Debate Caliber

With Newt inches from running in the 2012 primary, the one comment I have heard most from Republican friends is much fun it would be to watch a Newt/Obama debate. Whether you love, hate, or are indifferent on McCain, I think most of us would admit that he was a great campaigner, but not the best debater.

George W. Bush was a good debater. So good in fact that I remember the conspiracy nuts saying that Bush had a hidden earpiece and a box shaped transmitter between his shoulderblades for one of his debates with John Kerry. I was always impressed that the guy who single-handedly planned and carried out 9/11 so that he could start a war for oil, couldn’t afford a small CIA wire instead of a large box-shaped transmitter. Come on now people.

Gingrich is an incredible debater. For example, in his debate with Mario Cuomo, he got Cuomo to admit that if Democrats ran on their actual agenda, they wouldn’t win elections.

Gingrich went to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention and debated Sharpton, who is also the founder of National Action Network. They debated among other things, race and education. He debated John Kerry on energy policy. Gingrich has not backed down, and has carried himself as an absolute gentleman in the debates.

Many have written Gingrich off before he leaves the gate. Liberals, who somehow manage to see through the plank in their own eye, have quickly attacked Gingrich’s 16 year old marriage infidelity. Some on the right fear that Gingrich will lack the energy and charisma to take on the Obama youth machine and will end up becoming the Fred Thompson of 2012.

But there is no denying that a Gingrich/Obama debate would be epic. Gingrich has more than quick thinking and intelligence on his side. He also has a vast knowledge of history, both recent and distant.

When McCain went on the View, Whoopi Goldberg asked him if returning our country to the US Constitution would mean that she should have to worry about slavery coming back. McCain couldn’t answer the question. Gingrich would have no problem quickly pointing out the folly of the question itself because Gingrich knows what the constitution says and why it says it.

Too many Republicans are facing 2012 with a fatalist attitude. Unfortunately, many have already written off the upcoming election. I challenge you to think this way: imagine a debate between Newt Gingrich and Barack Obama. If that doesn’t get you re-invigorated about 2012, I don’t know what will.

Will 2012 Ruin 2016?

In 1996, after Democrat President Bill Clinton had embarked on a regime so liberal that he swept Newt Gingrich and Republicans into power in 1994, it seemed for Republicans that it was Bob Dole’s time. However, with Republicans being frowned upon for shutting down the government and Clinton getting credit for reigning in spending, Bob Dole’s clear path became more and more difficult. It didn’t help that a third party candidate was stealing GOP votes or that Dole showed the charisma and enthusiasm of Fred Thompson at 3 in the afternoon.

In 2012 things may not be so different.

Noemie Emery writes in the Washington Examiner that the class of 2012 for Republican candidates may be the weak link in the GOP ascendancy. CPAC showed just how deep a divide exists between the different brands of Republicanism. None of the current field is an across the board favorite, and as I mentioned last week even Mitt Romney scares some conservatives.

Contrasted with the candidates who could be prominent in 2016, the 2012 class seems dull and divisive. As Emery points out, 2016 could see figures who have emerged as highly popular among conservatives and have already proven themselves as leaders. She mentions Marco Rubio. I would add Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Chris Christie, Allen West, Mike Pence, Jim DeMint, and Paul Ryan to that list.

Each of these politicians have become rock stars among the conservatives in their constituency and are starting to build national respect.

As wide as the 2012 field appears right now, it may end up being the year of lost potential. Many candidates who could have injected the young vibrancy of the conservative resurgence into 2012 have made other commitments. Mike Pence will likely run for governor of Indiana. Chris Christie is staying put in New Jersey. The candidate who best embodies the conservative values that swept into Congress in 2010 also happens to be one of the most divisive among conservatives in Sarah Palin.

So what about Emery’s suggestion that Republicans would be better off losing in 2012? Honestly I don’t think we can afford to lose in 2012. And when I say we can’t afford it, I don’t just mean the Republican party.

 

Thanks to a friend who posted the Emery article at u4prez.com

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