This week in Manchester, New Hampshire, seven Republican contenders faced off in the first GOP primary debate of the season, attempting to make their case to the American people for why they are better suited than President Obama to lead the country in these challenging times. In an evening relatively free from the kind of intra-party contention often seen in these debates, the seven candidates focused on Obama like a laser, casting a dramatically different vision from the Commander in Chief as to how American government and society should order themselves going forward.
Across the board, the Republican candidates expressed a sharp disagreement with Mr. Obama regarding the role that government should play in the lives of its citizens. The current occupant of the White House, as has become evident, firmly believes that a large, powerful, and active government offers the best hope of eradicating America's economic woes. No matter how bad things get, or how woefully ineffective big-government approaches prove to be, the current administration is unwilling to permit the free market – and by extension, the American entrepreneur, worker, and consumer – to address the economic issues facing the nation.
Of all the candidates, Congressman Ron Paul deserves credit for having the most fully-developed view of the role that government should play vis a vis the economy. In a word, according to Paul, it should be very little. An avowed Libertarian, Paul stressed the importance and wisdom of letting the market determine economic winners and losers instead of leaving it up to politicians and their special interest constituencies.