Fireworks Spark at Republican Debate

By Samantha Jones & Eman Sahloul



Last week, the seven Republican hopefuls gathered to debate in Las Vegas. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Rep. Ron Paul, Herman Cain, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Texas Governor Rick Perry, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Michele Bachmann all particiapted in CNN’s debate while Anderson Cooper mediated.

The gloves came off from the start. In previous debates, each candidate seemed to simply discuss their plans and slightly touch on their feelings toward their competition. This time, the Republicans began to attack one another on higher levels like religion and character. It’s clear that everyone is remembering the rapidly approaching primaries.

All seven GOP candidates had their own fiery moments, with Perry coming out swinging more than ever before. This showed his backbone and ability to stand up for his ideals. Yet it went beyond the point of constructive criticism.

Throughout the debate, the candidates discussed their various plans to fix our country if any of them were to become elected. Illegal immigration, Obama care, tax reform and the flaws they see in Obama’s leadership were all addressed. In theory, the debate was about the issues, but in reality, most of it was fluff.

What bothers me most about politicians is their lack of straightforward answers, and these candidates were no different. They all try to walk a fine line and appeal to everyone- ultra conservatives, moderates and even some liberals.

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan was criticized from the start. It’s difficult to understand exactly what Cain’s plan involves, based on how he describes it in debates. Cain continuously refers to it as “oranges that cannot be compared to apples.” I will applaud his bravery in firmly standing behind his ideals, instead of wavering between both sides with no clear cut direction. However, it’s disappointing to listen to him debate the plan.

As with previous debates, everyone can find their own winners and losers. I believe there were a couple of winners and losers. Romney demonstrated his ability to remain calm, even under direct personal attacks. He exudes confidence and continued to show his unwavering confidence.

Cain lacks the political experience that the rest of the hopefuls have earned, but he makes up for this with his business sense. Gingrich doesn’t come across as a likeable candidate, but he is obviously comfortable in expressing his beliefs.

It was easy to forget about Paul, Santorum and Bachmann while the fireworks sparked between the other four.
I believe that Perry was both a winner and loser. He stole the show, and if it’s true that any kind of publicity is good publicity, then Perry succeeded. He showed his backbone, but also dug himself into a hole. Perry continuously interrupted Romney above the rest, and it’s clear that he sees Romney as his greatest competition.

It will be interesting to watch the Republicans debate next time. Hopefully we’ll be able to learn more about each hopeful’s policies than their ability to rip each other apart. Instead of getting dirty like the vast majority of politicians, I hope they will transcend this trend.

In order for the Republicans to take on Obama next year, they need to continue creating innovative plans. Everyone in the United States deserves a change. We deserve politicians who abstain from dirty politics and remember the people they represent. Hopefully one candidate will come forward to do just that.