Capture11-22-2011-6.00.25 PM

There were no clear winners. Romney was status quo, Newt was status quo smart. Paul looked quirkily out of touch. Cain looked like he reached the limits of his knowledge. Perry looks stale. Huntsman appears to be a moderate diplomat, not a leader. As for Bachmann and Santorum, who cares?

Venue: On November 22, eight Republican candidates will meet for the CNN/AEI/HERITAGE FOUNDATION Republican debate to be held at DAR [Daughters of the American Revolution] Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C..

Moderator: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer will serve as the moderator for the debate. In addition to Blitzer, foreign policy experts from the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation will ask questions of the candidates.

Format: Podium format.

Subject: The debate will be centered on foreign policy, national security and the economy.

Still too many people! While each of the candidates will add contextual material, there are still to0 many people on the stage to get a meaningful feel for the top-level candidates who reply in short sound bites and refer to off-air position papers at their websites.

Bias: None apparent from the moderator. Stacked deck with the AEI, Heritage crowd.

Full disclosure: Danielle Pletka, who was allowed to ask a question is married to former lobbyist and Bush administration official Stephen Rademaker who is a Romney campaign adviser. Gingrich worked with both AEI and Heritage for years.

Each of the candidates will have something to prove or a point to make …

Mitt Romney. Romney appears to have no particular foreign affairs or national security expertise but has access to older Republican advisors.

Newt Gingrich. Widely regarded as the smartest man in the room, Newt’s historical perspective on foreign affairs is beyond question.

Herman Cain. Severely damaged with prolonged silence when asked a question about Libya, Cain must overcome his fundamental lack of foreign affairs knowledge. Cain can no longer bull thing through by claiming “Americans want leaders, not readers.” The suggestion that Cain would even consider advice from Henry Kissinger is an anathema to many older Americans who have noted that Kissinger does not have the best track record when it comes to outcomes in foreign policy.

Rick Perry. Perry claims that he was the Commander-in-Chief of his State’s National Guard and the only one with military and command experience. Strong supporter of Israel. Look for him to claim that the U.S. Southern Border is a major issue.

Ron Paul. This will be a tricky debate for Ron Paul who professes a policy of non-interventionism, removal of troops from foreign lands, little or no foreign aid and letting Israel defend herself against overwhelming odds.

Rick Santorum, look for Rick Santorum to push his conservatism, family values and legislative expertise. Known to be a fierce debater on the subject of a nuclear Iran and has previously faced Ron Paul in a foreign policy debate.

Jon Huntsman. Again, Huntsman has an advantage, having served as an Ambassador to China. Huntsman is the type of moderate Republican (RINO) that can serve as the alternate to Mitt Romney. Huntsman believes in diplomacy above all and is likely to avoid military options.

Michelle Bachmann. A member of Intelligence Committee, Bachmann is a strong supporter of Israel and appears to have little foreign affairs knowledge. Often compared unfavorably to Sarah Palin.

The Players, comments and result …

Regardless of the candidate’s position on foreign affairs, the dominant factor remains who can beat Barack Obama.




cyan_rightcyan_right Capture11-9-2011-8.43.36 PM

"There is a different body of law that relates to war."

Can rework TSA. Differentiates war from crime.

As for keeping troops in Afghanistan – “This is not a time to cut and run."

Amnesty is a magnet. Turn off the magnets of illegal immigration. Secure the border.

Pulling precipitously out of Afghanistan would put at risk our extraordinary investment of treasure and blood.

We need to dump Obamacare, not to cut money to the military.  They are cutting the capacity of America to defend herself.

Claims Obama’s agenda: we are going to be friendly to our foes and we are going to be disrespectful to our friends.

The right course for America is to stand up to Iran with crippling sanctions, indict Ahmadinejad for violating the genocide convention; put in place the kind of sanctions that stop their economy. There is no price that is worth an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Show Israel we are their friend.

Secure the borders. Turn off magnets of amnesty, in-state tuition and employers who hire illegal aliens. Doesn’t want people to become a permanent residents (like Newt’s suggestion).

Does not support no fly zone over Syria. Wants sanctions and covert actions to effect regime change.

Worries about: Iran becoming nuclear. Latin America.

cyan_upcyan_right Capture11-9-2011-8.45.12 PM
Pointed out the difference between national security requirements and criminal law requirements when speaking about the Patriot Act. Would not change, but strengthen the Patriot Act.

Should have been furious with Pakistan over finding bin Laden in their country.

If we want to keep troops in Afghanistan, you accept hot pursuit, no sanctuary [in Pakistan], change the rules of engagement, put the military in charge of the military side, overhaul the State Department and you do it for real and you do it intensely.

Wants to sabotage Iran’s oil fields. [A dangerous proposition considering other nations rely on Mideast oil.]

We need to become energy independent and be prepared to tell the Europeans we could replace their Iranian oil.

Sabotage Iran’s only gasoline refinery.

If we were a serious country, we would open up enough oil fields in the next year so the price of oil would collapse. Lean Six Sigma would help the country.

Replacing the Iran regime before they get a nuclear weapon without a war beats replacing the regime with a war which beats allowing them to have a nuclear weapon.

Pushes Chile model of Social Security model.

On immigration: let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship.

Worries about: Weapon of mass destruction in an American city probably from terrorists. Electromagnetic Pulse attack which would destroy the country’s  capacity to function. Cyberattack. All three are outside the capacity of the system to deal with.

Capture11-9-2011-8.46.06 PM


We can do better with TSA and Targeted Identification ( refuses to use the word profiling). Supports the Patriot Act and that we should “refine” it if there are problems or concerns.

Terrorists want to kill all of us, so we should use every means possible to kill them first or identify them first.

Would support Israel attack on Iran if they had a credible plan.  Must be clear about the definition of mission and victory.

On humanitarian and development aid – look at the whole problem and determine of the programs have been successful.

Insecure border is a national security threat. Enforce the laws that are already there, we don’t need new laws. About illegals: empower the states to do what the federal government is incapable of doing.

Does not support Perry’s “no fly” zone in Syria and would work with our allies in the region to stop buying oil from Syria.

Worries about: cyberattacks.

cyan_downcyan_right Capture11-9-2011-8.43.58 PM
Most of the candidates disagree with Ron Paul on most issues, so he was a focal point during the first part of the debate.

Thinks the Patriot Act is unpatriotic because it undermines our liberty. 
Brought up Timothy McVeigh as a terrorist and puts for the position that terrorism is a crime.

“You never have to give up liberty for security. You can still provide security without sacrificing our Bill of Rights.”

Cites careless use of words and does not remember voting for declaring war. American citizens are vulnerable to being charges as terrorists – and vulnerable to assassination.

Would not support Israel because he doesn’t expect it to happen. Israel is not about to attack Iran. Why would Israel need our help, we need to get out of their way. 

Aid is worthless and it doesn’t do any good for most of the people. You take money from poor people in this country and you end up giving it to rich people in poor countries. And it is used as weapons of war, so you have accomplished nothing. 

The biggest threat to our national security is our financial condition.

On the subject of the border: Cancel the drug war. It’s to nobody’s benefit and that where the violence is coming from.

If you subsidize something, you get more of it – a direct shot at Perry’s incentives and road to citizenship. Eliminate all of these benefits and the welfare state. “I fear the drug war because it undermines our civil liberties.” 

Paul suggests meddling in the region to inspire terrorism. No fly zone over Syria is an act of war.

Practice a policy of good will to other people.

Why don’t we mind our own business?

Worries about: overreaction on our part and getting involved in another war.

Keeps making moral equivalency excuses for Taliban just wanting to stop us from occupying their country like we would get upset if someone tried to occupy us.
cyan_right Capture11-9-2011-8.44.53 PM
Strange introduction that effusively honored his wife.

Need to keep Patriot Act and build capability for foreign intelligence.

Would privatize the TSA as soon as he could and get rid of “those” unions.

Wants Pakistan to demonstrate loyalty before one dime is sent to the country. Use American companies to provide aid, rather than writing a blank check.

Sanction Iranian Central Bank to shut down economy. No fly zone over Syria.

With respect to Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta and the failure of the so-called Super Committee: “If Leon Panetta is a honorable man he should resign in protest."

Mentioned his tax plan and suggested making the Congress part-time.

Hamas and Hezbollah are working in Mexico as well as Iran. The idea that we need to secure our Southern border is paramount to the security of the Western hemisphere. Strategic fencing, boots on the ground, aviation assets and then working with Mexico to secure the border.
After borders are secured, Perry advocates for a program to keep illegal alien families together.

Syria is a partner of Iran in exporting terrorism. So we need to sanction Syria is we are serious about Iran. 

Worried about: How we are going to deal with China. Abortion of 35,000 Chinese children daily and cybersecurity.
cyan_right Capture11-9-2011-8.45.29 PM
Completely change the way we go about investigations. Obama handed over investigation of terrorists to the ACLU. Don’t give Miranda rights to terrorists.

Pakistan is epicenter of terrorist training, violent and unstable. Six attempts have been made by terrorists on nuclear stores.

Pakistan is too nuclear to fail, so we need to take that threat very seriously. Need to  continue aid to Pakistan. Argued with Perry about defunding foreign aid for Pakistan. Called him naïve.

Obama put U.S. in a position of unilateral disarmament. Canceled the Keystone pipeline which would have created jobs and helped us in energy independence. Obama – doctrine of appeasement; gave Iran the luxury of time.

First need to balance the budget and then chip away at the debt.

No amnesty for illegal aliens. No federal Dream Act.

Worries about: Giving the peace we won in Iraq away and bringing terrorism into the United States.
cyan_right Capture11-9-2011-8.45.47 PM

Supports profiling the people most likely to commit terrorism. We should find the bomber, not the bomb. Privatization of TSA.

Agrees with Ron Paul – not fighting a war on terrorism, terrorism is a tactic. We are fighting a war against radical Islam.  Obama is validating what radical Islamists are saying about their being the last man standing in the region.

Continue spending on development and humanitarian aid.  Promote our values. Come to the aid of people in trouble in the world. Not our enemies, but people who would be our friends.

In response to Blitzer’s question about compromising with democrats, Santorum said you don’t work against yourself. You don’t undermine the ability of the economy to grow because of politics. Obama has poisoned the well – He has campaigned all over the country trying to divide group from group in order to position himself to win this election. 

Worries about what is going on in Central and South America. And the spread of socialism.
cyan_right Capture11-9-2011-8.44.29 PM

Huntsman also acknowledges his wife and children.

We have a “name brand” We are a nation of values. There should be a "balancing act between our individual liberties and securities." We need to be open, sharing and collaborative when it comes to intelligence.

We need to get our house in order before we can influence the world. Pakistan is the nation that should keep us up at night. Expanded drone program is fine.

Continues to push the wisdom of nation-building when we are in such debt.
Need to define the end-point in Afghanistan.

Defended Obama as Commander-in-Chief and remarked that “listening to the generals in 1967” didn’t serve us well. [Viet Nam].

People have lost trust in the institutions of power in America.

With defense spending, everything needs to be on the table.

Foreign policy should be driven by economics. 

We need to remind the world what it means to be a friend and ally of the United States.

Sanctions on Iran aren’t going to work because the Chinese are not going to play ball and the Russians are not going to play ball.

Let history be our guide. We do our national interests a disservice when we jump in too soon and taking up sides. Our interest in the Middle East is Israel and that Iran does not go nuclear.

Worries about: Our problems at home; joblessness, lack of opportunity, debt which has become a national security problem, trust deficit in institutions of power.

Best lines …

Nothing outstanding but the best of the lame lines goes to Romney: With regard to Syria … “They have 5,000 tanks, a no fly zone wouldn’t be the right military action; maybe a no drive zone.”

Cain called Wolf Blitzer “Blitz.” Blitzer responded at the end of the question. Thank you ‘Cain.”

Neocon Paul Wolfowitz called George W. Bush a conservative Republican. 

Ron Paul: “Aid is worthless and it doesn’t do any good for most of the people. You take money from poor people in this country and you end up giving it to rich people in poor countries. And it is used as weapons of war, so you have accomplished nothing.”  “The biggest threat to our national security is our financial condition.”

In response to budget cutting, Paul said to Romney: “They’re not cutting anything out of anything. All this talk is just talk.”

Bottom line …

This was pretty much as you would expect in a discussion of national defense and foreign policy with extremely limited time constraints. There was little agreement between the candidates on most issues, but they do all agree that Obama has done a horrible job in governing the nation and setting foreign and domestic policy.

We all agree …

Capture8-29-2011-7.21.20 PM

-- steve

“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS