“GOP Presidential Candidates Need to Talk About China”

That’s the headline of Congressman Mike Gallagher’s (R, WI) op-ed in Monday’s Wall Street Journal concerning today’s Republican Presidential Primary debate among the eight candidates who qualified for the show.

I agree, although I disagree with the depth of his emphasis on the People’s Republic of China—Vladimir Putin’s barbaric Russia is nearly as great a threat as is the PRC, much more proximately so, geographically, vis-à-vis Europe, and through them in terms of global power, to us. Notwithstanding, the PRC is a more proximate threat against us, and against our friends and allies elsewhere around the Pacific.

I do have a couple of other caveats, though, particularly in connection with what GOP Presidential Candidates need to talk about.

First, what the candidates talk about on any particular debate will be heavily driven by what the debates’ moderators ask them. In past debate fora, each debate has centered on one or two specific subjects, and this season’s sequence should be no different. I anticipate debates centered on our economy, our border, and on foreign policy. There will be other debates on other subjects, too; although when the field is winnowed to just a few candidates (less than five, perhaps), I’d like to see our economy and foreign policy revisited for more in-depth questioning and debate responses. I’m not holding my breath on the latter, though.

The other caveat is on those discussions of foreign policy. The moderators will ask their questions, but the candidates should speak with great specificity—what would each one do in concrete, measurable terms (no generalities), and why would each do those things in particular (again, no generalities)—regarding Russia and the PRC, not only the PRC. And each candidate should show the courage, and the speaking skill, to talk through the moderators’ interruptions, ignoring the moderators when they do that.

Of course, none of that prevents the candidates from talking about the PRC in any venue outside an RNC debate, also. They will, though, still be operating within the need to remain focused, and in any particular speech talk only about one or two (maybe three) major points regarding the PRC.

Republican candidates, and the Republican ultimately nominated, do to talk, firmly, about a number of other subjects, also, outside any debate venue: the state of our economy with its high and rising interest rates and still high overall inflation, the high and rising food and energy costs to American consumers, the Progressive-Democratic Party’s naked war on our hydrocarbon energy production and resulting dependence on foreign sources, our chaotic (to the extent it exists anymore at all) southern border.

When the candidates talk about “the swamp” and about runaway regulation, they need to talk in specific terms how they well eliminate specific members and agencies of the swamp and how, specifically, they’ll reduce the number of regulations—and which ones they’ll eliminate. And how hard they’ll push for legislation, rather than an Executive Order, to achieve something like an earlier EO requiring for every regulation an agency or Department proposes, it must remove and rescind two existing regulations.

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