Many Republican debates have occured so far, with many more to come, but the most controversial and informative have been the most recent. On Sep. 7, Rick Perry participated in his first debate since announcing his candidacy, and Sept. 14 marked the first Tea Party sponsored debate. Though bringing to the surface many issues important to the conservative right, the debate at times begrudgingly lowered each candidate to petty mudslinging.
In previous debates, the candidates focused on dismantling Obama’s policies for the economy and job creation, and on progressing to the main stage the Republican ideal of as little federal government interference as possible. How candidates running for the highest government office while promoting a “no government is the best government” platform is still to be seen. However, after Perry’s jump into the race and immediate rise to the top of the polls, the other candidates repositioned their firing squads. Perry’s views on “Ponzi” Social Security, immigration, and his state-mandated HPV vaccine were hardest hit, and rightly so.
In the wishy-washy fashion typical to politicians, Perry condoned the unconstitutionality of the Social Security program, while admitting that it’s “been there 70 or 80 years…we’re not going to take that away.”
After exhausting his chameleon-like position on Social Security – and coinciding Medicare and Medicaid – Perry tried to bring attention to his job creation in Texas. His opponent, Gov. Mitt Romney, quickly attributed most of this success to Texas’s already favorable conditions – the lack of a state income tax, a resoundingly Republican legislature, and a great supply of natural resources.
“If you’ve got four aces, that doesn’t necessarily make you a great poker player,” Romney said.
Still, no one mentioned that Perry’s job creation was counteracted by his dessimation of the Texas public education system, in which thousands of teachers were laid off, due to Perry’s lack of funding for a system he deemed far less important than the “job-creating” private sector corporations.
The inter-party warring momentarily ceased, when each candidate agreed that the federal debt ceiling should not be raised, and help should instead come in the form of tax cuts for big business. No candidate explained, however, how a government trillions of dollars in debt, with little demand for its products, could maintain with even less revenue that it already has (the U.S tax rates claim only 28% of the country’s GDP).
Though in recent years, debates have become more viewer active, with write-in questions and audience comments, the debates remain an arena for candidates to call eachother out on what they have, and haven’t, done. They show how little compromise and progress can be made within one party, so how can a two-party government ever hope to get anything done? If politicians cared less about the competition and more about the people they govern, this economy and government could begin to function again.