The first Republican debate took place tonight in Greenville, South Carolina. The Fox Network moderated the debate among the five Republican hopefuls; Tim Pawlenty, Gary Johnson, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.
Noticeably missing were top Republican contenders Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump, and Sarah Palin. Did they bow out due to all of President Obama’s recent popularity?
Bashing Obama so soon after the death of Bin Laden may leave some voters turned off.
The debate revealed nothing new about the five republican hopefuls. Ron Paul, Texas Congressman, fumbled a couple times, but was generally very articulate and confident in his answers. Paul is a lone wolf on a few issues, namely on supporting gay marriage, and supporting the immediate removal of American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rick Santorum, former Senator of Pennsylvania, was not willing to make specific commitments during the debate. When pressed about what he would do with Pakistan in light of possible collusion with Osama Bin Laden, he stated, “They will cooperate with us or face the consequences.” Santorum came short of stating that he would cut the $3.2 billion in aid to Pakistan if they do not cooperate with the United States.
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, held many of the same views as the others on the panel, but differed on his opposition on giving aid of any kind to the rebels in Libya and his views on immigration. Johnson wants to give the 11 million illegal aliens work visas instead of citizenship.
Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota, had nothing to differentiate himself form the other candidates. Pawlenty was clearly against Obama Care and prefers a ‘common sense’ approach to government.
Herman Cain, radio talk show host, appeared uncomfortable during the debate. Many of his answers appeared stilted and rehearsed. When asked by the Fox host Brett Baer about his stance on the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, he danced around the question until his time was up.
The debate was uneventful and low energy. Missing were big personality contenders such as Sarah Palin or Donald Trump. Americans want to see real debate. Tonight’s debate was a means for each candidate to get more visibility.
Although Donald Trump has been in the hot seat lately for dropping a lot of ‘F-bombs’ at a recent appearance, and offending stutterers—he would attract a huge audience if he were involved in a real debate with other Republican hopefuls. It would be refreshing to have candidates tell the American people how they really felt about the issues. Now, candidates are so rehearsed and polished that they appear insincere.
We’ll all have to stay tuned for the next debate.