1.  I’ve seen most of the South Carolina thing on a Ron Paul supporter’s YouTube channel so apologies to Paul supporters for later comments.  I didn’t watch Cain’s comments.  Time (and life) is too short.

2.  It was a bad night for the loudly self-proclaimed constitutionalists.  Paul seemed to be surprised at the existence and relevance of those parts of the 14th Amendment that read “ No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” and “The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

3.  Bachmann had trouble after she finished the 1-2 minute answer that would have sufficed in a normal debate.  There were times when she seemed uncertain and surprised that the panelists wanted her to keep talking without further prompting.  There was a point where Steve King had to spoon feed her answers about the “pillars [Pillars?] of American Exceptionalism.”  Maybe the low point of the Freedom Forum came a few minutes after she asserted that, as President, she would “Make the case and make the defense why the Constitution of the United States must be observed.”  She was asked by Robert George (and I love him for this) what provision of the Constitution prohibited a state from imposing an individual health insurance purchase mandate.  She admitted she didn’t know what provision of the Constitution that might be and hoped that Robert George or someone would tell her.  No, I’m not making that up (though I am mocking.)  We need a better class of constitutionalist. 

4.  Romney looked pretty good when he was talking about how some regulations (I forget which ones) were preventing job creation by middle-level businesses from growing while giving established big businesses an unfair competitive advantage.  I don’t really remember it that clearly, but it sounded good.

5.  People still don’t know how to ask Romney an effective question on Obamneycare.  It isn’t just that both laws had health insurance purchase mandates.  It is a whole model of financing health care.  Here is one (wordy) way to ask the question:

“Governor Romney, your law in Massachusetts kept in place a rule that insurers had to offer health insurance to all applicants regardless of health status.  That was in the President’s law too.  Your law kept in place a rule that forced insurers to charge premiums based on a person’s age and residence rather than their individual case.  That was in the President’s plan.  Your law imposed over two dozen mandates that told insurers what to cover and banned insurers from giving people the option of buying cheaper insurance that didn’t cover Chiropractic services.  The President’s law also included significant coverage mandates.  Under your law, consumers had to purchase a government-approved health insurance policy or pay a fine.  Same thing with the President’s law.  Why does your law look so much more like what a Democrat-dominated Congress and President Obama have enacted than what conservatives like Paul Ryan have proposed?” 

6.  The format worked great for Gingrich.  Bachmann gave her standard debate responses and then had to ramble to fill the time.  Gingrich told stories with beginnings, middles, and ends.  He has spent his public life crafting attractive right-friendly narratives with sharp hooks.  For every question, it was just plug and play a lecture he had already given a bunch of times.  There were also the tough choice-free crowd pleasing answers that he knew would get him cheers and cast him in a heroic light.  So there was cutting the corporate income tax to 12.5% to that tax dodging, Obama-aligned corporations would pay more.  He suggested though did not outright say that cutting the corporate income tax to 12.5% would increase revenue.  That is one reason I wish Douglas Holtz-Eakin were there to bring the CBO grilling to the candidates on the tax cuts.  He also suggested abolishing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and substituting “Solutions” with “Protection” in the name of the EPA (so that things would then become awesome or something.)       

7.  The dominant tax policy proposals seemed to be cutting the corporate income tax, and a tax holiday for corporations to bring in overseas revenue.

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Articles by Pete Spiliakos


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