Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Notes on the CNN/ TEA Party debate

Tonight’s CNN/ TEA Party debate was a vast improvement over the NBC/ Politico debate last week. While Wolf Blitzer did get the candidates to mix it up, he was subtler in his approach than NBC’s Brian Williams and Politico’s John Harris. Kudos to CNN for allowing actual TEA Party members to ask question. Unfortunately, Blitzer did not allow all the TEA Party questions to be answered by all candidates. (I really wanted to hear everyone’s answer to that young man’s question about how much should he be taxed).
Here is how I saw each candidate’s performance.
Mitt Romney: Mitt did nothing to regain his front runner status. His attack on Perry on Social Security, sounded like Mitt was willing to go with the status quo. The cat is out of the bag on Social Security, we all know it needs to be reformed. Simply saying that you will fix it, sounds like the failed promises of the past that has led us to the current problems.

Rick Perry:
John Podhoretz sums it up best when he says Perry had better get better. Perry needs to really have some solid answers for the Gardasil question and illegal immigration. You could drive a truck through both answers. On Gardasil, simply saying you made a mistake and your emotions got the better of you, leaves you open to the question of will it happen again. On the immigration question, Perry’s answer for Texas’ mini Dream Act, sounds like Romney’s weak answer on RomneyCare. The 10th Amendment is not a Band Aid for past lapses in conservative judgment.

Michelle Bachmann: I think she drew blood with her tangle with Perry over Gardasil. It wasn’t with her accusation that Perry was engaged in a Crony Capitalism with Merck (that was sloppy), but her response to his answer of being bought. Bachmann took the higher ground and sounded like she had her priorities straight.

Herman Cain: I really loved Cain in the beginning, but his answers are sounding way too sound bite-ish at this point. We are well past the stage for sound bites. Meat is needed on the bone of his answers, otherwise it is impossible to take him seriously. My advice to Cain, get Wonkish, like yesterday.

Ron Paul: Given his answers tonight on foreign policy, it is clear the Ron Paul has zero chance of winning the nomination. When Rick Santorum can school you on foreign policy and American Exceptionalism, you have a problem. This is sad, because so much of Ron Paul’s economic views are correct for the times.

Newt Gingrich: I love feisty Newt who has shown up to these debates. Even tonight, Newt looked like he was ready to bust Wolf Blitzer in the mouth if Wolf got out of hand. All of the candidates would do well to take a page out of Newt’s books when it come to handling a biased media. Unfortunately, for Newt, being feisty isn't enough to overcome his early major gaffs .

Rick Santorum: Santorum’s attempts to tie all his action’s of the 1990’s to today is getting very old. Let’s fact it, the political landscape has changed so drastically on the right since the 90’s, that references to the 90’s seems like comparing apples to oranges. Rick needs to find a reason why he is relevant today or he is going to have to make an early exit.

Jon Huntsman: Why is this guy still around? He is polling worse that Tim Pawlenty ever did and I cannot stop detecting the condescending attitude in all of his responses. There is nothing about Huntsman that resonates with today’s conservative base. Excluding him from the next debate would be a wise move.

Overall, I would have to say Rick Perry was the winner tonight because he did just enough to hold on to his front runner status. He will have to do a heck of a lot better in the next debate, because both Romney and Bachmann are sharpening their attacks. Even Palin seems to see an opening. Perry need an air tight A-Game if he wants to stand any chance against Obama, the Bully Pulpit and a complicit media.


spc said...

I swear you're a mind-reader. Except for Bachmann's exchange with Perry, I think you were accurate...although she was a lot better than last debate.

About Huntsman....I couldn't quite pinpoint the reason he was so frustrating to watch, but you got at least part of it. His arrogant smirk really gets to me because he has no reason to put off that kind of "energy" unless he knows the media is riding his jock.

Perry could definitely improve, but Romney had a mediocre performance and let Perry take the win.....the audience was great and showed where conservatives really stand, and the kid's question about income tax was a perfect example of the way us conservatives need to approach the issues.

Poor Newt, so much knowledge brought to the party so late and with the wrong invitation.

An Ordinary American said...

First off, good to see you back on the scene.

About Perry and the Gardasil issue, here in Texas Michelle Bachmann shot any chances of carrying this state with her attacks on Perry over that.

There has been so much misinformation on how and why this entire thing happened that it is almost impossible to describe in a full hour, let alone the few minutes a candidate has behind a pulpit in a debate format.

Frankly, in the short run Perry's "I made a mistake" answers will ding him, but in the long run they will bolster him because anytime a politician is pushed into "explaining why they did something," they are driven (purposefully) into a corner from which they cannot retreat.

That's what today's media does. They don't look for answers or the truth. They look for blood.


As I written here and on my own blog and elsewhere, if you're in charge of a border state and you want to stay in charge, you damn well better factor in the Latino influences and what they can do to not only your election/re-election, but to ANYTHING you want passed in that state.

People can point at Jan Brewer, but let's see how she does come re-election time. I'm cheering for her, big time. But we have a helluva lot more people in Texas than they do in Arizona and we have a lot more registered Latino voters than Arizona does.

I'm not defending Perry's past actions on illegal immigration, but holding a state governor responsible for the inactions of a federal government on a federal issue is self-defeating.

Doing so places the governors in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.


Just a conservative girl said...

Santorum is a good debator. The best he can hope for is a VP slot. I disagree that Perry won. I think he lost in a major way. If he doesn't improve he is toast.

Adam said...

I too wish someone would have truly answered the young man's question about how much he deserves to keep. Unfortunately it doesn't look like any of them effectively did. That's too bad as that was an awesome opportunity for one of them to capitlize on and propel themselves forward as a clear frontrunner. Why was a simple straight answer so difficult?

Ten Mile Island said...

Crony capitalism is just another way of saying, business as usual.

Governor Palin's comments were strong, and the nexus of the issue, product, producer and representative raised my eyebrow.

Do we need a policy wonk? How more wonkish than a former Reserve Bank chairman?

Jim McKee said...

Great summary.

If we lose Huntsman and/or Paul, can we get Thad McCotter into the next debate?

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