Brackett decided to come to the debate at the last minute, so his biographical information was not included in our program.

Nothing struck me about his opening statement, so I’ll get right to the questions and answers.

Question 1: With a great deal of publicity lately, do you believe the Fair Tax is superior to the present tax code?

It was apparent that Brackett had read the book, which is a plus. He, of course, feels the present tax system is unfair and says that the Fairtax appears to be the leading candidate as a replacement. He pointed out the “problems” of the Fairtax plan, the first of which is that it is not yet law. In Brackett’s opinion, “tax reform” usually refers to a “tax increase,” and this is his concern with any tax reform plan. Overall, Brackett was non-committal, which, as anyone who regularly reads this blog knows, is a problem for me. Of course, this was only the beginning of my issues with Brackett.

Question 2: Should abortion be a Federal or States Rights issue?

Brackett feels that abortion should be a Federal issues, but not for the reason that any normal conservative would cite. He believes that it should be a Federal issue because that would most effectively ensure equal treatment of women. Brackett says that we (meaning the Federal Government) should work to prevent unwanted pregnancies in order to reduce abortions. He even mentioned that he doesn’t want to return to the days of “back alley” and “coat hanger” abortions. Huh? What happened to being a Conservative…you know, one who supports personal responsibility rather than a paternalistic government system? This was just the first indication that Brackett is not the Conservative that he claims to be.

Question 3: Do you believe it is the Federal Government’s responsibility to bail out individual states after every natural disaster?

Brackett began by quoting (although not exactly) one part of the preamble of the US Constitution, which says, that the Union should “provide for the common defense” and “promote the general Welfare” of the people. This was mentioned to try and refute Smith’s claim that the Constitution does not require the Federal Government to take care of states in the event of a natural disaster. He then went on a tirade that indicated that he wanted the Federal Government to take care of most things. Brackett then referred to the US Congress as the “purse strings” and said that because Congress has the money, they should take care of all of us.

At this point, the man sitting beside me almost exploded and whispered in my ear, “This guy’s a liberal!!”

Question 4: Do you believe the Federal Government should play a role and mandate the oil companies on a universal scale, to use the EA85 version of ethanol?

This is where Brackett really went off the deep end…

He believes that the Federal Government should offer prizes (mostly of the monetary sort) for the invention of cheaper fuels. He also suggested that Congress pass a law that says if a patent isn’t used within four years, it will expire. Brackett, like most of the others thinks that incentives should be offered to those who provide and use alternative energy (I’m assuming that these incentives are other than the prizes offered to inventors of cheaper fuels.)

I have to give Brackett points for creativity, but prizes for the invention of cheaper fuels?? I don’t even know what to say…for the first time in my entire life, I’m at a loss.

Question 5: Why is the health care insurance industry guaranteed a profit by the Federal Government in a free market system?

It appeared that Brackett had no idea to what the question was referring. He mentioned reform of the health care industry and said that states should offer their own insurance policies to all residents (you know, because TennCare worked so well…).

Don’t lie to me and say you’re a Conservative when you’re going to suggest things like state funded insurance policies.

Question 6: Title 6 states that “No Person shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or national origin.” The Supreme Court has held that undocumented aliens are considered “Persons” under the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Therefore the assumption has been applied by the Courts, Congress, and State Governments that undocumented aliens have the same rights to all Federal assistance programs as citizens do. What would you do about amending Title 6 to restrict services to citizens only?

Although I’m not sure what this has to do with the question, Brackett made it clear that he does not believe that we should have a dual language system. Although he offered no specifics, Brackett said that we should change the wording of Title 6 so that Supreme Court challenges could be avoided.

During his closing statement, Brackett said that he believes that we should increase funding for No Child Left Behind. Let me type that again…Brackett believes that we should increase funding for No Child Left Behind. Because it works so well that we should give it a raise?!?

Brackett is certainly not a frontrunner, and this debate revealed why that is.