COMMENTARY | One thing that really struck me during Monday’s GOP debate in New Hampshire was how much the candidates, for the most part, agreed with each other. Perhaps it’s just too early in the process for mudslinging that will separate the field, but it was interesting to watch as they essentially patted each other on the back.
To this Republican voter, here are some notable highlights:
Romney’s emphasis on the private sector
Romney expressed strong opinions about the private sector. He said taking things from the federal government and giving them to the state governments is the right direction; awarding them to the private sector is ever better. He said the auto industry bailout program was not a success because it wasted a lot of money. Companies, he said, should have gone through bankruptcy and then restructured. He said Americans should keep the government in its place and let the private sector create a better country.
Criticism of President Obama
All candidates expressed criticism of President Obama. Obamacare was the big issue that none of the candidates supported. Regarding the economy, Ron Paul was asked if the current president has done anything right. He replied, “That’s a tough question,” and indicated that he couldn’t think of anything. His response struck the funny bone of those in the audience and the members of my family as well. Romney stated that any of the seven people on the stage would do a better job as president than Obama.
Cain’s lessons learned in business
Cain indicated that a lesson he learned in the business world is to “make sure you’re working on the right problem.” He said Obama has been working on the wrong problem. Cain stated the three Es of problems — the economy, entitlement spending and energy. Cain said that Obama had put the economy in the caboose, where it should be the engine. Much of what Cain said resonated with me, perhaps since I’m a small business owner.
Bringing jobs back to America
Regarding what to do about bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, Pawlenty said that Obama’s policies had put costs and burdens on the backs of producers of manufacturing jobs. Along the same lines, Ron Paul stated we’ve exported our jobs and when you export jobs, you export money. U.S. money is staying overseas, because if it comes back here, it is taxed.
I don’t believe anyone emerged as the frontrunner after tonight’s debate because none of them distinguished themselves in any notable fashion.