Overall, it was a pretty depressing experience. A couple brief thoughts:
1) Regarding the Ron Paul comment about the uninsured: Of course you have your bat shit crazies that shout “yeah!” to an uninsured person dying from lack of medical treatment, but most people, Republicans included, understand you have an obligation to do something. The response by conservatives is to leave the responsibility to charities, most of which are religion based. The point is though, that somebody has to pay for that as well. If it’s fully funded and everybody is chipping a fair share of their income into it then what is the difference from government taxation for medical coverage? Of course, if it doesn’t receive the needed charitable contributions, which is likely, then it would be a failed solution to the problem of the uninsured.
Whether one is paying a government or paying a charity to help uninsured shouldn’t really matter, but it goes to the heart of the conservative beliefs. Conservatives believe that there is a big difference because they see the government as a threat to their religious beliefs. Also, using a charity would allow selective help. For example, uhhh, not paying for Gardisil treatments to uninsured or not treating bodily damage caused by drug addicts.
2) The mantra of the conservative party is freedom and responsibility, which essentially in their worldview means every person determines their own success or failure and, therefore, should reap the rewards or suffer the consequences of their own actions. It has become puritanical to the point of embracing the love to dish out the punitive measures part of suffering the consequences. Hence, people yelling “yeah!” to hypothetical uninsured dying humans. Yet, this worldview lacks any self awareness or context with regards to the role randomness plays on rewards and consequences. So much so that it makes their lack of compassion repulsive.
For example, the young kid that stood up and asked how much of each dollar he earned would he be allowed to keep. Each candidate raced to the bottom with their tax percentage answers. This kid and audience believe that they earned that money on their own with no assistance and have no responsibility to anyone else. Such a naive view. The kid probably went to a public school where his education was paid for by others, he also probably took out federal school loans which were subsidized by others, and I’m sure he took public roads to his school and now his job instead of hacking a trail with a machete. I’m sure whatever he sells, makes, or does requires other humans to buy, use, or utilize. Everything that he owns or has accomplished he truly believes he was entitled to if the proper effort was put in. Yet he and many like him are unaware, or conveniently ignore, that success is only possible with a good infrastructure and the help of others. Good parents, public schools, opportunities for higher education, and then available work should be available to all.
3) Nothing above is all that enlightening or hasn’t been said a million times. There is a real difference between politics and policy. We face a lot of difficult issues that need meticulous and well thought out policy solutions, yet the debates are filled with pandering and outright lies. The level of “debate” is worse than high school sophomore policy debates, seriously. There’s no point in even going down a list and tearing apart the inaccuracies and idiotic statement because there is no one to convince or persuade anymore. The people that will decide the election were watching the Dolphins/Patriots and will likely decide on less substance than was even discussed at the debate. It seems that there used to be a facade of rationale in the past and now there’s barely any facade anymore. People like Mitt Romney have to be thinking to themselves I can’t believe I’m really saying this shit just to try to get elected. There is very rarely any effort put forth to be reasonable or truthful and when a candidate does, he’s shot down or offends some base of the party. Rick Perry “lost” the debate mostly because he actually gave some nuanced answers about immigration and because he did the people of Texas a great good by making Gardisil mandatory!!! Anymore, the prescription is but just to laugh at the comedy show that it is otherwise it can be a very painful experience.
4) Finally, it’s clear, to me at least, that Mitt Romney is heads and shoulders above the rest. He actually seems capable and smart enough that he wouldn’t drive the country into some 11th century theocratic crusades mongering state. So my feeling is that if Obama has to be beat then I hope it’s to Romney. That’s a double edged sword for Romney, the fact that he moderately appeals to a person such as myself means he’s doing something wrong in trying to win the primary. But, it also means that he’s going to look very tough versus Obama. I also hope that Romney is saying all this Tea Party propaganda with his fingers crossed behind his back and ready to ditch it if he ever gets elected. The Romney that was Governor of Massachusetts is much, much more desirable than Rick Perry, Bachmann or any of the other candidates.