Monday, January 16, 2012

Tonight's Debate: The Palmetto Ping Pong Match

Four of the five GOP candidates obviously had a mission tonight, and it wasn't to tell Republicans how they were going to defeat Obama - it was to try and derail Mitt Romney,the front runner.

I doubt they gained much ground.

One positive thing is that this particular debate was moderated by FOX, so partisan antics by the likes of people like George Stephanopoulos were mercifully absent and a much more professional atmosphere ensued.

Newt Gingrich quite correctly caught some heat from Bret Baier about the anti-capitalist attacks on Romney, but also managed to get off a number of good lines, especially when Juan Williams tried to play the race card and accused Gingrich of belittling minorities for suggesting that poor, young kids be paid for "light janitorial work" at school.

Gingrich replied, "No, I don't see that."

"They'd be getting money, which is a good thing if you're poor. Only the elites despise earning money," he said to tremendous applause.

Romney continued to be basically untouched, and continued to concentrate on taking on President Obama.

"I know the Democrats are going to be showing videos of, you know, old people being thrown off cliffs and so forth. But don't forget who it was that cut Medicare by $500 billion, and that was President Obama to pay for Obamacare."

He also did a decent job of defending himself from the expected Bain Capital attacks.

Rick Perry accused Bain of coming into Georgetown, S.C., closing a steel mill and said Bain had "..picked that company over, and a lot of people lost jobs there", Romney replied that Bain had actually invested in two steel mills and invested for seven or eight years, but that the mills closed because of foreign competition which killed their business.

"Ultimately, what happened from abroad, dumping steel into this country, led to some 40 different steel mills being closed," Romney said. "I understand what happens when China cheats, or when others cheat and dump products into this country. That's one of the reasons I'm running, is to make sure we crack down on cheaters."

It's not so much cheating as the problem of unionized American steelworkers competing with Chinese labor, but he's essentially correct and Bain's steel mills weren't the only ones affected.

Romney defended his record at Bain, saying he invested in more than 100 businesses and had an overall successful record of job creation, which is normally what happens when businesses thrive.

"If people want to have someone who understands how the economy works, having worked in the real economy, then I'm the guy who can best post up against Barack Obama," he said.

The only two points were Romney was rocked back for a second concerned calls from Rick Perry and Rick Santorum for him to release his tax records,and accusations that he had failed to challenge a Massachusetts law that that allowed convicted felons to vote while still on parole.

Romeny's answer to the first was that he'd likely get around to doing it eventually, and to the second that he was faced with a state legislature that was 85% Democrat and realized it was a no win situation.

An interesting head to head occurred between Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, of all people when Paul cited Santorum's record of voting for raising the national deficit, supporting Sarbanes-Oxley banking laws and voting against right-to-work labor laws, a particular sore point in South Carolina after the dust up over Boeing wanting to relocate jobs here. Santorum accused Paul of quoting left wing Soros backed sources for his information, but didn't really effectively dent them as untrue.

Overall, I don't think anyone particularly did any damage to Romney,although Newt Gingrich may have done himself some good in putting himslef back to the front - by a nose- of the anti-Romney forces.

Rick Santorum looked just uneven enough to give Gingrich the edge, and a lot of what came out tonight about Ron Paul's stance on the military will not play well in South Carolina, although his claim that taxes should be lowered to zero certainly raised a cheer.


Anonymous said...

You left out the part where members of the audience booed the fact that Romney's father was born in Mexico. Any thoughts on that?

Scott Kirwin said...

Ron Paul's "Barney the Purple Dinosaur" based foreign policy reared its head under questioning. As if the Pakistanis would have handed OBL over if we had just asked. Also Paul forgot to mention that immediately before we invaded Afghanistan we asked Mullah Omar to hand over OBL and Crew. Omar refused, saying protecting guests was a Pashtun custom. He didn't seem to understand that attacking people who attack us is an American custom.

Crazy Bald Guy said...

Anonymous, were they booing the father or were they booing the way the question was being asked?

Anonymous said...

Just watch the video. The booing starts before Juan Williams even gets to the question. Between this and the booing of a US soldier, I'm beginning to wonder if the Republicans have an electoral death wish.

Rob said...

You mean you hope they do, anonymous.And I see the video differently.

Let him laugh who wins, eh?