Friday, January 20, 2012

Finally, a Real Debate in the GOP Campaign

Last night's GOP Presidential Debate was the best in the long series so far. The fact that it was a small field was probably the reason for it, as the candidates had a chance to give more elaborate answers and engaged in some actual debating. It didn't hurt that Ron Paul actually got some coverage as well.

In the wake of the Marianne Gingrich interview, the former House Speaker-turn Freddie Mac lobbyist employed theatrics and rhetoric about the "liberal media" to cheaply set him self up a disappointing standing ovation from the "conservative" crowd.

Although he denied the that he proposed Mrs. Gingrich #2 with an "open marriage," he did not deny having an affair with an office staffer -- the eventual Mrs. Gingrich #3.In the 1990's this sort of an unethical indiscretion of abuse of power was the root of the Clinton impeachment, led by the then Speaker of the House. I find it deplorable that Newt "Definer of Civilization" Gingrich had the audacity to berate the "liberal media" for preventing "decent people" to run for office -- suggesting by it that he was a decent person, who only happened to cheat on two wives. Whether the allegation of the "open marriage" proposal is true or not, it's certainly in line with what is known of Gingrich's self-inflated personality, as described by celebrated Republican commentators such as Ann Coulter and Mark Steyn.

It was equally disappointing to see the standing ovation that Gingrich got, despite the undisputed fact of the story: the infidelity. Here, perhaps the worst part of Gingrich's personality is on display: his disregard for the feelings of others, and one may suggest by the fact of multiple extramarital affairs -- his deep rooted disrespect for women.

There was something else that the former Speaker said that gave away his ideology: when he spoke of America being a grandiose country with grandiose ideas. The problem being that he said in the context that government should be behind that grandiosity, not the private sector. For all his rhetoric about his profound love of capitalism, once he got in the details of whatever topic was being discussed, Gingrich repeatedly spoke of one big government program or another. Try as he might to portray himself otherwise, Gingrich is more Roosevelt than he is Reagan.

However, last night Gingrich was not alone in his false professions of his love of capitalism. Similar lip-service backed by discussions of government programs, trade war with China, support for Big Labor and "good regulation" was given by both former Senator-turned Big Labor lobbyist Santorum and former Governor Romney. I don't get the feeling that either one of them understands the core of the economic problem of the West right now. Though Romney has private sector experience, I have a feeling he does't understand the problems that face small, family sized businesses.  

He may not have received an inheritance from his father, but nonetheless, he enjoyed far more privileges in life as a result of his family background that have prevented him from acquiring an authentic small business experience. His tactful use of keywords that made him sound like a pro-capitalist mean that former Senator Santorum was probably the big winner last night. Nonetheless, he can come through on his social and foreign policy agendas only by severe interventions in the market.  

Nevertheless, the open format of the debate finally gave Texas Representative Ron Paul a chance to shine. The strategy of going after not the frontrunner, but after the more vulnerable and perpetually changing "number two" in the polls seems to be paying off for him, as it has resulted in the departure of a few bodies that crowded the stage. The good Doctor schooled the field on free trade and the deleterious effects of government regulation. He spoke sincerely, as a veteran of war, of the mental anguish our youth is exposed to by being thrown behind enemy lines for a decade now. He was the only participant, and for that matter the only politician that I have heard to nail the root of the abortion issue: morality. No amount of laws will fix what must be solved on the family level. The expansion of government gives rise to less invested parents, since they fall in the trap of expecting someone else to do the hard part of rearing their children for them. Of course, many parents have no choice but to rely on the Big Brother to look after their young, due to the need of a double income -- a situation not getting any better by the monetary policy of inflationism, where it is impossible for a person to save (since inflation eats away the value of money), and debt is not only encouraged, but financially more advantageous (since due to government intervention the rate of interest is artificially lower than the rate of inflation). At the same time, capitalism is the system where free people own capital, and when all one owns is debt, then he owns nothing: the lender is the owner of it all. The lenders are nominally the banking institutions, of course, but for the past century the government has been the only money creating body, which means that it owns practically all the country's debt. A nationalization by the back door has been happening under the noses of Americans for longer that any of us would like to admit. 

Much like one of Ron Paul's talks, this segment on his debate performance trailed off into a complicated discussion that ties it all together. But, that's the point that Dr. Paul is trying to impress on the world: a society is an ecosystem that requires a wholesale approach. It is impossible to get America back on the path to prosperity if overseas spending doesn't get stemmed, the dollar doesn't become sound again, government doesn't get out of the way and generally if liberty doesn't get restored in all its glory. Cherry-picking which matter to solve, and which to make worse will only leave America spinning its wheels.

Last nights debate was hopefully a promise of more good things to come in this campaign, as we all expect one of Gingrich or Santorum to be the next to bid us farewell.

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