I like the idea of just asking a candidate five questions, as in the interview I saw conducted by the Las Vegas Revue-Journal. They posed the questions to Mitt Romney.
While I may have agreed or disagreed with his answers, I was impressed with the way he handled it. Kind of like a job interview. I am providing a link so you can see and hear for yourself.
But I think this type of format is far better than the so-called debates we have seen on TV, which are more like multi-candidate free-for-alls with some managing to get a word in and some not and a lot of silly crosstalk and talking-point one-liners — no real discussion or substantive or to-the-point answers. I would prefer one-on-one debates in the traditional debating format — something that has rarely been done in modern times. The Kennedy-Nixon debates, I believe, came the closest. I also saw some good issue debates on the late William F. Buckley Jr.’s Firing Line program on PBS.
But back to Mitt:
He comes across as a cold (or cool), calculating businessman when he answers the question as to what to do about the housing (underwater mortgage) problem. He says we have to let the foreclosure cycle run its course so we can hit bottom and go from there — and you know? as cold as that is, he probably is 100 percent right. But when he says let investors buy up the houses and put renters in there, I form this mental picture of my own life, much of it spent as a renter — as a renter you often feel like a second-class citizen (I don’t nowadays as a renter, though), at the mercy of the landlord.
He calls for ending Obamacare as part of the steps he would take to balance the federal budget (and I would presume work towards paying down the national debt). Since I still don’t personally understand Obamacare, I’m a little dubious on that.
I think you would also infer from his answers that he would seek to cut down on the benefits of Social Security and Medicare in various ways and maybe not allow high earners to draw as many benefits as lesser earners, but the good thing is that he is on record as wanting to preserve those programs as a “safety net”. He also talks about introducing “managed care” into the program. We all know that managed care means managing to give the patient as few benefits as possible.
On defense spending he claims that the eventual draw down of troops in the current wars will end up saving a lot of money, but other than that he calls for building more ships and airplanes and maintaining a strong force. He indicated he would tend to follow the military leadership as to the withdrawal schedule. I agree with him about strengthening and maintaining our armed forces — like a late French ancestor of mine said in his writings: the military is a “necessary evil”. I also know that as the world’s superpower we have to stay that way, otherwise we are going to be at the mercy of some people who really don’t care for us.
I did pick up on a slight inconsistency in his answer about picking Supreme Court justices: He gave the standard Republican/conservative line about he wants justices who rule based strictly on the Constitution as interpreted by the framers’ original intent. Well before that interview he was quoted as saying: “corporations are people too”, in reference to the current state of federal law that gives corporations the same rights and privileges as individual real people, as if a corporation (which is nothing more than a business arrangement) were a real live person, often referred to as “corporation personhood”. This theory comes out of the 14th Amendment. But nowhere in that amendment does it say anything about corporations being treated as real people. You see the justices in case law inferred that, originally in a 19th Century case called Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, and I think followed the same reasoning (whatever it was) in the recent Citizens United case, in which it held corporations have a right to pour money into elections under free speech rights granted any live person. So, apparently judge-made law is okay with conservatives if is helps their cause, but not when it goes the other way, such as in Roe v. Wade, in which the court held that though there is no specific language in the Constitution, somewhere in there it can be inferred that women have the right to have control over their own bodies.
One thing about Romney, though, if he sees that his position on anything does not catch the current mood he is willing to alter it. Let’s just say he is flexible, as in he provided the framework for Obamacare in his own program in his own state (when he was governor of Massachusetts), but now that he is a Republican presidential candidate and as such is obliged to be anti-Obamacare, he is against it (he was for it before he was against it).
I look forward to seeing one or more head-to-head debates (leave out the moderators/reporters as participants) between Romney and Obama (nothing so far has made me think the GOP nominee will be anyone other than Romney). I think both would be excellent debaters and it would be fun to watch.
That link to the interview:
Listening and analyzing Romney’s positions and past positions and actions, one can’t help but feel that although he is fairly conservative (or is he moderate?), he feels the privileged rich still have a social obligation to society. I still would have a hard time voting for him — maybe it’s the company he keeps (those other folks in the GOP nomination race).
This just occurred to me after doing my original post: although Romney is no Barry Goldwater, I do recall, in reference to my headline about Romney might be right, that the Goldwater presidential campaign slogan was: “in your heart you know he’s right”. Maybe, but he did not get elected.