Yahoo! News is asking GOP voters to weigh in on the Republican candidates during the debate season. Below is a perspective from a voter.
COMMENTARY | Newt Gingrich had to do well in the Thursday's debate - the last of the year -- to overcome recent negative events. Earlier in the day, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said he was unsure if Gingrich has the discipline and focus to be president. The influential conservative publication, The National Review, suggested that Republicans be cautious in embracing Gingrich.
Gingrich performed very well in this last debate before the Jan. 3 caucus. He scored points when discussing the role of the judicial branch. He took the stand that judges should not be the ones making law. Courts should merely make sure that they upheld. He made specific mention to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, widely considered to be a liberal and activist court, who ruled that the words "One Nation under God" were unconstitutional. Under a Gingrich presidency, reform of the federal court would be a priority. Gingrich believes that judges simply have become too powerful. This scored well in Iowa. In 2010, Iowan voters recalled three Supreme Court justices mainly because the judges ruled that gay marriages were legal in the state.
Mitt Romney believes that the process which exists now is adequate. Judges can be recalled and legislation can be written or rewritten to correct aspects that may be deemed unconstitutional. While Romney is correct, I think that Gingrich may have a valid point and reform should be considered.
Immigration is a major issue. Gingrich has what I consider a rational approach in that he realizes that people who have been here for 25 years, and have contributed to society should receive some special consideration. Tonight, he took the time to add that he would order the Department of Justice to drop their lawsuits against states which have adopted anti-immigration laws and that he would stop providing financial aid to cities which allows sanctuary. I liked that he said that he would be enforcing federal law.
The issue of the Keystone Pipeline arose and I absolutely applaud Newt's response. The benefit to America of the pipeline, both in terms of job creation and energy independence, is enormous. Republicans in Congress have attached the approval of the pipeline to the bill containing the extension of the social security payroll tax reduction, legislation which President Obama has promised to veto. Gingrich's message is simple. Let Obama veto it and explain to the American people how he could take an action with such a negative impact to 160 million citizens. I applaud that type of action, sometimes you just have to bring issues to a head.
Each of the candidates did well. Romney, Bachman and Perry all seemed to score well, but in my opinion, Gingrich extended his lead.