As autumn leaves begin to curl and school is finally and fully underway, we all know what awaits every four years. Yes, it's once again time for the GOP debates. Recently broadcast on CNBC and MSNBC, the latest debate sparked many topics and interesting points between candidates. Required to watch it for AP Government, I found it to be interesting, informative and sometimes, just plain amusing.
I don’t know if it’s just the writer in me looking for more characters to add to this endless fiction, but I found myself mostly drawn to the aesthetics of the candidates. I tried to focus beyond their stage presence, yet found myself drawn to the faces of both Mitt Romney and Huckabee. Unlike Ron Paul and other candidates, their faces were lit by their passions and their interest in what they spoke about, whereas Paul, McCain and Brownback were dead and focused on the question as if they had it written word for word on tablet paper before them.
When it comes to the candidate who seemed the Most Presidential, that award would go hands-down to Mitt Romney. Not only did he present himself as a secure and dedicated candidate, but also a humble example of a considerate debate partner. While he and Giuliani had their heart-to-heart choke fest over taxes and tax cuts, he referred to his potential political agenda as being “the President’s job” not “My job”. He was prepared with his answers, maintaining humility while still giving himself credit where credit was due. There was no presumption that he would win the race, just a mild-mannered interest in the affairs of the United States and his colleague’s responses. While I like him as a candidate, he has an attitude about him that is washed over by his humble outer shell. I can't really place just exactly what made me uneasy about him, but I still believe that he has his act together. Perhaps one of the reasons is because of his flip-flopping John Kerry nature. Three years ago, he supported such liberal issues as Pro-Choice causes. Now that he's a candidate, his loyalties have swung right again. And of course, we mustn't forget his support of the line item veto (deemed unconstitutional)… 844 TIMES!
I was torn between McCain and Thompson as the second place Most Presidential winners. Thompson sometimes fumbled over his words at the beginning, unsure of exactly his goals, but he did have some excellent points (like the war and global terrorist policy). He reminded me of the “old” presidents, like Ford or Ike, simply by his presence. Let's be honest, you have to applaud Thompson. Many celebrities (no denying it, before the political race began, he was just that) decide that the spotlight is how they will spend their time, no matter what other obligations may call them. Thompson was first and foremost a genius for spending the first debate on Jay Leno. How much did we see of the debate versus his appearance on the talk show and his late decision to run? He took over the news! But now, even though he could continue to splinter away from the Republican pack, he is merging in as he should. I give Mr. Thompson a standing ovation just for that.
When it comes to McCain, I wasn't that impressed. While he has the experience as a renowned leader in the Navy, he also is too easily driven by only personal conviction. He made most of his effort in noting what the current President should have done… He focused too much on the past and past actions rather than commenting on them and then focusing on the issue of the future and what he would change. He had this cold attitude and seemed somewhat snobbish in his overall presentation. He doesn’t like to beat around the bush (no pun intended). To add to that, he is also half deaf, missing much of the questions. While once he may have made a decent candidate, he is past his prime.
And then, there's Ron Paul. I don't even want to get started on Ron Paul. We’d be here for hours. To begin, he didn't have much to say, or, at least nothing very new. When he does speak, it's not for long, it's more libertarian than conservative and it's only an assessment of what he thinks the country is coming to. What's his action plan? I have no clue, I couldn't tell from the debate. It's no wonder he's number seven in the ranks. "Dr. No" struck a capital N-O with me.
On the complete polar side of the party, I really, REALLY like Huckabee. I pity him because he lacks the forceful drive of Giuliani, but in a way, that would ruin his softer character. To his defense, what he lacks in punch he makes up for in purpose. He always has something to say, even if just a witty commentary in opening a question. He knows what must be done. In some ways, he is a non-dictatorial, non-Argentinean Juan Peron in his willingness to roll up his sleeves for the American people.
I know the personal pain of watching my parents struggle over how they are going to get me into college. Huckabee spent more time addressing the actual effects of our economy and our taxes versus simply restating how our economy is holding up. He sees and understands the issues we are facing as citizens of this country and knows that they cannot be ignored. As well, he supports the true conservative values that the party has been built on. The problem has been with the shifting of the candidates to a more moderate stance. We as a party have lost sight of our values and altered them to fit the candidates. Huckabee is set to bring them back, and I back him all the way.
Overall, I found the debate to be entertaining and very interesting. It's a pit of lions, because even though they are your party, they are your worst enemy. You can forget thinking about the other party's candidates because it is your own that will haunt you when you begin to sleep with a knife under your pillow. You can tell how they all got defensive at times, knowing that like the Miranda rights, anything you say can and will be used (either for or) against you. It was a tough debate, but the rabbit has been let go and the chase is on. Now, pit the men against one another, for until we choose the one and only, they are only restless dogs. Or, in this case, the elephants at war.