Sunday, December 11, 2011

Last Night's Debate - The War Zone

Yes, I watch these things so you don't have to.

With the Iowa caucus just around the corner, the potential GOP nominees were a lot more contentious and in attack mode than at any of the debates thus far.

As you might expect,most of the fire was directed at perceived front runner Newt Gingrich, which Mitt Romney also taking a few hits as some of the candidates a little lower in the polls saw this as a chance to damage the front runners and gain traction.

Michele Bachmann was particularly outspoken, since she's devoted a great deal of time, energy and resources to Iowa. A poor showing here would damage her quite a bit, since her support and presence in New Hampshire is fairly low key.

Speaking of attacks, I frankly have had it with Rick Perry. Previously, he refused to repute a bigoted, anti-Mormon supporter of his until pressed, and even then I felt it was halfhearted. Last night, he attacked Newt Gingrich in a particularly nasty and personal way, saying you can’t trust people who violate their marriage vows -- vows made, as he said, not only with one’s spouse but also with G-d. "That’s even stronger than a handshake in Texas".

Gingrich does have some issues here, everyone knows it and he's been fairly candid about it. But to attack him in that fashion on nationwide TV was cowardly and beyond the pale as far as I'm concerned.

It drew some criticism in certain quarters, but I personally thought it was just wonderful when Mitt Romney, attacked by Perry about a supposed revision in Romney's book stuck out his hand to Perry and bet him a cool $10,000 that Perry was dead wrong. The look on Perry's face when he turned away and said "I'm not in the betting business' was priceless. It was almost as good as his brain freeze the other night when he was challenged to name the three government departments he had been thumping his chest about closing down and then couldn't even name them.

Hopefully Perry will be riding off into the sunset after Iowa.

Mitt Romney also tried to attack Newt Gingrich, and didn't do so well at it.

Trying to explain his differences with Gingrich, he ticked off a whole series of issues, but the big difference he tried to capitalize on was the idea of Gingrich as a career politician and Washington insider.

“We don’t need folks who are lifetime Washington people to get this country out of the mess it’s in,” Romney said. “We need people from outside Washington, outside K Street.”

Gingrich's response? “Let’s be candid,” he said. “The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994. . . . You’d have been a 17-year career politician if you’d won.”

The candidate who actually made took the best shots at the two front runners was Michele Bachmann. She focused on the likenesses between both of them and got in some very good shots.

Rick Santorum also had a fairly good night of it, with a message that seemed focused on Iowa caucus voters. People who used to support Herman Cain or have soured on Newt Gingrich need a place to go, and Santorum seemed to concentrate on reassuring them that he was a safe place to land.

Bottom line? Newt Gingrich seemed to shrug off most of what was thrown at him, although it's going to be hard to tell. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum may have advanced their chances a notch, although whether it will be enough to keep going after Iowa remains to be seen.

One important caveat about's a caucus not a primary. Rather than actual votes, it's a contest to see which candidate is better at mobilizing his or her troops on the ground, getting them to the caucus meetings and then having them take over the meetings once they're there.Which is why no one should be surprised to see a marginal candidate like Ron Paul do well there.

By the way, I'll have some interesting news on Ron Paul a bit later that sheds a lot of light on things.

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1 comment:

B.Poster said...

"Gingrich does have issues here rvryone knows it and he's been fairly candid about it..." I think this is the key. America is a very tolerant and forgiving country. I might argue we are way to tolerant as a country. Also, there are allot of people who have struggled with these things. As such, for anyone to try and use these issues against him, it will only backfire on them.

I'll be interested to read what you have on Ron Paul. My own personal "take" on him is he seems to understand the economy allot better than the other candidates seem to and he has the right solutions for what ails us in regards to foreign policy, however, it does concern me that he seems to, in some cases, to enthusiasticlly embrace the narratives of our enemies on these things. How would this affect his policies should the US come under attack? How aggessively would he move to secure our borders?

Also, he's never really been challenged on any thing by the media. The media largely focuses on his foregin policy. They largely agree with him in these areas. As such, they come accross like fawning interviews.

In summary, he is the candidate who would be most able to beat Mr. Obama but the RNC will never get behind him. Mr. Romney will get the nomination. That has already been determined. Such a shame. Mr. Romney is the easiest candidate for Mr. Obama to beat. The RNC wanting to protect the status quo and not anger Democrats to much will go along and apparently rank and file Republicans are going to allow the Democrats and RNC "Democrat lite" officials to pick their candidate for them.