Thoughts on the Candidates’ Debate

By Alden L. Benton

The primary election season is fast approaching.  The first caucuses and elections begin in February, 2012.  Republicans have approximately three months to begin to decide just who the party will select to oppose Barack Obama in next year’s presidential election.

 I have not yet decided on who I would select.  Last night’s Republican presidential candidate debate helped me narrow the number of potential candidates.  Here are my thoughts on the candidates at this stage of the campaign.

Ron Paul: I have eliminated Congressman Ron Paul from consideration.  My thoughts about Congressman Paul are in this post: Ron Paul: Wrong for America.

John Huntsman:  John Huntsman did not attend last night’s debate.  However, in the previous debates he showed himself as a beltway insider and party elitist.  He does not represent, or care, about the will of the people expressed in the results of the 2010 mid-term elections.
I could only support John Huntsman as the only alternative to Obama, and even then, reluctantly. He should have run as a Democrat.

Rick Santorum:  Former Senator Santorum is a moral, upright individual.  He has presented some sound thoughts in the debates, especially last night.  A presidential candidate must, however, excite the electorate, and inspire them.  Rick Santorum does not show me sufficient passion or fire in communicating his thoughts.  Rick Santorum falls in the “Anyone but Obama” category, but far above John Huntsman.

Rick Perry: I have been a fan of Rick Perry since I read his book Fed Up.  In the debates, Rick Perry seems unsure of himself.  He has not taken advantage of his innate genuineness and personal charm.  He has some good ideas.  His record is not perfect, but then we must accept that any candidate will have done or said something of which we don’t approve.  My biggest disappointment with Perry was his ad hominem attacks on Mitt Romney.  Attack the issues, not the personality of your opponent.  Rick Perry is still on my list, but slipping.

Mitt Romney: I am uncomfortable with Mitt Romney as a big government Republican.  He is smooth and presidential, but is out of touch with the new base of the party: the T.E.A. Party.  He says he will eliminate Obamacare, but his record says otherwise due to his support of the government-run healthcare system in Massachusetts dubbed Romneycare.  His personal attacks on Rick Perry did nothing to win me over, nor his whiney “It’s my turn” attitude, shouting down his opponents whom he thought were encroaching on “his” time.  That was simply petty.  The only way I would vote for Mitt Romney would be to ensure the defeat of Barack Obama.

Newt Gingrich: Speaker Gingrich is a candidate with some baggage.  However, he is one of the three genuine conservatives running.  Speaker Gingrich is a smart and insightful veteran, and victor, of many political battles.  In a debate, Speaker Gingrich would totally outclass the president.  Speaker Gingrich takes no prisoners — he speaks his mind and says what needs to be said.  I respect that.  The more I listen, the more I like Speaker Gingrich.  He is definitely high on my list.

Herman Cain: Herman Cain is personable and smart.  He speaks his mind, but this has often  caused him trouble.  The PC police have no humor nor do they understand the use of metaphors.  Mr. Cain has improved his performance throughout the debates.  In last night’s debate, he handled the attacks on his 9-9-9 plan effectively.  Mr. Cain is very personable, likable, and passionate — all great qualities.  However, I think the country has had enough of an unknown amateur who is in over his head.  Lack of experience may ultimately be Cain’s downfall in the campaign.  Herman Cain is on my list of potentials.

Michelle Bachman: Last night I gained a new respect for Representative Michelle Bachman.  She has passion and fire.  She clearly articulates her ideas and positions, and, most importantly, she did not engage in ad hominem attacks last night.  She is a T.E.A. Party conservative.  She is smart.  Her ideas resonate with all conservatives and she effectively evokes the spirit of Ronald Reagan to illustrate her positions and ideas.  Representative Bachman has made it to my short list.

In summary:

  • Ron Paul: No way.
  • John Huntsman: No way.
  • Rick Santorum: Neutral, good as last resort.
  • Mitt Romney: Only as an alternative to Obama.
  • Rick Perry: On my short list, but slipping.
  • Newt Gingrich: On my short list.
  • Herman Cain: On My Short List, lack of experience a concern.
  • Michelle Bachman: On my short list; exciting T.E.A. Party conservative.

©2011 Alden L Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
If you want to reuse this material, please follow this link to obtain copyright permission:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s