Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thoughts on GOP Debate

Here are some thoughts I have on the recent GOP Presidential debate in Columbia. I think a line by line approach is the best way to convey my thoughts.

1) The situation: I thought the Koger Center and the state GOP did a good job, along with the Columbia police, in handling the situation. Sure, there was some griping about traffic problems from some, but overall, things went very smoothly. I also thought the crowd was more alive than the crowd at SC State during the Democratic debate a couple of weeks ago. It was also pretty cool to see some national media folks in the Vista.

2) The performance of the candidates. There were no major shocks, but I was both pleased and disappointed in how some of the candidates. I think former Governor Mike Huckabee had the best night. Here are my thoughts on each candidate:
1)Senator Brownback--He did nothing to break himself out of the pack and nothing to kill his campaign. He just answered with traditional conservative lines and kept himself a viable second tier candidate.
2)Former Gilmore of Virginia--I note that he did not really answer any question put to him, but instead put forth his own agenda. It was almost comical as the moderators tried to get him to actually answer a question.
3)Former Mayor Rudolph Guiliani- The Mayor had a frank showing. His position on abortion might not be popular, but he was at least this time frank about it. His calling Ron Paul out about September 11th was not unlike Ronald Reagan telling the debate moderator in 1980 "I paid for this microphone, and I will speak." Of the big three, so speak, I think Rudy had the best night.
4)Former Arkansas Governor Huckabee--He had perhaps the best night of all, getting good publicity for his John Edwards joke, but also, he seemed to be the only candidate with with George H.W. Bush called "the vision thing" on his support of the fair tax.
5)Congressman Duncan Hunter--The Congressman talked a lot about immigration reform and the like and tried to out conservative Brownback and Tancredo.
6)Senator John McCain- Senator McCain looked old. He flubbed his now popular line about drunken sailors and Congressional spending and well, frankly, just looked like he was up past his bedtime. When he flubbed the drunken sailor bit, I found myself feeling sorry for him.
7)Congressman Ron Paul- He added some fireworks to the event with his foreign policy thoughts. Some see his thoughts as outrageous. Others as insightful. But, I kept thinking this man belongs in the Libertarian Party.
8)Former Governor Mitt Romney- Governor Romney is the slickest of the candidates running. He looks like a TV news anchor and comes across as slick as slick gets. I kept thinking he is being well packaged by his campaign. But, is that what the GOP and America wants?
9)Former Governor and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson- The Secretary was clearly one of the smartest people in the room and his answers were thoughtful. But, he has no charisma. He reminded me a lot of Bill Richardson on the Democratic side: the smartest man in the room with no chance at being nominated for President.
10)Congressman Tom Tancredo- Like Duncan Hunter and Sam Brownback, this guy was trying to see who could throw out the most red meat to hardline conservatives. Also like them, he has little chance at getting nominated.

Those are my thoughts. What do you think?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Jesus isn't running for President

If you are looking for a Jesus like candidate in the 2008 field, you will not find him or her. From scripture, Jesus would be pro life, opposed to gay marriage, and campaign for the poor and downtrodden. His campaign would upset Conservatives and liberals. He would shake our collective conscious at the core. Jesus would make us rethink politics. But, he is not running for President. Several men and one woman are.

So, what are we to look to in order to define the candidates and how they would serve us? Well, to me, the most important job the President of the United States does is defending the American people and the American way of life, including the freedom that allows the Christian church, from harm.

Forgive me for a moment, but whether or not a man tells me what I want to hear on the Mormon faith or on abortion is secondary to what a man will do to protect this country from those who hate freedom. It ain't pretty, but it is the way things are.

If Jesus was on the ballot, I would vote for him. But He is not. Mortal men and women seek the post. And, we must judge them on their most important job as President: protecting us and our way of life.

Dwight Eisenhower once said the first job of the President of the United States was national security. Such thoughts have never rang truer. We Republicans need not look for Jesus when we cast our primary votes. We need to choose a President we can trust to his first job: protecting the nation. If we allow ourselves to give litmus tests on religious issues to potential nominees then we may find in the future that those litmus tests were the very cause of the loss of religious freedom we enjoy.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Is Speaker Harrell making his first move in 2010 Governor's Race?

The motives for the ad campaign are good. The South Carolina Manufacturing Alliance has a television spot featuring Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell touting a website that helps South Carolina consumers find goods made in South Carolina. The website, which is found at http://www.madeinsc.org not only helps consumers find products it also features Speaker Bobby Harrell. He offers remarks on the website.

Before I get into the political analysis, let me digress to say how much I appreciate manufacturing in this state. I worked for nearly five years in a manufacturing plant. My grandfather worked decades in one. My father has spent his entire adult life working in manufacturing. Most of my mentors worked in manufacturing. Manufacturing put food on my table, clothes on my back, and helped pay for my education. I know manufacturings value and manufacturers have no bigger fan.

That said, the political side of me sees a potential move being made here by the Speaker. Though Speaker Harrell is known in political circles, he is not known all that well statewide. The ad campaign going on gives him statewide exposure without his campaign having to pay for it. As he is not yet a declared candidate for statewide office, he can enjoy the ad campaign legally. It is a smart political move for Harrell.

Yet, it could start some sort of trend. With the manufacturing alliance giving such free publicity to a potential candidate for Governor, with others follow suit? Will, for example, some education group put a potential candidate for Governor on statewide airwaves or with other interests groups, such as the Sierra Club put a potential candidate it favors on the air?

Harrell's move is groundbreaking in some ways, but it could backfire. As no major media in South Carolina have called into to question the ad campaign it could lead other groups to feel they could do the same. If several of the potential candidates for Governor who have not declared themselves as candidates get air time paid for by various groups, then Harrell's move will be a wash.

I do not doubt that Speaker Harrell sincerely wants people to buy South Carolina made products. I merely point out the political benefits he gets from the ad campaign. If others see that benefit they will likely be soon to follow, and we in South Carolina will start seeing potential candidates for statewide office show up on statewide television years before the election. Whether purposefully or not, Harrell broke new political campaign ground. Time will tell if some others catch on.