The second Republican presidential debate was held last night in New Hampshire. Candidates included Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, who declared her candidacy during her first answer of the debate.
While the debate was friendly and most candidates performed well, there was one stand-out performance. Michele Bachmann was energetic and confident, and really hit it out of the park. Many pundits had low expectations of Michele, but I had no doubts about her. She clearly has the experience. She has been a member of Congress since 2006, and also served in the Minnesota State Senate for 6 years. She and her husband run a successful business, and she is a former federal tax litigation attorney. In addition, she is the leader of the Tea Party Caucus, and serves on the Financial Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee. Quite a resume, isn’t it?
Some feel that Romney won the debate, but I disagree. While he performed well, and pounded Obama’s policies with a vengeance, my opinion of him has not changed. He’s not a true conservative, and that’s all I need to know.
Pawlenty was his usual boring self. He missed a perfect opportunity to go after Romneycare, by refusing to address why he dubbed it Obamneycare in a Fox News interview last Sunday. His willingness to call it such in an interview, but unwillingness to address it face-to-face with Romney, shows that he would be extremely weak in a debate against Obama.
Herman Cain and Rick Santorum held their own, although they did not bring anything new and exciting to the debate. Santorum is a strong conservative with a proven track record, and would do a great job, but is just not getting the support needed to advance in this race. Herman Cain has been moving up in the polls as he becomes more well known, but how far he will go remains to be seen. Some look at his lack of political experience as a negative, but with the current state of affairs in Washington, Cain and many Americans (myself included) look at it as a positive. Newt Gringrich provided some strong answers, but overall, just seems irrelevant in this race. Surprisingly, no questions were asked about his recent 2-week cruise or the loss of several staff members. Some pundits have noted this as a sign that he is not being taken seriously, and I would tend to agree.
And last, but not least, there’s Ron Paul. While he does have a strong following among some tea party members, he’s totally off the mark for me. He advocates the legalization of drugs and is too weak on defense and social issues.
There are still some rumors circulating regarding Rick Perry and Sarah Palin as potential candidates. Rick Perry would shake things up a bit, although I don’t know how Americans will feel about another governor from Texas. I’m ok with that, but am not sure about his conservative credentials at this point.
The prospect of Sarah Palin is exciting and I would love for her to get in the race. The only possible drawback….Michele Bachmann. Palin and Bachmann both have a large base in the Tea Party, and my only concern is that this would cause a voter split in the primaries, knocking them both out of the race. While my preference is Sarah Palin, I would be thrilled if Bachmann received the nomination. I’m confident she has the necessary experience, passion, strength, and conservative values, and would do a great job in the White House.