Thoughts on the Republican National Security Debate
Below find an analysis of each candidates performance in Tuesday night's Presidential debate. Each candidates strengths are weaknesses are highlighted. What did you think of the debate?
Michelle Bachmann: Representative Minnesota 6th District
Strengths: Due to her experience on the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Bachmann has a wealth of knowledge about our intelligence operations with other nations. Her answers to the questions were well informed and at many times connected with the audience. One of the highlights of her knowledge came out when she was questioned about foreign aid to Pakistan. Rep. Bachmann showed that when we pay foreign aid to a country we gain certain advantages from and within that country.
Weaknesses: While this was one her best debates Rep. Bachmann did not stand out as much as she needed to. Also some question the influence of foreign aid and. And while this was a good step for her, she is still facing attacks of her credibility from the media.
Herman Cain: CEO and Businessman
Strengths: Mr. Cain gave the debate a good dose of common sense. He provides solutions that make sense to the ordinary man. While he does not have any experience in an elected government position he has shown that it is not necessary. Mr. Cain is staunchly pro-Israel and is in complete support of the Israeli people. He has demonstrated that he understands that decisions must be made carefully and be fully thought through before they are acted upon.
Weaknesses: Experience is his biggest enemy. Since he has had little foreign policy interactions he does not have as much information as Rep. Bachmann or Speaker Gingrich or anyone else on the stage. Also, Mr. Cain tends to revert back to his “have a plan” catch phrase frequently. When questioned about supporting Israel if attacked by Iran he responded by saying that he would first make sure that Israel had a plan before making any decision. In order to overcome this problem Mr. Cain needs to find some staff in the intelligence community to help inform him about international issues.
Newt Gingrich: Former Speaker of the House and History Professor.
Strengths: Speaker Gingrich had an excellent debate. He showed the American people that he not only understands history and what has happened in the past but also understands what must be done in order to secure our country. The highlight of his knowledge came out during the discussion of the PATRIOT Act. He stated that while we need to preserve the rights of Americans in our criminal process, national security is a separate issue and the PATRIOT Act addresses that problem. Ron Paul took the position that the PATRIOT Act is a violation of liberty and said there were other ways law enforcement could use citing the Timothy McVeigh case. Speaker Gingrich responded by saying "Timothy McVeigh killed a lot of Americans. I don't want a law that says after we lose an entire American city we're going to find you." Speaker Gingrich showed he has the knowledge and understanding it would take to be president.
Weaknesses: The biggest issue now facing Speaker Gingrich is his stance on immigration. During the debate he stated we should not be throwing people out of the country who have lived in America for the past 25 years and obeyed all the laws, and that we should establish a board to review all cases. He adamantly stated that he would not give them US citizenship but would seek to make illegal immigrants legal and that he would secure the border. The other candidates correctly pointed out that he would be granting them amnesty by making them legal residents no matter their state of legality. Speaker Gingrich needs to carefully explain how this form of amnesty would work better than the last and show the American people his plan to secure the border.
Jon Huntsman: Former Ambassador to China and Governor of Utah
Strengths: Governor Huntsman was well served by his experience as an ambassador. He showed that he understands the workings between nations and that we need to make America the strongest nation. This came out most clearly when he was discussing the Chinese involvement in Afghanistan. He said that it was sad that America was fighting in the region but China was snatching up mining rights in Afghanistan. He correctly pointed out that we need to establish superiority in the world for America to succeed.
Weaknesses: His speeches were quite forgettable. Many of the points that he made were not unique to his view and had already been stated by the other candidates. He also continued to quote Ron Paul and made it seem as if he was supporting Rep. Paul for president. Governor Huntsman needs to separate his identity from the other candidates and tell us what he thinks not what has already been stated.
Ron Paul: Representative 14th District Texas
Strengths: Rep. Paul showed himself to be (as he would say) a defender of liberty. He showed his position well and presented some areas that he saw liberty being eroded. He was easy to understand and got his point across the crowd.
Weaknesses: He does not understand foreign policy or national security well. While liberty must be protected it can never be done by sticking ones head in the ground and hoping that nothing will happen. Rep. Paul stated at the beginning of the debate that the founding fathers thought trading liberty for security was wrong. This is a gross misquote of Benjamin Franklin who actually said “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Furthermore, when he was asked about supporting an Israeli attack on Iran he stated that it would never happen because a former MOSSAD agent said it was a bad idea. Israel has already attacked Iran and is set to do it again. The recent news about Iran’s nuclear program has Israel formulating plans. Rep. Paul means well but fails to grasp the gravity of an ostrich policy.
Rick Perry: Governor of Texas
Strengths: This was Governor Perry’s best debate to date. He showed that he understands international relations and that America must provide for the security of it’s citizens. His insights on immigration were notable. As a border governor Rick Perry has had a “hands on” experience with federal government law enforcement failures as regards immigration. Perry emphatically stated that he would secure our border through the use of our current laws. His performance overshadowed his major gaff in the last debate (he could not remember the third department out of three that he wants to cut as president), and has shown himself to still be a contender.
Weaknesses: Governor Perry has to do much more than simply do well in a debate to come back in this presidential race. He has to show the American people that he has what it takes both in a debate and in the field if he is to maintain hope he could gain the Republican Party nomination. Cohesive thoughts in the debates are a must, and tonight his thoughts often appeared disjointed. Many times he stumbled over the point he was trying to make and the American people are looking for someone who can communicate with conviction and certainty. Governor Perry should concentrate on condensing his ideas so he can communicate them clearly and effectively.
Mitt Romney: Former Businessman and Governor of Massachusetts
Strengths: Mitt Romney used his oratory skills to his advantage. He looks and sounds professional during each debate. He showed his ability to communicate when he asked Governor Huntsman about the troop withdrawal. While Governor Huntsman stated that we need to draw down on the amount of troops that we have stationed in Afghanistan, Governor Romney correctly stated that a quick withdraw like Huntsman was promising would lead to the destabilization of the region and ultimately erase all that we worked for. Mitt Romney showed that he understands our national security threats and that he has a plan to deal with them.
Weaknesses: Mitt Romney has flat lined at the top of the polls. He has remained at a consistent 25% and hasn’t deviated from that line for a while. The rest of what Governor Romney said last night wasn’t unique to him and had already been stated by numerous candidates. In order for him to widen his lead he must present his ideas in a different way than the other candidates have.
Rick Santorum: Former Senator from Pennsylvania
Strengths: Senator Santorum showed that he sees the threat our country faces and that he knows how to deal with them. He showed this when he was discussing the PATRIOT Act with Ron Paul. Senator Santorum stated that we needed the PATRIOT Act because the threats have changed and we are at war with radical Islam and need new tools to fight them. He also stated that we need to profile people at the airports or in any arena because the attacks that we have suffered have all come from Muslims meaning it would make sense to search the people who are attacking you. Senator Santorum showed that he still wants to be president and that he has not given up.
Weaknesses: Senator Santorum like many of the other candidates has to separate himself from the pack. While many of the ideas that the candidates hold are similar they need to point out how they are different from everyone else. Also Senator Santorum must sound authoritative. Many times during the debate he sounded as if he was unsure about what he was saying. He must communicate more confidently, with the authoritative tone of a future president.
Written by Jonathan Monroe