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Friday, August 12, 2011

The Iowa GOP Debate: How'd They Do?

Judging the winner of a debate is a bit like judging the winner of a singing contest. Once you get rid of the absolutely horrible singers, the rest is all subjective. Still, the MSM needs clearly defined winners of subjective debates about policy, because it fits their format. The problem is, there can never be a clear cut winner in a debate, there can only be different skill levels of messenging.

That being said, let's take a look at the debate last night. I'll put the candidates in the order of my preference. I will tell you that the clear loser in last night's debate was Chris Wallace, followed closely by Byron York. Brett Baier was a monster and he should have just handled the whole thing by himself.

  1. Herman Cain. He was human, he was funny, he was on-point and he didn't allow past mistakes to dog him like Bachmann did. I am not endorsing anyone right now, but I am excited to see how well Cain is doing and even more excited to see that people are responding to his views on correcting the national course. Policy-wise he is right on target. He may need a crash-course here or there, but remember, we were told Obama could learn the job on the job. The difference between Cain and Obama is Cain is a real life grown-up man with a track record, not an actor.
  2. Newt Gingrich. Simply the most well-informed, comfortable, experienced and tough candidate there. I liked that he went after Chris Wallace, but it was just a bit too premeditated for me. I agreed with everything Newt said and I would love to see him in the White House. He'll never get there, but I can still hope.
  3. Rick Santorum. I wasn't a big Santorum fan until last night. I'm still not, but he did great last night. He needs to wipe the grin off his face, it makes him look like a frat boy with a 1.7 GPA but as far as important stuff goes, I thought he was completely on target. I kept thinking Veep when I watched him because I don't think he can win nationally, and even though we disagree on some social issues, I like where he is coming from. He did a great job pointing out how far-out Ron Paul has become as well.
  4. Mitt Romney. Mitt actually won the debate that afternoon when he took on the shrieking, shrill Leftist who wanted to prove to the world how smart the Left is. He failed. Besides that, Mitt was much better this debate than the last one. However, looking and acting Presidential during a campaign isn't enough (for reference see: 2008 Barack Obama). He said some good things, but I just don't feel it.
  5. Michelle Bachmann. When she is off script she is brilliant. She needs to fire her consultants and stop trying to be something the Left wants her to be. When she is doing her talking points schtick she is flat and devoid of almost anything I would like to see in a president. She did great on the Today Show this morning, bolstering my point about her handlers. She also should have answered Byron York's inane question like this: "Before JFK was elected people were concerned he would only answer to the Vatican."
  6. Tim Pawlenty. He reminded me of George Constanza's "jerk store" bit with his pathetic comment about Romney's lawn. He's also over-coached and a bit of a light-weight in what turned out to be a room half-full of strong contenders. His inability to decide who he should attack, Bachmann or Obama, also left me feeling a bit sad for him.
  7. Ron Paul. Libertarians beware, don't vote solely on labels. His monotonous anti-war rhetoric makes him seem like a looney after a while. The problem with the constant harping on our current wars is his message gets lost. America does need to pull back its military from foreign engagements, and as far as fiscal policy is concerned he is dead-on, but we also need to live in the real world. Paul's message is the most purely Libertarian, but it is not reality-based. His take on Iran, although rooted in history, could not have been more wrong, or more dangerous. It's no wonder college kids love him, but then again, college kids got Richard Nixon and Barack Obama elected. I also think Rand was sitting at home in Kentucky last night going "Dad, please, shut up."
  8. Jon Hunstman. I actually had to do a Google search to find the eighth participant, and I watched the entire two hours. To slick, too coached, too void of consistency and too close to the Left.
Cheer up those of you who are not voting for Barack Obama, we have three, possibly four, people running right now who have what it takes to be President and pull us out of the mess an ill-informed and churlish electorate stuck us with in 2008.

Other big losers of the night:
  • Rick Perry. If you're going to run man-up and join the debate, don't try to steal other people's thunder by allowing your campaign to leak your intentions the morning of the debate. Bad form.
  • Sarah Palin. I may be the only person on the Right who really dreads the thought of you as president. Timing your bus tour for the day of the straw poll, yet not taking part in it just shows what a political lightweight you really are.

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