The GOP Debate Gauntlet – Deciding The Nominee Or Face Time For Media Hounds?

Bookmark and ShareAs GOP primary voters wind down to the last couple of months before the selection process of a nominee begins there has certainly been no shortage of opportunity for the top polling candidates to get their message out.

Is it me or is there a GOP presidential debate every week?

For political junkies it is a fantastic schedule. The candidates squaring off on our tv’s, the trip up’s and slip up’s, the scolding of the media, the embellishing of records and the bickering about who has the biggest…….plan. All kidding aside there have been a few bright moments and some instances where policy has been articulated well to allow the voters to hear and decide who the best candidate would be to put the country back on the right track.

But does the grueling debate schedule also serve another purpose?

Lets be honest here, there are candidates whose funding, message and 15 minutes have dried up during the process but yet they remain there, on the stage, for nothing more than a little self promotion and face time. To steal a quote from ESPN’s weekly blooper segment: “C’Mon Man!”.

Michele Bachmann came out like a lion and is leaving like a lamb. Winning the Iowa straw poll gave her some hope but realistically the big dogs had yet to get on the porch in Iowa at the time. Although she has had some good moments in the debates her chances are slim to none. 28 foster children is admirable but repeating it time after time to people who want to know what you are going to do to help the job market won’t help a withering campaign bank account. Sorry congresswoman but after Iowa it may be time to sit down and pen that book you seem to be promoting. Get off the stage

Rick Santorum has spent a ton of time and money in Iowa. He has spent enough time in Iowa that he may have to file his state tax return in the Hawkeye state. Despite his near residency he is still polling at or near the bottom in the state that kicks off the election cycle. That alone should be enough to tell the former Pennsylvania Senator that it may be time to hang it up. In a socially conservative state, the socially conservative candidate has not been able to gain traction. Not a good sign. He has performed well in the debates don’t get me wrong but if he can’t get off the ground in Iowa he isn’t getting off the ground at all. Especially after all of the effort he has put into it. If he is staying in for VP consideration or to gain viewers for a new Fox News show is unclear but staying in to win is not an option at this point. Your best in Iowa was not good enough. Get off the stage.

Jon Huntsman has also not made any major gaffes in the debate cycle but has yet to make a name for himself in a muddled field. China this, China that. Pointing to his foreign policy experience should be an asset to Huntsman but instead has made him seem like a 1 trick pony. Throw that in with his time in the Obama administration and although it may be unfair, he comes off to the everyday voter as Obama’s China guy and using the words Obama and China in the same sentence doesn’t bode well with GOP voters at the moment. Noting your experience with China every time you get a chance to speak however may land you a spot in the next GOP administration but other than that there is no reason for Huntsman to remain in. Get off the stage.

Ron Paul has been polling well. That is to say better than he has in past presidential primaries. However even his supporters, of which I am one, realize his chances of winning a GOP nomination are almost non-existent. His values are more Libertarian than Republican, everyone knows it and he is unapologetic for it. Some of the ideas he was ostracized for in past primaries have become GOP rallying calls but it still doesn’t hide the fact that he simply is not what GOP voters are looking for. He is still raising enough money and polling well enough to stay in the race but is he going to stay in to win or to gain a national stage for his Libertarian philosophy? I think everyone with an ounce of sense knows it is the latter. He would do much better as a 3rd party candidate and would in the end probably help the GOP nominee by siphoning some of Obama’s more fiscally responsible but socially liberal supporters from the President. It pains me to say it but Dr. Paul – Get off the (GOP) stage.

Rick Perry is a car wreck on the side of the highway. It is very difficult to watch but you can’t help yourself from wanting to take a peek. Gaffe after gaffe has made him the poster boy for SNL skits. Couple that with a very poor decision to pick a fight with Mitt Romney in which he got his rear end handed to him and you have a flash in the pan campaign that started like it was shot out of a cannon and then exploded before it made impact with anything. debates are not Perry’s strong suit. Unfortunately for him there are a bunch of them. Another Fox News gig in the wings? He does have great hair. Governor, Get off the stage.

Hopefully these candidates will see the light after Iowa and bow out gracefully. They have nothing but a prayer of winning the GOP nomination and if they truly wan to show fiscal responsibility will quit wasting their donors money trying to do so. There will probably be a couple that remain in until the coffers run empty simply for self promotion and grandeur, but that’s what we get for scheduling this many debates.

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