The Republican debate in Tampa, Florida has just finished up. It was hosted by NBC and Brian Williams and the questions were just horrible. As similar to other debates, some of the questions are just about meaningless.
I would like to see more substance on where the candidates stand philosophically. I would like to see some questions such as:
How much should the federal government spend each year?
What specific government programs and/ or departments would you eliminate or reduce?
Do you favor tariffs on sugar (did Newt answer that?)?
What areas do you think the government should stay out of completely?
What does Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution mean to you?
Does the Constitution limit the power of the federal government?
Who are the best and worst presidents in American history?
Are there any amendments to the Constitution that you disagree with?
Of course, the media doesn't want to ask questions like these because it would show the insincerity of three of the candidates. It would show that Ron Paul is the only principled candidate.
Mitt Romney is so full of it, it is just ridiculous. However, he is a little less scary because of it. Rick Santorum does have some principles and I would be scared if he ever had the power to try to carry them out. He probably wouldn't back down in shoving his religion down other people's throats. He probably wouldn't back down on annihilating Iran. At least with Romney, there might be some hope that he could be manipulated into a somewhat coherent policy.
I don't think the Florida vote will mean all that much. It will probably determine the front runner status of Gingrich or Romney, but both candidates are staying in the race.
Ron Paul is not campaigning actively in Florida and is spending minimal, if any, resources there. This is a wise move as he will focus on smaller states with caucuses where he has a better chance to win or to pick up delegates.
I think Ron Paul needs to start challenging the other candidates. If the moderators of these debates are not going to ask the right questions, then Ron Paul needs to do it for them. He should state that he wants to cut one trillion dollars in the first year (which he has said repeatedly) and then ask if there are any specific departments the other candidates would eliminate. He should ask them how they plan to balance the budget and point out that simply growing the economy will not be enough. Be insistent that they offer significant specific spending cuts.
One thing I noticed tonight is that Newt Gingrich was far more cordial towards Ron Paul. I think he is realizing that he may need some Paul supporters if he were to win the nomination. While the two acknowledged that their foreign policies are radically different, I think Paul needs to make sure everyone is aware that their fiscal policies are radically different too. Gingrich is not for small government in any way and people need to be made aware of this fact.