CNBC hosted the “Your Money, Your Vote” Republican debate Wednesday night and Jim Cramer is a loud bugger, isn’t he? The CNBC financial analyst who is famous for his apology tour after he criticized Obama early in his regime was one of 3 moderators in Wednesday’s debate. He was also the loudest. Cramer’s perpetual outside voice lacked no measure of righteous indignation as he attempted to shore up his lib cred by yelling at the candidates. It was clear from the start that Cramer and his colleagues were thoroughly disgusted with the general conservative approach to the economy. At one point the topic of student loans was broached and the disgust from the moderating panel was palpable. Students pay for their own college? The horror!
There wasn’t anything about this debate that would be particularly interesting to those outside the world of GOP primaries. It was pretty much cut and dry economic policy questions. Not the most exciting topic but one that is very important in the search for our next President. For the most part the candidates all seemed solid and answered questions capably…with the possible exception of Rick Perry. Perry started out the evening looking more competent than he has in a while but then stumbled into the most cringe-worthy moment half way through when he could not recall the third of three federal departments he would prefer to put an end to. His fumbling only lasted a few seconds but in Presidential debate time it was an eternity. Perry paused, stuttered, repeated himself, and even looked to his fellow candidates to help him remember. A few did shout out some ideas to him, probably just hoping to put an end to his embarrassment. Eventually Perry had to admit he just didn’t remember his third point. As a regular person, Perry’s stumble was forgivable. We’ve all had those moments when we’re put on the spot and can’t remember the simplest words or lose our train of thought right in the middle of a sentence. However to see a Presidential candidate fumble so horribly for so long on the debate stage was excruciating and it was obvious the audience and other Republicans on the stage felt the same way. It may not necessarily spell the end of Perry’s candidacy, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Herman Cain sent Perry a lovely edible arrangement the next day. This will be all anyone thinks about when they hear Perry’s name for a long time. He’s got a lot of work to do to erase that memory.
Speaking of Herman Cain, the big question of the night was how he would perform after a brutal week of shocking allegations and scandal. Maria Bartiromo led off the night with a question aimed directly at Cain regarding the scandal. The question was met by hearty boos from the audience, after which Cain reiterated he would not be distracted by attempt to assasinate his character. The audience responded with great applause and from that point on Herman Cain was off and running. At least for one night it seems Cain was successful in rising above the accusations. Also, Cain has a tax plan. Its called 9-9-9. And, oh yeah…9-9-9.
Gingrich continues to dominate as an intellectual heavyweight. At this point I must admit that I am changing my mind about a Gingrich candidacy. I’m not convinced yet, but I may end up eating a little blogger crow at some point. The guy is good. He made mincemeat out of every “gotcha” question that was thrown at him.
The rest of the field was fine, solid- there weren’t any surprises. As always Bachmann is at her best when she is talking Obamacare repeal and Romney was as smooth as ever. He is obviously fine-tuning his platform for generals, but it remains to be seen if the conservative wing of the party will bow the pressure of “electability” and “next in line”.
The winner of Wednesday’s debate was Newt Gingrich. Cain comes a close second if for no other reason than he was able to rise above the media circus of the last week and stay on message for the whole night. Losers were Rick Perry (ugh, I cringe just thinking of that moment) and Jim Cramer, because he’s a loud mouthed ass. It wasn’t the most exciting of platforms but it was valuable in the sense that it gave the candidates a good opportunity to expound on their economic positions.