If the debate review feels rushed, it’s because it is. But I thought a few comments were in order:
The biggest losers of the debate were the panelists. Chris Wallace should be ashamed of himself, and I have pretty thick skin. But Newt Gingrich utterly humiliated him, and frankly, he had it coming. His lighting the fire on the stupid little hack fest between Pawlenty and Bachmann was juvenile, and his question to Newt was garbage. But then Byron York really took it to a new level of low with his lame question about marital submission. These people know way, way better, and I am not falling for the “it is good to see conservative Fox News ask tough questions” nonsense. They did not ask “tough” questions; they asked “retarded” questions, and I expected better. I can’t remember the gal’s name from the Examiner, but I will tell you this right now: CNN employs people of better economic literacy than she has. She asked at least four questions implying that someone in China getting a job was a bad thing for Americans, and unless she was Pat Buchannan in a dress, I thought that it would not be possible to find such protectionist drivel this side of Lou Dobbs. Bad, bad panel.
(2) This is not to say there were no losers on the stage. Tim Pawlenty is done, over, and out. If he can save his campaign at this point (and after what will likely be a 5th or 6th place showing on Saturday), it will be the greatest political comeback in history. I am not disparaging the guy — I like him, and on paper he would be a good candidate. But this thing just never got going, and it is DONE.
(3) Everyone I talk to says that this little fight between Pawlenty and Bachmann was started by Pawlenty, and if that is true, I suppose he brought it on himself. But the whole thing is distasteful, remarkably non-Presidential, totally lame, and oh, by the way, the greatest thing Mitt Romney has ever seen in his life.
(4) Ron Paul was also one of the losers tonight because he showed up and talked about Iran. THIS was the 2008 Ron Paul I know and love. Talking about America picking a fight with them, like when we took 58 of their people as hostage in 1979 and they had to come negotiate a release. “They have a few militants but . . .” “Why shouldn’t they have a nuclear weapon? I mean, Israel has one.” You know, all the regular anti-semitic, anti-American, morally ambiguous garbage that has ruined every sane thing he has to say about sound money. But ay yi yi did he step in it on that polygamy question or what??? When Santorum blasted him about states’ rights I am pretty sure he said, “Well, it sounds like you’re going to ask about slavery, I mean, we all know no one wants to do this.” Ummmm, do you mean besides the polygamists? In case anyone was wondering, he DID say that polygamy should be a decision to be determined by the states; he just didn’t have the intelligence or the courage ACTUALLY to say it.
(5) Herman Cain had some weak moments early on, but his pro-economic growth message is solid and frankly his four-point plan behind it is more substantive than most of the content the candidates have blessed us with thus far. His closing speech was particularly strong.
(6) Santorum had some strong moments and will probably do okay in the straw poll. And then he will be done.
(7) Huntsman doesn’t warrant an iota of our time. Oh my gosh.
(8) Romney had neither a strong night nor a poor one. His entire campaign right now is based on a “four corners” offense. And guess what? It seems to be working! He needs to be ready to KILL the nonsense about Bain Capital shedding jobs, and his answer to that idiotic question was actually better than I expected. He still comes off like a walking flip-flop, but in two days he will be the second place candidate, and I am not sure if his “stall” offense will work as well then as it does now.
(9) Newt just killed it tonight, and I mean, KILLED IT. Don’t get me wrong — his candidacy is going nowhere. But he needs to stay in as long as possible, because he is tremendous in these debates. Debating has never been his weakness though, and his weaknesses are insurmountable. But his lashing of Chris Wallace was pure glory.
(10) Rick Perry probably won the debate tonight. No one has stepped up into clear leadership. Romney is strong but totally beatable. Cain has no money. Bachmann is great on rhetoric but not viable. Pawlenty fizzled. Newt is an idea guy but not a serious candidate. Huntsman is like a total creep or something. Santorum is not viable. No need to mention the Iranian Polygamist Caucus’s candidate. Basically, if Perry has money (he does), the ability to raise money (he definitely does), and a serious campaign team (he better), he is going to be the nominee for President. He is probably not perfect, but he is an extremely formidable candidate.
My friends, I have not supported Barack Obama for one moment since he became the President. I never fell for his “uniter” nonsense, and being a conservative ideologue, I was never all that intrigued by the ideas he brought to the White House. However, I never would have DREAMED that my fear of his Presidency would reach the level it has in such a short period of time. He has done more damage to the fabric of our country than any President in the last 75 years, and that is saying something.
I believe we need to be laser-focused on seeing him lose in November 2012. Bachman/Pawlenty cat fights are not going to help. We need the weak chaff of this campaign to drop out within a few months so that a nominee can be chosen as soon as possible, and an unbelievable intensity can be applied to seeing whomever the winning candidate is defeat this radical President. I respect the primary process and believe most of these discussions are good for the cause. But this time it’s different. Nature has to run its course, obviously, but we really need to have a commitment to support the eventual nominee, and doing so without reservation. The stakes are extremely high for those of us who love this country.