Cain, Gingrich Sit Down to Serious Debate in Texas and a Poll

A Great Debate?

I’ve watched every one of the previous debates, and by far, the Lincoln-Douglas style debate at the Woodlands near Houston Texas, hosted by a Tea Party group, the  Texas Patriots PAC, has been my favorite.  Both men were collegial, serious, and very honest about some very difficult issues including entitlement reform.  It’s a stunning difference when contrasted against the previous debates with seven, eight or nine candidates crowding a stage, and effectively permitting the media to highlight its favorites, or the controversies of the moment, turning the events into spectacles rather than serious debates.  It was also refreshing to have a moderator, Ben Streusand, who was not a leftist and whose interest was in furthering the debate and  informing the public.

This debate was such a thoroughly refreshing improvement over all the other debates that the candidates ought to adopt this format and ditch the rest.  I think both men performed admirably, and I also believe that while I could tell you who I think “won” the debate, it’s also important to note that winning and losing wasn’t the focus.  Neither candidate seemed to be pushing for some knock-out blow of the other, and I think that was in part due to the format, but also a result of the serious but friendly competition between these two men.  I think both men are to be commended for their performance, irrespective of who one believes to be the victor, and I think the Tea Party group that hosted this debate is to be praised incessantly for putting this together and making it a success.  The primary beneficiaries of this debate will have been the American people who bothered to watch it, and it was great television.

As with any such event, both men had their laugh lines, but more importantly, both men seemed at ease in themselves and with one another.  I now have a far better understanding of what both men propose, and I also have a much deeper respect for the thoughtfulness of both men.  Gingrich stood up for the idea that the so-called “Social Security Trust Fund” is real, and is a debt owed by the government to retirees and current workers who have paid into it.  Cain said that reform wouldn’t be possible without considering new options, and also reforming the way we generate revenue.  Both men argued passionately that individual choice must be an inherent property of any “fix” to Social Security.  In short, whatever your particular preferences, both men said that individual liberty is the key to successful reform.  They are absolutely correct.

Neither man spared their contempt for the current administration, although Gingrich was probably the more direct of the two in his criticisms.  Both men believe our current system of revenue is broken, and both have their own respective proposals that were at least mentioned during the debate.  I think that it’s clear that among the conservatives still in this race, these two are the best choices, in the main because they seem quite suited to a serious conversation about what the nature of our solutions must be.  I wouldn’t be unhappy if these two comprised the ticket for Republicans in 2012, particularly given our other choices at the moment.

I hope the other candidates will have watched this debate and realized why this is the better format, and work with Tea Party groups to set up similar events while ditching the remainder of the big media spectacles.  There’s simply no reason to subject our candidates to the liberal moderators, the idiotic questions, the “gotcha format,” and the rigid and plastic format that has been at the heart of the other debates. I would encourage Tea Party groups to put on similar events all over the country, changing up candidate pairings so that you can examine them two at one time, thus clearing up things for voters.  I think that would have a wonderful effect on voters’ ability to choose with clear-headed decisions about issues in this accelerated primary season.

As for who won?  I’m going to let you tell me.  After a day or two, I’ll make a few remarks, but I’d also like your opinion on the format, and whether you think this is how the remainder of the debates should be done.  If you don’t mind, please answer the three questions below:

Update: Hotair also covering

Update: You can participate in this Hot-Air Poll too!

Update:  You can watch the video HERE

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11 Responses to Cain, Gingrich Sit Down to Serious Debate in Texas and a Poll

  1. A great commentary , at least in this format the media will not just walk away with a 30 second sound bit…we might get to know the candidate …Thanks

  2. It was a very good debate. Much more informative about the perspectives and ideals of each of these men. Both should be commended for not trying any gotcha remarks. It shows the maturity and seriousness of each of them to fight this "fundamental change" Obama is pressing on all of us. I would like all the rest of the debates to be in this format.

  3. bigmamas52 says:

    I really wish the other candidates would have the fortitude to stand up to the media and say no….and choose this format. Both these men are running unconventional campaigns on limited funds, yet are sparking interest, this debate will only further that. Right now I'm ready to support a Gingrich/Cain or Cain/Gingrich ticket. I have been for some time, but not based on prior debates, but in actually researching what each man has done and what they propose to do. Ultimatelly I think Newt wins any debate, he's just got so much experience and years of thought into solutions. But, Cain brings a freshness of a non-polictician to the table that isn't just a passing fad. Most people have absolutely had it with things the way they are on both sides of the aisle, and with the majority of politicians. Someone from outside the beltway, who lives in fly-over country like the rest of us, brings eyes to the table that probably have not been there in decades. Plus over 40 yrs of business experience is not to be discounted. You have to encompass many skills to make it to the top as many times, for different companies, that Cain did. So ultimately, I think we would be lucky to have either man. BTW, excellent review, as usual, Mark!

  4. janashockley says:

    I support Cain 100% but I do think it was a draw…however the best line of the night went to Mr. Cain when he asked what Newt wanted to work on first as VP!

  5. It's great to avoid the media questions and all.

    But I think it would be so much better had there been a more discernible difference in ideology, philosophy, and policies.

    That is why I believe Newt (should he become the nominee, hopefully not) chasing Obama to get such a debate format is highly improbable. Such a proposal puts me in mind of McCain suspending his campaign to go play senator last election cycle.

    Newt is a technocrat similar to Romney.

  6. I think both candidates did well for different reasons. Clearly, Newt knows his stuff inside and out. He offered specific and substantive answers to the questions. However, this also highlighted one of Cain's greatest strengths.

    Cain might not have as in-depth of a knowledge on a few of the subjects (really, what candidate does?), however, Cain spoke in a way that really makes sense to the people. Newt had a way of diving into specifics that the majority of the public weren't 100% sure what he was referring to or comprehending. Cain can speak about complicated subjects in a way that you and I can comprehend, which is probably due to the fact that he is not a politician, as well as his time in radio talking with real people about the issues.

    So in the end, Newt had the upper hand on policy knowledge, Cain had the upperhand in people knowledge.

    On a ticket, I'd lean towards the more inspirational, non-politician Cain as President with an intelligent, policy oriented Gingrich providing VP support

  7. Mary M. says:

    Mark, do you know of any on-line site where I can watch the debate you write about? I missed seeing it live and really would like to see it, as these two men are my only choices from the lineup presented. Thanks for any help here.

  8. kilt1iron says:

    "I approve of this (above commenter remarks) message"
    Cain/Gingrich

  9. Gingrich clearly has a much better grasp of the issues than Cain. While I like Cain, he lacks the knowledge and experience to be President of The United States of America.

    It is my belief, after watching a man for the last three years occupy the White House, with a severe lack of experience, we cannot afford to elect another President that will require on the job training, givin the dire condition our country is in. While, Mr. Cain does not posses the Liberal and Socialist ideology like that of the current President, My common sense tells me we need the most Conservative nominee with the most experience.

    I realize Mr. Gingrich has a history and has made his mistakes, but there is no perfect candidate. We all have made our mistakes in life. Frankly, What I find very attractive in Newt is that he has owned them, hasn't made excuses and has apologized. I believe he has gained a great amount of wisdom through all of his mistakes and trials and that is what is important. He is clearly the smartest intellect of anyone running for the nomination. The man is also a historian and this is important because if you do not know history then you are destined to repeat it.

    If our world was not so dangerous at this time, given the mess that the middle east is in, I may be willing to say let's give Cain a chance because he's an outsider and not part of the establishment, which is a huge part of the problem. However, Mr. Cain is extremely weak on foreign policy issues and does not have the knowledge to make wise decisions concerning the dangerous world in which we live today.

    It literally scares the hell out of me to elect another POTUS that lacks the knowledge and experience to deal with so many problems that we now face.

    I cannot with a clear conscience pull the lever for Herman Cain and intrust to him the enormous responsibility of reforming and restoring our great country. The mountain that we have to climb and the issues are just to large to hand it over to someone with so little knowledge and experience at this pivotal time in our history.

    I honestly believe that Newt Gingrich is the best choice for such a time as this given my first choice (Governor Palin) is not running.

    Newt has been out of Washington long enough he has had a chance to look at Washington from the outside looking in. I believe he knows what it is going to take to restore our great nation.

    My personal opinion for what it is worth… I just ask everyone to please vet the candidates to the best of your ability and make your decision based on your intellect and not on emotion.

    And the most important thing, pray for wisdom and guidance from our creator in making this decision.