The Republican gathering today in Columbia, South Carolina, the Palmetto Freedom Forum, hosted by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, Iowa Congressman Steve King, and Professor Robert George of Princeton University, was very revealing as to just how far Right the Republican Party has swung.
Anyone not of that persuasion would feel dismayed and disturbed by the tone of the gathering, but without Texas Governor Rick Perry present, due to wildfire problems in Austin and other areas of Texas, it seemed that Michele Bachmann, who went first, may have made the best impression for those who believe her views.
One thing is clear: Even if one dislikes Michele Bachmann and her views, she knows how to present her arguments and views without notes and in clear statements, and has certainly done her “homework”, unlike former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who never seems to know what she is talking about, and just utilizes applause lines, rather than presenting substance and indications of knowledge of facts!
It is also interesting that no one at the forum suggested the elimination of corporate income taxes, although they all favored lowering of those taxes, while Palin, in her Iowa speech on Saturday, made the crazy suggestion of the total end of that tax!
Anyone paying attention today would find it difficult to imagine Sarah Palin competing on an even plane with Bachmann or any of the other participants, as she would not have any substance or detail that would make her look serious as a candidate! So, while she teases supporters in Iowa and today in New Hampshire with her rhetoric, and the hint she might run, it is hard to imagine her getting into the game of serious preparation and thoughts needed for a Presidential campaign!
The week from today, Labor Day, through next Monday, will have a dramatic effect on the Republican race for President.
Today, in South Carolina, six of the candidates (all but Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman) will participate in a Palmetto Freedom Forum, in which each candidate will sit on the stage for 21 minutes, and have questions shot at them by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, Iowa Congressman Steve King, and conservative constitutional scholar Robert George of Princeton University.
DeMint will ask questions on how to make government smaller, while King will challenge the candidates on the subject of immigration. George will touch on the hot button social issues: abortion, gay marriage, and affirmative action. He is also likely to ask questions about federalism, the idea that some government agencies on the national level are not needed or allowed under the Constitution, such as the Education Department.
This is the kind of challenge that could make or break candidates, and then on top of that, there are two debates by next Monday night–one sponsored by MSNBC on Wednesday and the other by CNN next Monday, and it gives Rick Perry his first time on the national stage debate; but also allows Jon Huntsman his last real chance to start gaining notice and move up in the national polls; Michele Bachmann the chance to outshine Perry; Mitt Romney the chance to come back from second place in the polls after seeing Perry rise above him; the opportunity for Ron Paul to look like more than a fringe candidate; and the last chance for Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum to look as if it is worth going on as candidates.
So this next week is one in which Sarah Palin will be watching, and probably being thankful she has not entered the Presidential race, and solidifying her decision to stay out of it, as running for President is for those who are unafraid of challenge, which Sarah obviously is, having quit as Alaska Governor in the middle of her one term!