Sunday, April 29, 2012

George Allen plays it safe at primary debate

Former governor and U.S. senator George Allen had the most to lose with a gaff at Saturday’s primary debate. His challengers for the nomination are Bishop E. W. Jackson, Delegate Bob Marshall and former President of the Richmond Tea Party Jamie Radtke.

Jay Warren, WSLS channel 10 anchor moderated the debate at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center. The room was not at capacity but enthusiasm was high. Chip Tarbutton and Greg Aldridge spearheading the Jackson campaign had their nose in their laptop checking the conservative blog Bearing Drift for reaction. Aldridge gave a quiet animated cheer when Jackson hit the right talking points.

E. W. Jackson

Jackson as a minister had the oratory that set him apart from the other candidates. Though he’d take the “ax” to the nation’s budget, the red, white and blue ax he uses as a prop to make his point was out of sight. He said he would eliminate the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

America’s comeback is based on a “more fair, simple and competitive taxes – reasonable regulations, productive energy development and empowering educational opportunity,” said George Allen. He used the word “free” or “freedom” 14 times in his closing statement.

Bob Marshall a 21-year Virginia delegate said he has never voted for either a tax increase or deficit spending. He is known for introducing bills in the general assembly that would make abortions difficult if not impossible. Most recently his “personhood” bill that defines an embryo as a person brought Virginia into the national spotlight. It was postponed until 2013 under intense media scrutiny and capital protests.

Bob Marshall

Marshall is responsible for the bill that formed the legal basis for Virginia’s challenge to Obamacare. The governor has recently signed Marshall’s Anti-Detention Act that prevents any Virginia agency from aiding the military in detaining U.S. citizens without trial.

In a funnier moment Warren asked if the Department of Homeland Security was a good idea. To that Jackson responded, “I do have a problem with TSA and the groping that goes on at the airports.” Marshall said to laugher that he thought the TSA “was a job program for out of work urologists.”

Allen dismissed Ronald Reagan’s 18 debt ceiling increases saying, “those were those days and now it’s different.” He advocated for a balanced budget amendment and line item veto ignoring the question regarding his four votes to raise the debt ceiling during his previous reign as a U.S. Senator.

Jamie Radtke

Radtke called Allen out on his votes for earmarks and raising the debt ceiling. She said she would balance the budget in five years by freezing federal spending at current levels.

Tim Kaine held a roundtable on social security in Roanoke the same day. His solution to keeping social security solvent past 2033 is to raise the social security tax cap.

Marshall had taken a somewhat different approach to saving social security. He attributed the disparity of workers to retirees on abortions. Later when asked to clarify he said that “abortions have thrown us off … that’s 28 million workers less paying into the system.” He said Kaine’s idea of raising taxes was a knee-jerk answer “that we should not be doing.” When asked about raising the retirement age of workers in physically demanding jobs he said “ they could get a desk job at the factory where they can work pushing paper.”

Jackson said that he “would never want to destroy social security, but if Chile can come up with a system of allowing people to invest their own money and build wealth over the course of their lives … the United States of America can handle it, too.”

All the candidates at the debate favored raising the retirement age for those borne after the 1960s. Radtke said the government “has stolen it from all of us.” Retirees live in fear she said. “We can incentivize people to work beyond their retirement age … they can keep their payroll taxes.”

George Allen

George Allen blamed the social security crisis on the economy. Besides raising the retirement age he suggested income adjustment. “There are a variety of things that can be done … one thing I will not be for is raising taxes.” He blamed Tim Kaine for the increase in spending and said he “expected Tim Kaine to demagogue this issue.”

Radtke said, “George Allen will continue to refuse to provide solutions to entitlements … he won’t back the Ryan Plan, he won’t back Rand Paul’s plan, he won’t back Jim DeMint’s plan … that’s irresponsible.” She said Kaine’s idea of “throwing more money at the entitlement program is a foolish idea.”

All candidates support the Defense of Marriage Act. All candidates were noncommittal on endorsing Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee for president but said they would support the eventual nominee. Jackson admitted that Romney was not his first choice.

Jackson poses with Calvin Webb

Allen said later that he’d like to see “states having the freedom of flexibility in managing Medicaid.” There are many aspects of Paul Ryan’s budget proposal “that are identical or close to the one I’m advocating.”

Calvin Webb, the only African-American in the audience said he really likes Jackson and Radtke. First he wants to “make sure they’re not faking it.” He’ll make his choice on who can take the White House back. “They’re all working together to bring our nation down … [Obama] has placed so many of our enemies into positions.” He specifically targeted Homeland Security advisor Mohamed Elibiary who he accused of being part of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Both Virginia Senator Ralph Smith and Delegate Greg Habeeb have endorsed George Allen. Sen. Smith said he envied Jackson’s speaking ability. He also thought Marshall would contribute positively to the debate.

There are two more debates – one is scheduled for May 11 in Virginia Beach and another on May 25 in Falls Church.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2012, Elections, National, Politics

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