At the GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire on June 13th, the seven candidates gently sparred on most of the issues that have taken front and center in the campaign—jobs, Medicare, taxes, government spending, and military intervention. Rep. Michele Bachmann announced she would make her formal announcement for president soon.
Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, an announced candidate, was not invited by CNN to participate in the debate. With low poll numbers, CNN decided the two term governor is not worthy to air his views, but the likes of Herman Cain, New Gingrich and Rich Santorum are worthy of having a national audience to pander to the GOP faithful.
And therein lies the tale of the CNN debate. All the candidates except Rep. Ron Paul made every effort to pander to the Religious Right, the military, seniors and others who will go the polls next year to select a GOP candidate to unseat President Obama. Particularly irritating were the responses from most of the candidates to a question from a Navy veteran who has three sons serving in the Navy. He asked the candidates should our troops be brought home from Afghanistan now that bin Laden is dead. All the candidates except Ron Paul began their response by thanking the questioner for his service to America and the sacrifice he and his three sons are making to the country.
Ron Paul said yes we should bring the troops home immediately, not engage in nation building and end the bombing of Pakistan and Yemen. He also criticized Obama’s Libyan policy. Rep. Paul’s finest moment came at the end of the debate when moderator John King asked him whom he would choose to work in his administration. Ron hesitated and then said I would have to quiz them about the Federal Reserve and military intervention. The audience gave him a large round of applause.
Nevertheless, the New York Times coverage of Ron Paul’s participation was “deep” in the story in a brief paragraph.
“Representative Ron Paul of Texas, enjoying newfound cachet because the Tea Party movement has taken well to his libertarianism, repeated his calls to end the Federal Reserve and cut military spending. But in that sense, he was a familiar presence.”
However, the photo accompanying the article shows about a dozen Ron Paul signs outside the auditorium where the debate was held.
Despite being the only candidate who did not pander to the audience or GOP voters, Rep. Paul did an admirable job at the debate. In fact, after the CNN debate, he was interviewed and he was at his best. He smiled often and came across as a “mainstream” candidate. I wish he were 10 years younger; he would look even better on television.
The next phase of the Paul campaign should be to “attack” his opponents for wanting to maintain the welfare-warfare state. They claim to be in favor of the Tenth Amendment and other small government proposals. Ron should ask them if they want to eliminate most cabinet departments: agriculture, commerce, education, energy, HUD, etc. Ron should differentiate himself from the pandering six by offering a blueprint to downsize the federal government so we can save hundreds of billions of dollars and end corporate welfare.