Pay Attention ’08–New Hampshire Debates

January 5, 2008

Tonight the leading presidential candidates of both the Republican and Democratic parties faced off in consecutive debates sponsored by ABCnews, some channel in New Hampshire, and–wait for it–Facebook. Here are a few of my thoughts: (I watched the whole Republican debate, but only bits of the Democratic one. Hey, I’m a Republican.)

The Format. This was the best political debate I have ever seen because the format allowed for actual…debate. The first half of the debate was very much geared towards open discussion.

Immigration. McCain and Gulianni officially won me over to their viewpoints on immigration. Their plans offer some kind of path to citizenship for illegals already in the country. However, they do not offer pure amnesty; some kind of penalties would be imposed. Other plans (like those of Huckabee and Romney) would require all illegals to leave and get at the back of the line. Tonight’s debate made me realize that deporting 12 million people is just not realistic.

Romney vs. McCain. McCain and Romney were going back and forth, especially on immigration. I think McCain did a good job defending himself against Romney’s ads, but I think he might have gone one verbal jab too far when he agreed that Romney was the candidate of change.

Everyone vs. Ron Paul. As soon as Ron Paul opened his mouth, everyone pretty much teamed up to shut him down. I think they did an effective job of doing so. However, if you ask the people on Facebook, they will give you a different opinion. (Don’t ask me why.)

How They Did. Huckabee and Gulianni did the best tonight. While everyone took some shots at Romney, they did not get as involved in the fracas as McCain. They also communicated their positions well. (I liked Gulianni better.) Thompson made sense pretty much every time he opened his mouth…that is if you can stay awake through his answers. His campaign is struggling without energy. Romney was getting hit from all sides. With what the polls are showing, his campaign is taking on water. McCain did well, (especially in defending his position on immigration from Romney) but he would have done well to cut out one or two pot-shots. Ron Paul is just too far out there…unless you ask the people on Facebook who probably won’t vote anyways.

The Great Divide. From watching only a little of the Democratic debate, it was easy to see the huge divide between the parties. On the biggest issues of the night, health care and the war, each party offered fundamentally different answers. All the Democrats are pushing for nationalized health care. This is anathema to the Republicans (myself included.) There are going to be some big issues at stake in this election: foreign policy, health care, the economy (speaking of which, why doesn’t the falling value of the dollar get talked about more?), judicial nominations, etc. This is why I will end up voting for the Republican nominee. I like the way Sen. Obama talks, but his policies will take the country in a direction I fundamentally do not agree with.

The debates are over. We’ll see who New Hampshire picks on Tuesday.

UPDATE: One of the reasons I remain hesitant to jump on the evangelical bandwagon for Huckabee is his support of the FairTax. Here’s an article on nytimes.com that explains why.

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One Response to “Pay Attention ’08–New Hampshire Debates”

  1. Paving the way for government controlled health coverage!!! I agree, unacceptable. Thanks for the blogs, Ben! We appreciate them!

    When you comin back to CA?

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