Graphic with the words "Colonel's Constitutional Brief and a photo of LTC Allen West (ret.) - CCB square

The First Debate: My Key Indicators


Allen West


August 23, 2023

Greetings, everyone. I have been asked, on several occasions, who will win the first GOP presidential debate this evening. My response is not based on politics, but rather policy and constitutional principles. The individual who can set themselves apart in this first debate performance will be the one who focuses on policy solutions, and not imbecilic rantings about the person not in attendance.

First and foremost for me, I see the office of the President of the United States through a very important prism. I believe that the most important title of the President is Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces. It is through this lens that foreign leaders view the President. When one considers the decimation of our military readiness, this has to be a focal point for the candidate who wishes to rise above. There can be no debate, as we have discussed here on multiple occasions and at our Committee to Support and Defend website, that we are not focusing on the core competencies and missions of the US Armed Forces, namely to recruit, train, deploy, fight, win, and care for military families. These past years have been an abysmal failure with a focus on cultural Marxist and leftist ideological agendas for our military, resulting in a declining recruitment base.

The horrific debacle that was Afghanistan has resonated through our force, and emboldened our enemies. I will be looking at every candidate on the debate stage to see who can face off with Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Iran, North Korea, and Islamic jihadists. Who will be the one who can ensure that we will indeed secure our border and take the offense against the transnational narco-criminal terrorists known as the Mexican cartels, who are freely operating and controlling our southern border. Recently South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem referred to our border as a war zone. She is correct. We are engaged in an insurgency. Who has the right vision for victory, as we are suffering a devastating defeat?

The successful candidate this evening will be the one who can articulate the several aspects of American security: economic, energy, national — which includes foreign policy — border, and domestic.

Of course, with some nine candidates on the stage, one must be concise and use precise language in articulating the problem, and the appropriate solution. It all has to come back to the restoration of our Constitutional Republic, the regard for the rule of law, and respect for individual rights, freedom, and liberty. In every aspect, the successful candidate must delineate the difference from constitutional rights and the progressive socialist leftist orientation on ideological rights. Someone who can articulate how the current administration’s policies have indeed failed the American people. It is imperative that the strong candidate refrain from overuse of the “first person singular” expression of “I.” In the military, we were always leery of the commander who used the word “I” excessively.

The successful candidate will not be drawn into personal attacks, cheap shots, and political gimmicks. We have little time for this and we must be a mature electorate, not seeking to be entertained, but rather enlightened, educated, and edified as to how we get this nation back on track. One must not speak in an overly intellectual politicized lexicon, believing that it makes them sound distinguished. Candidates must speak directly to John and Jane America as to the issues that they face. In other words, be the doggone adult!

I will also be listening to see who can articulate the importance of educational freedom and parental rights. I must admit, I am tired of Republicans who wish to cede the terrain of social issues to the leftists. Murdering unborn babies in the womb by dismemberment is not the “better angels of our nature” as asserted by President Lincoln. As a matter of fact, why should we excuse the fact that the Democrat Party shares the same position as the Satanic Temple of America? The rhetoric of state control and ownership of our children has historically proven a dangerous path.

The successful candidate this evening will be the one who shows courage, competence, conviction, and character. They will be one who goes on offense and not be placed on defense in standing for that which is right and constitutional.

Lastly — yeah, the elephant in the room — I believe it to be a strategic error to not participate in the GOP presidential debates. Here is why: I love college football and just can’t doggone wait until opening weekend. Just last week, the top 25 college football rankings were released. As we all suspected, the University of Georgia, back-to-back national college football champions, are ranked #1 in the pre-season, by far with the most votes. However, that distinction does not mean the Georgia Bulldogs can skip past every game this season and go straight to the conference and national championship games. They can’t say that they believe playing a team with a losing record is beneath them. They have to play every game, and validate their ranking.

Americans at heart do not embrace coronations, we like to see one work for the crown. In competition, nothing is guaranteed. My Tennessee Volunteers were ranked #1 in college football, undefeated, but Georgia took them down, and then they lost in abysmal fashion to South Carolina.

My recommendation for everyone watching the debate this evening is to develop their own evaluative criteria, no more than 10. Create a comparative assessment chart. Be objective and know that America has a vital chance next November. We need the best gladiator, a Maximus Desmus Meridius, to enter into the arena and defeat the immoral tyrant Caligula.

The future of our being able to Live Free depends on it.

Steadfast and Loyal.



Join ACRU Patriot 1776 club