I thought George W. Bush did pretty well, although I know that will probably be a minority view. He did what he had to do, in a very low-key style, and I detected no slips. I liked his answer to the EPA in Houston question, which was a nice review of how you can protect the environment without hurting the economy. I really liked his answer to the Iraq question-I’ll take him out-then his quick change to take out the weapons of mass destruction. It reminded me of Reagan saying in five minutes the bombing begins” then claiming he didn’t know the mike was on. You’ll never convince me that he didn’t say take HIM out. You know what? I’m for that.
McCain had his pluses and minuses. I give him an A+ for his answer on the internet-tax moratorium, when he said the more e-commerce we have the more sales-tax revenue we will have. That’s an erudite point, from the supply-side side of the question. But otherwise McCain was all austerity and root canal, defending Greenspan’s view that the stock market is a bubble, offering no real tax-cut plan–he’s the Warren Rudman guy, the Concord Coalition candidate. I give him a C on economic policy. But there is no doubt it’s a two-horse race in New Hampshire.
My reaction to Forbes was mixed. Forbes gave good answers on Microsoft, on opposing Greenspan’s monetary policy, and on Bush’s low economic-growth assumptions. But I don’t think he connected with the investor class-not emphasizing enough ideas like expanding savings accounts. And, I think there was too much anti-Washington rhetoric, and I just don’t think eliminating the IRS is a very realistic thing to talk about.
I can’t help thinking Alan Keyes is an underutilized resource in the Republican party and the conservative movement-I was very impressed by him and I find myself agreeing with him more often than not.