Allen B. West

Here’s my candidate ranking for last night’s debate (and one BIG missing thing)

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After watching the Fox Business News GOP presidential primary debate, it was clear there was one standout winner: Fox Business News, especially considering the CNBC debacle. However, there was one thing I was really missing, which was any recognition of Veteran’s Day and address how we fix that system.

But the FBN debate moderators were calm, they kept things under control, and their inquiries were on point and focused on the issues, not gimmicks. They didn’t try to pit the candidates against each other, they allowed the flow of the discussion to dictate any one-on-one engagements. One thing is for certain, the intellectual capacity of this eight-person field far surpassed the collection of five the Democrats put up in their one and only debate. The responses were thought-provoking and not just talking point pabulum.

That being said, here are my key takeaways:

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– It was an interesting exchange between Senators Rubio and Paul on the child tax credit. I agree that the American family is important, but if we’re creating a new unfunded program, that is not good. The further exchange between Rubio and Paul on national security spending did not bode well for Rand Paul. He came off as not being strong on national security. Although, someone needs to articulate about not increasing the defense budget but rather reining in the DoD bureaucracy as well as R&D and acquisition program timelines.

– Gov. John Kasich really hurt himself with the nebulous response on bank bailouts. Cruz’s engagement of him on the issue really hurt him. Sen. Cruz laid out the ramifications of “too big to fail” especially the decimation of our small community banks. That was something Carly Fiorina was able to specify with the understanding of how government created the mortgage financial mess, as she brought up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Fiorina was also the only one who brought up the issue of government spending reform, moving to zero-based budgeting, instead of baseline budgeting. I was surprised with the bank breakup question no one mentioned restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, which allowed collusion of commercial and investment banking, a major contributor to the financial mortgage crisis of 2008. We never should have enabled mortgage-backed securities to be wantonly sold. The big banks need to stop lining up at the government trough, but instead follow the right practices and not depend on crony capitalism policies to save them. Then again, we don’t need government policies that advance nefarious financial institution practices.

– Now, I know the natives aren’t gonna be happy about this, but Dr. Ben Carson just lost me. His responses on troop deployments in Syria and Afghanistan were bizarre. He never answered the question about 50 special operators to Syria — what he did say was utterly confusing. And his response on the question about JP Morgan and the break up of big banks, well, just read the transcripts and tell me if you could figure it out. I know many of you like Dr. Carson a lot, but I have to be objective. He was not good in this debate.

– Now I’d like to make a point. It is too late to institute a no-fly zone in Syria. There are combat aircraft from Syria, Russia, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and the United States operating in that airspace. We have lost the high ground in that area of operations. There is only one way to enforce a no-fly zone: you shoot down anyone other than YOU flying in there. Also, Russia has been granted airspace rights by a sovereign nation, Syria. Folks, that window of opportunity has perhaps closed forever.

– Senator Paul made the comment that Iraq was a mistake. Kinda hard to say that and look into the eyes of those who served there, lost buddies, or lost limbs, or both. Rather than going back to 2003, folks need to offer policy solutions for where we are now. Heck, if Bill Clinton had struck bin Laden when he had the chance….y’all see where I’m going with that. I fully agree with Senator Paul about the legislative branch ceding power to the executive branch.

– The folks strongest on national security were Rubio and Fiorina. They both grasp the ideal of Reagan’s “peace through strength.” It is a deterrent. And no, I wouldn’t be chatting with Vladimir Putin because talk means nothing to him. He’s a former KGB officer who only respects action, and right now he’s outmaneuvering Obama in every way. And I was surprised no one made the connection between the TPP and the Chinese emplacing the manmade islands in the South China Sea along a major sea lane of commerce trade route — no coincidences there.

– Jeb Bush just maintained his position. Nothing very grand in his performance this evening. When assessing tax plans, all the candidates are in the same basic ball stadium, with some nuanced differences. All the candidates want growth — more so than the Democrats who just want more economic enslavement and dependency.

– Donald Trump’s prime moment came when he addressed the issue of corporate inversions and why we need to institute fiscal policies that allow the repatriation of trillions of dollars of capital back to our shores. Right now, the failing fiscal, regulatory, tax, and monetary policies are indicating America is not open for business. And the Democrats will replace the current sign with a even bigger one.

So here are my rankings for this evenings debate — much easier when it’s only eight:

1. Rubio
2. Fiorina
3. Cruz
4. Trump
5. Bush
6. Paul
7. Carson
8. Kasich

Don’t be a hater. You can assess the debate however you wish. This is only my assessment. We shall see what happens in the ensuing days’ with the polls.

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