On Saturday, January 14, Mike Huckabee conducted a forum with 5 of the Republican candidates in Charleston, S.C. The audience was composed of people who professed to be undecided. Each candidate was questioned by himself for 12 minutes, with all questions coming from audience members, who lined up to ask them. One rule was that candidates would not be allowed to criticize each other. Only Ron Paul did not participate. The event was held in the afternoon, then televised that evening on a special 2-hour Huckabee program.
The atmosphere was friendly, and all candidates were confident, glib, and smooth. None were seriously challenged. This was milk toast on steroids. I took notes on each question, but will only comment on highlights or new information, if I can find any. I’ve ignored some questions and some answers.
Romney – what would you do to help the housing market? Would have govt. stop doing things that hurt; get people back to work; supports the mortgage interest deduction. What about Obama’s extra-constitutional actions? Obama packed the NLRB (labor relations board) with recess appointments while the Senate was in session; jams legislation down our throats; I wouldn’t do that. Why should a Paul supporter vote for you if you are the candidate? I will cut and cap federal spending. Medicare reimbursement to doctors will be cut 27% in May (I think), will drive doctors to stop working with Medicare patients, what will you do about it? My plan is similar to Paul Ryan’s, it will allow choice between the current system and premium support. Why should conservatives vote for you? Look at my record; Read my book “No Apologies”.
Huntsman – What would you do about well-educated immigrants coming to America and taking high-paying jobs? I think we need them; immigration system is broken. What about America’s manned space program, (currently no vehicle)? The space program inspires; It has economic benefits; I will not contract it out of the country. (My note – no mention of NASA’s Orion project.) What about the Department of Education? If I’m president, tell it good-bye.
Gingrich — How would you address the unemployment problem? In SC, develop natural gas. Would you abolish the Federal Reserve Bank? No, I’d audit it; fire Bernanke; release the last 3 years of memos so the public could learn what they’ve done. Creative destruction is a fact of life in captialism, why do you criticize Romney about it? Obama will test candidates, they must be vetted. The country is sick of gridlock, why would you be better as president? I did it as Speaker. When you debate Obama, how will you address his class warfare arguments? I’ll ask the public, would you rather live on a paycheck or food stamps? I’m a federal employee, will my job go away – can you cut the deficit without cutting federal jobs? I’ll try to move them to other jobs; employees would prefer more productive jobs; would eliminate poor workers. What would you change about election laws? Let anyone donate anything, as long as all donations are made public; this would eliminate VACs and a lot of negativity.
Santorum – How would you address the trade imbalance with China? Eliminate restrictions which make American manufacturing 20% more expensive than foreign nations, even excluding the high business taxes; Obama administration produces 150 regulations per year; as president I would review all. Why do you make exceptions for rape & incest when it comes to abortion? I don’t.
Perry – How can we get people off welfare? Health & Human Services should focus on fraud, set up an office of Inspector General. How can we simplify tax for businesses? I advocate a 20% flat tax. What kind of person will you pick for vice president? Philosophy and passion same as mine. What about the National Labor Relations Board? I will do away with it; Obama is at war with South Carolina – won’t let Boeing produce the Dreamliner here because it’s a right to work state, lawsuit on SC’s immigration laws. What will you do about ridiculous EPA regulations? Texas has been a victim of ridiculous EPA rules; the EPA can be much smaller; most environmental regulations should be at the state level.
At the end, each candidate was given a ridiculously short 1-minute summary.
All in all, very bland. Perry probably got the most applause when he pointed out that the Obama administration has made war on South Carolina.