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The Republican Debate: Take-aways

September 8, 2011

First comment goes to Nancy Reagan.  She was and always will be, in my opinion, the First Lady.

Debate overall:

  • Too many people on stage.  Will the purported candidates, who have zero chance of winning the nomination, do a Pawlenty and bow out graciously from the campaign?
  • Brian Willians made the best dressed list, but he has a ways to go in debate moderation.  Was that the best that Politico could come up with?
  • How liberal to bring an Hispanic newsman to ask immigration questions.
  • Did Rachel Maddow add anything to the commentary other than to totally twist 180 degrees Perry’s comment on social security.  He did not say anything about ending Social Security.
  • Debate was too long; should be 90 minutes, tops, with more opportunity for longer answers, more give and take, which may be the case when there are fewer candidates.

Candidate Takeaways:

  1. Let’s start with Santorum.  Will someone sit him down and have a ‘come to Jesus meeting with him.’  He’s not even Vice-Presidential material.  Pawlenty time, Rick.  Go Now!
  2. Romney looks better debating than he does on the campaign trail.  I’ve watched him on the nightly news, and when he does his meet and greet with people, he should slow down and talk to them, rather than this crazed, robotic handshaking with the pasted-on smile.  Will people warm up to him?  In these economic times, is “warm” really that important?  Private sector experience may make the difference this election time vs. career politician.
  3. Rick Perry was okay, room for improvement.  First debate, Texas wildfires, I’ll cut him some slack.  Held his own, but I’d watch my language.  “Ponzi scheme” became equated with Madoff, and as much as Social Security may act like a Ponzi scheme, its intent when enacted in the 30’s and subsequent bastardization through the years, was not to defraud.  Politicians made it what it is, and now it needs reforming.  Perry needs to be very clear and specific when talking about this issue so people understand exactly what he means.  He can’t afford to let other people define his position. Overall, he’s got a shot, if he can continue to nail Karl Rove.
  4. Ron Paul was not as wacky, except for the last comment on the border fence.  He must have had a valium, because he came across as more thoughtful and verbally less circuitous.  First time that I listened to him, and didn’t have to say, huh?
  5. Newt.  Wish you could get past your personal foibles, because you had some of the best lines of the evening.  You get it, and the audience relates.
  6. Michele Bachmann did better than the last debate, but clearly IMHO, is not going to be the nominee, nor VP.  I’m one of those people who take the VP slot seriously.  Something happens to the Prez, and the VP better be ready to take over.  She’s not.  That $2/gal gas comment contributes to her undoing.
  7. Huntsman, much better, more airtime, VP material or Cabinet, not President.  Has experience and the personal finances to stay in as long as he wants, or until he becomes a pest.
  8. Cain is nice, sound principles, experienced business man, going nowhere in this campaign.  Another bow out, please.

Finally, the elephant in the room, Sarah Palin.  I’ve warmed up to her lately, but she comes across better in her writing than she does live, at least for me she does.   I don’t think she’ll run, because too many people are not taking her seriously, which is too bad, because she’s not dumb by any means.  She’s had some flubs, but visions and memories of the “Katie Couric” interview are still conjured up by many of the voters out there.  She’ll play a roll in the elections, just not as the nominee.  Besides, she’s making too much money for familial security.

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