Who cares whether Michelle Bachmann prefers Johnny Cash or Elvis Presley?  Apparently, the folks at CNN care, even though many Republican voters probably think the whole country is headed deep south in a small carry-on bag. Unemployment is over 9%; the dollar is in trouble; we are fighting in three wars; and the potential leader of the free world is being asked if he watches Jay Leno or the other fella?

Rick Santorum and the other six candidates at Monday’s debate in New Hampshire should have politely refused to answer and instead taken CNN to task for wasting the audience’s time.  If any of the candidates had done that – they would have won the whole debate, on the basis of courage alone.

John King of CNN had started the debate by asking the candidates not to waste time answering questions that weren’t asked or by going over the time limit.  So why waste precious moments playing Trivial Pursuit™?  King himself continually interrupted the candidates, made noises in the background while they were answering and kept whining about the candidates going over their allotted time.  This was after bragging about not having annoying lights or buzzers.  Given a choice, I’d take gongs over King’s lectures any day.

The best questions generally came from “the audience”, which were actually hand-picked prior to the debate.  However, to its credit, I don’t think CNN pulled the tactic some in the media have used before of lining up liberal activists trying to put Republicans on the spot.


The only news made was Congressman Michelle Bachmann’s announcement that she had filed paperwork and “is in”.

Ron Paul didn’t help himself by talking in econo-speak.  He actually took a shot at the voters when he said “Matter of fact, we’ve had 30 million new people and no new jobs, and it’s because they don’t — the people don’t understand monetary policy and central economic planning things.”   He is probably right about the economy, but insulting the voters won’t encourage them to come on board his campaign, nor will making opposition to the Federal Reserve an answer to every question do so.  This one-trick pony wears thin.   However, if you ask a nutty question[1], expect a nutty answer[2].

One thing that Paul does understand, that the others don’t seem to, is that using the Federal Government to promote a “conservative” economic agenda abuses the U.S. Constitution just as badly as does using it for the left.   Governor Tim Pawlenty was asked about Federal Right-to-Work legislation and took the bait: “I support strongly right-to-work legislation.”   Gingrich, on the other hand, proposes reducing the size and reach of government by defunding the National Labor Relations Board.

Ron Paul believes that government should get out of the marriage business altogether.  I don’t know how he expects courts to determine who is married and who is not to determine custody or estate battles.  This is the kind of thoughtless libertarianism that detracts from his sound economic views.

Romney claims he opposes the auto-industry bailout and even mentions a dollar figure of the amount wasted ($17 billion).  But he supported TARP and long before bailouts were all the rage, proposed an increase of 16 billion dollars in “research funding” for Detroit.

I was surprised to find that Pawlenty accepts abortions in the so-called exceptions cases (rape and incest) and did not deny that position in the debate, but tried to deflect it by suggesting he was the most pro-life of all the candidates.

[1] Congressman Paul, if you were the president of the United States and you could pick one, but just one of these gentlemen and the lady, to join your administration, who would it be and why?

[2] I would have to — they haven’t even told me how they feel about the Federal Reserve yet.


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