ROANOKE, VA – Republican Candidate for US Senate Bishop E.W. Jackson won the first of three debates that the Republican Party of Virginia has planned between now and the Republican Primary on June 12, 2012.
Jackson’s enthusiasm and charisma was in full display as this man of humble beginnings has gone from a foster child to candidate for the United States Senate.
The other candidates, George Allen, Bob Marshall and Jamie Radtke all did well, but we are unable to pick a second place winner from the rest of the field. So we will call it a three way tie for second.
For those not familiar with the candidates, or all of the candidates, we will take a look at the basic issues each presented as the strong suit of their platform and critique the performance of each candidate. After speaking with and listening to all of the candidates on many occasions over the last few years, we will try to present an unbiased review of the four remaining candidates performance at yesterday’s debate and the main points of their individual platforms.
The four candidates have a great deal more in common than they do differences. All are Conservative, passionate about fixing America’s problems and any one of these candidates are far more qualified than the Democratic opponent Tim Kaine who is a puppet at the bidding of Barack Obama.
(In alphabetical order.)
Platform – The basic tenets of George Allen’s platform is perhaps the most unique of the group. Allen has made the main foundation of his platform Energy. Specifically, low cost, abundant American Energy. And this includes oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear as well as the newer, less mature “green” energies and emerging renewable energy technologies. And specifically, Virginia’s abundant wealth of cheap energy such as coal and off shore petroleum, which the Obama Administration has failed to take advantage of, and worse, has essentially shut down.
Allen’s platform realizes that abundant, low cost clean energy is the basic foundation of jobs and economic growth. And as a Virginia US Senator, Allen plans to push the natural resources of Virginia as well as the rest of the nation in the quest for energy independence. With the Obama Administration insisting on technologies that drive up the cost of energy already killing jobs, many of our other problems, like the debt, are directly related to the loss of jobs as government has to spend more and more for basic American welfare needs and collects less and less in taxes with the high rate of unemployment.
Allen believes that with full development of the energy resources we have that the debt and other problems facing the country will be dramatically different with the jobs that will come from American Energy.
Debate Performance – George Allen is the most well known of the candidates having served in the Virginia Legislature, as Governor of the Commonwealth and as US Senator. Over the years, Allen has been a strong Conservative and he has compiled a history that is well known to most Virginians. Allen came off in the debate as he always does. He is the person you are comfortable sitting down with and discussing the problems facing the world. Allen presented his argument for energy as the likable neighbor who has been a friend for many years. His delivery is heavy on common sense and focused on the future and the role energy must play if America is to recover. Allen had the greatest focus on defeating Tim Kain in yesterday’s debate and it was clear his main focus was on two things. Fixing America and defeating Kaine. His answers to most questions were based both on what he has done in the past and what he plans to do in the future as a Senator. His strong suit is his experience and his knowledge of the evolution of America’s problems. And knowing how we arrived in the mess we find ourselves is an important consideration in how to fix the problems.
Negative Remarks – Allen had nothing negative to say about any of the other Candidates (unless you count Tim Kaine). He was the recipient of several “barbs” from candidate Jamie Radtke and only used his allotted time to respond to one of the negative remarks which was about his 4 votes to raise the debt ceiling. He defended the votes as necessary to properly equip the troops involved in the wars overseas and pointed out that the votes were for increases of a far smaller scale than what has occurred under the current Administration.
Summary – Allen did not “knock the ball out of the park” on any question, gave full answers and did not “dodge” or fail to answer any of the questions. His performance was exactly as most expected: steady and well considered. He was very comfortable with the venue and did nothing to hurt his standing as the front runner and would not have hurt his chances among the undecided in the room, but probably did not do much to persuade undecided to move his way. In all, a good, solid performance in which he communicated his platform well.
Bishop E.W. Jackson
Platform – E.W. Jackson’s platform as he explained it yesterday is fully TEA Party compatible. Jackson is a strong advocate of smaller government and less federal intervention in our lives. He is an opponent of tax increases and favors major spending cuts including eliminating several departments including the EPA and the Department of Education and others. Smaller government, lower taxes and a strict adherence to the Constitution. He supports Social Security reform and was the only candidate to offer models by Chile and other places as potential remedies to our broken system.
Debate Performance – As previously stated, Jackson won the debate with his fiery charisma and a rock solid performance. Of the four candidates, Jackson is the only one that word “charisma” even springs to mind. His passion for America is infectious and he never hesitates or searches for words. His speeches (and I have seen many) are well received in both TEA Party circles as well as Republican groups. Instantly likable and quickly relates to the audience. He begins by letting the group know that he is not an African-American, he is an American. Jackson is the least experienced of the group in politics, but presents a strong case and is impossible to scratch off of the list. He is no “novelty” as a writer for the Times Dispatch described him. He leaves no doubt that he would be a force to contend with if elected.
Negative Remarks – Unless you count Obama, Jackson did not attack any of the other candidates and none attacked him.
Summary – Jackson answered every question fully and did not dodge any. By far the most consistently positive of the candidates. Stayed on message and clearly articulated his position on every question. Used humor, fire and knowledge to make his case. For the undecided in the room, Jackson probably picked up the most voters who were looking for a good, solid candidate to support.
Platform – Bob Marshall’s platform is clearly the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. If it is not in the Constitution, Marshall does not support the Federal Government doing it – whatever “it” is. And Marshall is also running on his record as a Virginia Delegate and there is no argument or ambiguity about his consistent adherence to the Constitution and limited government. Marshall will not go along with the status quo and walk the line for anyone, his party or not, if he believes something is unconstitutional in the strictest sense. And his record proves it.
Debate Performance – If you have never heard Bob Marshall speak, you really need to at some point. At first blush, you will probably think him a bit “off the wall” and some even say “out there” but as you listen, you will find that Bob Marshall has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things government. The Constitution is one of his strong suits, but he has a depth of understanding of Parliamentarian Procedures and laws. He is like a wizard that can pull a long forgotten rule or law out of his hat in an instant. He has an amazing memory for these things and will (and has) confounded friend and foe with this knowledge. Marshall used examples of bills he has written and pushed through as his strongest argument for why voters should send him to Washington. He tossed in a few jokes like “I thought the TSA was a jobs program for out of work urologists” and a few others. He came off as knowledgeable and likable. And perhaps the most eccentric of the bunch, but in a good way.
Negative Remarks – Marshall struck a doubtful chord about Jamie Radtke’s “My 2 Cents” plan to balance the Federal Budget and jokingly poked George Allen saying “this may be the first time I have ever been to the left of George Allen” referencing his position on the platform and leaving open the political meaning. Not really negative in a “bad” way.
Summary – Bob Marshall is what Ron Paul would be if Paul were an Evangelical. Marshall is both fiscally and socially conservative. He advocates impeaching any Federal Judge that upholds same sex marriage. Marshall is a deeply religious man with a profound love for the Constitution. His social stance would probably turn off Libertarians, but Marshall is very much in line with the Libertarian line of thought in all things except the social issues. His lone jab at Radtke is a tell that he sees her supporters as most likely to move to him, if they were to move at all. And to be sure, his entry into the race has seen some Radtke supporters considering Marshall’s experience as a plus as the two have nearly identical positions on the Constitution, however Radtke is less “enthusiastic” on the social issues. (But she is definitely a social conservative.) Marshall may have made a case to undecided voters who had not heard him speak and who may have been leaning to Radtke. However, Jackson probably come out on top with the “leaning” undecided.
Platform – Having heard Jamie Radtke speak dozens of times going back to her days leading the Richmond TEA Party, she has not wavered or changed a thing. She is truly consistent in her message that federal spending and the debt are the most pressing issues facing America today. As previously mentioned, she is a Social Conservative but sees the debt as the most imminent threat to the country. Cutting spending and balancing the budget are her top platform priorities. Her “My 2 Cents” economic plan will balance the budget in 5 years.
Debate Performance – Radtke is a good public speaker. She has a focused and clear message about government spending and articulated that well. She is passionate about this and left no doubt in the minds of those in attendance. She is a Mom and connected with parents in the crowd who share her concern for their children’s future. Her comments about the Federal Government using fear of losing Social Security year after year as a reason to move to a “self-directed” system for younger people was well received by both the young as well as the more “seasoned” attendees. She predicted that the government run student loan program would fail and that the free market was a better option. She was the only candidate to mention the importance of the second amendment, although there was no question specifically asking about gun rights. She emphasized that she came from a military family growing up and the senate needs the kind of discipline that was instilled in her.
Negative Remarks – Radtke took the opportunity to directly attack George Allen’s record in her responses to 3 of the 7 questions asked in the debate. None of the other candidates went negative with the exception of Bob Marshall’s doubts about Radtke’s “My 2 Cents” plan.
Summary – As always, Jamie Radtke clearly made her case as being focused on spending and debt in the country. She knows what she is talking about and gave numerous examples of government limiting our liberty from what we feed our kids to outlawing Bible study in our own homes. While the other candidates used a bit of humor in their answers, Radtke stayed completely focused and, perhaps “stiff” and not as personable as the other candidates. On the many occasions that I have heard her speak, she usually tosses in a humorous and lighthearted jab at Obama or someone else to help connect with the audience. If this is the first time someone heard Radtke speak, they might have come away with the perception that she was not as “at ease” with the group and somewhat humorless, which is a complete misconception. And while some people detest negative campaigning, it clearly works. And Radtke sees Allen as the obstacle to her nomination and is using the attacks to draw a contrast with her fiscally conservative position and some of his past votes. This may have hurt her a bit among the undecided in the group, but may serve to hold on to her supporters and keep them from drifting to Marshall or Jackson.
The Republican Party of Virginia did a good job of putting on this debate, which was not actually a debate, but a good side by side comparison of the four candidates answering the same questions. The winner was E.W. Jackson who may have picked up a few undecided voters here with a strong, charismatic performance. There were no losers and Virginia should be proud that we have four strong conservative candidates running against an Obama puppet Tim Kaine. I believe that this format that RPV and the candidates agreed upon gave primary voters a good opportunity to see the differences (and similarities) in the candidates without giving the Democrats any ammunition that they can use against the eventual Republican nominee. There are arguments that this format benefits one candidate or another, but the fact is, the format will benefit the eventual Republican candidate and the primary voters without helping the other side. Kudos to Pat Mullins and all four of the candidates for agreeing to this.
Each candidate offers a varying amount of political experience. So voters looking for strong experience and knowledge will find George Allen and Bob Marshall well positioned to their taste. And for those looking for a non politician to send to Washington, Jamie Radtke and E.W. Jackson fill the bill quite nicely.
All see Obama and his policies as a true threat to the nation and all have plans and ideas to return America to a great and prosperous nation.
Some states have had a problem finding a good candidate to run against Senate Democrats up for reelection or retiring. Virginia has a problem of picking between four outstanding individuals, all well suited for the Office of US Senator.
The next debate is May 11, 2012 in Virginia Beach and I look forward to covering that one and offering my thoughts and opinions afterwards.
If you would like more information on any of the candidates, please visit their campaign websites: