ABC held yet another Republican debate at Drake University in Iowa Saturday. Diane Sawyer moderated along with George Steph….. oh you know who he is, don’t make me spell the whole thing. The GOP field is becoming smaller and it seems to make for a much more interesting debate process. There was arguing, bickering and even a few jokes. All the candidates seemed to appreciate the extra time less contenders in the field produced and they all took full advantage.
Cranky Uncle Newt showed up straight from the family Thanksgiving gathering where he spent the whole weekend cranking at cousin Jimmy for being a lazy, slacker, mama’s boy and fussing at Aunt Linda for being 40 years old and still single. Newt has that air – he’s one of the most intelligent political candidates in modern history but he always sounds like he’s in a bad mood. Personally I find it charming; some of my favorite relatives are cranky old people. I don’t know how it washes with the rest of the electorate, however. Also, there was the issue of Newt’s hair. His typically well-groomed, silky white mane was looking extra helmet-y on Saturday. It was strange and distracting for this blogger who is weirdly obsessed with presidential/political manes. Is Newt auditioning for Galaxy Quest 2?
Newt’s hair aside, the Speaker’s Saurday debate performance was that of a man who know he is surging in the polls and understands the importance of winning in Iowa. No doubt, Newt would kill Obama (metaphorically, liberals. Don’t get your chemical-free, dye-free panties in a bunch) in a debate, but do Americans want a Debater-in-Chief or something more? Time will tell.
I get tired of saying this about Romney, but he was quite polished, as usual. Mitt Romney worked very hard to reassure voters that he is not the establishment candidate many conservatives are worried about. He has a private sector record, didn’t you know? Oh, yes…Romney worked in the private sector for 25 years. Also, Romney was a private sector businessman for 25 years. And don’t forget, for 25 years Mitt Romney worked in the private sector, that’s run privately, and not by government. As always, Romney was clear and succinct and even got a few good-natured barbs in there. He continues to lay out a platform for the general elections, should he receive the nomination.
Rick Perry seems much more relaxed in a debate setting where he is afforded more time to answer questions. Perry is as solid on his positions as the day he announced, but the real question is this: Will Americans be more interested in his actual policy and political platform than his debate performances?
Ron Paul was there and so were many, many, many of his supporters – as usual. Ron Paul wants to end the Fed. He wants to end the Fed and American involvement in foreign issues of any kind, forever. Of all the candidates I think Paul is the most consistent. He never backtracks and never changes his tune. I may tire of hearing him talk about the Fed, but at least I know Ron Paul hates the Fed. No one can lie or say otherwise.
Rick Santorum had a good night, but he continues to see less screen time than his opponents and have fewer questions directed toward him. At this point Santorum is known as the ‘social conservative’ candidate and he seems comfortable with that. Santorum had many good moments on Saturday night. One came when Diane Sawyer was becoming perturbed that none of the candidates would give a firm number on the amount of jobs they would create in their first term as President. Santorum basically said its not the President’s job to make promises like that because the President can’t create jobs; private sector citizens create jobs and all the government can do is get out of their way. I like that answer. Government doesn’t create anything, Diane! Except red tape; they are good at that.
Michele Bachmann gave a very good performance Saturday as well. Iowa is her home state and she certainly looks at home when she is campaigning there. As a former tax lawyer and IRS employee, Bachmann has a very unique position. She’s been on the inside of our tax code and she knows how devastating it is for working families. She knows the dangers of Obamacare and Obama’s tax policies in general. Bachmann is extremely intelligent. Those Americans that live on the coasts may feel she is dumb because her A’s are flat and she talks like she’s from Iowa. I think those people should stop being such snobs. Quit listening to her (very American) accent and listen to the content of her words. Bachmann may have a very slim chance of winning this primary, but she seems more than qualified to be in this race. Her experience as a midwestern girl on the inside of Washington makes her one of the more genuine candidates, in my opinion. The Iowa primary will be very telling for Bachmann. If she does not do well there, its likely her campaign ends. Bachmann did manage to salute her tea party compatriot, Herman Cain. As she said, its just not a debate anymore unless someone mentions 9-9-9. I agree! I missed the Herminator. I did not miss Jon Huntsman.
Sawyer and George (sorry, I just can’t type that whole name) did a satisfactory job moderating, although Sawyer was very condescending when she opened with a comment to Iowa voters telling them how IMPRESSED she was at how seriously they take their primary process. Imagine that, Diane! A bunch of mid-west country hicks who don’t shop designer stores or have issues with trans-fats actually like to take part in the political process. How cute! Yes, Diane – Iowans vote. They love to vote. They love America and they care about what happens here. Shocking news to an East coast elitist, mainstream media diva, I know.