Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Republican Debate

Yesterday, several candidates battling for the Republican presidential nomination competed in the first of many debates in this election cycle. Here’s the breakdown:

Michele Bachmann:
When asked about the debate, she said that, “I wasn't thinking about performance. I was really just thinking about President Obama and what we can do to make sure that he is a one-term president, because frankly, he hasn't done a great job serving the interests of the American people.”

I agree--she wasn’t thinking about performance. While criticizing Obama for extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who are out of work (instead of passing tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans); or ending the Iraq War and bringing out troops home; ending the discriminatory policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; or passing comprehensive health-insurance reform that focused on making Americans healthier; she did not mention that she supported the proposal from the Republican Study Committee to cut Medicare benefits for millions of senior citizens. She also stated that she wants to repeal “ObamaCare”, even though the Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the Affordable Care Act would “probably increase federal budget deficits over the 2012–2019 period by a total of roughly $145 billion…and through 2021 brings the projected increase in deficits to something in the vicinity of $230 billion,” (Congressional Budget Office, 1/6/2011).

Herman Cain:
Apparently ALL Muslim-Americans are terrorists. More specifically, he thinks, “a lot of Muslims are not totally dedicated to this country," and that he'd refuse to appoint a Muslim to his cabinet. That’s exactly what we need!

Ron Paul:
According to him, Social Security is unconstitutional; the Federal Reserve is useless; and military spending is a waste.

Rick Santorum:
The former Senator from Pennsylvania supports privatizing Social Security. But as a major source of income for most of the elderly, we cannot afford to take a risk with the nearly 55 million Americans who receive monthly Social Security checks.

He also opposed Obama’s auto-industry bailout, which has now proved to have saved millions of American jobs as GM and Chrysler have repaid their debts and have turned out profits.

Newt Gingrich:
Almost all of his campaign staff quit last week and he only recently paid off his $500,000 bill to a jewelry company. Further, prior to the debate, he claimed he was against the Republican Medicare plan that would impose “radical change.” (Great!) But he later reversed himself and said that he “made a mistake” and that the plan was actually a good idea.

He also said that Obama’s extension of unemployment benefits was “fundamentally wrong to give people money for 99 weeks to do nothing.” Apparently giving added assistance to those who were forced out of work (and looking for new jobs) due to the corporate greed on Wall Street and Republican insistence on outsourcing jobs to “lower costs” is a bad thing. Clearly, it makes more sense to give that money to the top-earners.

Tim Pawlenty:
During his tenure as Minnesota governor, taxes decreased for the wealthiest 10 percent and increased for 90 percent of middle and lower-income families. And although he aggressively opposed the Recovery Act, “nearly one-third of Tim Pawlenty’s budget fix would rely on $387 million in federal stimulus money.” (Minnesota Star Tribune, 2/16/2010)

Also, he recently had tied Obama's health care law to Romney's health care law in Massachusetts, using the word "Obamneycare," but, he refused to say so again at the debate. Talk about aggressive leadership.

Mitt Romney:
Last, but certainly not least, is the great Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney. Of all the GOP candidates eyeing for the presidency, Mr. Romney would probably win my vote. After all, during his tenure as governor, he successfully passed a law requiring every citizen in his state to buy health insurance (no, this isn’t the “ObamaCare” bill everyone keeps referring to). By passing universal healthcare in Massachusetts, he had accomplished a longtime Democratic goal (even before Obama could!).And he’s not too bad on the eyes, either.

During the debate, he called for American troops to return from Afghanistan as soon as possible, declaring that “Our troops shouldn’t go off and try to fight a war of independence for another nation.” And even though he has consistently supported the Bush Administration's Iraq decisions back in 2008, I couldn’t agree more with his recent flip-flop.

But no GOP candidate is without their flaws. During the debate, he questioned, “why isn't the president leading? He isn't leading on balancing our budget, and he's not leading on jobs. He's failed the American people both in job creation and in the scale of government, and that's why he's not going to be reelected."

Here’s 2 reasons why Obama has failed--

-When elected, he immediately passed a $700 billion stimulus which invested in every major sector of economy. Specifically, this focused on improving our infrastructure, thus providing immediate employment to a struggling workforce; the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, providing tax cuts and lending approval for small businesses; the Emergency Jobs Bill, giving states relief to keep over 150,000 teachers and police officers employed; and the Emergency Homeowner Loan Bill that helped millions avoid foreclosure.

-The unemployment rate (at 9.1%) is a full percentage point lower than what it was just a few months ago (November showed a nearly 10% unemployment rate). And although this rate increased from the 8.8% in March, reports show that the reason for the increase was that discouraged workers who had previously stopped looking for jobs had actually returned to the labor force. A recent report by the Labor Department showed that the number of people who had been out of work for more than 6 months fell by 280,000 and that small businesses had added over 800,000 jobs this year (14 consecutive months of private growth)

On the other hand, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney had one of the worst job-creation records in the country, ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation –gaining only 1 percent in payroll jobs during his term, compared to the 5.3 percent national average. (Factcheck.org, 1/11/2008).

Although these candidates can’t run on their own records, they are certainly uniting in their efforts to bash President Obama’s successes and move our country backwards. 2012 here we come!