The Republican debate

Well, I thought the eight presidential candidates trying to get the Republican convention did well in their debate last night.  I hadn’t heard Perry before, and he came across well.  I was pleasantly surprised with Huntsman, who played the optimism card  (though he lost me with his slam against those who are conducting a “war on science” by questioning evolution and global warming).  Cain had good things to say.  And you’ve got to hand it to Ron  Paul, who knows what he believes and can articulately make his case.  And so does Newt Gingrich, for sure.  Rick Santorum was likeable and sincere, getting across his pro-family message.  Michelle Bachmann made sense.  And Mitt Romney was articulate and thoughtful.  (Did I compliment everyone?  I think so.)

As someone has observed, this is a Republican race, and yet the questioners ask Democratic questions.  It would be more helpful to conservative voters to hear the candidates debate conservative issues, not defend themselves from liberal charges.

Perhaps when the American public gets used to seeing these candidates, with more and more events like this, they won’t seem so scary.

And yet, I’m still undecided. And I’m still not convinced that any of these candidates can beat President Obama, despite his low approval ratings.

Your thoughts about the debate?  Have any of these candidates inspired your passionate loyalty?

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • larry

    I tend to watch for how they speak. One can gather who they are really concerned for based on how they speak, substance can be faked. If a politician uses a lot of first person based speech and “I” and “my” that’s very different than second and third person based speech. E.g. Reagan spoke more in the second and third person. To me it tells who they are most concerned with.

    That being said a LOT of “I” and “my” (record) lingo was used by the top tier candidates. Which reeks of “look at me, look at me, look at me”. Paul seems to be the real root issue thinker in the group, Gingrich is not bad but more of an “idea man”. Cain came off well too as a thinker.

    I think it broke down into two groups: The root problem thinkers and problem solvers versus ‘just politicians’:

    The former was largely in no particular order: Gingrich, Cain, Paul
    The later was largely, again in no particular order: Perry, Romney, Bachman, Sanotorum, and Huntsman.

  • larry

    I tend to watch for how they speak. One can gather who they are really concerned for based on how they speak, substance can be faked. If a politician uses a lot of first person based speech and “I” and “my” that’s very different than second and third person based speech. E.g. Reagan spoke more in the second and third person. To me it tells who they are most concerned with.

    That being said a LOT of “I” and “my” (record) lingo was used by the top tier candidates. Which reeks of “look at me, look at me, look at me”. Paul seems to be the real root issue thinker in the group, Gingrich is not bad but more of an “idea man”. Cain came off well too as a thinker.

    I think it broke down into two groups: The root problem thinkers and problem solvers versus ‘just politicians’:

    The former was largely in no particular order: Gingrich, Cain, Paul
    The later was largely, again in no particular order: Perry, Romney, Bachman, Sanotorum, and Huntsman.

  • Tom Hering

    “Perhaps when the American public gets used to seeing these candidates, with more and more events like this, they won’t seem so scary.”

    You mean, Perry will seem less scary as the people hear more about his desire to end Social Security? Expressed in the wildest of terms? Dr. Veith, you’re a stubborn optimist. :-)

  • Tom Hering

    “Perhaps when the American public gets used to seeing these candidates, with more and more events like this, they won’t seem so scary.”

    You mean, Perry will seem less scary as the people hear more about his desire to end Social Security? Expressed in the wildest of terms? Dr. Veith, you’re a stubborn optimist. :-)

  • http://cookinthebooks.wordpress.com David King

    I echo your concerns that Obama will be reelected despite his low numbers. For all the occasional talk of Americans’ love of change, they usually only want change when they have to change.

    Taking that into consideration, I wonder if the current team of rivals isn’t a total that is greater than the sum if its parts. I wonder if they decided to fall together behind a nominee and then form a dream team based on their personal strengths, interests, experiences, etc. Might be too many chiefs. But it might be a force to be reckoned with.

  • http://cookinthebooks.wordpress.com David King

    I echo your concerns that Obama will be reelected despite his low numbers. For all the occasional talk of Americans’ love of change, they usually only want change when they have to change.

    Taking that into consideration, I wonder if the current team of rivals isn’t a total that is greater than the sum if its parts. I wonder if they decided to fall together behind a nominee and then form a dream team based on their personal strengths, interests, experiences, etc. Might be too many chiefs. But it might be a force to be reckoned with.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You mean, Perry will seem less scary as the people hear more about his desire to end Social Security?”

    Social Security will end or be modified so much that it remains largely in name only, because it cannot continue. There is no way to pay for it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “You mean, Perry will seem less scary as the people hear more about his desire to end Social Security?”

    Social Security will end or be modified so much that it remains largely in name only, because it cannot continue. There is no way to pay for it.

  • Lou

    GV: “Have any of these candidates inspired your passionate loyalty?” Newt Gingrich inspired my loyalty toward his position as the perfect Vice President to nearly all of the other candidates.

    Mitt Romney held his own. Perry wasn’t perfect, but he made himself credible enough, defending quotes from his book that the media has been trying to use against him.

    Huntsman put his stake in the ground, but was not as convincing as I wanted him to be. He seems like his stance of the moral/social issues will be a problem. Cain seemed very likeable, but I doubt he’ll be able to rise to the level of some of the others.

    Bachman waned quite a bit last night, probably due to the focus on the governors. Although she was coherent and made several good points, she doesn’t have the composure and finesse that Gingrich exhibited.

    As far as Ron Paul “articulately making his case,” I couldn’t disagree more strongly. I thought he came across unconvincingly, has a scary, wrong, and impractical view of government, history, and foreign affairs. And I would add to that, at times he sounded like a (nice, but) bumbling fool. He doesn’t strike me even slightly as presidential or executive-like.

  • Lou

    GV: “Have any of these candidates inspired your passionate loyalty?” Newt Gingrich inspired my loyalty toward his position as the perfect Vice President to nearly all of the other candidates.

    Mitt Romney held his own. Perry wasn’t perfect, but he made himself credible enough, defending quotes from his book that the media has been trying to use against him.

    Huntsman put his stake in the ground, but was not as convincing as I wanted him to be. He seems like his stance of the moral/social issues will be a problem. Cain seemed very likeable, but I doubt he’ll be able to rise to the level of some of the others.

    Bachman waned quite a bit last night, probably due to the focus on the governors. Although she was coherent and made several good points, she doesn’t have the composure and finesse that Gingrich exhibited.

    As far as Ron Paul “articulately making his case,” I couldn’t disagree more strongly. I thought he came across unconvincingly, has a scary, wrong, and impractical view of government, history, and foreign affairs. And I would add to that, at times he sounded like a (nice, but) bumbling fool. He doesn’t strike me even slightly as presidential or executive-like.

  • Tom Hering

    “There is no way to pay for it.” – sg @ 4.

    Of course there are ways to pay for it. We might not like them, but there are ways.

  • Tom Hering

    “There is no way to pay for it.” – sg @ 4.

    Of course there are ways to pay for it. We might not like them, but there are ways.

  • Martin

    And the award goes to …

    Grown-up Award: (i.e., sane, electable Republican): Mitt Romney

    Showmanship Award (i.e., not electable in the general unless the economy remains in the tank): Rick Perry.

    Shark-Jumper Award: Michele Bachmann.

    Where Did This Guy Come From? Award: Jon Huntsman. (showed himself a player, and elicited a lot of: you used to do “What?” Really? You did? responses.)

    Broken Record/Time to Retire Award: Ron Paul.

    Smartest Guy Standing Award (ask him anything, go ahead, but who will never poll higher than five percent): Newt Gingrich.

    Best Motivational Speaker Award: Herman Cain (he should just go out on the speaking circuit and skip politics).

    C List Player Award: Rick Santorum. (Nice guy, but out of his league).

  • Martin

    And the award goes to …

    Grown-up Award: (i.e., sane, electable Republican): Mitt Romney

    Showmanship Award (i.e., not electable in the general unless the economy remains in the tank): Rick Perry.

    Shark-Jumper Award: Michele Bachmann.

    Where Did This Guy Come From? Award: Jon Huntsman. (showed himself a player, and elicited a lot of: you used to do “What?” Really? You did? responses.)

    Broken Record/Time to Retire Award: Ron Paul.

    Smartest Guy Standing Award (ask him anything, go ahead, but who will never poll higher than five percent): Newt Gingrich.

    Best Motivational Speaker Award: Herman Cain (he should just go out on the speaking circuit and skip politics).

    C List Player Award: Rick Santorum. (Nice guy, but out of his league).

  • Bassett Horn

    I like Ron Paul but he has a snowball’s chance in H— to get the nomination. Other then him “None of the Above is Acceptable” inspires me the most.

  • Bassett Horn

    I like Ron Paul but he has a snowball’s chance in H— to get the nomination. Other then him “None of the Above is Acceptable” inspires me the most.

  • Jonathan

    A spectacular moment was when the pro-life crowd erupted in chilling, full-throated cheers at the mere mention of the number of people executed in Perry’s Texas. It called to mind that portion of St. Matthew’s Passion in which another righteous crowd lustily yelled, “Laß ihn kreuzigen!”

  • Jonathan

    A spectacular moment was when the pro-life crowd erupted in chilling, full-throated cheers at the mere mention of the number of people executed in Perry’s Texas. It called to mind that portion of St. Matthew’s Passion in which another righteous crowd lustily yelled, “Laß ihn kreuzigen!”

  • Jonathan

    @5 Lou, I second your call for Newt as VP, he would be excellent.

  • Jonathan

    @5 Lou, I second your call for Newt as VP, he would be excellent.

  • Martin J.

    #9 has forced me to reveal myself (#7) from here on as Martin J.
    Perhaps #9 should clarify himself, so as not to confuse.

  • Martin J.

    #9 has forced me to reveal myself (#7) from here on as Martin J.
    Perhaps #9 should clarify himself, so as not to confuse.

  • larry

    From a conservative point of view its a given that the worst in the group is better than the present situation, but it is still by far a “take a deep breath of fresh air, hold your nose real tight and vote” field.

    From a moderate point of view its giggling like a kid in a candy store time over the choices to be had.

    From a liberal point of view, they are all the devil’s kin.

  • larry

    From a conservative point of view its a given that the worst in the group is better than the present situation, but it is still by far a “take a deep breath of fresh air, hold your nose real tight and vote” field.

    From a moderate point of view its giggling like a kid in a candy store time over the choices to be had.

    From a liberal point of view, they are all the devil’s kin.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “From a liberal point of view, they are all the devil’s kin.”

    Most of them are actually fairly liberal on at least a few issues.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “From a liberal point of view, they are all the devil’s kin.”

    Most of them are actually fairly liberal on at least a few issues.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “the number of people executed in Perry’s Texas.”

    The Texas governor cannot pardon or grant clemency, etc.

    He cannot stop executions.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “the number of people executed in Perry’s Texas.”

    The Texas governor cannot pardon or grant clemency, etc.

    He cannot stop executions.

  • Steve Billingsley

    None of them inspired any real passion or loyalty in me.

    Tom @6
    I agree that there are ways to pay for Social Security and I don’t think they are scary at all.
    1 Slowly raising the retirement age to reflect life expectancy realities (it should eventually get all the way to 70)
    2. Modifying cost-of-living formulas and indexing formulas.
    3. A reasonable means test.
    What isn’t here (or necessary)? Tax increases on the payroll tax. I am in favor of some form of personal accounts, but I don’t think they are politically feasible (Clinton was open to these in the late 90s, as was Paul Krugman before his political commentary completely jumped the shark).
    The problem to me isn’t Social Security, it’s Medicare. We already know what President Obama’s plan for this is (as well as the House GOP) and both are unpopular (and one is only getting that way more all the time). I am more interested in hearing what the GOP candidates’ plans for Medicare (and Medicaid) are moving forward, the more detail the better. That, as much as anything, would inspire some sort of passionate response one way or the other from me.
    As for right now, meh….

  • Steve Billingsley

    None of them inspired any real passion or loyalty in me.

    Tom @6
    I agree that there are ways to pay for Social Security and I don’t think they are scary at all.
    1 Slowly raising the retirement age to reflect life expectancy realities (it should eventually get all the way to 70)
    2. Modifying cost-of-living formulas and indexing formulas.
    3. A reasonable means test.
    What isn’t here (or necessary)? Tax increases on the payroll tax. I am in favor of some form of personal accounts, but I don’t think they are politically feasible (Clinton was open to these in the late 90s, as was Paul Krugman before his political commentary completely jumped the shark).
    The problem to me isn’t Social Security, it’s Medicare. We already know what President Obama’s plan for this is (as well as the House GOP) and both are unpopular (and one is only getting that way more all the time). I am more interested in hearing what the GOP candidates’ plans for Medicare (and Medicaid) are moving forward, the more detail the better. That, as much as anything, would inspire some sort of passionate response one way or the other from me.
    As for right now, meh….

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    A spectacular moment was when the pro-life crowd erupted in chilling, full-throated cheers at the mere mention of the number of people executed in Perry’s Texas. It called to mind that portion of St. Matthew’s Passion in which another righteous crowd lustily yelled, “Laß ihn kreuzigen!”

    Completely wrong. Totally false analogy. People are really cheering for rule of law. People want equitable laws that punish evil, not prosperity. People in the criminal justice system have had due process. That is rule of law. People are tired of those calling evil, good and calling good, evil. People want rule of law and justice. That is what they are cheering for. Exercising the death penalty communicates confidence in rule of law and due process.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    A spectacular moment was when the pro-life crowd erupted in chilling, full-throated cheers at the mere mention of the number of people executed in Perry’s Texas. It called to mind that portion of St. Matthew’s Passion in which another righteous crowd lustily yelled, “Laß ihn kreuzigen!”

    Completely wrong. Totally false analogy. People are really cheering for rule of law. People want equitable laws that punish evil, not prosperity. People in the criminal justice system have had due process. That is rule of law. People are tired of those calling evil, good and calling good, evil. People want rule of law and justice. That is what they are cheering for. Exercising the death penalty communicates confidence in rule of law and due process.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I agree that there are ways to pay for Social Security and I don’t think they are scary at all.”

    However, it is then only Social Security in name only.

    “1 Slowly raising the retirement age to reflect life expectancy realities (it should eventually get all the way to 70)”

    Too expensive. The age should be 75.

    “2. Modifying cost-of-living formulas and indexing formulas.”

    But the end result must be to actually pay out less $$.

    “3. A reasonable means test.”

    This is fundamentally changing Social Security to welfare. We actually already have this program. It is called SSI.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I agree that there are ways to pay for Social Security and I don’t think they are scary at all.”

    However, it is then only Social Security in name only.

    “1 Slowly raising the retirement age to reflect life expectancy realities (it should eventually get all the way to 70)”

    Too expensive. The age should be 75.

    “2. Modifying cost-of-living formulas and indexing formulas.”

    But the end result must be to actually pay out less $$.

    “3. A reasonable means test.”

    This is fundamentally changing Social Security to welfare. We actually already have this program. It is called SSI.

  • SAL

    #6
    In order to fund Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid unfunded liabilities we’d have to immediately raise our tax rates by 81% and keep those rates for the next 75 years.

    These programs unfunded liabilities are $106.4 trillion. The nation’s total private net worth is only $51.5 trillion.

    It’s hard to see how you fund these welfare programs in the long-run without taxing the nation into deep poverty.

    It’s also hard to see how more than a handful of Americans continue to afford to have children with such incredible tax rates. If birthrates drop by any significant amount, then we will lack enough workers to fund even the most elderly fraction of the retired.

  • SAL

    #6
    In order to fund Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid unfunded liabilities we’d have to immediately raise our tax rates by 81% and keep those rates for the next 75 years.

    These programs unfunded liabilities are $106.4 trillion. The nation’s total private net worth is only $51.5 trillion.

    It’s hard to see how you fund these welfare programs in the long-run without taxing the nation into deep poverty.

    It’s also hard to see how more than a handful of Americans continue to afford to have children with such incredible tax rates. If birthrates drop by any significant amount, then we will lack enough workers to fund even the most elderly fraction of the retired.

  • Steve Billingsley

    sg @17
    It already is Social Security in name only…people attempting to live only on Social Security retirement benefits aren’t exactly living in the lap of luxury.
    We can haggle on the age…and yes, the program will pay out less money – it is already on that path as it is. It is just a matter of how much less. For people my age (44) – it is already assumed that Social Security will be less of a part of retirement life. I am already planning on working in some capacity well past retirement age, in fact as long as I am physically and mentally able.
    I realize that this is fundamentally changing Social Security. If it doesn’t fundamentally change, it will cease to exist. Social Security was originally intended to be a means of easing poverty for the elderly. At some point it was morphed (at least in the popular imagination) into some sort of quasi-comprehensive retirement plan for all U.S. retirees. That was never realistic and this returns the program more to what its original design and intent was all about. I don’t think the government should be responsible for my retirement income, that’s my job (and according to Scripture, my children share at least some responsibility to help me in my old age – I consider it a privilege to help my own parents in any way they might need). SSI is funded by general tax revenues and really only affects a quite small percentage of the population.
    I’m not talking about my ideal situation, but I’m talking about what I think is politically feasible in the next 2-3 years. IMO, Medicare is still the big fish to fry and drawing some sort of line in the sand about Social Security is self-defeating.

  • Steve Billingsley

    sg @17
    It already is Social Security in name only…people attempting to live only on Social Security retirement benefits aren’t exactly living in the lap of luxury.
    We can haggle on the age…and yes, the program will pay out less money – it is already on that path as it is. It is just a matter of how much less. For people my age (44) – it is already assumed that Social Security will be less of a part of retirement life. I am already planning on working in some capacity well past retirement age, in fact as long as I am physically and mentally able.
    I realize that this is fundamentally changing Social Security. If it doesn’t fundamentally change, it will cease to exist. Social Security was originally intended to be a means of easing poverty for the elderly. At some point it was morphed (at least in the popular imagination) into some sort of quasi-comprehensive retirement plan for all U.S. retirees. That was never realistic and this returns the program more to what its original design and intent was all about. I don’t think the government should be responsible for my retirement income, that’s my job (and according to Scripture, my children share at least some responsibility to help me in my old age – I consider it a privilege to help my own parents in any way they might need). SSI is funded by general tax revenues and really only affects a quite small percentage of the population.
    I’m not talking about my ideal situation, but I’m talking about what I think is politically feasible in the next 2-3 years. IMO, Medicare is still the big fish to fry and drawing some sort of line in the sand about Social Security is self-defeating.

  • Jonathan

    My apologies to Martin J.
    I’m not the Martin who posted at 7.

  • Jonathan

    My apologies to Martin J.
    I’m not the Martin who posted at 7.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “according to Scripture, my children share at least some responsibility to help me in my old age”

    What is their obligation to folks your age who chose not to have children? Are they also obligated to help them?

    This is the perverse incentive, training people to take from others without serving them in return.

    “It already is Social Security in name only”

    Okay, so it is terrible if we get rid of the name because that would scare people. So, if some candidate steadfastly endorses preserving Social Security (the name anyway) but in fact guts the program, we can feel safe. But if one is honest and says Social Security needs to end it both in name and in fact, then we should be scared.

    My point is really that folks should look at the content not the name. Look at the actual policy not just the hype.

    Is Guantanamo Bay closed?

    Are the wars over?

    See, these things were things people wanted. The candidate promised and went around claiming to do, but in fact none of it actually happened and no one is talking about it openly and honestly.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “according to Scripture, my children share at least some responsibility to help me in my old age”

    What is their obligation to folks your age who chose not to have children? Are they also obligated to help them?

    This is the perverse incentive, training people to take from others without serving them in return.

    “It already is Social Security in name only”

    Okay, so it is terrible if we get rid of the name because that would scare people. So, if some candidate steadfastly endorses preserving Social Security (the name anyway) but in fact guts the program, we can feel safe. But if one is honest and says Social Security needs to end it both in name and in fact, then we should be scared.

    My point is really that folks should look at the content not the name. Look at the actual policy not just the hype.

    Is Guantanamo Bay closed?

    Are the wars over?

    See, these things were things people wanted. The candidate promised and went around claiming to do, but in fact none of it actually happened and no one is talking about it openly and honestly.

  • DonS

    Republicans should not waste their time involving themselves in debates hosted by MSNBC, and other such liberal outlets. As Dr. Veith pointed out, they will be subjected to endless questions from the left, which serve no purpose in helping Republicans distinguish between the Republican candidates.

    I thought that the forum hosted by Professor Robert (Robbie) George of Princeton last week was a breath of fresh air, and an opportunity for Republican candidates to have a full-throated discussion of issues important to conservatives, and to touch on issues of ethics and morality that never see the light of day in our politics anymore.

    Compared to four more years of the ineptitude and big government solutions offered by the current administration, there is nothing “scary” about any of the candidates on that stage last night.

  • DonS

    Republicans should not waste their time involving themselves in debates hosted by MSNBC, and other such liberal outlets. As Dr. Veith pointed out, they will be subjected to endless questions from the left, which serve no purpose in helping Republicans distinguish between the Republican candidates.

    I thought that the forum hosted by Professor Robert (Robbie) George of Princeton last week was a breath of fresh air, and an opportunity for Republican candidates to have a full-throated discussion of issues important to conservatives, and to touch on issues of ethics and morality that never see the light of day in our politics anymore.

    Compared to four more years of the ineptitude and big government solutions offered by the current administration, there is nothing “scary” about any of the candidates on that stage last night.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Of course there are ways to pay for it. We might not like them, but there are ways.”

    Really? Because when I get my statement from the Social Security Administration, you know the folks that actually send the checks, there is a disclaimer that says directly that there will not be funds available to pay benefits when I am eligible. Are they just lying? Or what? Are people just so into believing what they want to believe that when the folks tell them, “no” they think it means, “yes”?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Of course there are ways to pay for it. We might not like them, but there are ways.”

    Really? Because when I get my statement from the Social Security Administration, you know the folks that actually send the checks, there is a disclaimer that says directly that there will not be funds available to pay benefits when I am eligible. Are they just lying? Or what? Are people just so into believing what they want to believe that when the folks tell them, “no” they think it means, “yes”?

  • Joe

    Steve Billingsly @ 19 “I realize that this is fundamentally changing Social Security.”

    I think you mean back to what it was intended to be in the first place. SS was not intended nor originally designed as some sort of European pensioner system. It was always designed as a safety net. And, it should go back the original design. Because I understand simple math, my retirement plan assumes that I will receive $0.00 from SS. If you took a poll of people my age (mid 30s) I think you would find that I am well within the majority.

    So, here is my proposal:

    1. Cut off any person under 45 from the possibility of receive SS. I don’t want it and I don’t want the country to go bankrupt giving it to me.

    2. Leave it as is for folks over 55.

    3. Modify it for folks between 45-55. Raise the retirement age, decrease the payments, etc.

    4. replace it with a means tested welfare program that is support from the general tax pool.

  • Joe

    Steve Billingsly @ 19 “I realize that this is fundamentally changing Social Security.”

    I think you mean back to what it was intended to be in the first place. SS was not intended nor originally designed as some sort of European pensioner system. It was always designed as a safety net. And, it should go back the original design. Because I understand simple math, my retirement plan assumes that I will receive $0.00 from SS. If you took a poll of people my age (mid 30s) I think you would find that I am well within the majority.

    So, here is my proposal:

    1. Cut off any person under 45 from the possibility of receive SS. I don’t want it and I don’t want the country to go bankrupt giving it to me.

    2. Leave it as is for folks over 55.

    3. Modify it for folks between 45-55. Raise the retirement age, decrease the payments, etc.

    4. replace it with a means tested welfare program that is support from the general tax pool.

  • Steve Billingsley

    sg@21
    Someone saying that Social Security should go away doesn’t scare me at all. I was responding to Tom’s comment, there are ways to pay for Social Security that aren’t that scary…they may not be ideal, but they are not scary.
    “What is their obligation to folks your age who chose not to have children? Are they also obligated to help them? ” – We all have an obligation to help people in any way that we can – but no, that doesn’t imply that the best mechanism to get that done is through the tax code or government aid.
    Again, the context of my comments are in what, in my opinion, is politically possible in the short term and what the political priorities of a candidate that would get my full support should be.
    Hey, I think that FDR was wrong and that the New Deal (not to mention the Great Society) was a flippin’ disaster. But we live in a country where more than small percentage of the electorate has proven to be quite susceptible to demagoguery of all kinds (“Mediscare” comes to mind). And at the end of the day, an ideologically pure candidate who gets routed in an election is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.
    I didn’t say I was passionately enthusiastic about any of these candidates. When it comes down to it, I will probably vote for one of them when the primary rolls to my state. Just don’t expect me to jump up and down for joy while I am doing it.

  • Steve Billingsley

    sg@21
    Someone saying that Social Security should go away doesn’t scare me at all. I was responding to Tom’s comment, there are ways to pay for Social Security that aren’t that scary…they may not be ideal, but they are not scary.
    “What is their obligation to folks your age who chose not to have children? Are they also obligated to help them? ” – We all have an obligation to help people in any way that we can – but no, that doesn’t imply that the best mechanism to get that done is through the tax code or government aid.
    Again, the context of my comments are in what, in my opinion, is politically possible in the short term and what the political priorities of a candidate that would get my full support should be.
    Hey, I think that FDR was wrong and that the New Deal (not to mention the Great Society) was a flippin’ disaster. But we live in a country where more than small percentage of the electorate has proven to be quite susceptible to demagoguery of all kinds (“Mediscare” comes to mind). And at the end of the day, an ideologically pure candidate who gets routed in an election is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.
    I didn’t say I was passionately enthusiastic about any of these candidates. When it comes down to it, I will probably vote for one of them when the primary rolls to my state. Just don’t expect me to jump up and down for joy while I am doing it.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Joe @ 24
    You wouldn’t get any argument from me on that proposal.
    I wouldn’t hold my breath on that getting proposed or passed, however.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Joe @ 24
    You wouldn’t get any argument from me on that proposal.
    I wouldn’t hold my breath on that getting proposed or passed, however.

  • Jonathan

    Posts like DonS @22 confirm my suspicion that the GOP has turned into a cult. The assertion that its national candidates should not have to answer questions from those outside the cult [Fox News only, please!] is jaw-droppingly elitist – but confirms my view that, even in this horrific economy, Obama, the weakest incumbent in modern times, will be re-elected.

  • Jonathan

    Posts like DonS @22 confirm my suspicion that the GOP has turned into a cult. The assertion that its national candidates should not have to answer questions from those outside the cult [Fox News only, please!] is jaw-droppingly elitist – but confirms my view that, even in this horrific economy, Obama, the weakest incumbent in modern times, will be re-elected.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Jonathan @27
    “Posts like DonS @22 confirm my suspicion that the GOP has turned into a cult.”

    It seems that there is plenty of confirmation bias to go around.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Jonathan @27
    “Posts like DonS @22 confirm my suspicion that the GOP has turned into a cult.”

    It seems that there is plenty of confirmation bias to go around.

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 27: Oh, please! “Jaw-droppingly elitist”? I most certainly DID NOT say that Republican national candidates shouldn’t have to answer questions from liberal media. I only said that it serves no useful purpose in the primaries, where Republicans are trying to decide between Republican candidates. Most Republican candidates generally agree, or at least will give similar answers, when addressing questions from the left. It is more valuable to us, on the right, to hear candidates respond to the types of questions we ourselves would ask if given the chance, the questions that will truly distinguish one conservative from another.

    Surely, if you drop, for a moment, your apparent hatred for me, you can even see this point. You certainly don’t see Democrats having primary debates on Fox. They are better served, in their primaries, to field questions from the left.

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 27: Oh, please! “Jaw-droppingly elitist”? I most certainly DID NOT say that Republican national candidates shouldn’t have to answer questions from liberal media. I only said that it serves no useful purpose in the primaries, where Republicans are trying to decide between Republican candidates. Most Republican candidates generally agree, or at least will give similar answers, when addressing questions from the left. It is more valuable to us, on the right, to hear candidates respond to the types of questions we ourselves would ask if given the chance, the questions that will truly distinguish one conservative from another.

    Surely, if you drop, for a moment, your apparent hatred for me, you can even see this point. You certainly don’t see Democrats having primary debates on Fox. They are better served, in their primaries, to field questions from the left.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@29):

    Most Republican candidates generally agree, or at least will give similar answers, when addressing questions from the left.

    So what you’re saying is that all the candidates agreed and/or gave similar answers last night?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@29):

    Most Republican candidates generally agree, or at least will give similar answers, when addressing questions from the left.

    So what you’re saying is that all the candidates agreed and/or gave similar answers last night?

  • JH

    Ron Paul has the most “passionate loyalty” from his supporters. Myself included. He also seems to have the most passionate detractors. Like Mark Levin, Hannity, others.

  • JH

    Ron Paul has the most “passionate loyalty” from his supporters. Myself included. He also seems to have the most passionate detractors. Like Mark Levin, Hannity, others.

  • Jonathan

    As for Martin’s comment @9, it’s interesting to me that Republicans like Perry, who have such little faith in government generally (and in the judiciary, in particular), still place virtual blind faith in the ability of prosecutors (and in reviewing judges) to obtain and carry out death sentences.

    Not one iota of doubt – not for even one second.

    Yet you’d think that his skepticism of (contempt for?) government would extend to wherever it’s found.

  • Jonathan

    As for Martin’s comment @9, it’s interesting to me that Republicans like Perry, who have such little faith in government generally (and in the judiciary, in particular), still place virtual blind faith in the ability of prosecutors (and in reviewing judges) to obtain and carry out death sentences.

    Not one iota of doubt – not for even one second.

    Yet you’d think that his skepticism of (contempt for?) government would extend to wherever it’s found.

  • –helen

    sg @ 4
    Social Security will end or be modified so much that it remains largely in name only, because it cannot continue. There is no way to pay for it.

    Especially if your idea of “tax relief” is to cut payments into it by a third!
    [If Congress were dependent on Social Security, there would be a way to pay for it. Do they pay enough to 100% fund their pensions or does the money come out of the taxpayer's pocket?]

  • –helen

    sg @ 4
    Social Security will end or be modified so much that it remains largely in name only, because it cannot continue. There is no way to pay for it.

    Especially if your idea of “tax relief” is to cut payments into it by a third!
    [If Congress were dependent on Social Security, there would be a way to pay for it. Do they pay enough to 100% fund their pensions or does the money come out of the taxpayer's pocket?]

  • –helen

    Rick Perry came home to Texas the other day to shake the hands of people evacuated by wildfire.
    [The just concluded state legislature, Perry not dissenting, cut the appropriation for fire depts. and the Texas Forest service by 1/3 to 2/3's, depending on who you read, meaning that the Texas men out on the fire lines may have been working on their own time because the out of staters who came to help us will want to be paid.]

    Perry, who has said he will make the federal government “inconsequential” to Texans, was the first I heard to holler for FEMA, and he wanted them, like, yesterday. ;

    [I don't think he will campaign for the exit of army, air force and navy bases from Texas either.]

    I am impressed by Rick Perry? Not so much.

    But you’ll probably elect him.
    What do Texas residents (note the qualifier) know?

  • –helen

    Rick Perry came home to Texas the other day to shake the hands of people evacuated by wildfire.
    [The just concluded state legislature, Perry not dissenting, cut the appropriation for fire depts. and the Texas Forest service by 1/3 to 2/3's, depending on who you read, meaning that the Texas men out on the fire lines may have been working on their own time because the out of staters who came to help us will want to be paid.]

    Perry, who has said he will make the federal government “inconsequential” to Texans, was the first I heard to holler for FEMA, and he wanted them, like, yesterday. ;

    [I don't think he will campaign for the exit of army, air force and navy bases from Texas either.]

    I am impressed by Rick Perry? Not so much.

    But you’ll probably elect him.
    What do Texas residents (note the qualifier) know?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    [The just concluded state legislature, Perry not dissenting, cut the appropriation for fire depts. and the Texas Forest service by 1/3 to 2/3's, depending on who you read, meaning that the Texas men out on the fire lines may have been working on their own time because the out of staters who came to help us will want to be paid.]

    This is a great illustration of how vital services are undermined by the federal government. Texas has over 2 million kids on Medicaid. This is an unfunded liability handed to us by the federal government. Also it was a judge on the federal bench in Texas that ruled that Texas residents have to pay to educate illegal immigrant kids. If we the legal residents and taxpayers didn’t have to get in line behind illegals, we would have the money to pay for essential services.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    [The just concluded state legislature, Perry not dissenting, cut the appropriation for fire depts. and the Texas Forest service by 1/3 to 2/3's, depending on who you read, meaning that the Texas men out on the fire lines may have been working on their own time because the out of staters who came to help us will want to be paid.]

    This is a great illustration of how vital services are undermined by the federal government. Texas has over 2 million kids on Medicaid. This is an unfunded liability handed to us by the federal government. Also it was a judge on the federal bench in Texas that ruled that Texas residents have to pay to educate illegal immigrant kids. If we the legal residents and taxpayers didn’t have to get in line behind illegals, we would have the money to pay for essential services.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “[I don't think he will campaign for the exit of army, air force and navy bases from Texas either.]”

    Although Texas is not the most populous state, it does have the most people in the armed services of any state, so it makes sense to have bases here. If we are good enough to send our kids to defend the country, we are good enough to have some bases here.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “[I don't think he will campaign for the exit of army, air force and navy bases from Texas either.]”

    Although Texas is not the most populous state, it does have the most people in the armed services of any state, so it makes sense to have bases here. If we are good enough to send our kids to defend the country, we are good enough to have some bases here.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Helen

    The Volunteer Firefighter Assistance Account appropriation for the 2012-13 biennium is comparable to amounts included in previous budgets signed by Gov. Perry. A one-time increase in funding for the 2010-11 biennium included funding for recommended capital costs like new equipment. Included below are the appropriations amounts for the Texas Forest Service for each budget signed by Gov. Perry. The Volunteer Firefighter Service Account is included in the total Texas Forest Service appropriation.

    The Texas legislature traditionally makes supplemental appropriations to provide additional funding to cover unexpected costs related to disasters, including wildfires. This year, the legislature approved $121 million in supplemental spending of this sort. The threat of unpredictable natural disasters including as wildfires is precisely why Gov. Perry insisted that Texas’ 2012-13 budget not include any spending from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which currently has an estimated balance of $6.5 billion.

    Texas Forest Service appropriations
    Biennium Total (in millions)
    2002 – 2003 $43.5
    2004 – 2005 $70.6
    2006 – 2007 $72.4
    2008 – 2009 $75.2
    2010 – 2011 $109.2
    2012 – 2013 $75.4

    I am not the biggest Perry fan, but get your facts straight.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Helen

    The Volunteer Firefighter Assistance Account appropriation for the 2012-13 biennium is comparable to amounts included in previous budgets signed by Gov. Perry. A one-time increase in funding for the 2010-11 biennium included funding for recommended capital costs like new equipment. Included below are the appropriations amounts for the Texas Forest Service for each budget signed by Gov. Perry. The Volunteer Firefighter Service Account is included in the total Texas Forest Service appropriation.

    The Texas legislature traditionally makes supplemental appropriations to provide additional funding to cover unexpected costs related to disasters, including wildfires. This year, the legislature approved $121 million in supplemental spending of this sort. The threat of unpredictable natural disasters including as wildfires is precisely why Gov. Perry insisted that Texas’ 2012-13 budget not include any spending from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which currently has an estimated balance of $6.5 billion.

    Texas Forest Service appropriations
    Biennium Total (in millions)
    2002 – 2003 $43.5
    2004 – 2005 $70.6
    2006 – 2007 $72.4
    2008 – 2009 $75.2
    2010 – 2011 $109.2
    2012 – 2013 $75.4

    I am not the biggest Perry fan, but get your facts straight.

  • Jonathan

    http://img.ibtimes.com/www/articles/20110908/210639_ron-paul-debate-rick-perry-gop-debate-september-7.htm

    Looks like Perry (uncharismatically) laid hands on Ron Paul during a break in the debate.

  • Jonathan

    http://img.ibtimes.com/www/articles/20110908/210639_ron-paul-debate-rick-perry-gop-debate-september-7.htm

    Looks like Perry (uncharismatically) laid hands on Ron Paul during a break in the debate.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Jonathan @38
    Good grief, call the police! Now we see the violence inherent in the system, help, help I’m being repressed!

    Should we get you some smelling salts?

  • Steve Billingsley

    Jonathan @38
    Good grief, call the police! Now we see the violence inherent in the system, help, help I’m being repressed!

    Should we get you some smelling salts?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Looks like Perry (uncharismatically) laid hands on Ron Paul during a break in the debate.”

    I heard that Perry was actually saying something complimentary to Paul during that exchange. So, perhaps the picture is worth less than the few words Perry had for Paul.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Looks like Perry (uncharismatically) laid hands on Ron Paul during a break in the debate.”

    I heard that Perry was actually saying something complimentary to Paul during that exchange. So, perhaps the picture is worth less than the few words Perry had for Paul.

  • Jonathan

    sg, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you…cheap!

  • Jonathan

    sg, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you…cheap!

  • Steve Billingsley
  • Steve Billingsley
  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@42), Ron Paul was actually slightly misquoted in that article you linked to. It should have read:

    I don’t remember exactly what he said. We didn’t have any crosswords.

    Paul is a well-known fan of crossword puzzles, and he was lamenting that debate rules precluded him from doing Will Shortz’s New York Times puzzle. That’s all he was talking about.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve (@42), Ron Paul was actually slightly misquoted in that article you linked to. It should have read:

    I don’t remember exactly what he said. We didn’t have any crosswords.

    Paul is a well-known fan of crossword puzzles, and he was lamenting that debate rules precluded him from doing Will Shortz’s New York Times puzzle. That’s all he was talking about.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Man, I love crossword puzzles and the New York Times always has the best.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Man, I love crossword puzzles and the New York Times always has the best.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 30: “So what you’re saying is that all the candidates agreed and/or gave similar answers last night?”

    No, I’m not saying that. I am saying that those kinds of questions don’t help Republicans distinguish between Republican candidates. I want to hear about how the candidates plan on addressing our crushing debt problems without bankrupting the private sector, how they’re going to roll back Obamacare, how they’re going to reform the tax code to make it simpler, less political, and fairer for all tax payers, how they’re going to get government on the side of private citizens again by de-emphasizing crushing regulatory schemes and restoring freedoms to the citizenry. Very little of the things Republicans care more about were able to be covered in that debate, because the candidates were having to answer questions from the left.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 30: “So what you’re saying is that all the candidates agreed and/or gave similar answers last night?”

    No, I’m not saying that. I am saying that those kinds of questions don’t help Republicans distinguish between Republican candidates. I want to hear about how the candidates plan on addressing our crushing debt problems without bankrupting the private sector, how they’re going to roll back Obamacare, how they’re going to reform the tax code to make it simpler, less political, and fairer for all tax payers, how they’re going to get government on the side of private citizens again by de-emphasizing crushing regulatory schemes and restoring freedoms to the citizenry. Very little of the things Republicans care more about were able to be covered in that debate, because the candidates were having to answer questions from the left.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Interesting.

    DonS (@29): “Most Republican candidates generally agree, or at least will give similar answers, when addressing questions from the left.”

    Me (@30): “So what you’re saying is that all the candidates agreed and/or gave similar answers last night?”

    DonS (@45): “No, I’m not saying that.”

    Pretty certain the only logical conclusions here are either that (1) Republican candidates were not addressing questions “from the left” that night, or (2) your original premise was wrong, Don.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Interesting.

    DonS (@29): “Most Republican candidates generally agree, or at least will give similar answers, when addressing questions from the left.”

    Me (@30): “So what you’re saying is that all the candidates agreed and/or gave similar answers last night?”

    DonS (@45): “No, I’m not saying that.”

    Pretty certain the only logical conclusions here are either that (1) Republican candidates were not addressing questions “from the left” that night, or (2) your original premise was wrong, Don.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 46: Your question was much broader than my statement. I said that MOST candidates generally agree or will give similar answers WHEN ADDRESSING QUESTIONS FROM THE LEFT. You responded by asking, blanketly, if I was saying that ALL candidates agreed and/or gave similar answers LAST NIGHT.

    No, I was not saying that. And I trust that you can see why.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 46: Your question was much broader than my statement. I said that MOST candidates generally agree or will give similar answers WHEN ADDRESSING QUESTIONS FROM THE LEFT. You responded by asking, blanketly, if I was saying that ALL candidates agreed and/or gave similar answers LAST NIGHT.

    No, I was not saying that. And I trust that you can see why.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, DonS (@47), then what you’re saying is that MOST candidates agreed and/or gave similar answers at the debate. That, in essence, there wasn’t much debate.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, DonS (@47), then what you’re saying is that MOST candidates agreed and/or gave similar answers at the debate. That, in essence, there wasn’t much debate.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 48: what I am saying is what I said. That the debate wasn’t particularly useful for primary voters trying to decide which candidate to nominate for the 2012 election. The questions for a Republican primary debate should be focused on the issues Republican voters care about, not questions from the left. Similarly, Democratic primary debates should be focused on questions that will help Democrats decide whom to nominate.

    Debate for the sake of debate is not the purpose for these events. The issues being debated are the key. There are debating society groups you can join if debate clash is what you crave.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 48: what I am saying is what I said. That the debate wasn’t particularly useful for primary voters trying to decide which candidate to nominate for the 2012 election. The questions for a Republican primary debate should be focused on the issues Republican voters care about, not questions from the left. Similarly, Democratic primary debates should be focused on questions that will help Democrats decide whom to nominate.

    Debate for the sake of debate is not the purpose for these events. The issues being debated are the key. There are debating society groups you can join if debate clash is what you crave.

  • Joe

    tODD – think you would have to add the qualifier “which came from a left-leaning perspective” to the end of your first sentence in 48 to accurately summarize DonS’ position.

    As an aside, I deplore the open primary system. Why in the world should the general population be allowed to tell a political party who its nominee will be? Let the parties pick who they want to run and then maybe we would have more viable third-parties.

  • Joe

    tODD – think you would have to add the qualifier “which came from a left-leaning perspective” to the end of your first sentence in 48 to accurately summarize DonS’ position.

    As an aside, I deplore the open primary system. Why in the world should the general population be allowed to tell a political party who its nominee will be? Let the parties pick who they want to run and then maybe we would have more viable third-parties.

  • DonS

    Agreed, Joe.

  • DonS

    Agreed, Joe.