The Atlanta Young Republicans held an informal debate of representatives for the three front runners (and Ron Paul). I decided to attend because it was at 5 Seasons Brewery and they have the best Steak Au Poivre in Atlanta.
Representing Rudy was William Woodall, John Bozeman represented Fred!, Eric Tanenblatt spoke on behalf of Gov. Mitt Romney. and someone going by MJ (I didn’t catch her full name) spoke on behalf of Ron Paul.
AYR Chairman Cameron Fash asked each representative three questions on Immigration, Health care and the War in Iraq. He then opened the floor up to questions.
Eric started it off by pointing out that no one speaking was the candidate and that it was difficult to answer specific questions on policy proposals without being the candidate.
My notes got erased for the Iraq question so I won’t be able to do justice to what they said. Stupid MacBook touch pad.
On immigration there was little dissent. Everyone said “secure the borders”1 and “enforce the laws”. On health care, there was universal condemnation of Euro-Canadian style health care and the Obama/Clinton/Edwards plans. MJ(Paul) pointed out that government run health care interferes with the Doctor/Patient relationship. Eric said that Gov. Romney has the best track record on reform because he was able to push through a solution in Mass. That solution required every citizen to have health insurance and placed financial penalties on those who didn’t. He did say that states should be laboratories and wouldn’t necessarily impose that solution on the entire county.
The question on Tax Policy and the FairTax was a bit more interesting. Ron Paul wants to do away with the IRS, but won’t vote for the FairTax. He plans to cut government so much that it won’t be necessary. He also wants to abolish the Federal Reserve. Both Rudy and Romney’s surrogates mentioned that we must keep the Bush tax cuts and look to where we could cut further. John, speaking for a candidate who has yet to publish his fiscal policies, pointed out that Fred Thompson has always governed from philosophy and as such wants limited government and fiscal accountability. On the subject of the FairTax he said that Fred will probably have his own tax proposal that will be fairer.f money
Someone asked why hasn’t Fred! announced. John’s response was that it takes time to put together a national campaign team, and that Sen. Thompson still has some contractual issues with Law & Order. Eric also pointed out that once you become a candidate a whole slew of legal issues arise and that you must have your legal infrastructure in place – and that takes time.
The last question was on when will the 3rd and 4th tier candidates drop out. MJ pointed out that traditional polls were skewed to the older generation since most young people only have cell phones (which are not polled). To their credit the other spokespeople said that everyone has a right to run and that new ideas help influence debate. MJ did point out that they are registering many new folks, that Ron Paul doesn’t take any special interest money, and that there is a media conspiracy against his message.
They ended with discussion about motivating the Republican base and the nation at large. Eric pointed out how Obama has gotten over 250,000 supporters without saying much of anything. People are fed up of the partisanship in Washington and we don’t need to nominate an insider.
1Why I think that won’t work.