Posts Tagged ‘Debate’

Media Malpractice Leaves Obama Unprepared

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Lost

Anybody who’s ever raised a child knows that for them to get stronger, they must “take their lumps” along the way.  If you shelter children too much, particularly from the consequences of the choices they’ve made, they don’t learn from their worst mistakes, errors, and simple bad judgments.  The mainstream media has been treating Barack Obama as an affirmative action case for more than four years, and on Wednesday night in Denver, they paid a price:  Unprepared on the facts, and unaccustomed to facing pressing, difficult questions, Barack Obama looked stunned at first, and then annoyed, and finally petulant as he was thoroughly drubbed by Mitt Romney in the first Presidential Debate.  Even Jim Lehrer couldn’t prevent it, despite his obvious efforts to coach and guide President Obama. No amount of deck-stacking on the night could save Obama from his own state of unpreparedness.  This stunning defeat was a demonstration of the real world result of affirmative action, and since the media who has sheltered him is composed of leftists who believe in that nonsense, rather than toughen-up Obama, they will seek to shelter him further.

In the 2008 campaign, the media succeeded in sheltering Obama through the election.  They got their man in place because they were able to conceal his many warts, and because McCain was not at all aggressive.  The Republicans ought to be more prepared for any debate, simply because they are almost never coddled by the media.  The real problem began for Obama after his disastrous press conference during which the subject of his former professor and friend Henry Gates arose, and Obama went well off script, telling the press that the Cambridge Police “acted stupidly.”  From that moment on, both his own staff and the press, often in a joint effort, went into full protection mode because they realized Obama wasn’t up to the scrutiny or the tough questions.

Since then, the actual number of press conferences that Obama has conducted has been quite limited, and all of the questions were known in advance.  This permitted Obama to prepare for the soft-ball questions, so that he never fell into any mire quite so sticky as the earlier press conference debacle.  Most other times Obama has appeared in public, it has been to issue prepared remarks, fed to him on a teleprompter.  When everything he’s going to say is scripted for him, he can deliver a speech quite well, irrespective of whether you agree with its content.  In the debate on Wednesday night in Denver, he had no such advantage, the closest thing to shelter available being the coaching given by the moderator Jim Lehrer.  The lack of readiness merely highlights the matter: Obama hasn’t taken many hard questions during his presidency,  but under the harsh lights of the debate stage, that simply won’t help him.  He was neither agile nor strong.  He had no substance, but uncharacteristically, he didn’t seem even to possess style.  On Wednesday night, the media could not conceal it for him.

This doesn’t mean the media will simply give in.  They took a pounding last night, when even Chris Matthews seemed to have lost the tingle in his leg:

“Tonight wasn’t an MSNBC debate, was it? It just wasn’t. It didn’t mention all the key fighting points of this campaign. [...] I don’t know what he was doing out there, he had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it.

“Romney on the other hand, came in with a campaign, he had a plan. He was going to dominate the time, he was going to be aggressive. He was going to push the moderator around, which he did effectively. He was going to relish the evening, enjoying it. Nothing to do with the words he spoke.”

Extreme leftist Andrew Sullivan was beside himself in the liveblog on the daily beast:

“How is Obama’s closing statement so f*cking sad, confused and lame? He choked. He lost. He may even have lost the election tonight.”

I’d be happy to explain to either man why Obama debated so poorly, but neither would listen:  Their constant coddling, their covering, and their failure to hold Obama’s feet to the fire on any issue over the last four years has led to a debacle for the left in which their guy, the President of the United States, is a bumbling, inept candidate who is arrogantly unaccustomed to being questioned on anything.  They built this candidate, and this candidacy, but also this administration.

Naturally, this is far from over, and you can expect the media will go after Mitt Romney relentlessly over the coming days and weeks.  There will be no cessation in hostilities, because rather than learn from their failures, the media will double-down.  They will criticize Obama a bit in the wake of this debate, as they must, but the media will close ranks around him and continue to shield him.  They will because they cannot conceive of the fact that it is precisely this sheltering, coddling affirmative action that has left their candidate wholly unprepared.  Indeed, that is the story of his entire presidency, and their role in it.  Rather than being hardened by repeated hammering and heat, Barack Obama has been able to maintain his stature by the artifices erected by a sympathetic media.

It is in these moments when a candidate’s character becomes known, and on Wednesday night, what was revealed about Barack Obama is that he had been too small a man for the office to which he had been elected.  He was not able to rise to an occasion for which the media’s lack of testing had not prepared him.  Here was a petulant child, caught with his hand elbow-deep in the cookie jar, and as he stammered through excuse and rationalization, one after the other, the media could no longer hide the fact that he had been unprepared to lead four years ago, and that even given the job by the manipulations of their own affirmative journalism on his behalf, he remains unsuited to the office because after four years, he’s learned nothing, because it was never demanded of him.  The media will double-down on this approach because they’re desperate, and don’t have any other ideas, except to attack Romney, but at this late date, there is nothing they can do to make up for their malpractice.  Obama is who he is, and it’s too late to fix that, but that doesn’t mean the media won’t try.

 

Many Notice the Paul-Romney Tag-Team

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Santorum Sandwich

It’s not surprising to me that while the Washington Post inadvertently proves my point about the Santorum double team carried out by Paul and Romney in Wednesday night’s debate, they fail to understand that Santorum represents one leg of the conservative stool, as the media celebrates Paul and Romney attacking a leg on which Santorum is not really resting.  First of all, let us be clear that Ron Paul is not conservative.  He’s libertarian.  Second, let us be likewise clear that Romney is a liberal masquerading as a moderate.  For Paul to attack Santorum from the right is no surprise, at least on economic and liberty grounds, but for Romney to join in is a bit like being attacked by Barack Obama for being too liberal.  There’s something annoying about an attack from Romney on earmarks, as he’s lobbied for them in his own gubernatorial career.  It’s an inconsistent attack demonstrating Romney’s desperation that shows how willing he is to recalibrate himself to situational demands.

More, the double-team(and this gives that term new meaning) clearly demonstrates that Santorum was the victim of a set-up Wednesday night.  The questions were scripted, the audience was stacked, and Paul and Romney carried out their hit.  The thing many people are missing, including the Washington Post, is that in truth, Santorum actually managed to bear up well.

One of t he things people claim is that they want politicians to tell them the truth.  I think that’s a bunch of aimless happy talk, because when they do, they are frequently crucified for it. Whether you like it or not, or agree with it or not, what Santorum said on Wednesday night about politics being a “team sport” is true: You simply can’t get legislation through if you’re a perfect purist.  Witness Ron Paul.  His legislative agenda witnesses few actual successes, but it’s easy to be uncompromising in this context if all one is really doing is making a political statement with no actual intention of implementing one’s ideas.

Of course, some compromises aren’t really that at all, but are instead complete surrenders. Knowing the difference between real compromise and surrender is important to succeed in a legislative branch that consists of 536 voting members(when the Vice President presides over the Senate.)   When Santorum admitted that while serving as Senate Republican Conference Chair, he had to push bills he didn’t necessarily like, that’s true, I’m certain.  The problem is, most Americans don’t know that position exists, or what its holder does, if they’re familiar with the term at all.

This is a year when such nuances may not matter to voters.  Instead, many seem caught up in the huff-and-puff of the media memes of the day, as they come and go. Details don’t matter, and I think this is what Romney’s banking on. As I concluded some time ago, this whole primary season seems to be a scripted affair, as one after another of the alternatives to Romney have been pushed hard, obtained front-runner status briefly, and been ditched with a clearly coordinated effort to keep Romney out front.  Go back to the beginning, and look at the charts.

Bachmann went up, won the straw poll, and was chopped up by Perry’s entrance as she was portrayed as a wide-eyed loon with simple picture selection in the media. Combined with a few gaffes on her part, she was quickly eclipsed.  Perry rose, and became front-runner, and stayed there until an “oops” moment in a debate that added to his previous weak debate performances, and soon he too was on his way down.  Then we had the rise of Herman Cain, and right on cue, as he had attained the top of the polls, here came the stories claiming he was guilty of this, that, and the other. Down he went, and then along came Gingrich.

In Iowa, Paul, Santorum and Romney all hammered on Gingrich, and this sent him downward, but the problem is that Newt wouldn’t stay down, so they hammered on him a bit more, Drudge going nuclear, and Rick Santorum wound up the beneficiary.  Today, Santorum should realize what has been done as they are now doing to him what they did to Gingrich, and Cain, and Perry, and Bachmann, and anybody else who rises to challenge Romney.  The most disappointing part to me is how willing conservative voters have been to be driven along in this way.

It’s bad enough that it’s been plain for some time how this is being managed, but when I see Santorum and Gingrich getting sucked into this, I think they’re both missing the point.  They’re both being picked off, one at a time, but rather than put their heads together to cut off the head of the snake, they spent too much time going after one another.  Finally, I think the two of them are beginning to realize it, and if Santorum didn’t see this last night, he never will. If he’s smart, he will try to form a strategic alliance with Gingrich much as Paul has done with Romney.  This is what Gingrich began to do before he was ambushed in late January, when he brought along Cain and Perry in support of his candidacy.

If Romney and Paul can get together for their own nefarious reasons, it might be time for Gingrich and Santorum to consider the same. I think it’s fair to suggest that a strategic alliance aiming at the elimination of Romney is a good idea, but the only way they’re going to do that is to begin exposing Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts.  Romney likes to talk about his time in the private sector, and his management of the Olympics, but he avoids talking about his record as governor, except to tell us he managed to balance his state’s budget four years in a row.  What he doesn’t advertise is the fact that it is required under law.  Santorum made that point in Wednesday night’s debate, but I think the significance is lost on some people.

Will Romney ever face the sort of examination the others have undergone?  It’s looking unlikely, as the media is saving all its best dirt for the general election.  Bank on it. I Paul and Romney succeed in making this a two man show, Romney will win the nomination, and Paul will be able to exact some sort of promise for his role.  I think it’s fair to say that if Gingrich and Santorum don’t wake up to this reality, they’re in big trouble. While most clear-thinking Americans have noted the apparent Paul-Romney tag-team, the two people who most need to notice it and work against it have not: Gingrich and Santorum must start to think about how to coordinate a bit. Knock out Romney, and it’s a new ball-game.

Wednesday’s Arizona Debate and Why Mitt Romney Lost

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

CNN Debate: The Last Round-up?

The whole debate was set up as a “get-Rick” affair.  Gingrich shined and seemed to return to pre-Florida form, and Romney seemed to fall back to the same place despite an audience reportedly stacked in his favor[again.]  Santorum was honest about his failings in most respects, and one might even say he was a bit pragmatic.  Romney pressed an idiotic argument about earmarks after admitting that while he headed up the Olympics, or serving as Governor, he actually sought them out.  It’s an impossibly self-contradictory argument to suggest earmarks are bad while going to the federal government to ask for them, but Romney did worse than that.

When John King asked interrupted Romney to repeat the actual focus of the question, Romney said he would answer as he damned well pleased, though in other words. The question that had been asked was what misconception the candidate would most like to correct.  Romney began giving his generic, flowery stump speech, and he received a few boos from the audience in response.  The problem is this:  Romney could have taken the opportunity to say “Many people think I’m not conservative enough, but that’s not true because…” but he didn’t.  Why?  Simply, it would admit a negative about him everybody in the room knew all too well: He’s not conservative.

The other problem he had in this debate was the frequency with which he was a yes-man.  On a number of issues, he pointed to one or more of his opponents, and said effectively: “What he said.”  He would use his time to more or less restate the positions of his opponents with whom he agreed, but he offered very little new or in any way unique in his expressions of general agreement.  I kept wondering:  “Well, if you agree with these guys, why do we need you?”  In this sense, Romney did nothing to differentiate himself from the other two, which is the problem many expect in the general if he gets the nomination.  He’s simply too willing to agree, and he has nothing to offer that places his own signature on any issue.

In contrast, Santorum was hammered at every opportunity, by Romney and Paul.  Gingrich, who served in Congress, knew full well the truth of Santorum’s argument about what it sometimes takes to get a thing done in Congress, and there are some political realities with which one must contend.  You often will not get the things you want, and you may have to swallow some bitter pills to see your priorities enacted.  This is why legislative processes are often compared to the making of sausage:  It isn’t pretty to watch.  Nevertheless, Santorum took the brunt a few times, despite the fact that it was undeserved.

Ron Paul needs to go home.  After what I learned earlier in the evening about his betrayals, and how he’s clearly helping Mitt Romney, it’s time for Paul to go home.  He won’t, but he should.  He played Romney’s attack dog on Santorum throughout the debate, and it was so obvious that I waited for him to break out a Romney campaign pin.  It was shameful.  I’m surprised Santorum held his cool so well as he did.

Romney lost the debate, whether the voters watching from home noticed or not, and it was sickening to see him rely on Paul for the Santorum double-team.  His unwillingness to engage with his own answers, or offer anything unique to them should give you a sense of what sort of miserable President he would make, and when he had an opportunity to correct misconceptions about him, rather than exploiting it, he gave a stump speech.  You think this guy can beat Obama?

Ron Paul Won’t Touch Romney in Debate – Now We Know Why

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Like Father Like Son?

It’s all coming down to this:  Ron Paul is staying in this race in order to assist Romney, because he wants his son to be on the Presidential ticket with Mitt Romney.  As he travels around stumping on the basis of his limited government position, all he’s really angling for his to get his son on the ticket with the most liberal candidate in this race.   I wonder if the people who are supporting Ron Paul know this, because if not, they’re in for a big surprise.  I’ve never seen such a thing.  Talk about opposites:  Ron Paul wants Mitt Romney because he’s considering his son for the VP slot, but the problem is that the only way he can do that is to defeat Rick Santorum, and in tonight’s debate on CNN, the elder Paul had every chance to criticize Romney, but he didn’t, and instead spent his time hammering Santorum.  This is not a coincidence, as the article linked about makes plain.

I like many of the things Ron Paul stands for in the domestic arena, but the problem is that I now know he’s a shill candidate, and it’s been increasingly clear for some time.  This is a sell-out of the first order because irrespective of whether the younger Paul is on the ticket, the problem remains:  Romney can’t win, but even if he did, Rand Paul will be nearly powerless to effect policy changes, and virtually none of Ron Paul’s positions will be adopted.  If Ron Paul’s supporters are willing to stand for that, frankly, I don’t know what to make of them any longer.  Romney’s presidency would be the antithesis of everything Ron Paul has advocated.

At the conclusion of the debate on CNN, Anderson Cooper came on as the stage emptied of the candidates, and I watched with interest as Mitt Romney got up and directly went to shake Ron Paul’s hand and exchange a few words with him.  He should have kissed his backside instead, as Paul never failed to attack Rick Santorum throughout.

Now that I better understand Ron Paul’s actual agenda, it’s easier to walk away from him. He may be willing to settle for a campaign that ends with getting his Senator son on the Mitt Romney ticket, but I certainly am not.  This is why people become so frustrated with politics:  Politicians sell them out while soliciting their donations, and broker behind-the-scenes deals for the sake of personal expedience.  Unreal.

Impositions of Morality: Arguing With Lefties

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

A Different Approach

Over the course of your political life, if you’re a conservative, you have probably run into an issue or ten where the focus is a matter of  morality in some way.  Abortion is one of the issues, and if you happen to favor a prohibition, you will be attacked as some sort of Neanderthal who wants to impose his or her morality on others.  I’m sure you’ve all heard this, and in some contexts, I suppose a few of you may have said this, and it is the standard answer leftists use when you touch on an issue where they are fearful of being undone.  One of the problems for conservatives is that too often, we cede this ground without a fight, not challenging their claim, and not contradicting its basic premise either.  This is the kind of bumper-sticker argument that frequently appeals to the young, and if we’re going to beat the liberals, this is one instance where me must learn to fight fire with fire.

You can almost write a script of the order of remarks in such a debate, wherein you have a liberal on one side, and a conservative on the other.  My approach to these sorts of debates is now much different than it was two decades before.  When I see that such an argument is imminent, I now take the step of a preemptive strike:

“Don’t you agree that as individuals, it is wrong to impose our individual moral standards upon others?”

Upon hearing this issue forth from your mouth, the liberal inevitably thinks victory is already achieved, and they smile (either inwardly or outwardly) as they wait to close in for the kill:

“Yes, absolutely, I believe that.”

It’s now your turn to smile. Show all of your teeth.  Whatever the subject, be it abortion or welfare, or anything in between, this is your moment to pounce upon them with vigor:

“Why do you then impose your morality by virtue of the tax code?”

They may look at you in confusion, as the formula is somehow “off.” They don’t have a scripted recipe for this ready, and it’s not in their 1-2-3 Half-Bake Liberal Cookbook. They almost immediately and reflexively turn to the next best thing:

“No I don’t! What are you talking about?”

Take your time, as you already have them on the ropes, and do to them what they ordinarily try to do to you: Badger and mock them.

“You think rich people should pay a higher percentage, right?

“uh, yeah…”

“You believe people should be able to deduct child-care expenses, right?”

“sure, I uh…”

“Mortgage interest? College tuition?  Their children?  Their government-approved home improvements?”

“well, I, uh, look, that’s not what I…”

“That’s the truth of it, isn’t it, and you’re imposing your morality at every turn! Why?”

“It’s the right thing to do…”

“According to whom?”

“Well, everybody…”

“You don’t speak for everybody! Who are you to speak for everybody and place your own view above all of theirs? What sort of moral superiority do you practice?  What sort of person are you anyway?”

If they’re not crying by now, it’s because they’re frozen.  If you’ve done this sort of thing to one of them in front of a crowd of their friends, all the better.  By now, if they’re not looking for their blankets while sucking their thumbs, they soon will be.

Now you might say that this may work with the tax code, or with welfare programs, but you might ask me how it could ever work with abortion.  That’s easy too, but remember what their game is and how you must defeat it, and the answer is that you must always take the initiative from them without having seemed to have done so:

“Don’t you agree that as individuals, it is wrong to impose our individual moral standards upon others? I mean, you wouldn’t want somebody imposing their will on your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, right?”

Again, they will be a bit disarmed at this point, because you seem to be saying something not so controversial, and they will generally agree pleasantly.

“So given that, if somebody were to impose their estimation on the moral value of your life, that would be horrible, wouldn’t it?  Nobody should have that right, should they?  Nobody should be able to say to you what your life is worth, or whether you have a right to it, right?”

“Of course not. It’s preposterous! You can’t do that to people!”

They may even throw in a little indignant  grand-standing to prove their commitment to this argument.  Then it’s your turn:

“So then why do you do it?”

“Huh?”

“Why do you impose your estimate of another human’s worth on those persons and call them disposable?”

“I don’t!”

“You’re in favor of abortion, aren’t you?”

“That’s different! That isn’t even a person!!!!”

“According to whom?”

“Well, everybody, science, law, ROE V. WADE you know, EVERYBODY!”

“You now speak for everybody?”  (Rinse and repeat.)

Now you may on occasion run into the slightly more sophisticated liberal, who has thought these things through a little more than the average, and when you do, they’ll try to switch the context back, but don’t let them. Stick to your premise, and your context, and even chide them for so doing.  Mockery is permissible, and in fact, preferred.  If you have a really smart one on the line, an admitted rarity to be sure, since most liberals I know add an automatic one-hundred points to their actual IQs, just remind them of a few things worth noting:  Screaming  “everybody” and “society” or “government” and “science” does not constitute an escape clause from this moral proposition.

This is because a moral system or standard that references third parties for their alleged validity cannot be valid.  For instance, saying “the law says…” is of no value, since you can write a law that says anything at all.  Saying “science” is meaningless because for every possible position there exists at least one scientist somewhere who disagrees, and his name just might be Galileo.  To say “society” is to argue a falsehood since none can claim to speak for “society” or “everybody” and in most cases not even “all those present”(unless you’re in a room full of liberals.)

You might say, “but Mark, but Mark, God is a third party! Are you ruling God out?”  Yes, in this context, I am afraid I am, for at least one very good reason:  Who can claim to know God’s mind?  If you use this argument, they will throw that back in your face mercilessly, and in logic, they have a valid point.  You might then wonder, if you haven’t already, “but Mark, how can you claim rights that come from God?”  I don’t, and if you read my arguments in this blog carefully, you will have noted I make no such arguments.  This is because lefties will naturally throw at me: “How do you know? Can you prove it?”  Of course, at that point, I would be stymied if that were the basis of my argument.

Instead, I rely upon something the founders described as “self-evident.”  They described it as “Nature, and Nature’s God.”  You see, whether there is a respect in your heart or not for the existence of God, you must admit of the existence of Nature, being part of it, and in it at all times.  It is the context and the environment in which you exist, and in which any such argument takes place.  There is no avoiding it.  If you believe in God, you naturally believe He created all in Nature, and Nature itself, but even if you do not believe in a God, you cannot deny the existence of, well, all existence.

Now you still may ask how I argue that with a liberal who insists that rights are not a natural construction of our universe but instead a figment easily removed by the government or a mob.  They extend their view most particularly to property in all its forms, since it is their peculiarly disclaimed objective.  Waive at them your billfold, or your purse, and ask them if they’d like its contents, all else being equal.  If they stubbornly answer “No,” you can ask them why they insist government take it for them.  If they answer “yes,” you need only say: “Come and take it if you can.”

That’s all the proof of your right that you need, but it’s also the proof of their depravity.  For all their baseless argumentation, what they really condense into is a tribe of primitives with clubs, willing to bash in your skull, in order to get their way, just the same way as their ancestors, and every other miserable statist who has ever lived.  Over the years, we’ve yielded far too much ground to them by permitting them to pretend morality only has one side, and only a few applications.   Like your own ancestors, who civilized this world and wrested it from their kind, perhaps only temporarily, your answer must remain the same: “No.”

Thursday Night Debate

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Another Night, Another Debate

I was suspicious about this debate when I heard Tammy Bruce play audio on Thursday of Romney telling his supporters who couldn’t get tickets to shove their way in, so I wasn’t surprised to hear rumors as the debate wore on that the audience was stacked with Romney supporters.  The scuttlebutt is that 900 additional Romney supporters were brought in by the Florida Republican party, but I’m looking for confirmation.  It seems that the Florida GOP did control 900 of the 1200 seats, so if they wanted to rig it for Romney, they certainly could have, but as of yet, I have been unable to confirm that it was disproportionately given to Romney supporters, but the fact that the Florida party controlled them means it could have been.

If I had to pick a “winner,” I would say Rick Santorum, but that’s provisional, because I think while he definitely made some excellent points, and put Romney in the position of making an ass of himself, I also suspect most people didn’t catch one thing he said that would actually damn him in my book, and theirs if they thought about it.  If I had to say who was most honest in this debate, I would say Ron Paul, followed by Gingrich and Santorum in a tie for second, with Romney getting the evening’s Pinochio award.

You might ask why I would give Mitt Romney such a distinction, but it has to do with what he said about his vote in 1992.  In the primary that year, he voted for Paul Tsongas, in the Democrat primary, so I’m a bit confused about what he said during this debate.  The other significant issue was his use of the whole Gingrich “ghetto” business in relation to language.  What Newt had been discussing was that he didn’t want to see people locked into ghettos defined by language barriers because they had not learned English.  It had nothing whatever to do with the Spanish language, or those who speak it, as Romney and his ad attempted to imply.   These two lies were the worst among lesser ones, but definitely noteworthy.

Ron Paul was steady, and CNN did not let him answer the Israel/Palestine question. Had he answered it, he might have gotten a black eye, and that wouldn’t have served CNN’s purposes.  As usual, he was right about fiscal matters, and monetary issues also.  The problem is that he only touched on his defense and foreign policy stances, and this made him seem much more acceptable than usual. That was the point.

Rick Santorum had a pretty good debate, and his exchange with Romney surely put the former Massachusetts governor in a defensive position, so much so that he said “there’s no reason to be angry.” Frankly, there’s every reason to be angry about the way in which Romney conducted himself during that series, because he lied repeatedly.  More than this, however, the manner in which he said this to Santorum was more condescending than usual, and that’s quite a bit. Santorum was  spot-on to point out that Romney, particularly would have difficulty contrasting himself with Obama, and that to nominate Romney is to give up the issue of Obamacare.

Unfortunately, there are two areas in which I think Santorum failed. Let me put the last first, and that was in his answer to the final question.  When he spent time attacking Gingrich and Romney as a part of his answer, it came across as desperate, and a little non-responsive, because while what he was saying was largely true of the other two, the question was about why he could beat Obama.  Instead, he squandered part of his time telling us why the other two could not.

The other issue I had with Santorum, and the one I think damns him in my view, was the discussion of taxes, when he effectively endorsed a “progressive” income tax, albeit with slightly lower rates.  I don’t think many people noticed this, but what it implies is that he would do little or nothing to rethink the entire question of taxes.  I think that’s a shame, because what it came across as being was an appeal to class envy, or at least pandering in that vein.

Santorum did well in answering other questions, but this one would hurt him if most people noticed, which I doubt.  Had a not said that, and if he had focused on his own virtues and electability with that last question, I’d be prepared to call him the winner unreservedly.  As it is, I’ll call him the winner, but I’m putting an asterisk next to his name.

Gingrich was flat. I don’t think he bombed, but I don’t think he shined.  I also noticed that the way the questions were structured, it was clear CNN wanted to set up certain responses, and they got them.  The problem is that in the FoxNews debate of Monday last week, it wasn’t a bunch of leftists asking the questions.  In this debate, a leftist asked every question, except those from the audience, but clearly those had been screened and selected for the same reason.  Let me explain.

This debate was rigged.  Romney’s one “shining moment” was supposed to be his moment equal to last Thursday’s “Newt moment,” but it looked contrived and rehearsed, which I am now certain it had been. He’ll get away with it, of course, because there will be no proof, but it was served to him on a golden platter, and of course he hit it well.  The driving idea behind the management of this debate was to keep Gingrich off balance, and to push Santorum and Paul up a little, hopefully scavenging some support from Gingrich.  At the same time, Romney was supposed to find some separation, and in a world wherein most of the audience won’t have noticed his two biggest lies, he will have prevailed.

Factually, of course, Gingrich is right about the immigration question, and I’m surprised when he didn’t capitalize when Romney made the best point in favor of what Gingrich had said: This isn’t about eleven million grandparents.  That’s true, but if grandparents are the thing on which Romney hangs his criticism of Gingrich on this issue, didn’t he actually demonstrate why Newt’s proposal is not altogether unreasonable?  In other words, it’s a small segment of a greater issue, so tormenting Gingrich on behalf of the point seems preposterous.  More, Gingrich is right:  Grandparents will not “self-deport.”  Their families here legally will care for them and shield them from the law, along with their churches, as Gingrich made plain.  It’s true.  In this sense, Gingrich was being honest where Romney was being disingenuous at best.

Romney did make one criticism that is true, about candidates promising things to voters in various regions to get their support.  That’s true, but the problem is of course that Romney has done it too, so the value of his truthfulness on the one point is negated by the fact that he is guilty also.

All in all, I think it was one of the poorer debates, in large part because it was managed in order to obtain one predictable outcome: Newt Gingrich was not to be allowed to prevail.

Mission accomplished…

The Expectation Game

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

With almost perfect precision, what I had warned in a post early Monday came to pass: The expectations for Gingrich to dominate the debate was so unreasonably high that some were disappointed, but what’s more important to notice is how the media couldn’t wait to push this new theme. “Gingrich off his game,” they lament, and “No standing ovations,” they scream, but what made Gingrich’s performances last week so remarkable was precisely the fact that standing ovations in such events are a rarity, and far from the rule.

In fact, in Monday night’s debate, the moderator, Brian Williams, instructed the crowd to hold applause.  This took away the dynamic interplay between Gingrich and the crowd, but what it largely accomplished was to make it a boring affair in which the crowd itself was no longer any factor, and for the TV audience, it seemed Gingrich had faded some.

I cannot report to you anything specific about the Monday night debate except what I have gathered from other sources, because I was not able to view it.  My apologies to those of you who wanted to read my take.  I will leave it to those of you who watched it to form your own opinions, of course, but in the after-coverage, the developing theme is that Gingrich “underperformed” but only in comparison to last week’s events.  From those with whom I’ve subsequently spoken, he did as well as anybody on the stage, but he didn’t have that “magic moment” as in the two previous debates.  As I pointed out early Monday, nobody can be atop their game every time, and nobody can score the big play in in every game.  Based on what I’ve read, Romney was apparently somewhat defensive, and seemed edgy and desperate, but I’ve also read that Gingrich had a few pregnant pauses.  I will endeavor to watch the video when I find it posted on-line, but it’s really not so shocking that Gingrich might not have lived up to the unreasonably high expectation the media and his most recent performances have created.

Meanwhile, Romney could have managed to stammer out a few sentences and be pronounced a success, because the expectations for his performance were so low following last week’s debacle.  I don’t really consider those sort of false expectations on either side, and neither should the electorate, but unfortunately, the TV audience tuned in to see the guy who created a stir last week in South Carolina, but with a different set of ground-rules, and a different kind of crowd, one could hardly expect similar results.

You can expect the media to use these expectations, or more correctly, the fact that Gingrich didn’t live up to them one night in three as evidence he’s “off his game” or other such nonsense, but you should understand by now that the media builds people up with the notion of later knocking them down again, particularly when it comes to this expectations game. In this case, Gingrich’s prior performances became the standard against which he would be measured, and this resulted in his more average performance being seen as less than spectacular.

Did Newt Scare More Than “Journalists” With Debates?

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Tastes Like Chicken?

A large number of the people in media are angry with Gingrich, since he never seems to miss an opportunity to rake them over the coals when their questions warrant a terse response.  Some in media are whispering they do not wish to moderate any debate in which he is a participant, although I suspect that tells you more about their leftist political orientation and sub-par intelligence quotients than it does about Gingrich.  Now it’s being reported [again] that Romney may be pulling the plug on the schedule Florida debates, and given his last two debate performances stacked alongside Gingrich, it may not be a bad move.  I don’t know if the label “chicken” will hurt him any worse than his two most recent debate appearances, and he surely wishes to avoid any more public tongue-lashings over his failure to release his income tax returns.  Some will differ, but I believe the CNN debate on Thursday was even more damaging to him personally than was Monday’s FoxNews debate, if only for his halting, equivocating answer on that specific tax return question.

The real unfairness of the debate situation is this: NBC is talking about canceling the debate altogether if Romney won’t show.  I think that’s wrong, but then again, I don’t know what the contractual obligations may be, but if it were my debate, I’d go ahead with it, and make sure there was an empty podium where the absent candidate should have been.   This would quickly put an end to the “take my ball and go home” attitude Romney seems to be displaying.  There would be no worse public relations disaster for Romney, and no better coup for the others than to have that happen. Of course, since the media favors Romney, this would never happen even if the rules permitted it.

If Romney takes this approach to his poor performance, what will he do in the general election season? Will he skip debates then, too?  All of this militates against Romney, and one would think he’d realize this before his opponents seize upon this to make yet another case against him.  This is the kind of change of tactics that can either elevate or ruin a candidacy, and the Romney camp is willing to flirt with potential ruination if the public reacts badly against him rather than the near-certain ruination that could result from another bad on-stage performance next to Gingrich and the others.

Mitt’s “Ooops” Moment in Debate

Friday, January 20th, 2012

The "Oooops" Moment

If you missed last night’s debate, you missed a good one. At one point, Mitt Romney was answering one question, and then had to return to another, and seemed to lose track of it.  There was an awkward moment, and he stammered, and looked pleadingly at Newt, who shrugged and actually bailed Mitt out by making a joke, giving Romney time to recover. Romney then went on to attack Gingrich in his answer to the question he finally remembered.

Here was Mitt Romney’s Perry-like “ooops” moment:

You can read complete coverage of Thursday’s South Carolina CNN Debate, complete with video, here.

Chicken-Mitt? Romney Considers Abandoning Debates

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

HotAir is reporting that Mitt Romney may bow out of any further debates.  After Monday night’s performance, I can’t say I blame him, but I think this will play into Newt Gingrich’s hands if the former speaker is up to the chore, because if the front-runner won’t participate, one has to ask if he deserves to the title.  I can’t imagine that working out well, and it also means that if the debates go on without him, he’ll be giving them unchallenged air time to say anything and everything they wish to say about him, with no response.  I think that Mitt is gambling that without the front-runner, the debates will be canceled, but I think that’s a poor gamble, and one that’s apt to see him fall rapidly from front-runner status to third or worse.  What it really hints at is Mitt’s tendency to be a sore loser, and if that idea catches fire, it will end his campaign in a short order.  If he’s really the front-runner, he can’t afford for that theme to build, but he also can’t afford another sorry performance like the one he put in on Monday night.  I think it’s come down to a case of picking his poison.

The Washington Examiner makes this observation, and I think it’s something the Romney campaign shouldn’t ignore:

“The problem for Romney is that even if some in the campaign are tired of debates, the viewers — the voters — aren’t.  Television ratings for the debates have been quite high all year, and it’s likely that trend will continue for the South Carolina debates.  In addition, even at this late date, a lot of voters are just now tuning in to the Republican race.  In a casual conservation Sunday, a top South Carolina Republican recalled an extended-family dinner over Christmas in which he asked relatives whether they had watched the debates.  No one in the family — several dozen people — had watched even one.  Now, with the campaign in their state, they’re taking a look.”

This is undeniably true.  Many people are  just beginning to tune into the debates, and the entire primary process.  This is why I have argued that much of this is foolish, and that the long campaign throughout 2011 was largely an exercise in futility.   One could make the case quite easily that it  certainly didn’t help Bachmann, Cain, Huntsman, or for that matter, Rick Perry, who would have done well to have avoided some of the earlier debates.  Part of this is driven by the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida.  Candidates believe that with all the emphasis in the media on these states, they have no choice but to be in it for the long haul.  At this rate, the next presidential election cycle will start in 2014, but not end until 2016.  Much of this is driven by media, and most of these people, apart from gaining some of the much-needed name recognition really would be better off with a shorter season.

If Romney checks out on the debates, it may be his undoing, but too many performances like Monday might likewise spell doom for his campaign.  It’s “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t,” but if I were Romney, I would gamble on my ability to at least hold steady in the debates rather than hope I wouldn’t be seen as an arrogant spoil-sport who’s walking off the field before game’s end.

Newt Gingrich Rocked The Debate With This

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Gingrich Delivers

The absolute best moment of last Monday night’s Fox News debate in South Carolina is encapsulated in this video, when Juan Williams asked Gingrich a racially charged question, Gingrich rejected the premise, and rocked the auditorium, and was rewarded with a thunderous standing ovation from a crowd that was clearly ecstatic to hear conservatism expressed in such a clear and thorough manner.  This is the sort of thing the conservative base has been waiting for to rally around one of these candidates.   I don’t know if he can win, but this moment in the debate may have been the best single moment for any candidate in the whole campaign season.

What Gingrich said here is important in understanding why we must defeat Barack Obama.  We cannot permit the left to set the terms of the debate, and in this instance, Gingrich absolutely demonstrated why this is true.   I’ve had my issues with Gingrich, to be sure, but this was a perfect response to a question intended to trip him up.

Newt has his flaws, but this was amazing, and I was happy to see him stand for unfettered, unrestrained unapologetic conservatism. It made me think very much of Reagan’s standard for measuring success of welfare programs:

“We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.” – Ronald Reagan
That’s a message we cannot repeat often enough.

Good Night For Perry, Gingrich; Goodnight Ron Paul

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

South Carolina

Perry had his best debate of the season, although to be fair, that’s not exactly saying a great deal, but he didn’t seem to fall asleep after the half-way mark, and he didn’t stumble through any lists, in part by avoiding them. Gingrich absolutely clobbered Juan Williams who looked like a man besieged as the crowd erupted into thunderous applause that went well beyond the cut to commercials according to people on the scene. Gingrich seemed to return to form, staying primarily positive, and taking on the media, including the noteworthy exchange with Juan Williams.  I’d be willing to say that on style as well as substance, you would be right to give the nod to Newt Gingrich as the “victor,” whatever that means in this context.

The replay of Williams being booed is worth it:

Ron Paul’s inability to articulate his views on national defense really hurt him Monday night, because when he stumbled and stammered a bit through one long answer(to which Perry aptly remarked he should have gotten “the gong”,) he seemed to lose track, and it showed he wasn’t as quick on the turnaround as most would hope, and while I think I understood what he was trying to say, it’s only because I’ve seen him say it more effectively and much more cogently before.  Tonight, he fell flat.

Rick Santorum gave a decent performance, and when he confronted Romney on the question of voting rights for paroled felons who had done their time, he came across as holding Romney’s feet to the fire.  Of course, you could see his set-up coming, but it worked, and Romney looked foolish in most respects on the issue, because in the end it was revealed that he did nothing while Governor to advance his stance, meaning it’s not a sincere position.  Romney came off sounding snide and petulant, and a bit arrogant too.

Speaking of Mitt Romney, as I pointed out in a blog posting Monday night, if he won’t tell us what’s in his tax return now, before we vote for him, there’s no reason on earth that we should. Period.  He gave a number of other well-rehearsed answers, but he really came across as plastic, as usual.  He really seemed under duress over the whole Tax Returns question, and with good reason.  Every voter in South Carolina and around the country should now be suspicious unless they simply like living under a rock.

All in all, I liked the debate only because it was less crowded and allowed for more full responses, and it was less littered by ridiculous questions formulated in some leftist dungeon.  As we get closer to the South Carolina primary, just a few days away, this will help generally because it was before a South Carolina crowd, and it revealed one particular thing about one candidate:  Mitt Romney doesn’t want his tax return filings out, and you and I know there must be a good reason for it. He got nervous, because there was a bit of blood in the water and he was happy to change the subject to anything else.  I think we need to put pressure on him on this point precisely.

You Have to Vote For Me to See My Tax Returns

Monday, January 16th, 2012

No Tax Return? No Vote!

After watching Monday’s FoxNews debate, I have some pointed advice for voters in the upcoming South Carolina Republican primary:  If a candidate will not disclose his tax returns before you vote, consider him ineligible.  You have no need for a candidate whose dirty secrets will be aired only after you’ve voted for him.  Mitt Romney talks about April, but I want to see them now, before any of us have voted(other than Iowa and New Hampshire, whose residents have already voted.)  You have every right to demand this sort of disclosure from the candidates, and if they won’t meet your expectations, you have every right to withhold your vote.  The suggestion of at least one of the candidates who hem-hawed this issue in Monday night’s debate is that you have no need to see them until  after he thinks he’ll already have the nomination.

I want right now to pause and suggest to you that this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.  It ranks right up there with Nancy Pelosi’s infamous:

“We have to pass this bill before you can find out what is in it.”

Ladies and gentlemen, if you accept this from Mitt Romney or any of the candidates, you have no right to complain when Nancy Pelosi pushes through a monstrous health-care bill, or any bill, before anybody has had time to read it.  The voters of South Carolina, and every subsequent state, all have a right to demand this of somebody asking for their votes.  If you let Mitt Romney sneak by you with this one, it’s just the beginning, but I don’t care which candidate offers you this lie, because you must reject it, and you must do so by withholding your vote.

I am going to walk even further out on this limb: I will not vote, either in the Primary, or in the General Election in my state for ANY candidate who has not disclosed his tax returns before the date of the primary. I will not buy a pig in a poke, and neither should you. No tax returns?  No vote!

Cain Out of Presidential Race

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Cain Bows Out of Race

Saying he was suspending his campaign for the GOP nomination, Herman Cain announced to a crowd of disappointed supporters that he was effectively ending his White House bid.  Despite what others may say, I think the American conservative voter will miss Herman Cain’s populist voice in this 2012 election season.  Mr. Cain’s particular strength had been his ability to resonate with voters who have regarded Washington DC as the ongoing source of our troubles, but not necessarily any solutions.  Cain’s candidacy first came under attack after several women made claims of sexual harassment, including a over-hyped media event featuring one of the accusers and Gloria Allred, her attorney.  To date, Gloria Allred still has not provided the alleged sworn statements she said she was waving around in that press conference, making it appear as though she may have known there was no truth to the allegations.  Last week, another woman of dubious credibility came out to claim she had carried on a thirteen year long affair with Mr. Cain, but just as with the others, she has provided no substantial evidence of her claims to date.

Whatever you may think of Herman Cain on the issues, what torpedoed his campaign is nothing more than press-hyped innuendo, at least thus far.  While it is possible all of these accusers are telling the truth, my own gut tells me that at least some of these charges are pure nonsense.  Part of my reasoning is that the method by which these things have been used to take down Cain have emerged is with much media fanfare, but in follow-up, very little substance.  More, when one accusation didn’t work, more were trotted out.  When the sexual harassment allegations didn’t convince voters entirely, accusations of an affair were brought forward.  One after the other, charges were made until the mantra became “it’s the seriousness of the charges,” without any real examination of evidence.

Whenever I see people begin to talk “about the seriousness of the charges” without reference to any substantive evidence, my antennae deploy in suspicion of treachery.  It’s not that Herman Cain couldn’t have done all of these things, although some surely seem farcical.  In any event, I’m disappointed to see Cain depart, if only because his views on taking power from the DC insiders was refreshing and offered hope to people for real reform.  Whether one thought the merits of his “9-9-9″ plan were great or terrible, it surely spawned debate on the question of our system of taxation.  Few conservatives will fail to remember 9-9-9 in association with tax reform, and I believe Mr. Cain deserves a good deal of credit for bringing that discussion so much attention, irrespective of these allegations about his personal conduct.

Cain was also willing to go into a forum in which he would face former Speaker Newt Gingrich in a one-on-one debate, which turned out to have been a wild success among voters who wanted to be able to gauge the candidates side by side, in isolation from the glitz and hype of a big stage production with a half-dozen or more candidates and sound-bite worthy time constraints.  Readers of this blog favored that format by a wide margin, expressing the opinion that the remainder of the debates should take on that kind of one-on-one format, since it allowed for a more free-ranging and thorough discussion of the issues based on their merits, and tended to stay away from the sort of “gotcha moments” that tend to characterize the traditional debates.  While readers of this blog thought Cain lost that debate, they nevertheless gained a good deal of respect for the man’s positions.  He also endeared himself to debate watchers in that forum. One would think other candidates would recognize the value of such debates to voters, but some candidates are more interested in winning without the voters learning anything substantial about them.

Herman Cain has been a ground-breaking candidate because he comes not from a long career of government service, but instead because from a private sector background with unique solutions to problems facing our republic.  His exit leaves another hole in the field, because the rest of the candidates have extensive government service that makes it difficult to consider them “outsiders.”  Cain said that he would continue to try to reform government from the outside in his announcement Saturday, and many Americans fervently hope he will carry that out with the same personable good nature that shows through even under duress. His announcement Saturday paid appropriate respect to his supporters, and to the country and its voters as a whole, and it’s why so many believe Cain is simply a class act. This writer certainly hopes Herman Cain will stay involved, because this country certainly needs more voices from outside government demanding real change.

Chink Appears in Mitt’s Armor: Won’t Debate Newt

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Afraid of Newt?

For those who have wondered what would derail Mitt Romney, this may be it.  RealClearPolitics is reporting that the Romney campaign declined to debate former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in a one-on-one “Lincoln-Douglas style” debate.  This is simply ridiculous.  If the former Massachusetts Governor had confidence in his message, this sort of opportunity would be just the sort of event he could use, not only to knock off Newt as the front-runner, but also to demonstrate his ability to go head-to-head with one of the more agile minds in politics.  One must wonder if the Romney camp isn’t now terrified of Newt.  Romney’s strategy has been to wait for others to kill themselves off, and there’s no doubt that his campaign is hoping that Gingrich will somehow do the same, but there’s an unseemly element of cowardice in play here.  Romney’s crew is running scared, and this refusal is a sign of panic over at Mitt Central.  If Mitt wants to show his ability to win a debate against Barack Obama, he’d better be able to hold his own with Newt, but this refusal suggests he’s running away, and that’s something we can’t permit in whomever we choose to go up against Barack Obama.

This highlights what has been Mitt Romney’s problem in this entire primary campaign season, as he’s avoided situations that force him to square up to other competitors in any venue that wouldn’t be favorable to him. This entire show with six or more candidates arrayed across a stage is designed to help Mitt.  He’s fine when he is able to get away with short answers and seek the refuge of the time-keeper, but the truth is that Mitt gives one the sense that if pulled away from his rehearsed and polished talking point, he probably isn’t able to think on his feet any better than Barack Obama when deprived of his teleprompter.  Everybody in the Republican party would feel a good deal better about Governor Romney were to take on Speaker Gingrich in a one-on-one debate and at least hold his own.  Romney has long suffered from the sense among many Republican voters that he’s too plastic, and too packaged.  This would give Romney the perfect opportunity to show he’s more than that, but instead of viewing this as an opportunity, it’s clear that his campaign sees the idea as a threat.

If Republican primary voters consider this refusal, it will be trouble for Romney.  It may well kill off some of the lukewarm support he has enjoyed in some quarters, where he had been seen as the “safe candidate who can win.”  Many eyebrows will now be raised, with Republicans wondering if he’s so safe, or able to win after all.  The truth is that such conventional wisdom has always had a serious flaw, and it goes to the question about whether Mitt Romney is really up to a battle with Barack Obama.  If he won’t debate Gingrich over fears of a poor showing, what will he do against Barack Obama,, who will doubtless have a slavish media moderating debates to the disadvantage of any Republican?  In that environment, even a debater like Gingrich will be hard-pressed, but I wonder if Romney understands that in part, this primary campaign season is an audition for the part of dragon-slayer.  If he cannot or will not face up to Gingrich alone, does he have any business next September/October on the stage with Obama?

It’s time for the Romney campaign to kick into gear and show the strengths of their candidate.  Thus far, all they’ve shown is his ability to avoid stepping on lethal landmines, but they’ve shown nothing of his ability to charge the machine-gun nest across the field.  Mitt Romney can’t win the nomination by avoiding Newt Gingrich, hoping the former Speaker of the House will somehow self-destruct.  Now is the time for Romney to show he’s at least able to square off with Gingrich in a one-on-one test of intellect, and the fact that his own campaign so quickly dismissed and declined a debate with Gingrich merely suggests that the wider judgment of him by Republican voters has been correct all along:  He’s not up to the task of governing the nation, and truly, if he will not stand up to Gingrich, there is no hope that even were he to defeat Obama, he’d be able to take on Harry Reid and other Democrats in the Congress. It doesn’t speak well of this would-be nominee that he hasn’t the stomach or the determination to withstand a debate with Gingrich.  If he hold’s to this refusal, he’ll need to be careful that he’s not soon known as “Chicken-s**t Mitt.”

Media Manipulates Debate, Limits Questions to Bachmann

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Intentionally Ignored

That’s the question many are asking in the wake of Saturday’s CBS News/National Journal debate.  An email has been leaked which seems to indicate this has been a conscious decision, and not some unlucky happenstance.  What it suggests is what we’ve suspected all along:  The Media is manipulating these debates to get their own favored result.  It doesn’t matter which candidate you support.  This entire situation has become a farce, and now we know why.  Big Media is engineering the outcomes by deciding who will get question, placement of candidates on the stage, and rigging of the entire spectacle.  The Bachmann campaign has posted an image of the email on her Facebook page, and it’s pretty damning.  In it, CBS News Political Director John Dickerson tells correspondent Caroline Horn:

“Okay let’s keep it loose though since she’s not going to get many questions and she’s nearly off the charts in the hopes we can get someone else”(bolding mine)

This means they had no intention of asking her many questions.  This certainly demonstrates what her campaign has been suggesting for some time:  Bachmann’s being moved to the margins not so much by voters as by the media’s portrayal of her.  By intentionally slighting her, CBS News is manipulating the results. In their statement accompanying the release of the email, Bachmann Campaign Manager, Keith Haigian, said on Bachmann’s Facebook Page:

This is Keith Nahigian, Michele’s campaign manager. While Michele has been onstage at tonight’s debate demonstrating strong leadership on foreign policy and national security, we received concrete evidence confirming what every conservative already knows – the liberal mainstream media elites are manipulating the Republican debates by purposely suppressing our conservative message and limiting Michele’s questions.

View the attached email by CBS News’ political director from earlier today–we need to show the liberal media elite that we won’t stand for this outrageous manipulation. Help us fight this affront by sharing this with your friends.

This really is a damning indication of how thoroughly manipulated these debates have been.  If they’re already deciding in advance to limit questions to a particular candidate, as many have suspected all along, then what sort of debates are these?  It’s a show intended to give us the favored result of the media, which is why I have suggested that the sane candidates should instead ditch the remainder of these debates and work to get debates scheduled like the Cain-Gingrich debate.  At least in that context, you don’t have hostile moderators, and you can be more assured that you’ll get an honest outcome, rather than a stage-managed result.

At one point, moderator Scott Pelley interrupted Bachmann’s attempt to interject with a response to Congressman Ron Paul.  Said Pelley:

“There’s actually a system at work here with regard to the Senator’s question.”

Indeed.

This episode reminds me of another CBS scandal, involving a forged letter.  Apparently, the faces have changed, but the dirty tricks remain the same over at CBS News.  We conservatives must not accept in any measure what the media tells us about the electability of any of these candidates, because it is clear they are seeking their own ends, and it surely doesn’t serve our interests, or the interests of an honest and fair debate.  Other candidates have been making a similar charges for some time, but this leaked email is the first evidence we’ve gotten that this is not accidental, not coincidental, and not a matter of bad luck.  It has everything to do with the media’s desire to stage the outcome.  Conservatives have every reason to be suspicious, because with this sort of clear shaping of debates, what we now must recognize is that the Media will not showcase for voters all of the candidates on a fair and equitable basis.

It also means something else, and for you, it’s very important now as the accelerated primary season is nearly upon us:  On this basis alone, every one of these candidates deserves a re-look.  That is the truth of the matter.

Here’s the image posted by the Bachmann Campaign on FaceBook:

Media Mocked By Debate Audience – Perry Mocks Perry

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Debate in Michigan

CNBC hosted the Your Money Your Vote Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night in Michigan. After repeated attempts by media questions intended to raise issues about Cain and the sexual harassment allegations against him, and being repeatedly booed by the audience, the moderators finally went on to the topic that had been promised to be the focus of Wednesday night’s debate:  The economy.

The various candidates seemed to respect the wishes of the crowd, whether through conscious decision beforehand, or by sheer political instincts given the reactions of the crowd to these off-topic questions.

To me the funniest moment in the debate came when Rick Perry said he would shut down three departments of government, and then went to list them:

Rick Perry:  “Education, commerce and uh, uh, um, uh”

Ron Paul: “Oh my.”

Later in the debate, Perry said:

“Energy! That’s the one I couldn’t remember earlier.”

Of course, while Perry suffered from memory lapses, Romney suffered from sheer babbling. In answer to a follow-up question about Romney-care, he said:

“People have a responsibility to receive their own care…”

What?  What does that mean?  How can one not receive one’s own care?

I think he was basically caught flat-footed, and didn’t have a rehearsed answer, so strung together a few syllables. It was utter nonsense, every syllable.

Romney also avoided the direct answer on the Payroll Tax cut question, not wanting to be cornered there either.  Romney is an eel, and I refuse to vote for him under any circumstances.  This lack of courage, and this unabashed pandering that characterizes Romney surely damns his candidacy in my view.  Gingrich also squirmed away on this question.

Michele Bachmann had the right answer ready on the payroll tax, and I was happy to see her confront it bluntly.

Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich had the right answer on student loans, while Rick Perry tried to escape this one too.

Herman Cain simply doesn’t know enough to be President.  His answer on market volatility and uncertainty demonstrated this thoroughly.

Perry needs to go home.  No offense, but Rick, you’re not helping yourself at all. Jon Huntsman was right to call Romney out on the tariff pandering, but at the same time, he didn’t really offer any viable solutions of his own.

The entire debate was interesting and lively, but I would rather see the format of the Cain-Gingrich debates applied to other pairings.  I’d like to see Gingrich take on Perry, and Bachmann take on Romney.  I would like to see Cain take on Paul, and you can pair Huntsman with Santorum, because after all, everybody else needs a night off, and these two guys can’t buy attention.

 

My Thoughts on the Cain-Gingrich Debate

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

One Clear Winner or Two?

In order to avoid lending my own bias to the results of the polls I put up at the conclusion of the Cain-Gingrich debate, I withheld my own opinion on the performance of either man, and instead focused on the format of the debate, and my own thinking about that aspect of the story.  For the record, the polls have closed, and you can see the results here.  In this instance, I agree with the majority opinion on all three questions, including particularly the question “Who won?”  It was clear that while Herman Cain is a very likable man, at least insofar as his debate performance goes, the problem with Herman Cain has nothing to do with style, but instead entirely with substance.  It’s not that Cain didn’t score some points with me, as he most certainly did, but most of the points he scored with me were on a non-specific basis, or on the basis of his affability.  In terms of the issues, while I did not agree in every dimension with everything Newt Gingrich said, I nevertheless admire his command of the issues at hand, whether or not his views or ideas aligned precisely with my own.  He understands the issues in specific detail, and his knowledge as an historian lends to his presentation.

The truth is that the specifics of issues seem to pose a problem for Herman Cain, and to be honest, we knew this well in advance of this debate, so it’s worth noting that Cain at least had the courage to come forward in a venue where he knew that he was at a distinct disadvantage.  While that’s to Cain’s credit, the simple fact that he couldn’t provide any information on the subject of defined benefit plans suggests he simply isn’t ready.  He had some excellent one-liners, but then again, so did Gingrich, but the problem for Cain is that in the details, Gingrich demonstrated a detailed level of understanding that simply out-classed Cain.  Cain’s knowledge was general, and generic, and at that same time, Gingrich knew the nuts and bolts of the subjects under discussion.  There simply is no way to ignore the truth of the matter.

If the presidency were based on likability, Herman Cain would have won this debate, but the truth is that being President is a serious business, and knowledge of these issues is critical to the sorts of reforms we hope the eventual nominee will advocate, whoever that turns out to be.   Unfortunately, the presidency isn’t solely about detailed knowledge either, because what conservatives want is a president who they can trust, and whose first instinct isn’t to create another program or department or bail-out.  Conservatives want to know that a president has their backs.  Gingrich suffers from the deserved impression that he may lose his grounding under some circumstances, as expressed through his Global Warming defection during which he appeared with Nancy Pelosi in a joint advertisement on behalf of Global Warmists.

This is the dilemma presented by the Cain-Gingrich debate.  I suspect that even those who rated the debate “a draw” will admit that on the totality of the issues, Gingrich really was the superior of the two, but that their impression of Cain was informed by his engaging, and at times, humorous presentation.  I also suspect these are people who, like me, still feel a bit burned by Gingrich on a few matters, like the aforementioned Global Warming surrender.

There can be no real doubt: Gingrich absolutely dominated the facts and the issues in this debate, and on that basis, he must be considered the victor, but whether he can smooth over his past failures in the eyes of conservatives is another question.  The truth is that I suspect most conservatives wish that Cain had Gingrich’s grasp of the issues, or that Gingrich inspired conservatives as well as Cain does.  Conservatives want the “complete candidate” for a change, without compromise, and some of us thought we had spotted one, but she chose not to run.  We’re coming rapidly to the time for choosing, and the fact is that conservatives are still unsettled about it.  What the moderates and establishment Republicans hope to do is to make it difficult for conservatives to settle on a single choice, thus dividing the conservative wing of the party in the hope that they can be conquered.   So far, that strategy is paying off as the party is fractured but Romney’s support remains steady at around 25%.

Like many conservatives and Tea Party folk, I thought we would have a unifying conservative candidate, but that choice hasn’t materialized.  I say to my conservative and Tea Party brethren that among those still in the race, these two are probably the best, although I’d like now to see Gingrich face Bachmann in a similar style debate.  I’d like to see Cain against Romney.  I’d like to see Perry against Paul.  The format of this debate was the best of them in my view, and clearly in the view of my readers too.  This is the debate we should be having.  Let’s get to it.

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

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

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

Tuesday’s Debate Demonstrated Our Problem

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

One of These? Please...

After some digging, I finally found the debate on Bloomberg TV.  I didn’t know we got that channel until I went looking.  Suffice it to say that I could have saved myself a good deal of trouble and faked my way through by guessing at the way it would go.   It wasn’t inspiring, and in fact, disappointing, not for the lack of fireworks, although there wasn’t much there either, but simply because there is nobody among the eight candidates who appeared Tuesday night that is worthy of endorsement.  It’s possible that if you took the best traits of each of them, you might cobble together a worthy candidate, but it seemed more like a staged coronation of Romney and a further opportunity to hammer Perry.

My assessment of the candidates, in no particular order:

Rick Perry: Better.  It’s obvious that he was the only candidate Karen Tumulty recognized at the table. While I’m no Perry fan either, this was a bit blatant.  She seemed to be seeking the approval of liberals everywhere as her questions all seemed to have a tone of indignant harumph about them.  Score Perry 20 points just for refraining from telling her to crawl back under her rock.

Michele Bachmann: That’s it? That’s the extent of her arguments?  How many times did she praise Mitt?

Jon Huntsman:  Who cares?  Everybody knows he’s in the room to make Mitt Romney look less liberal by comparison.

Herman Cain:  Blew it big-time on the 9-9-9 plan.  His insistence that the American people would hold Congressional feet to the fire to prevent the 9-9-9 from becoming 19-19-19 is laughable.  He’s either naive or dishonest.  I’m still willing to believe naive.  Also, he mentioned that he would be President so he would veto anything done to abuse his formula.  That’s all well and good while he’s still President, but hopefully, the country would go on a bit longer. What then?  Lastly, never say that “I have some candidates for that job” unless you’re willing to discuss them, because thereafter, it will look as though you’re hiding something, which you are.

Newt Gingrich: Too bad about Newt.  He’s a remarkably smart fellow, but his willingness to join with Nancy Pelosi on theGlobal Warming hoax damned him forever more.  Nobody will really trust Newt. Me included.

Ron Paul:  He made an excellent point about Sarbanes-Oxley, and also about Greenspan vs. Volcker.  Greenspan did help create the bubble. As usual, Paul is good as gold on economics but he’s a disaster on foreign policy.

Rick Santorum: Makes a good point about the importance of family with respect to poverty.  Otherwise, I think he was simply happy to be there.

Mitt Romney:  The good news for Mitt is that he didn’t say too much to get himself in trouble with the press, but every republican should be deeply troubled by what he did say.  Romney is playing a game of class warfare only slightly different from the Democrats, and he’s taking it in a different direction, but it’s the same thing.  He also lied about Romneycare.  In several ways.  Romney is precisely what we do not need: He’s a liberal.

We need to begin to ask the question about what it is to be a Republican.  We need to differentiate between conservatives and progressives.  Tonight’s debate served only to further muddy those waters.  What does the party stand for anyway?  If these people are representative of that, whatever it is, we’re in deep trouble.  Sure, if I could take Paul on economics, Cain on combative business savvy, Bachmann on confronting the welfare state, Gingrich on thoughtfulness, Perry on reducing regulation, and Romney on “looking presidential,” we might have something.  The truth is that we don’t have such an aggregate of good ideas and traits in one person.  If this is the pool from which we hope to draw the person who will defeat Obama, never mind restore our nation, I think it’s time to call Houston, because we have a real problem.

Romney Bickers With Perry; Perry Stumbled; Cain, Gingrich Shined

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Bickering Between Perry and Romney

As expected, the spectacle at center stage between Perry and Romney bickering over their respective interpretations of their books became a recurrent theme.  Perry took the first real shots at Romney, looking much too aggressive, and coming across as too eager to hammer his opponent.  Romney battled back, but as a Texan, I became  embarrassed for my Governor.  He looked confused at times, and ill-prepared.  By contrast, the stars of the show were Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, the first revealing his fight with stage four colon and liver cancer, and expressing his strong support for Israel, and his 9-9-9 plan, with Gingrich providing the real wit in the crowd.  Bachmann was flat, while Romney was wooden.

Cain had many great lines, but among his best was this gem:

“Ronald Reagan said we’re a shining city on a hill. We’ve slid down that hill.”
Gary Johnson had one of the funniest lines of the night:
“My next-door neighbors two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.”
The rest was  fairly standard. Aside from Cain and Gingrich, the remainder of the field sounded tired.  Romney’s rhetoric was particularly flat, and Perry came out too aggressively, and sounded confused by the end.  He has shown in two successive debates that he has a problem holding himself together for more than an hour.

Perry’s worst moment may have come when he seemed to double down on his compassion argument for the in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.  That was astonishing and drew some extended booing from the crowd.
This field needs something that’s missing.  I have my own ideas. What are yours?