflect on this, but couldn't continue with what he was saying because he was being booed so forcefully by the audience.
What strikes me most about this is that Paul was absolutely right. He was making a very important point, which is that we need to listen to and understand our enemies as part of our national security. Paul was absolutely correct in his explanation for the motives behind the 9/11 attacks. Yet despite this, he was booed and devalued because he spoke out of line with the GOP opinion. Ron Paul made another good point about this, stating that our security and safety would continue to be lessened if we did not understand the society, culture, and reasoning behind our enemy's desire to "destroy us."
On the radio this morning, Glenn Beck took this up, and made the same argument that Santorum did, stating that Ron Paul was dead wrong, that he was out of line, and that this statement all but disqualified him as a candidate for President. It was such an overstatement and distortion of what Paul was trying to say that I had to turn it off to keep from upsetting myself. Clearly there is something wrong when a major political party of the United States is so disillusioned that they cannot accept simple, factual, honest information that goes against their own closely held opinions and world view.