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Huckabee Presidential Forum – Yes, GOP Candidates, There Really IS a Constitution

“I think we discussed the Constitution and the proper role of the federal government more tonight than in all the other debates combined,” remarked Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, at the conclusion of Saturday night’s GOP presidential forum, hosted by Fox News’s Mike Huckabee.

Bondi’s right – this was not only the most substantive presidential candidate event thus far in the 2011/2012 campaign season, it was the most revealing. Six Republicans took part (minus Jon Huntsman who declined, and Herman Cain, who withdrew from the race earlier today), and they were actually asked real questions by real questioners. And the moderator (Mike Huckabee) kept his word by influencing the discussion as little as possible.

There wasn’t nearly the “theatrical” quality to this two-hour event, but if every presidential “debate” were like this, we’d all have a much better understanding as to where the candidates really stand… and maybe we’d need fewer debates in the first place.

A forum, not a debate

For those already fed up with the sideshow nature of the 2011 presidential debates, Saturday night’s forum represented a welcome departure. For once, there wasn’t some liberal news personality sitting across from the row of candidates firing gotcha-type questions at them trying to inspire childish – and damaging – infighting.

In contrast, the questioning was handled by three state Attorneys General with solid conservative reputations. In addition to Bondi, there was Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia, and Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma – all of whom focused on constitutional issues, and didn’t appear the least bit interested in picking a fight with the candidates.

What, no questions about Darwin and evolution? No ridiculous hypothetical questions about tax deals with a ratio of ten parts spending cuts to one part tax hikes? No quotes from the candidates’ books to make them look like hypocrites?

The words “Ponzi scheme” didn’t even make an appearance. Where was Brian Williams when we needed him?

There also was no audience watching the candidates, so no interruptions for applause – and no opportunity for a “home team” environment.

Mike Huckabee – Remember him?

For those who consider the 2007/08 campaign, it was with somewhat morbid curiosity to see how former candidate (and Iowa winner) Mike Huckabee would handle the occasion. Huckabee’s rise from obscure second-tier southern governor to serious contender for the 2008 nomination was certainly one of the more interesting stories of the last primary season.

A great many conservatives loved Huckabee’s quick wit, his gift for gab and his willingness to stump for conservative social issues with a genuine passion.

He could get a crowd going, that’s for sure.

But Huckabee ultimately failed because he couldn’t suddenly morph into something that he wasn’t – namely, a principled conservative candidate. The Club for Growth’s scathing attacks on Huckabee’s wishy-washy, inconsistent record on taxes and spending were arguably more damaging to his chances than his lack of support from the party establishment.

Huckabee was an outsider candidate who couldn’t get over the top because of one simple fact: conservatives couldn’t trust him.

When he announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t run again in 2012, many breathed a sigh of relief. No one really craved a party rematch between Huckabee and Romney, and most of the non-Huckabee supporters from four years ago thought he’d be better off doing what he’s doing now – hosting a TV show.

It should be noted that Huckabee deserves some credit for lending his endorsements to a number of Tea Party-type candidates in the past several years, so he’s gained a little more credibility in that sense.

It’s clear from Saturday night’s event that Huckabee’s trying out a new role now, that of goodwill ambassador. He’s even tried to make nice with his old nemesis, Mitt Romney (who had a real interesting smirk on his face when introduced by Huckabee for his turn to speak).

Herman Cain wasn’t there… did it matter?

Herman Cain announced earlier in the day that he was suspending his presidential campaign, and although it can’t be said that his presence was greatly missed on Saturday night, it did feel strange not to have Cain’s quirky sense of humor to add an aura of levity to the occasion.

And it’s not like Mitt Romney is going to pick up the slack in that regard.

Cain’s rapid rise and equally speedy descent will no doubt draw pages of analysis in the coming years, and many will argue that he was a victim of his own lack of experience as a politician. Some of that may be true, but it’s also a historic fact that a man who’s never held public office before also rose to the top of the Republican primary race (according to some polls), and he probably would’ve had a shot at staying as the anti-Romney candidate if he’d had some better coaching on how to respond to the sexual harassment allegations – and if he’d put the work into building a ground game in the early states.

All along, many observers gave Cain no shot whatsoever at competing for the nomination because he didn’t run a traditional campaign. At the same time, his lack of organization and his skeletal campaign’s inability to even perform elemental functions competently also brought legitimate accusations that he wasn’t a serious candidate.

No matter how many times he repeated “9-9-9,” and “I’m in it to win it,” Cain couldn’t get past a reputation for riding the campaign wave as far as he could before eventually bowing to the inevitable.

Beyond all that, Cain’s somewhat shocking inability to discuss foreign policy and the sizeable holes in his economic plan ultimately undid his candidacy. It could be said that he wouldn’t have won regardless of Ginger White or the other (how many are there now?) accusers.

Running for president is a tough business, and Cain gave it a good run. His success leaves the door open for future runs by populist and credible conservative candidates with engaging personalities, demonstrated leadership qualities and compelling life stories.

Herman Cain just wasn’t the right fit in 2012.

The Constitution: Are you for it, or not?

Though all three of the Attorneys General were outstanding in their questioning, Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli (who just announced that he’s running for governor in 2013) takes the prize for most direct and pointed questions dealing with the constitutional role of the federal government in America.

From the start, Cuccinelli ticked off a number of ways that Newt Gingrich (who was the first candidate to be questioned) has championed the cause of Big Government in his past, and asked flat-out: as a limited government constitutional conservative, how can we trust that you will govern in a limited government capacity?

Gingrich parried the blow of Cuccinelli’s question, but it was nothing short of exhilarating to finally pin these candidates down on their views of what the government should – and should not – do in regards to exercising power at the expense of the states, and the People.

Gingrich wasn’t strong in his defense of constitutional limitations, but his answers (as always) were fluid and believable. Rick Santorum seemed to be the candidate most in favor of an activist presidency, saying without fear that he would employ federal power to protect American values.

Ron Paul didn’t back down one iota from his typically strong statements in defense of the Constitution, reiterating that the federal government was meant, from the beginning, to be limited in power.

Particularly effective was Paul’s answer on reforming and eventually eliminating entitlement programs. Paul admitted that programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are unconstitutional (“where in the Constitution does it provide authority to institute these programs?”), but that he wouldn’t try to get rid of them overnight.

Paul is often called the most “extreme” candidate in the field, but he’s also pragmatic in advocating the eventual abolition of these programs – but admitting that it can’t be done in a hasty manner.

Professor Gingrich’s history lesson

Now that Newt Gingrich has been established as the GOP frontrunner, you might think it would make him a little more careful in answering questions than he has been in previous nationally televised events. But that certainly wasn’t the case on Saturday night.

Right from the outset, he was challenged by Bondi on his recent proposal to allow citizen commissions (juries, if you will) to determine whether undocumented immigrants should be given special permission to stay in the country, and Gingrich didn’t budge. Gingrich said the selective service boards in WWII allowed local people to make judgments based on local knowledge, and that’s a concept that’s hard to argue with when so much power is concentrated in Washington these days.

Cuccinelli then asked Gingrich how he would actually SHRINK the federal government, and that’s the first time in any of the debates that such a concept has been broached – okay, you’ve said the government can be managed better, but how would you make it smaller and less intrusive?

Gingrich cited his record of balancing budgets and welfare reform – didn’t really address the question – but the tone was set. Pruitt asked him to name national issues that shouldn’t be handled nationally, and Newt said Education, Medicaid and the EPA.

On the whole, Gingrich handled himself admirably. The former Speaker still has major question marks surrounding his candidacy, but there’s little doubt that he’s settled comfortably into the role as the anti-Romney candidate, and conservatives are beginning to sense that he’ll at least put up a fight for the ideological side of conservatism.

For that reason, Gingrich’s path to the nomination may become even clearer.

The activists – Santorum and Romney

For as likeable as Rick Santorum is on a personal level, he’s almost painful to watch in this type of setting. In a day and age when almost everyone agrees that federal power needs to be reduced, Santorum is the lone champion for activist government.

And that could be the reason why he hasn’t had his turn as “flavor of the month.”

Santorum was the second candidate to be interviewed, and right from the start he came out in favor of an increased federal role – even if it was in favor of law enforcement. Santorum seemed to indicate that the modern presidency (bolstered by the PATRIOT Act) is more justified than even Abraham Lincoln was in suppressing rights during the Civil War.

I detected a collective sigh from civil libertarians across the country. Everybody wants the federal government to protect us, but is the PATRIOT Act really the answer?

Santorum didn’t stop there – he said the federal government has a role in strengthening families (in reference to marriage and abortion). Rick’s heart might be in the right place, but it just doesn’t sound right.

Mitt Romney on the other hand, was somewhat more subtle in his defense of federal power – but it’s clear that there isn’t an area of federal oversight that Romney isn’t prepared to defend.

Bondi asked him about the federal government’s role in labor relations, and Romney launched into a diatribe about how George W. Bush was helpful in combating federal teachers unions. Huh?

Romney isn’t going to find many conservative friends in defending the Big Government ‘No Child Left Behind’ law, and he’s talking about how it helped battle teachers unions?

He also said that he wouldn’t immediately seek to eliminate the federal school lunch program, Pell grants for education of the federal GI bill – more areas where he appeared to waffle when asked about eliminating existing programs.

Mitt Romney isn’t a principled conservative. He doesn’t believe in the concept of limited government, or that there should be a constitutional basis for federal programs. He’s a manager, but we need a leader.

How would his presidency differ much from the current Oval Office occupant? That should be the next question he’s asked.

Rick Perry: Give me a second chance

Each candidate was given an opportunity for a one-minute statement at the end of the forum, and while that time is usually used for boilerplate recitations of one’s already articulated positions, Rick Perry used his as a plea for a “second chance.”

Having been heavily damaged by his memory lapse in one of the previous debates, Perry’s spent much of the time since that time asking (or perhaps more appropriately put, begging) voters to take a fresh look at his candidacy.

Perry obviously is better than he was in the beginning, but he’s still far from a polished product. He couldn’t answer a question from Cuccinelli on the president’s authority to invalidate a law passed by Congress and signed by the president (Obamacare), stumbling through a response about how he’d appoint personnel that “agreed with me” and they’d accomplish change through rulemaking.

Perry seems like a good guy, but he’s simply not articulate enough to be president – especially when put up against the rest of the legitimate Republican field. If people are given a choice, who would you rather see debating the issues against Obama?

It’s no contest, really. Perry can’t beat Gingrich, and he can’t beat Romney (on that question). Would Perry make arguably the best president of the non-Paul candidates? Yes. But that won’t get him over the threshold.

Summing it up

I didn’t talk about Michele Bachmann in the previous discussion, but I’m not sure that she needs to be talked about. Bachmann’s conservative credentials are virtually unimpeachable, but her time has passed.

Similarly, Ron Paul provides a terrific defense of the Constitution, but his views on foreign policy (and his stammering answer on domestic terrorism) just aren’t going to touch enough voters to give him a legitimate shot at the nomination.

Where does that leave us?

With exactly a month left until the Iowa caucuses, it looks like Newt Gingrich’s race to lose. Mitt Romney will continue to hover around 20% for those Republicans who believe he’s the best one to beat Obama (in effect, single issue (electability) voters). Otherwise, Herman Cain’s support is likely to fall to Gingrich – and the rest will be spending Christmas hoping that the ultimate gift is a couple dozen more percentage points in votes.

In other words, the picture is beginning to clarify. Are we better off?

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Ron Paul's time has past? Hardly!

Thought this was a decent article until the comment about Paul and Bachmann's time being "past".  You could argue Gengrich's time is past, but not really anyone else in the current field.

The fact that Ron Paul is currently second in both Iowa and New Hampshire clearly points to him being right in the forefront, not in any way "past".

And I think once you start seeing polls looking at "likely voters" versus "likely REPUBLICAN voters", you're going to see that Ron Paul is currently the clear front-runner.  I know of several close friends who are life-long democrats who have registered republican JUST so they can vote for Ron Paul in the Primary.  The media is doing their best to marginalize any gains in support of Ron Paul, but they are feeling the pressure for sure now that he's a clear frontrunner in the first two voting states!

Their time has passed

The comment about Michelle Bachman and Ron Paul as to their time has passed....  Romney and Gingrich has both been around and in the political establishment for far longer than Bachman, so the same could be said of them, if that were (and it's not) an accurate reason for dismissal.

The real point is two members of the globalist club (same club as Obama) are being called the front runners.  While Romney, Perry, or Newt would be better than Obama they are not good choices.  What this country needs is candidates that put America/Americans first, not put global socialism first.

E-Verify! The battle for the American Worker

California—the epitome of a Sanctuary state, that is suffering terribly from the millions of foreign nationals that have illegally settled there. As if they don’t have enough problems with a senile old Democrat (Liberal) Governor Jerry Brown and a wilting state treasury deficit of $8.5 billion dollars, the good legal population must now suffer under Democrat Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, is helping to lead a measure, called the ‘California Opportunity and Prosperity Act.’ It would allow if passed 1 million illegal aliens or more to reside and work openly in the state with little dread of deportation under a scheme unveiled Friday by a state legislator and others.


Fuentes explained this measure as a "moderate, common-sense approach" necessitated by the federal government's inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform.



America has already seen the devastation of what cheap labor has done to the working class, the blue collar jobs, the low income US workers, since the outcome of the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli bill. Millions more of American workers are without jobs, because of no enforcement at the business level before President Obama—whose great enforcement work has dropped off,  mainly because of the ‘usual suspects’ in the corporate world, special interests and  penetrated by radical ethic majorities. As the Liberal press holds back the truth, the illegal alien workforce is still stealing jobs, committing heinous crimes and perhaps the abhorrent bloody mayhem on the highways of this country.



Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican, exploded against the proposal as a s a way to undermine the central governments immigration policies. He envisaged it wouldn't have a "snowball's chance in hell" of winning voter endorsement. Donnelly added, "There's a proper process for coming to this country," saying of illegal nationals "Why you don’t respect that?" Illegal Immigration is not about any person’s place of origin—it doesn’t matter, although the Liberal newspapers and e-media use their influence to make it seem that way—it’s not? For the illegal alien invaders affect us all. It causes massive financial problems for the taxpayers, which hard-coated legislators stay indifferent. If you hold a authentic green card, a naturalization document or you are a birthright citizen, the reality is you are a here to become an American.  The Liberal progressives are slowly turning to a socialist (labor) society, which has already corrupted Europe to the detriment of its indigenous people with mass immigration?


Supposedly the proposal would outline the following criteria that the person had settled in California for four years, have no criminal convictions; not being a terrorist, and as most pro-illegal migrant and immigrant politicians who have sided with the Liberal progressive and extremist philosophy of ever increasing government, more taxes to pay for welfare support for the 20 million plus, who arrived by plane and stayed, jumped ship or slipped past the U.S. Border Patrol; and at least another half-million enter this country each year.


Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah, Indiana are all weighted down with the foreign nationals that have arrived there, but have facilitated their own laws in reduce the numbers and the unfunded mandates of education, health care and a crowded prison system.



This is why we must succeed in passing the ‘Legal Workforce Act’ or known to Americans as Mandatory E-Verify law. Obama’s presidential orders have been creeping in, which are not following the law and even allowing illegal aliens to remain here. E-Verify will produce the opposite effect, which unlawful aliens will begin to leave as jobs will become less available. Right now E-Verify is just voluntary program, but with a growing number of sponsoring policy makers joining Lamar Smith’s H.R.2885, the chances are ‘The Legal Workforce Act’ could reach the house floor for that bill to pass.  E-Verify and its passage to Congress is well documented on NumbersUSA internet site and information about the negative side if it doesn’t reach the house floor. Already out of the required 100 needed co-sponsors, only 33 are needed to compliment the law. It’s the Public assistance and taxpayer voters, who are contacting their Representatives in the House and Senate, determined not to be ushered to the side and demanding the E-Verify law. Thousands are calling 202-224-3121 to be directed to their federal and state political members and having a nationwide impact.


Michelle Bachmann, a strong advocate for the, The U.S. Constitution, the ‘Rule of Law’ and a TEA PARTY Republican will not be tempted, with the accustomed corruption exhibited within the Halls of Congress. The Tea Party and businessman Herman Cain will remain adamant in opposition to any job or economy killing immigration reform; if Cain lasts the dirty tricks of the other side? Bachmann, Perry have launched their own attacks against former speaker Newt Gingrich who as proposed a similar law to Assemblyman Fuentes in California, with the tirade of paying fines, prior taxes and having no criminal history. Bachmann has already promised to return power to the States, plus trashing Dept of Education, the current tax codes the Environmental Protection Agency to name just two. The EPA has become like a omnipotent power with adding every year thousands of new regulation, creating obstacles for small business to survive.


Last September debate Perry got pounded for his support for a Texas version of the Dream Act that the TEA PARTY is a strong opponent. Mitt Romney is now echoing Former Congressman Tom Tancredo's who has a huge following and where “amnesty” is a watchword for taxpayers. Tancredo criticizes his rivals, particularly New York Gov. Giuliani for his low key support of a Sanctuary City policy and Huckabee, for both being soft on immigration.  Anyone who is to reside in the ‘Oval Office’ must strengthen our immigration laws for American taxpayer first; not pandering to foreign nationals, undocumented immigrants, unauthorized aliens—but none-sanitized, or complicated by the ‘Politically Correctness’ term as they really are—illegal aliens.   But most Prez candidates support constructing the fence, and Rick Santorum astonished me when he mentioned Prior President Bush’s ‘Secure Fence Act’ of 2006. Last September Santorum has stated he opposes benefits for illegal aliens, comprehensive immigration reform, and supports a border fence and making English the national language.


Although Santotum has hinted in providing some method for "dealing with" individuals who are already squatting in this country? Senator Santorum also expressed his resistance to any plans to grant social security (a Bush proposal never ratified as yet?) and other discretionary expenditures to illegal aliens who are living in the United States. Every one of the candidates have their ‘Point of view’ which is a powder-keg issue’ that is going to be a strong ticket arising in the presidential elections and stand its ground with both jobs and the economy—as all are major troubles that co-exist together. The bottom line without enforcing immigration laws is the unparalleled encouragement of more illegal aliens coming here without any substantial benefits to an American public other than stealing jobs in all low classes of occupations.


 If there is to be a ‘Guest Workers’ program it must be strictly adhered to, with a tracking system of locating absconders’ and able to trace and deport.  Whatever the Liberal media says, the TEA PARTY is expanding and growing in extensive numbers and sees illegal immigration as a financial liability, but not so with new legal immigrants. The Tea Party would accept I believe a ‘Points System’ like European countries, with the advantage of bringing in the brains from other countries. These would be acclaimed professionals in engineering, science and other future industries that would be perceived as being not relying on the welfare or public assistance from taxpayers.

Gingrich is doomed

If any Republican candidate in the current election cycle was poised to plummet after rising to the top, it is Newt Gingrich - a paid consultant for causes that are anathema to conservatives and that he now repudiates. He is also a hypocrite in other areas such as calling for Clinton's impeachment for his extramarital affairs. Wild pronouncements such as telling us what poor kids need and his call for the occupy wall street crowd to take a bath and get a job comes across as the kind of knee-jerk remarks that undermine his pretense of being intellectual. Such is the stuff that will provide ample material for comedians in the next few weeks.

Arn't UNdeclared wars UnConstitutional?

Ron Paul is not against war. He is however against undelcared war which is never ending and costly, not only of $ but American lives. He is against the PATRIOT ACT(Repeal of the 4th ammendment) And against FISA act(Another repeal of the 4th ammendment.) Is consulting congress in a legal/constitutional manner and deciding if we should declare war, and if so, use overwhelming forces/Win it ASAP/bring our men and women home ASAP a bad foreign policy?<===This is what Ron Paul advocates. If you think it is, then you don't believe in the constitution, except as a tool to undermine your opponent.