There was a Republican presidential debate on Bloomberg and its main focus was on economic issues. I'm guessing it was not as highly watched as other debates, particularly because not as many households get the channel on cable.
I thought the people asking the questions were a bunch of Keynesians. Some of their initial questions were decent, but you could get a sense of their attitude on the follow-up questions and they didn't do a good job of hiding their bias in favor of big government.
Ron Paul did not get much time to speak, but I am still happy with how the debate turned out. It really exposed some of the candidates and showed that a majority at that table are in favor of big government.
From a libertarian perspective, Michele Bachmann was decent as usual. I hate her foreign policy (which was not discussed) and I don't really trust her, but she definitely speaks in favor of a free market and smaller government on economic issues. However, she is still short on specifics of where she would cut government spending and I think someone needs to challenge her on that.
Rick Santorum was bearable in the debate, probably because most of the discussion was on the economy and not on foreign policy or social issues. I was happy to hear Santorum point out that four people at the table supported the bank bailouts in 2008. The four people were Huntsman, Perry, Romney, and Cain.
Cain and Romney both talked about how they supported the bailouts but don't agree with the way it was implemented. That exposes both of them right there. It basically shows that they are either naive or they are lying.
When the candidates were allowed to ask someone else a question, I thought Ron Paul should have asked Cain what specific cuts in spending he recommends. With that said, Paul's question about the Federal Reserve was very good, if only to expose the fact that Cain worked for the Federal Reserve and is not some political outsider as he claims to be.
I was also happy to hear Santorum attack Cain's 9-9-9 plan. Santorum pointed out that it opens up another avenue to raise taxes. Cain tried to argue that it won't happen and one of his reasons was because he will be president. But isn't this always one of the problems that we face? One administration implements these new programs and these new powers and then the next administration ups the ante and takes advantage of the new power. Does Cain not understand that there will be more presidents in the future and that the 9% income tax could easily get raised while leaving in place the national sales tax?
As I've discussed before, Cain's 9-9-9 plan is a massive tax hike on the middle class and it does nothing to cut the size and scope of government. Cain is nothing close to a libertarian and all genuine libertarians should run away from this man.
Romney was questioned about his calls to challenge China on its "currency manipulation". Legislation on this topic just passed the Senate and it would cause a trade war. One of the moronic interviewers asked a question about this and said that it would lower the price of goods going into the U.S., as if this were a horrible thing. Does it ever occur to these people that lower prices might actually be a benefit to Americans?
Overall, the debate was fairly tame. It probably won't change a lot of minds, but on the margin it might make a difference. There should be a few more people aware now that Romney and Cain are both lovers of big government and any liberty minded person should hope that they are soundly defeated. Of course, the only consistent and pro-liberty candidate continues to be Ron Paul.