Tuesday, May 10, 2011
On Thursday night, the first Republican Presidential Debate brought forth groans from many analysts, some referring to the list of candidates as the 'B team.' Frontrunners such as Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich decided not to show up, therefore leaving the stage open for the relative unknowns and the libertarians to duke it out.
Of all of the candidates in the debate, former CEO of Godfather's, Herman Cain, gained the most from the debate. An eloquent and passionate speaker, Cain articulately explained his views and solutions on our nation's problems, rousing the crowd to their feet in applause on more than a few occasions. With the limelight of the debate, and the lack of "frontrunners" present, I believe he has thrust himself into becoming a serious candidate, rather than just a wannabe.
Congressman Ron Paul also made a nice showing. Sharp as a tack, Mr. Paul has a refreshing, out-of-the-box view of things. Even though Paul is a libertarian, I feel he is capable of appealing to the general American public, due to his articulate manner and his normal appearance, unlike his fellow debater, former New Mexico governor, Gary Johnson, who looks as if he might be supporting limited government so he can smoke marijuana legally.
Former Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, surprised me a bit. This is mainly because I haven't paid close attention , even when he was in office. I tended to lump him in with establishment Republicans, such as George W. Bush, only because he happened to be a Senator during the time of the Bush presidency.Not very fair of me, I must admit. His views on immigration and foreign policy were what I liked most about him in Thursday's debate. Even though he puts a strong emphasis on social issues, such as abortion, Santorum seems to have a good understanding of the whole picture. Unlike Mike Huckabee, who has also been a strong advocate of social issues in the past, Santorum does not come across as a Bible thumper, but rather as a reasonable and sensible man with strong convictions.
Governor Tim Pawlenty from Minnesota....well, I found him to be rather boring. In contrast to other establishment candidates like Romney and Huckabee, Pawlenty seems to have a more conservative view of things. If I must choose between him and the afore mentioned, I will vote for Pawlenty any day of the week. Nonetheless, despite receiving the majority of the questions from the moderators on Thursday night, I don't think he made the strongest showing.
As for Gary Johnson, he should leave the presidential race right now. His views on marijuna are enough to make him an instant dead-in-the water candidate. Also, his pro-choice, pro-civil unions stances will never fly with Republican primary voters, especially in Iowa and other notable socially conservative states.
While this debate has been largely discounted by the major media as the 'B team,' it is rather early in the campaign season to totally dismiss all of these candidates as such. Also, such talk seems ignorant of the Tea Party movement that has swept across the Republican party since 2009. Throughout last year's Republican primaries, moderate and liberal Republicans were purged from multiple legislative and gubernatorial races in favor of more conservative unknowns; who's to say that it won't happen again? With nearly a year before the first presidential primaries, there is definitely room for energetic candidates with more conservative credentials than the current frontrunners. Don't count out the 'B team' yet!