CNN held a National Security debate in Constitution Hall in Washington, DC this evening, and it is clear that two laggards in the public opinion polls, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, shone brightly in the Republican debate.
Both Huntsman and Paul came out against the Patriot Act as a denial of civil liberties, with both warning that losing liberty for security is a bad bargain!
Also, both came out for withdrawing from Afghanistan as soon as possible, and focusing on America’s needs, with Huntsman saying intelligence gathering, special forces, and the use of drones could resolve the problems in Afghanistan, and that having large numbers of troops in a foreign country in the modern world was counterproductive. Paul, of course, came out for American withdrawal from the world, an isolationist nation, which as great as it might sound to many, is totally impractical! Huntsman did not go that far in his comments.
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum also had moments of good thoughts, with Gingrich arguing that we cannot deport illegal immigrants who have been here for a long time and been lawful, and that children of illegal immigrants who wish to serve in the military should be given the chance to become citizens, in effect supporting the DREAM Act. Meanwhile,Rick Santorum backed foreign aid as important to continue, while Ron Paul called for an end to all foreign aid, not a great position making any sense in the modern world, particularly when foreign aid is only less than one percent of the national budget.
By comparison, Mitt Romney did not do as well as he has in the past, coming across as very hawkish, and hardline on illegal immigration, both views probably part of his plan to attract more support from right wing Republicans and conservative talk show hosts.
Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Michele Bachmann continued their downward spiral, none of them making any impressive statements during the debate.
So, if all things are equal, we might see the rise of Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul in the public opinion polls, as they both stood out dramatically from the other six candidates!