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The Best Debate

Last night’s debate in New Hampshire was perhaps the best debate yet, unfortunately it was on the less watched Bloomberg channel. Every candidate had their moment in this debate, but in the end it was Mitt Romney who was in command of the evening. Now that Herman Cain is considered a top-tier candidate he is receiving the scrutiny that comes with the territory. His 9-9-9 plan was dissected last night and, how can I say this nicely?

His 9-9-9 plan is a lot like pizza, it is easy to sell but not nutritionally viable for the long run.  Believe me, I use to live on pizza right up to the day I got back the results of that ill-fated cholesterol test.

Rick Perry did not have much to say last night, thereby making it his best performance in the debates. I will adopt Herman Cain’s attitude toward Rick Perry “don’t shoot the wounded”  and refrain from anymore negative comments.

In watching last night’s debate it was clear Mitt Romney won both stylistically and in substance. After reading the transcript of the debate…

What was that you said?

I heard a mumble.

Yes, I read the transcript of the debate too.

I know, I know,  I need a life.

Where was I? Oh yeah. After reading the transcript, it was clear all the candidates had their moments. While it is difficult to limit them to just one moment per candidate, because they all had their best performances, that’s what I’m going to do.

Rick Santorum, while his attacks on Cain’s 9-9-9 plan were strong this was his best moment:

the biggest problem with poverty in America, and we don’t talk about here, because it’s an economic discussion — and that is the break down of the American family.

You want to look at the poverty rate among families that have two — that have a husband and wife working in them? It’s 5 percent today. A family that’s headed by one person? It’s 30 percent today. We need to do something, and we need to talk about economics. The home — the word “home” in Greek is the basis of the word “economy.” It is — it is the foundation of our country. We need to have a policy that supports families, that encourages marriage…

ROSE: All right.

SANTORUM: … that has fathers take responsibility for their children. You can’t have limited government — you can’t have a wealthy society if the family breaks down, that basic unit of society. And that needs to be included in this economic discussion.

Michele Bachman, yes her attack on 9-9-9 ” turn it upside down and you get 666, the devil is in the details” was superb, this was her best answer:

It was the federal government that pushed the subprime loans. It was the federal government that pushed the Community Reinvestment Act. It was Congressman Barney Frank and also Senator Chris Dodd that continued to push government-directed housing goals.

They pushed the banks to meet these rules. And if banks failed to meet those rules, then the federal government said we won’t let you merge, we won’t let you grow.

There’s a real problem, and it began with the federal government, and it began with Freddie and Fannie. If you look at these secondary mortgage companies which the federal government is essentially backing 100 percent, they put American mortgages in a very difficult place.

We had artificially low-interest rates, Freddie and Fannie were the center of the universe on the mortgage meltdown, and we had lending standards lowered for the first time in American history. The fault goes back to the federal government, and that’s what’s wrong with Dodd-Frank.

Dodd-Frank institutionalized all of these problems that were put into effect by the federal government.

John Huntsman also had a good line “I thought 999 was the price of a pizza” but I liked this answer:

We need to regain our industrial base. I would, first and foremost, disagree with Rick on one measure. That is, Pennsylvania is not the gas capital of the country. Washington, D.C., is the gas capital of the country.

There are two things that critically need to be done for us to stay ahead in this highly competitive world. And when we lose one or both of them, we lose out to the Chinese and the Indians.

One is maintaining a strong commitment to innovation entrepreneurship and freedom in the marketplace. We have the sense of innovation that no country has been able to replicate. Some have tried, and some will continue to try, but nobody does it like we do here, and that gives rise to high technology, to regular manufacturing jobs across the board. It makes this economy hum when it’s working well.

The second part of it is, you need a marketplace like Rick described a moment ago in which you can translate those innovations into products. We are losing our ability to maintain a competitive marketplace today.

Newt Gingrich really did not say much, but his presence was such I didn’t notice until I read the transcript, his best answer:

No, let me draw a distinction. I think there — virtually every American has a reason to be angry. I think virtually every American has a reason to be worried.

I think the people who are protesting on Wall Street break into two groups. One is left-wing agitators who would be happy to show up next week on any other topic, and the other is sincere middle-class people who, frankly, are very close to the Tea Party people and actually care.

And you can tell which group is which. The people who are decent, responsible citizens pick up after themselves. The people who are just out there as activists trash the place and walk off and are proud of having trashed it. So let’s draw that distinction.

Ron Paul his statement ” Alan Greenspan was a disaster” was his best line but this was his best statement:

You talked about what economists we should look to. And, unfortunately, we’ve been living with Keynesian economics for many, many decades. And everybody who was right about predicting the bubbles were Austrian economists. They said they were coming. And yet they’re also saying — and I agree with them — that everything that we’re doing right now is wrong.

So what we did with the housing bubble, yes, we had too many houses. It was glaring in our face. The bubble was doomed to burst, and it came because of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, easy credit, and also Community Reinvestment Act.

I’m going to behave myself now.

Rick Perry:

Well, I think we are certainly talking about different times, because what I heard him say there, that he was willing to trade tax increases for reductions. And I don’t think he ever saw those reductions, he just saw the tax increase. As a matter of fact, in his diary, he made that statement that he is still looking around for those reductions.

So, I mean, from the standpoint — that is one of the problems that we have got in Washington, D.C. One of the reasons that I think Americans are so untrustworthy of what is going on in Washington is because they never see a cut in spending. They always hear the siren song of, you know, if you will allow us to raise taxes, then we’ll make these reductions over here.

When the fact of the matter is, the issue is we need to have a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. And the next president of the United States needs to spend his time passing a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution.

Herman Cain, who held up well under the increased scrutiny:

I can connect with people’s pain because I was po’ before I was poor. My dad worked three jobs. I understand what that means. But more importantly, with my career and with my records, I understand that leaders are supposed to make sure we’re working on the right problems, we’re assigning the right priority.

Surround yourself with the right people, which will allow you to put together the right plans, and, yes, sometimes those plans will be bold plans, because this economy is on life support. We don’t need to trim around the edges. We need a bold plan.

Mitt Romney, his power moment came when he said to Perry “I’m still speaking” but his best moment came when questioned by Huntsman:

HUNTSMAN: Since some might see you because of your past employment with Bain Capital as more of a financial engineer, somebody who breaks down businesses, destroys jobs, as opposed to creating jobs and opportunity, leveraging up, spinning off, enriching shareholders, since you were number 47 as governor of the state of Massachusetts, where we were number one, for example, and the whole discussion around this campaign is going to be job creation, how can you win that debate given your background?

ROMNEY: Well, my background is quite different than you described, John. So the way I’ll win it is by telling people an accurate rendition of what I have done in my life. And fortunately, people in New Hampshire, living next door, have a pretty good sense of that.

They understand that in the business I was in, we didn’t take things apart and cut them off and sell them off. We, instead, helped start businesses, and they know some of the names.

We started Staples. We started the Sports Authority. We started Bright Horizons children’s centers. Heck, we even started a steel mill in a farm field in Indiana, and that steel mill operates today and employs a lot of people.

So, we began businesses. Sometimes we acquired businesses and tried to turn them around, typically effectively. And that created tens of thousands of new jobs.

And I am proud of the fact that we were able to do that. That is a big part of the American system.

People are not going to — in my opinion, are not going to be looking for someone who is not successful. They want someone who has been successful and who knows how fundamentally the economy works.

Look, I would not be in this race had I spent my life in politics alone. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but right now, with the American people in the kind of financial crisis they are in, they need someone who knows how to create jobs, and I do.

There you have it  the New Hampshire economic debate in a nutshell.

Just think, we have to wait a whole week for the next debate.

What will I do with my time?

Maybe I should read “War and Peace.”

I know.

I hear you.

“Get a Life”

I’ll try

Really.

I will.

Okay, maybe not.

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