Posts tagged 2012
Posts tagged 2012
By: Jake W Kazmierczak
With the Florida Primary just five days away, tonight’s debate could arguably be the most important yet. Not only is it the last before the Florida primary, but the space between today’s debate and the next in February is a massive 28 days.
This is crucial for the every candidate because one slip up could completely derail their campaign and leave them without a good chance of recovery for nearly a month! Nonetheless, the two candidates feeling the majority of the pressure are Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
Ever since Gingrich took South Carolina by storm, he and Mitt have been clawing at one another for the ever desired front runner status. The polls reflect just that. According to The Quinnipiac University Poll Romney and Gingrich are “essentially tied” pulling 36%/34% respectably with a 2% margin of error.
This means, quite frankly, that literally every decided and undecided Floridian voter will have their eyes glued to the TV tonight providing the candidates with one last shot to win their vote.
Don’t miss it, I know I won’t.
The debate starts at 8PM Eastern on CNN.
The State of the Union Synopsis
With all major news outlets reporting a 40% plus victory for Newt Gingrich in South Carolina we now have a three way tie creating one of the most interesting primary seasons in recent memory. Here is a recap on the elections so far:
First: Rick Santorum - 24.56% (won by 34 votes)
Second: Mitt Romney - 24.54%
Third: Ron Paul - 21.43%
Fourth: Newt Gingrich - 13.31%
First: Mitt Romney - 39.28%
Second: Ron Paul - 22.89%
Third: Huntsman (out)
Fourth: Gingrich - 9.43%
Fifth: Rick Santorum - 9.42%
First: Newt Gingrich
Second: Mitt Romney
Third: Ron Paul
Fourth: Rick Santorum
Next Up: Florida 31 January 2012
Watching CNN this morning was weird. Those guys were all over the place they had so much to talk about.
First: Perry withdraws his Presidential bid (finally.) It is still unknown if he will endorse another candidate. If I had to guess who he would pick, it would be between Paul and Santorum. The former because Ron Paul is also from the great state of Texas and the latter because Santorum because he seems the most socially conservative.
Second: New and apparently more accurate numbers are coming in from Iowa on the Caucus results from January 3rd. They show that Santorum actually beat Romney by a very narrow margin. While the few votes that separated them don’t mean a lot now, he is officially “the winner.”
Third: There were some polls taken on South Carolina Evangelical voters that placed Romney above Gingrich and Santorum. Will this trend continue through the Southern states? I doubt it. Even though the winner of South Carolina has gone on to receive the nomination of their party for over 30 years, if Romney wins it’s possible that the decision will be tougher and drag on through the Southern states.
Oh, and: Palin endorses Gingrich. Not surprising. The numbers for Newt are getting closer and closer to Romney as the South Carolina Primary approaches and we will definitely see the remaining candidates closing in on Romney in the debate tonight much like they did earlier in the week.
“Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.” - Oscar Ameringer 1870-1943
South Carolina GOP Debate Highlights
(Candidates are in the order that they first spoke)
Gingrich: When asked about his attacks on Romney, he said that he raised harsh questions because that Romney’s record would not stand up to Obama in the fall. When asked how long unemployment benefits should go on, he said that there should be required job training while on those benefits. He cited that 90 weeks is the equivalent of an Associates degree and a government should help people who help themselves. Supports a 15% tax rate. When asked about his statement about poor adolescents being “lazy” and proposed that impoverished students should work as janitors in their schools. He cited that if students work, they will learn an ethic and show up for school, which will eventually improve their economic situation. Wants to offer a private retirement savings account that is voluntary. He pointed to the model in Chile, where the private accounts have a much higher return. Wants to consolidate programs that are used to help the poor into a single one and then use what’s left to balance the budget. Called No Child Left Behind a failure, says to get rid of regulation, the department of education and return that power to the states and the individual school districts.
Romney: Defending his work in the private sector, Romney said that in his experience, there was some success and some loss. He quickly moved from his record in the private sector to his record as Governor and the successes he had there. When asked if he believed that felons who have served their time should be given the right to vote, he said that people who have committed violent crimes should not be able to vote. When asked about keeping the financial system going, he said that importance would come in getting government out of business, reforming the tax system, opening up new markets across the world and getting people back to work. Supported lower tax rates of about 25%. Anticipates releasing his income tax records around April. When asked about his position on immigration and the Dream Act, he said that people who come to the U.S. illegally should not be given extra help over people who come the “correct” way and said that he would veto the Dream Act if he has the chance as President. When asked about the War on Terror and negotiations he said absolutely not and that America needs to recognize that we are under attack and to have a military so strong and pursue interests around the world so that no other force would consider the challenge. Said that he supports the National Defense Authorization Act. On retirement, he said that he would balance social security by offering higher benefits for lower income people and lowering it for higher income reciepients. and offer a premium medicare plan where people could buy extra care and letting competition exist. Does not support new gun laws.
Perry: He is still leaning on his efforts as Governor and the very strong Texas economy. He then stated that his tax records have been public for several years, Gingrich will soon release his and then he called on Romney to release his. He said that he plans on repealing business regulations that “strangle” the economy. Supported a flat tax rate. When asked if Turkey still belongs in NATO due to the current situation there, he responded with “no” as well as not giving foreign aid to countries that are a threat. On help to the housing market, he cited his proposed flat tax, which he says would give people peace of mind on their investment. He cited the “healthy and growing” Texas housing market and moved on to his proposal of a balanced budget amendment and making congress a part time position so they “could live under the laws they pass” Wants to secure the border within a year of his presidency.
Ron Paul: When asked about some of the adds his campaign ran being too harsh towards the other candidates, he said that he pointed to Santorum’s voting record. When asked about proposed in military cuts, he said he wants to cut defense spending that is outside of the country and bringing more of those troops back to the U.S. He cited that he receives more than twice the funding from the military than all of the other candidates. 0% tax rate? Asked how he would fix disparities in arrest rates in minorities, he cited discrimination in sentencing as well as the drug war that unfairly hits the minority. When asked about the War on Terror, he said he wants to end the war, and that we should not do to other countries things that we do not want done to us.
Santorum: Responding to Ron Paul’s comments on his voting record, he said that he is “not perfect” and there are things that he would repeal in office that he previously voted for like NCLB. When asked about extending jobless benefits, he said he did not support benefits that extended over 90 weeks. He said that he would give decisions like unemployment programs back to the states to meet their individual needs. Has two tax rates similar to Reagan Era. When asked about the situation on poverty, he said cited a study that said the ways to avoid poverty are to work, finish high school and get married before having children. Does not support a military mission in Syria. About the National Defense Authorization Act, said that the standard of due process and habeaus corpus should be upheld. Supports a flat tax rate for big and small companies that would level the playing field here. He strongly supports savings plans as well as balancing the budget. Supported trigger locks and background checks on gun purchases. He also voted with the NRA.
I am currently keeping track of the South Carolina Debate. I will be summing up what the candidates are supporting and like last time, I’m typing as I watch so it jumps around as the debate does.
Debates are a good way to see how candidates defend their positions on important issues and when what they would plan to do if elected to office.
It comes as no surprise that Huntsman withdrew his Presidential bid after coming in at 1% of likely GOP primary voters in South Carolina. Huntsman always seemed to be the most moderate of the candidates and he may end up in a position like U.S. Trade Representative, which he would be well suited for. I wouldn’t have predicted that Huntsman would throw his support behind Romney, but Huntsman stated that he believed Romney would be the candidate capable of defeating Obama.
Rather than talking about Romney’s views on policy and history, Gingrich attacks the treatment of the family pet. Really? I’m not saying that someone should ever put their dog on the roof, but can’t we talk about the real issues that surround the election??
Well, they do heavy campaigning, of course. In the last election cycle, President Obama raised over $760 Million and is expected to top that by raising over $1 Billion this year. The year, the candidates over all are predicted to spend over $8 Billion.
But besides vamping up on the re-election campaign, President Obama is taking steps to appeal to the “undeclared” voters that he may have gotten in the last election that are in the toss up this round. Today, the President called on Congress for the power to shrink the size of the federal government, something that the GOP candidates are really pushing. This proposal comes at a very strategic time and poses a contrast to statement made by GOP candidates who have called the Obama Administration a far-left, government expanding, ploy.
Bottom line, we can look forward to proposals and promises that appeal to middle of the road voters from both sides.
Before we look at the current views on education, let’s look at education historically.
The Constitution does not explicitly state anything about education and at the time children would have received education in the form of common life lessons from their parents in between household duties and possibly working on their family’s land. The closest thing the federal government did was suggest that an education system be in place as states enter the union in the Northwest Land Ordinance of 1787.
“ Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged”
Then looking back at the Constitution once more:
“The powers not delegated to the Unites States by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.”
According to these documents, education should be left up to the states. But because our nation and our educational needs have changed so dramatically, should these documents be able to “breathe” to accommodate? Are mandates for education an “implied power?” In the 1700s, it would have been impossible to demand that children attend school on a regular basis because children had a great deal of responsibility in the farming sector. (Our school calendars are still based on harvest seasons.) Not to mention, new states entering the union may not have had the chance to build a great infrastructure yet and poor infrastructure coupled with making children attend school on a regular basis… the impacts of disease could have been terrible.
Our economic future depends on an educated population. It will be high tech and international, no doubt about it. But if we left education up to the states and parents today would our nation be prepared for that future?
Here is what the current candidates had to say on education:
Presidential candidate Ron Paul has stated that he wants to get rid of the Department of Education and leave the matter up to individual states and parents. Stated that No Child Left Behind hooks institutions on federal funding. He wants to encourage homeschooling and private school through a tax write off.
Romney supported No Child Left Behind but knows that it hasn’t met all of the needs in the education system. He supports private and homeschooling as well as standardized testing that “holds schools accountable.” He also supports better pay for teachers.
Santorum voted in favor of No Child Left Behind but does not believe that it serves the consumer, which is the student. He voted in favor of tax-free education savings accounts but voted no on shifting $11B in corporate tax loopholes to education. (Check out the Kennedy amendment relative to education funding.)
Rick Perry promotes school choice as well as the voucher system. Perry turned down $700M in 2010 for federal stimulus money for education saying that “there were strings attached” that would have required Texas to adopt national standards, claiming they would have cost about $3B.
Gingrich said that giving out student loans leads to students who take fewer hours and opt to not work, which, he said, leads to more time spent in college and higher debt. He wants to dramatically shrink the size of the Federal Department of Education, giving more power to the states and parents. He proposed “paying kids” as an incentive to succeed in math and science from an early age and then waive interest on student loans for math and science grads. He also said that the U.S. should replace multiculturalism with a more patriotic education. Gingrich also stated that teachers should be paid based on their performance.
Huntsman has cited the failure of No Child Left Behind and believes in localization of education. He has also mentioned that early learning is critical and supports the pursuit of languages as well as math in order to ensure a strong economic future. He has also said that in order to ensure first-rate students, we need to pay for first-rate teachers.
With all that said, if education was left up to parents now, would our education system be better off?
What about private schools?
About 5 million students, only 10%, of students in the U.S. attend a private school, 80% of which are religiously affiliated. The median cost of private school is $17,441. (That number comes front he National Association of Independent Schools.) First of all, WOAH. Most of these candidates are encouraging private schools and want to provide some sort of tax incentive for families who send their children there. $17 grand worth? If someone told me that a single mother with two children is going to be motivated to send her kids to school for close to $40,000 a year because of a tax incentive, I would call that bluff immediately. A possibility is that families with higher income would send their children to high performing private schools while families that couldn’t afford, it and didn’t have the option, would send their children to public school which would be regulate by state standards.
I just realized that I could go on all night about unequal access to quality education, but I’ll save that for another time.