Former Speaker Newt Gingrich summed up Tuesday nights’ GOP debate best when he stated,” Maximizing bickering is probably not the best way to the White House.” The Former Speaker was right, there were better dust ups in last night’s GOP debate, then in any boxing match held in Las Vegas for months.
The sharpest exchanges were between, Texas Governor Rick Perry who accused former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney of lying about hiring illegal immigrants. Romney countered calling Perry effectively, an Al Gore Democrat in Texas when George Bush was running and accused him of creating one-third of all jobs in Texas for illegal immigrants. Romney did come under fire from a number of the candidates again throughout the evening, but still managed to come out looking the most presidential at the end of the debate, but perhaps, a little more rattled then in previous debates.
Herman Cain got attacked by Perry, Santorum and Bachmann over his 9-9-9 plan with all three calling it a value added tax and saying the people of New Hampshire won’t want to pay another 9 percent sales tax on their goods. Cain did well in defending it using the apples and oranges analogy. Cain did get tripped up by moderator Anderson Cooper over comments he made earlier in the evening regarding negotiating with terrorists and didn’t really manage to convince people on his position.
Texas Governor Perry put in a much more assertive performance on the night overall. I think it is fair to say that he will never be an outstanding debater, but he did rattle Governor Romney a number of times, especially when questioning his record on jobs as Massachusetts governor, and said it did not compare to his accomplishments in Texas. The two men, standing side by side in the middle of the set, frequently interrupted each other in what became an increasingly bitter exchange as the night went on, Romney even calling for the rules to be abided by at one point. Perry managed to put forward his achievements as Texas Governor much better then is previous debates.
I thought Ron Paul had a much better debate this time out, then previous debates. I may not agree with his view on every issue, but his is absolutely historically and factually correct about all big empire’s greatness coming to an end by their sheer size and financial cost of maintaining their empire. The 900 or so U.S. bases in over 150 countries are financially unsustainable and Rep.Paul is quite correct in his assertion. He played to his base and supporters well last night and his performance was energised compared to previous debates.
Rep. Bachmann tried her level best to make an impact in the debate however, her every effort now has the news impact equivalent of watching a BBC 24 News Channel show, it sounds the same every time and simply doesn’t change. It is full of sound bites and she’s used them all before too often. A geography note for future debates, Libya is in Africa! Rep. Bachmann is quick to attack other candidates on their plans and proposals but simply doesn’t sound convincing in selling her own or putting forward solutions for the nation’s current problems. People need to hear more then President Obama will be a one term president as a way of intending to run a country. Unfortunate, I do believe Rep. Bachmann has lots of potential but she simply hasn’t evolved as a candidate since her early burst.
I did Like Senator Santorum’s performance again last night, he gave the most substantive answer in defending Governor Romney and the attack on his religion and managed to explain his own valued stance and why the Latino population are important in American society because they understand the importance of family and want the American Dream. Santorum has performed well in all the debates and should be proud of his efforts to date.
Speaker Gingrich as ever delivered confident, assured and factual answers but again struggled to get air time among as he framed it, all the “Bickering.” I would love to see him engage President Obama in Douglas-Lincoln style debates, although I suspect, even in the unlikely eventuality of Gingrich winning the nomination, I very much doubt President Obama would want to engage Gingrich in debates as he simply wouldn’t stand a chance in them.
Overall, the debate highlighted some serious concerns with the Republican field. The mess that has ensued over the primary season following Florida’s decision to move its primary forward, has only served to create more problems then it solves. It doesn’t lend any advantage to the eventual Republican nominee, going up against President Obama next year in the election which above all, should be the priority.
If last nights’ debate is anything to go by, the Republican Party need to seriously look beyond personal loyalty and start looking at who can actually beat President Obama in 2012. The only true winner from last nights’ debate was President Obama.
If the Republican candidates keep tearing strips off each other like they did last night, they will have done all the undermining and character assassination of each other necessary, to convince the electorate to vote for President Obama over the eventual nominee regardless by the time they choose him or her.
Personally, I think the Republicans need to ask themselves what they want more. Do they pick a candidate in 2012, which represents their traditional conservative party values but will most likely lose to President Obama in 2012? Or do they go with a moderate like Romney or a Gingrich substantive conservative who can beat President Obama on substance in a general election? I know people may not like the fact I’ve said this, however, this in my view is the harsh reality.
The fact is you cannot make a difference to how the country is being run, if you are not in power. The Republican Party may have to concede on one or two areas of their traditional foundation in electing their eventual nominee this time around. The choice is simply this, would they prefer to take back the White House in 2012 and work with a Republican President, or put forward a candidate who cannot beat President Obama and stay in opposition for another four years?
Looking at last nights’ debate, time is running out for the Republican Party to adopt Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandant and move forward the discussion on issues in an informative and open manner, instead of attacking each other. If they continue attacking each other, they may as well hand the election to President Obama, a disappointing night from a Republican perspective.
Verdict: Victory to Team Obama
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