For those not preparing for the big jobs speech tonight, last night there was another Republican debate. The media tried hard to shove Romney-Perry down our throats as half the questions went to them. The remaining field was again largely marginalized. The interesting thing is that the machine turned on Michelle Bachmann last night. The media darling for the first debate, this time around she was mostly ignored and when she was given a question, it did not play to her strengths. The result is she appeared far weaker this time around. The reason why is that the far right have selected their candidate and it is Rick Perry. There is only room for one nutcase at the podium. Now Romney, if he were smart, could offer the VP slot to Bachmann to solve his Mormon problem in the Bible belt. Assuming he wins the nomination.
But make no mistake about it. The nominee will either be Mitt Romney or Rick Perry. Bachmann stood a slim chance before Perry entered but there is still a large misogynistic stripe running down the back of the GOP, especially the Tea Party. This is the problem with the debate process. Questions are not given equally. Candidates are not treated equitably. Let's face it, there is nothing Ron Paul could have said or done that would have garnered him any positive media attention. Every time they bothered to ask him a question last night it was always disguised disdain and unbelief that he would truly eliminate various governmental departments. In fairness, Santorum, Cain, Gingrich and Hunstman are in a similar boat, although not as pronounced as Congressman Paul. Here is the handicapping from last night:
Romney - held his own, no major mistakes, avoided looking like a flip flopper as he usually does. Smartly denied being a tea party member, which he can use in the general election to his favor.
Paul - only one on the stage with real convictions. As usual they marginalized him. Kept asking him about if he would really eliminate this dept and that. But the set up for all his questions seemed to be predicated on the "are you nuts" premise.
Cain - his best performance yet. Didn't seem clueless as usual. Had a nice simple plan in the 9-9-9. I am not saying it would work but in terms of simplicity, the public would embrace that before Romney's 59 point economic plan. Cain kept all his answers on a solution level. I was actually impressed this time around. Of course the machine will not select him but he did well last night.
Crazy Rick Perry by berto
Perry - really fumbled at the end when trying to answer the question about climate change. Came off sounding moronic on the point. Santorum would have handled it better. He had some bizarre homage to Obama which he followed up by slamming him. It made no sense. People will see through the lies about his state success. Everyone knows Texas is the highest polluting state. The ironic thing is Perry decries government involvement but the only reason he got the ozone and CO2 levels down as he did is because the federal clean air act requires it, oops. The social security ponzi scheme nonsense will kill him against Obama.
Gingrich -- he had a bizarre non-answer early on and then launched into a tirade against the media and he should have been disqualified immediately. He came off sounding like a petulant child who missed Fox News and the softball questions he is accustomed to. The purpose of the debate Newt is to differentiate between the GOP candidates not have everyone sing Kumbaya about how evil Obama is. His answer was non-responsive, inane and rude. And he paid for it. I don't think the moderators came back to him for 40 minutes.
Bachmann - through no fault of her own. She was largely ignored by the moderators. Her answers though were not as good, not as sharp. I think the machine turned on her last night. She had one question asked three times of her and she still refused to answer; not good.
Huntsman - I thought he had his best debate but it just won't be enough. His answers were a little too vanilla. He will be ignored until he drops.
Santorum - largely ignored also, but did ok when asked. Made some good points but again, he will be ignored until he drops.
It was interesting that the first debate not on Fox did not cover any social issues such as gay marriage and abortion. The sad thing is that for all the questions on the economy and jobs, no one asked why they think cutting tax rates for the rich will create jobs when it never has in our history. THAT would have been a great question. The truly sad thing though was the obvious discomfort the candidates had with being asked normal questions. Questions based upon things they said. Questions about things they did or did not do. Coming out from behind the Fox bunker really seemed to rattle some of them, although Gingrich was the one that was the most obvious.
The other truly sad fact is the total disdain and disrespect shown toward our President. Can you imagine in 1984 if one of the Democrat candidates inferred that Reagan was an "abject liar?" "He's a nice enough fellow but he doesn't have a clue." "He's in over his head." The GOP likes to claim that they respect the office of President more than the Democrat side but you couldn't tell last night. You can say you disagree with someone's policies or even their results but the comments were directed to him as a person. That's a line that once crossed is hard to come back from. Again, it is sad.