Brooklyn Young Republican Club’s Coverage of the October 16, 2012 Presidential Debate.

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     Last night, just a few miles from Brooklyn, the President and the former Governor of Massachusetts met for the second of three debates. On a pleasant Autumn evening with Election Day just three weeks away, Barack Obama hoped he could carry the second meeting of the candidates and force a rubber match in the candidates’ final meeting next week.

    As Republicans, we overwhelmingly rooted for Mitt Romney in his battle of ideas with Barack Obama. The venue of the debate, Hofstra University in Long Island’s Nassau County, has risen to prominence as a quadrennial site for presidential debates and used the small audience of students, faculty and local residents as a foil to the candidates, who took questions from the audience from a wide variety of topics. Nassau County itself is something of a battleground, as even though our state is all but certain to vote for the Obama electors, the heavily populated Nassau could support a Republican; it was once among the greatest of GOP strongholds in the entire country, and while the last twenty years have shown a decidedly Democratic trend, we can hope that Nassau emulates Brooklyn’s example and starts coming back into the Republican fold.

    A highlight of the debate was Obama’s defense of his much-discussed reaction to the attack that resulted in the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. Obama said that he called it a “terrorist attack” right away, but the facts indicate otherwise; it was, in fact, about two weeks before he characterized the event as terrorism. The fact that he hoped to score points with this, however, does not say much about his intellectual depth or his handling of the situation. I would imagine that the Ambassador was “terrified” in the moments before his death, as you or I or anyone else would have been, under attack in a foreign land by an angry mob, particularly in a global flashpoint such as Libya. Whether or not this is “terrorism” is a non-issue; how, and whether, the responsible cabinet officer – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton – will be held accountable for the Ambassador’s death, is the real question. All the President had to say about this was that nobody in his administration would use the incident for political purposes. Giving the President the benefit of the doubt, and assuming it was not used for such purposes, this would still not let his administration off the hook for such a lack of oversight.

    The President was very much on-message, and undoubtedly his preparations for the debate helped him stick to his idea that prosperity “grows out of the middle class.” On its surface, this is a nice-sounding idea, and might even appeal to Republicans who are committed to the idea of economic opportunity for all and the freedom to prosper by one’s own initiative and effort. This, however, is not what the President means. The President’s plan will continue to increase federal government in virtually every aspect of the economy, and displace the millions of businesspeople, consumers and workers who make individual decisions and direct the economy in a way that no federal bureaucrat ever could. Most tellingly, the Obama “stimulus” plan put a huge number of public employees – teachers and other bureaucrats – on the public payroll, and it is no coincidence that the unions that represent them are a cornerstone of Democratic strength.

    Making an appearance among the variety of issues discussed was the exploitation of American oil and gas, which is an issue that hasn’t attracted nearly as much attention as it deserves. Recent years have seen technological advances that now make it possible for a far greater share of the U.S. Energy demand to be met without having to import oil from the other side of the world. Aside from the prospect of cheap and abundant energy for American homes and businesses, the lessening of dependency on foreign oil will have major implications for foreign affairs. Mitt Romney supports a plan for North American – i.e. US and Canada, which has large and dependable petroleum reserves – energy independence. The President has, to his credit, not toed the liberal line that would shut down all new energy exploration; for example, he and his EPA director have both stated that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” an exciting new gas extraction technique, can be done safely. Closer to home, though, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is dragging his feet on allowing this technique to be used in the upstate counties that have suffered economically since the 60’s and 70’s, but are sitting on billions of dollars worth of natural gas. While other states are prospering with enormous revenues from drilling that uses hydraulic fracturing, New York will remain stuck in the mud while radical “environmentalists” stand in the way of progress; one wonders whether the Saudi royal family, horrified about the possibility of their oil being replaced by New York natural gas, would have an incentive to support these hysterical obstructionists. Let’s hope that our neighbors in Pennsylvania, who are benefitting from the natural gas boom, paid close attention to the candidates when they discussed the American energy issue and go to vote in their key swing state on November 6th.

    A  re-energized Republican party, having learned lessons from 2008 and making millions of voter contacts in key states, is not the only force working against the President’s re-election. The Obama flank is being threatened by Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, presidential candidates who bring into even clearer focus the many letdowns of Obama’s 2008 shallow “Yes We Can!” campaign. Stein, who was arrested last night while trying to enter Hofstra University in an act of protest over her exclusion from the debate, will undoubtedly siphon votes away from Obama on the left from those who believe Obamacare did not go far enough in making healthcare a bureaucratic mess, among other issues. Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, has called attention to Obama’s broken promise to respect the Ninth and Tenth Amendment rights of states which, by law or referendum, have legalized medical marijuana and are now facing the wrath of an overreaching, unrestrained federal government.

    The media said that President Obama “won” the debate – as if we, the viewers and voters, can’t evaluate for ourselves who will “win” our vote. That is why we as Republicans tend to ignore the commentators and make our own decision. There will be one more debate, one more opportunity for the President’s agenda to be exposed as the wrong direction for anyone who cherishes individualism and the free enterprise system; it is time for us Republicans to get to work and fight for what we believe in.


By Paul Hanson, Member of the Board of Directors

Brooklyn Young Republican Club.  

Going Strong Since 1880.

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