Santorum Shines, Paul Respected

The only thing worse than endless political ads is political ads being tossed back and forth in a debate format with no fact checker.  Well, almost no fact checker.  Romney himself got caught when he tried to famously disavow any political negativity coming from his side only to discover that he had indeed approved an attack ad against Gingrich.

What was lost in the mix was serious debate.  The average listener might think that Romney and Gingrich’s stance on immigration actually differed.  What we discovered instead is that they really are basically the same, making their attacks on each others immigration policy pretty funny.  In fact, they all seemed to have the same view on illegal immigration except for Ron Paul who seemed to be saying that the problem is we have a bad economy and if we had a good economy we would all want illegal immigrants to come here and take the jobs Americans won’t.

Of course, with Paul sometimes it is difficult to differentiate his “this is what I would do as President” with his “this is the way things ought to be” with his “this is the way things are” rhetoric.  It keeps him safe with both the radical constitutionalists and the ignorant populists in his base.  Of course, I myself am a radical constitutionalist, but most of Paul’s constitutional rhetoric falls under the “this is the way things ought to be” column.  I couldn’t have any alcohol last night because of an early morning medical procedure Friday morning, but if I had a drinking game it would have been how many times Paul redirected a question by making his answer about the war, how bad the fed has made the economy, or how small a constitutional government should be.  The immigration question got both the war and the economy.

Paul did receive a great deal of respect from the other candidates.  It was the sort of respect Romney showed to Bachmann early on in the race.  It was that sort of “you have no shot of winning, but I would really like your supporters to like me down the road so I’ll smile and pat you on the back” respect.

Gingrich fell into a trap that I warned about a few months ago.  He has big ideas, but he has also become more and more of a states rights conservative.  Gingrich’s problem is communication in small soundbites.  I understood that he was speaking about encouraging private ventures to establish a moon colony, but the three candidates up there either willingly or ignorantly seemed to think he was talking about NASA doing it.

Gingrich also dropped the ball on something he has done very well at in previous debates, not taking media bait.  Blitzer played Romney and Gingrich all night long.  In fact, it was Rick Santorum who had to bring the debate back to the issues.  Unlike the early debates where Gingrich ran the show and the other candidates followed his lead, this time it was Santorum who reminded the other candidates what the debates and this whole process is all about.  Because of it, Santorum shined last night.

Mitt Romney has hired Bachmann’s former debate coach and it shows.  He laid down persistent attacks, mostly inaccurate, and was distracted from the issues all night.  Newt attempted to rebut, but his responses were too involved for the average American viewer.  Romney easily turned Gingrich’s responses on their head.  A good example was when Newt brought up Romney’s investments in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  I think Newt’s point was that Romney shouldn’t be attacking him for doing consulting work for Freddie Mac when in fact Romney himself is making money on Freddie Mac stock.  In the end though, both sides lost that debate and viewers were left with a disgusting taste in their mouth.

I said that Jacksonville, Florida would be the most important debate of this election if one candidate could shine like Gingrich has in the past debates.  In the end, Gingrich saw his shadow and this primary will continue far beyond Florida.  And unfortunately, it will continue to get nastier.  The candidates have already said many things about each other that they will not be able to take back in the general election.  So in the end, Santorum won the debate, but the Republican party was the big loser.

 

An easy message

Is this race about to get dirtier?  The more crazy moves Obama makes, the greater the temptation will be for Republican candidates to start slinging mud at each other.  I’ve said since the start of this primary that Republicans need to focus on Obama, but so far Newt Gingrich is the only one who has been able to accomplish this.  The result is that he continues to post poor showings in the polls as few Americans are paying attention to anything he is saying.

So why are Republicans getting more comfortable attacking each other?  The right is getting more and more confident of a 2012 victory with every misstep this President makes.  I still maintain though that Republicans need to make this election about defeating Obama.  Already, Romneycare, Perry’s HPV order, and Bachmann’s gaffes are going to make it that much harder for the GOP nominee to win in 2012.  Obama has done plenty of things to run against, and I give credit to Newt Gingrich who has been pointing them out in his weekly newsletters.

I thought I would provide a refresher course to the Republican candidates to help them stay focused. For example, do they want to focus on jobs?  President Obama is the President whose policies have driven unemployment up to 9.1% while running annual deficits over a trillion dollars a year.

In the meantime, he is also the President who is blocking the opening of a US manufacturing plant in South Carolina because it is not a union factory.

He is the President whose federal agents performed an armed raid on a US manufacturing plant because they were buying materials overseas and manufacturing them here in the US instead of manufacturing them in India.  Yes, you read that right.

He is the President who took a public US corporation away from the company’s bondholders, sold the company overseas to an Italian company and gave the proceeds to the United Auto Workers union.

He is the President who unilaterally shut down US oil drilling in key areas of the Gulf of Mexico.  When a judge said his moratorium was unconstitutional and tossed it, Obama simply wrote another one.  In the meantime, he heavily invested US tax dollars into drilling operations in Brazil and promised the US would be one of their best customers.

He is the President who today proposed $1.5 trillion in cuts in private investment and consumer spending through higher taxes, after proposing $400 billion in tax hikes just a week and a half ago.  That’s $1.9 trillion in proposed tax hikes over a two week period when he was promising new policies to create jobs.  By the way, these are the same tax hikes his own party wouldn’t pass in 2009 or 2010.  All this and he is the one proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts in Medicare and Medicaid.

How about government waste?

He is the President who after taking $850 billion in stimulus dollars and funneling it to unions and pet projects such as duck ponds and skate parks is now asking for another $450 billion to fix the 152 bridges he neglected with the first stimulus.

Speaking of the first stimulus, Obama is the President who invested billions of our tax dollars into various “green energy” projects that have now gone bankrupt.  And it gets worse:

He is the President who gave a $529 million taxpayer loan to a company owned by one of his biggest supporters, multi-billionare George Kaiser, despite knowing that the company was failing.  Then he restructured that loan so that when the company went under Kaiser would get paid first and taxpayers would get what was left over.

Barack Obama says we need to cut private investment and consumer spending through higher taxes because the rich need to pay “their fair share”.  But when it came to Solyndra, Obama specifically made sure that the rich got their millions of dollars back at the taxpayer’s expense.

How about in Afghanistan?

As Obama slowly draws down forces and quickly pulls out of combat roles, he also keeps fighting for cuts in military spending.  He seems uncommittedly committed to the war in Afghanistan.  Could that have any correlation to there being nearly twice as many US deaths in Afghanistan in Obama’s three years in office as there were during the entire Bush Presidency?

What about Obama’s management of the Justice Department?

While letting the black panthers off the hook for voter intimidation when they showed up in military garb with clubs at the voting booths, Eric Holder took pro-lifer’s to civil court and sued them over standing too close to abortion clinic driveways.

And of course, Fast and Furious.  This was the operation where this President’s Justice Department sold guns to violent Mexican druglords.  Those same guns were used to kill border patrol agents.  Meanwhile, Obama has sued Arizona for trying to enforce immigration laws on their own.

All that, and I didn’t even mention Obama’s disastrous healthcare legislation.

If 2012 Republican candidates feel the urge to take a swing at a political opponent, might I suggest that Obama makes for an easy target?

Oh, and one last thing.  Report@whitehouse.gov might be a thing of the past, but if you disagree with what I wrote you can always report me to Obama’s new citizen watch website, http://www.attackwatch.com.

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