Debate will kick-start race

On Monday, June 13 at 8 PM EST, the second presidential candidate’s debate for Republicans will take place.  Seven candidates (including Michele Bachman, who has not announced) will participate in the debate sponsored by CNN, which will televise the two-hour event.  It will be the first time the major candidates have gone head to head.

The candidates who are scheduled to appear are:

  • Ron Paul, US House from Texas, is a Libertarian who espouses removing American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.  He participated in the first debate of 2011, where he said he would support legalizing drugs and prostitution.   He’s not exactly main-stream.
  • Herman Cain, businessman, impressed in the first debate.  He supports the “Fair Tax” – (a 23% sales tax on all new goods, which also eliminates income tax) which is likely to hurt him greatly. 
  • Michele Bachman, US House from Minnesota, is a strong advocate of Tea Party values.
  • Rick Santorum, former US Senator from Pennsylvania, is a solid fiscal and social conservative.  His youth may work against him, but he is bright, knowledgeable, and sincere.
  • Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, has a successful record and little baggage.  He isn’t well known at this point. 
  • Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, has gotten off to a really poor start.  His staff left en masse last week, reportedly due to his wife Camilla’s insistence that he run a campaign with few personal appearances.  The pricey cruise in Greece probably was her idea, and this didn’t help.  He also made some early ill-considered comments about Tim Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare.  He carries personal baggage, and his popularity is largely negative.  In spite of all that, I believe he is the best qualified and most capable person in the race, intellectually head and shoulders above the others.   I rate him as the potentially most explosive dark horse in the race. 
  • Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, is currently the leading candidate, but he has revealed some troubling attitudes.  His continuing support of the Massachusetts health care plan, which resembles Obamacare, will trouble many conservatives, as will his recent comments in which he seems to believe in man-made global warming.   However, he has a very good record in both the private and public sectors, and gives the impression of competence.

I predict the real debate will be between Bachman, Santorum, Pawlenty, Gingrich, and Romney.  I think Gingrich will help himself, and he is my pick to win the debate.  If Bachman does poorly, I think she will drop out, if she does well, then she will officially announce.  I believe Santorum will help himself as well.  Romney and Pawlenty need to display some fire and gravitas*, and will gain if they do – however, it may be beyond their capabilities.

I plan to post a report of my impressions on the debate within 24 hours after it ends.   This event is far more important than the first one and should be quite interesting to watch. 

* – gravitas, an old Latin word used heavily during the Bush-Kerry election.  It implies that the person who has it is an impressive speaker, and is authoritative, serious, and believable.  In other words, the speaker gives the impression that he’s a heavyweight.  In my humble opinion, Paul has no gravitas whatever, Gingrich has a lot of it, and the others are somewhere in between.   On-line definitions say it’s “seriousness, weightiness”. 

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