I reluctantly watched some of last night’s GOP debate.
How did the Republican Party get tricked into adopting a television entertainment-based pre-primaries system in which an astonishing superfluity of candidates, many with no realistic chance of winning the nomination, are invited to respond to questions selected by intensely partisan representatives of the liberal mainstream media, obviously chosen with the intention of inflicting the most damage to Republican candidates, individually and in general? Who is running the Republican Party that goes around agreeing to have our party’s debates hosted by MSNBC and CNN? Let’s fire that guy fast.
It’s obvious to lots of Republicans that this endless series of “Welcome to the Thunderdome” debates in which gleeful liberal commentators invite GOP candidates to enter the arena and beat up on one another is not the best thing in the world for us.
Last night, we saw again how these debates are conducted in an atmosphere of intimidation with the media’s version of GOP orthodoxy used as a weapon to bully candidates into knuckling under instead of arguing their own positions with anyone daring to speak independently (as Rick Perry did in an earlier debate) being Gotcha’d, awarded failing performance grades and described as having made a gaffe.
Republicans have been successfully mau-maued by liberals, and by our own dumbass law-and-order petite bourgeois wing, into making illegal immigration, really insane Anti-Hispanic immigration nativism, a bedrock, party identifying issue. Rick Perry, who excelled originally in having a more intelligent and honest perspective, was seriously damaged and finally bullied into mouthing typical politician’s platitudes on the same issue.
Perry attacking Romney for “hiring illegal aliens.” (Romney used a lawn service, instead of mowing his own lawn. His lawn service –like most lawn services throughout the country– employed low-skilled Hispanic workers, some of whom were not legal immigrants. The horror! You can, I think, divide Republicans on immigration politics between those accustomed to have enough money to employ a lawn service and those who mow their own lawns.) This was a depressing low point in the debate, particularly since it was combined with an unseemly competition to display manliness by trying to talk over one another. Romney actually kind of won by invoking civility.
Romney, I thought, was definitely the candidate one would prefer to hire to play the role of president in a movie. Herman Cain continues to surprise. He is far more articulate and capable of holding up his end of a policy debate than many professional pols. He also tends to be the best dressed guy on stage. His double-breasted blaser and bright yellow tie was a refreshing change from the classic candidate’s dark suit and red (maybe blue) power tie.
Ron Paul openly indulged in class warfare politics of envy, manifesting once again the appallingly common perfect congruence of what calls itself “libertarianism” and leftism. Why is this guy even there?
Santorum was surprisingly good, and he seems to be receiving too little attention and appreciation. He ringingly defended traditional American culture and values, and he came up with a clever argument (“I won running as an arch conservative in a swing state. If you can win in Pennsylvania, you can definitely beat Barack Obama.”) as to why he would be a superior candidate.
Bachmann looked and sounded good, but her hypermoralism didn’t really fit in, and I did not hear her very much.
Gingrich is definitely the wittiest and best debater of all the candidates. Unfortunately, like Bachmann, his presence and participation was really just that of an afterthought. If all these absurd debates really were deciding something, Gingrich ought to be winning.
Perry is significantly less smooth and practiced, less comfortable under the microscope, and less glib. He does not seem to know how to move fluidly off his prepared game plan, and he seems a bit abashed about his regional accent. Herman Cain has fun using ethnic dialect and accent when he wants to. Perry clearly feels at a bit embarrassed at having a heavy Texas drawl and is trying to minimize it.
Republicans need to start encouraging unserious candidates to quit wasting everybody’s time. Get Ron Paul, Huntsman, Bachmann, and Gingrich out of there as soon as possible.
Republicans ought to hold debates in friendly venues with friendly or completely neutral moderators.
Watching last night’s debate, I suppose I thought Romney and Herman Cain both demonstrated why they are doing well, Perry demonstrated what his problem has been, and beyond that, I thought I was not much the wiser. I am not persuaded that we ought to be nominating Mitt Romney. I see no point in the presence or participation of a lot of those candidates. I am not sure that these numerous debates may not be doing more harm than good.