Thursday, December 15, 2011

Republican Sioux City Iowa Debate

I watched most of the last Iowa debate tonight and was impressed with the Republican candidates. Practice, if it doesn't make perfect, gets you pretty far down the road to it. Some observations.
  • I saw some passion from Romney. This was his best performance. I loved his defense of his time at Bain Capital. He cut some jobs, but he also created jobs. Then he makes a very sly move and compares it to when "Obama ran General Motors." Killer move, because he isn't criticizing the take over, but it is so unpopular, that reminding voters of it is toxic to Obama.
  • Rick Perry had one of the more memorable lines, comparing himself to Tim Tebow, as an underdog candidate. Also very sly, given the current controversy and the make up of Republican voters in Iowa. I think that if Perry can get a ground game going in Iowa and South Carolina, he may still have a chance.
  • Gingrich had a great performance, except in explaining the nature of his services to Freddie Mac. As popular as it was, I wasn't happy about the whole judges testifying before Congress part. Another example of a seemingly brilliant, "out of the box idea," that didn't get the vetting needed.
  • Bachmann looked bad, because, even if she damaged Gingrich, she looks a bit unethical in making baseless charges about Gingrich's work at Freddie Mac. I found her attack distasteful, as she suggested it was somehow unethical, with zero evidence to back up her claim.
  • The discussion on Iran did no one any favors. Ron Paul sounded weird and defensive, and couldn't make the sale, but the rest of the gang sounded trigger happy. My belief is that the clandestine war that we are already conducting is the best approach. But if they get a nuke, its not the game changer everyone thinks. A nuke is eventually going to be used in the region; better it come from the devil we know, to give BMD a chance, than from a surprise source that we aren't prepared for. Now what to say in public about it? That's the tough question.
  • Romney also responded to the flip-flop question with facts and sincerity. When you look at the fact that he governed Massachusetts as a Republican with huge Democrat majorities, you are looking at a guy who made some compromises to get things done. He touted his veto record as governor, but didn't mention how many were overridden.
  • Santorum did a good job too, I just have a hard time being objective. It's a personal gut reaction thing for me, I just don't like him.
  • Jon Huntsman was at the debate and sounded intelligent as well.

I saw a tweet that Gary Johnson is going to run as a Libertarian. This is bad news, if true. After the debate Ron Paul made it pretty clear that he isn't running as a third party candidate, even though he didn't rise to Sean Hannity's challenge to offer an absolute pledge. I get the feeling that Ron Paul finds Obama so distasteful that he wouldn't want to facilitate his re-election. But Gary Johnson might pull in enough tea party types angry over their choices to hurt the Republican nominee's chances. Hard to say if the desire to see Obama off would overcome the loathing of the current field as more of the same establishment Republican types.

All told, when I think through Obama's baggage, the bad economy, everything Holder does, Solyndra, Fast and Furious and ongoing bailouts, I believe he can be beaten. But he is the President, sitting on a mountain of cash, so we should remember that he will be looking to whack his opponent, figuratively, of course.


  1. I liked Bachmann's exchange with Newt. She definitely proved that she is his intellectual equal, something other candidates don't seem to do.

    The winner, as you deftly mention, Perry for his savy appeal to Tebowleivers.

  2. Thank you so much for the excellent re-cap. I just didn't have it in me to watch another one of these and it sounds like I missed some good stuff.

    I'm not worried about Johnson, I think even tea partiers (who even know he exists) will be too pissed off at the threat of his being a spoiler to vote for him on priciple.