The last Republican presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses has just wrapped up. While there was nothing shocking that happened and there was no major game-changer, I still have some comments about a few things from the debate.
Ron Paul had another strong performance. I thought his answer about congressional earmarks was strong, although I'm not sure if the average American will understand what he was saying. Basically, Ron Paul votes "no" on all of these spending bills, but he tries to get funds earmarked for his district even though he is against the overall legislation. As he pointed out, if the funds are not earmarked by Congress, then the executive branch will decide where to spend the money. Paul's actions in no way increases spending. He is simply trying to get back some of the stolen loot for his district.
The best part of the debate was on foreign policy. Ron Paul could not really be more different than the other Republican clowns (sorry, no disrespect to clowns). He advocates a foreign policy of peace. The others advocate a foreign policy of war and massive intervention. They think America is the best country in the world and therefore Americans are morally permitted to run the world and dictate orders to other countries.
Michele Bachmann gets scarier every time I listen to her. I used to have a little bit of respect for her, only because her economic views seem to be half decent. However, I'm not even sure if she is all that good on economic matters. Of course, how can she be a fiscal conservative when she will have to spend many trillions of dollars more if she wants to fight all of the wars she is promoting?
Bachmann has actually become one of the more frightening figures in my eyes. She was saying that she was 100% certain that Iran would use a nuke if it obtained one. That in itself is an absurd statement. Iran is not run by a bunch of madmen any more than the U.S. The Iranian politicians may be Keynesians and egomaniacs, but so are most U.S. politicians. The Iranian politicians are not going to be foolish enough to casually use nuclear weapons as they know that it would quickly lead to their own demise.
Newt Gingrich is a good talker and I try not to underestimate his skills. He is a good debater. With that said, he is still a snake and he can't be trusted. When he was being questioned about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he contradicted himself within the matter of 20 seconds. He said that these government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) help people on the margin buy homes. In another breath he said that we need to dismantle them. So which is it Newt? Do you want to get rid of these government agencies or don't you? I'm pretty sure I know where he would come down on this if he were elected.
Iowa will be interesting. Ron Paul needs to win it or come very close. The whole race is down to Romney, Gingrich, Paul, and one other candidate. I think that one other candidate that has a chance to emerge is Rick Perry. He is a poor debater, but he has a lot of money. If Newt stumbles, the pro-war conservatives will have to turn to someone else, and that might be Perry.
Meanwhile, Ron Paul continues to deliver his libertarian message to millions of people. Let's hope the pro-liberty enthusiasm stays around for a long time after his campaign is over, regardless of the outcome.