It turned out to be an uneventful evening in Boca Raton, Florida as the Republican candidates took to the stage for their final debate before the Florida Primary gets underway. Many thought that this would be a heated exchange between the candidates in an attempt to sway voters to their side. However, the evening felt more like a love fest. The debate started off on issues concerning the immediate economic crisis facing the United States and the candidate’s opinions concerning the emergency economic stimulus package.
While most of the candidates agree with the package it was Rudy Giuliani that stood up and said that it does not go far enough, and that the package is similar to one he introduced as Mayor of New York. The issue of China’s growing market did come up and the candidates stated that we must learn to trade with the Communist Nation. However, they did fail to address the issue of tainted goods being imported from China. It was also said that the United States must sell more goods to the Chinese.
Concerning the economic portion of this debate I would have to say that it is a toss up between Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. These two candidates had a well thought out and skillful plan that would help move the economy further and seemed to know exactly what they were talking about. In recent days this is the hottest topic and it is on everyone’s mind as people worry about what is in store for the country.
That is all well and fine; the only trouble is that China has no interest in buying goods from the U.S. unless it is military and nuclear technology. Another problem that the U.S. is facing with China is a huge trade imbalance, which is not beneficial American companies, or its citizens. The issues answered by the candidates were generic at best and they did not seem to offer much more hope than what is already being done and in the end, it sounds like a lot of lip service.
Another issue brought up was the Iraq war and as expected, everybody was and is for the war except Congressman Ron Paul. It was Ron Paul that received applause from the audience when he stated that we never should have gone to war in Iraq. While MSNBC did stipulate that there be no outburst from the audience, it was obvious that the Ron Paul supporters could not contain themselves.
Some portion of the debate was dedicated to the issue of a fair tax, which is supported by Governor Huckabee. It had received criticism because it seemed that a National sales tax in lieu of the Internal Revenue Service would only serve to harm the poor. However, Governor Huckabee laid it out plainly and had numbers to back up his argument, which did serve to make it all that much more appealing.
Mitt Romney probably suffered the most in the tax debate. It is said that while he may not have raised taxes in his state, he did increase fees and that is considered by Republicans to be the same thing. The debate seemed to drag on with nothing really interesting happening. The candidates simply answered the questions presented to them and talked about how much they respect each other even though they have different ideas. It is a sort of posturing that happens when the candidates do not believe there is anymore that they can say or do to persuade the voters to vote for them
Super Tuesday will be upon us soon and it is time for the Republican candidates to make nice so that they can close ranks and get ready for the battle with the Democrats. No matter whom the Republican candidate is the other candidates will put their support blindly behind him even if they do not agree with his positions. The only exception to this might be Congressman Ron Paul who is seeking the Party’s nomination but will likely not get it, and it is the hope of his supporters that he will run as a third Party candidate, which would throw a whole new dynamic into the 2008 Presidential race, the likes of which has not been seen since Ross Perot.
MSNBC Debate, which aired on January 24, 2008