I watched the debate yesterday and I am a little worried about how things look. I think Bush is deliberately baiting you. We are after all looking at electing the President of our United States, and we want our President to have the fortitude to be able to deal with worse things and betrayals. So I think you need to be careful with the personal attacks - not that there should be none, just the style.
On the other hand, I am hearing things from you that make a lot of sense (as well as a lot that does not!). The Republican Party was getting to be a little fascist internally, with too many things that are "unsayable", and I think a little bomb-throwing is great for the Party. It makes it possible to get out of the rut of group idiocy and to discover a set of positions that are compatible with both the Party and the general population.
So here are some of my opinions, as direct data points for you as to how the lay population is feeling:-
1) I liked what you said about Syria and Russia in the CBS morning show last Wednesday. Unfortunately, even though the hosts seemed to be surprised, not much of the details were propagated in the media.
2) I liked what you said about our second intervention in Iraq in Saturdays debate and WMDs, and remember that is exactly how I felt even when the intervention was being considered.
3) I like the nuanced position you are taking about Planned Parenthood.
4) I like the position you are taking on Social Security, but... (see below on the economy)
5) I hated the idea of delaying the appointment of a new Supreme Court judge. It is utterly irresponsible of the Republican Party to take that position right now. After all, it is the President's responsibility to make sure all departments of Government are fully functional and adequately staffed. You came closest to what I think is the right position. According to the Constitution, the President appoints them, but with the "advice and consent" of Congress. Lets take the "advice" part seriously, advice comes before decision, and I think that Congress should lay out a slate of acceptable candidates in a non-binding resolution if it is afraid the President will nominate an unacceptable one. Only if the President ignores the advice should we delay, delay, delay. (You wont like this, but the polls are still showing that Hillary will become the next President!)
6) I frankly have no interest in the immigration question. That is a technical detail for some government official to worry about.
Here are some other things that I think would be worth airing:-
1) The economy. How are you going to pay for things? Yes, you are a business man and should be able to deal with that better than the career politicians, but while you did not declare personal bankruptcy, a lot of people lost money and had contracts broken because you did put companies you managed into bankruptcy to solve their problems. We don't want that happening to the United States. While it may not make sense to lay things out in detail, you need to give us something concrete to hang our faith in you on. How about this:-
"I will reverse the trend of making physical cash transactions more and more difficult. By forcing major financial and government institutions to accept cash, and generally enhancing the ability to transact in cash and eliminating asset forfeiture on cash holdings, people will have the liberty to decide what transactions to engage in, protect their finances from confiscation via seizures or taxes or negative interest rates, speak more freely, associate more freely with whom they choose, and effectively resist government interference in their affairs, making for freer and more profitable markets for the small entrepreneur"
If you want I could go into a lot more detail about how that could jump start the economy, but you and others could probably extrapolate that just as easily. It would certainly get attention and be totally anti-establishment!
2) The assault on our liberty by the increasing militarization of police. This is not just about the technology and weaponry they are equipped with, but also their attitude towards the lay citizen. When I came to the US in 1977, I had an image of what it meant to be a citizen here. (A lot based on Western films, but still!) A big part was the confidence a citizen had about his or her own rights and safety when dealing with government authority. One expected to be able to demand the showing of an arrest warrant if the police showed up at your front door. Today most people who try that would wind up getting shot or Tazed. Police used to have the general reluctance to kill people that most people have and that plagued military trainers in the Second World War. Military training effectively squashes that today. Unfortunately that is becoming part of police training as well, they now believe they have a 007 style license to kill. What could you say?
"I would combat the increasing militarization of police and revoke their license to kill. I will do this by giving ordinary citizens in any jurisdiction the right to own and transport without a license in a concealed manner any weapon owned or used by the police of that jurisdiction. Any killing or home invasion by local police will be examined by federal investigators and civil rights litigation in the federal courts. The training of police officers will be modified to ensure a reluctance to kill."
3) Another way our liberty is being compromised is via eliminating the necessity of showing intent to commit a crime in a criminal proceeding. The most egregious mechanism is via the laws that make mere possession of various things a crime. There is no need to show how they came to be in a person's possession. Seizing cash via asset forfeiture has become little different from robbery using government authority as a weapon. A little "crack" in your car or boat or house leads to asset forfeiture, and worse, possibly a felony conviction - it does not matter how it came to be there or whether you even knew it was there. A simple rule:-
"Mere possession of any non-living thing or substance shall not be a crime anywhere in the United States, nor shall anybody be convicted of a crime where the preponderance of the evidence against them is mere possession of a thing or substance."
4) Was assassinating Osama bin Laden really a good thing? Yes, it may have been necessary, and we dont want to give up that option; but we are the United States, and we capture and try monsters before we execute them. If we go down the route of just killing them and boasting about it, then it becomes hard to see how we are different from all the other tyrannys out there.