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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beldar on Tuesday's GOP debate

Stephen Green's drunkblogging of the GOP debate was inspired tonight, although for the cultural references to Bad Lip Reading, you'll need to watch the Perry and Bachmann videos presently linked here. I posted my own mid-debate reactions as a comment at Patterico's starting here, and I'll reprint them here (slightly edited for clarity):

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Congresswoman Bachmann is exceeding my expectations for her (which were very, very low), but it doesn’t matter for this primary.

Rose & Co.’s contempt for Ron Paul is palpable. They wish he were elsewhere. They clearly see themselves as having to give a turn to the crazy old uncle, whose rantings they then time to the second before interrupting and moving on. Curiously, he seems vaguely flattered by this instead of being offended.

The only person on stage who would be an interesting companion on a two-person non-campaign road trip is Newt. He’d be fascinating, and at the end of the trip I’d be glad I have my own place to go home to (and he to his).

Cain isn’t hurting himself. I think he may lock up the Veep nomination before anyone locks up the top spot — that would be novel.

Santorum has fought, and mostly mastered, a tendency to sound bitter over the fact that he’s not gaining any ground despite solid debate performances from the beginning.

Is it possible that Gov. Perry doesn’t practice for these things at all? He’s obviously nervous and ill-at-ease; he looks as though someone from Gov. Romney’s camp is administering painful electric shocks to the soles of his feet at random moments.

Rose & Co. are reflexively liberal but they’re working hard to avoid a circus, and the result is a tone and atmosphere that reflects well on the entire field. (Not what Rose & Co. intended, but I’ll settle for any happy unintended consequence.)

During the long passage with Romney over 2008 & TARP, I thought Gov. Romney had seized the moment fairly effectively. He has a terribly difficult tightrope to travel on this topic, and at the end of the day, if he were to become the nominee, there are still going to be a whole lot of conservatives who will react to his answers as being double-talk or flip-flops. In this forum, though, and in particular against Gov. Perry, he’s demonstrating a genuinely impressive verbal dexterity; and just as there are some who will be discomforted by the substance of his answer, there are others (including, in theory, some fair number of independents) who will be comforted.

So far, I think Gov. Romney’s helped himself again, and that from a strategic posture where he’d be winning merely by not obviously losing.

[Then, in about three-quarters in, I added:]

I’m running a few minutes behind on my DVR playback, but I finally thought I heard Perry deliver a good line on a strong point that he had indeed effectively tied to his own record in Texas — and he ends it this way:

You free up this country’s entrepreneurs, where they know that they can risk their capital and have a chance to have a return on investment, and all of this conversation [about free trade] we’re having today becomes substantially less impactful.

“Substantially less impactful." Sigh.

[Then, addressing a fellow Texan and Perry supporter after the debate was over:]

Dustin, I’ll grant you that Gov. Perry was better in the second half of this debate than in the first half, and somewhat better overall than he’s been in previous debates. I don’t think he made up any significant ground, though.

He’s got money and organization sufficient to stay in the race for many, many more weeks even if he doesn’t improve in the public opinion polling. But every night like tonight is an irretrievable missed opportunity for him, and unless he really catches fire or Romney commits a serious unforced error very soon, it’s hard to project a plausible path for him to become the nominee.

I have not given up on his candidacy, and we’re quite a ways from even the first meaningful vote being cast or the first delegate selected. But Gov. Perry hasn’t begun running a presidential-level campaign yet. His candidacy begins to resemble John Connally’s in 1980 or Phil Graham’s in 1996.

Posted by Beldar at 01:29 AM in 2012 Election, Politics (2011) | Permalink

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Comments

(1) Kevin M made the following comment | Oct 12, 2011 2:59:52 AM | Permalink

Assuming that the ONLY thing that matters is electing a new President who is capable of undigging the incredible economic hole we will be in come 2013, which of these candidates has the chops?

Romney, Perry, Cain, Gingrich or Bachmann? (Huntsman excluded for being an ass, Santorum for being primarily a culture warrior, and Uncle Ron for being Uncle Ron).

Me, I think only Romney or Gingrich has the smarts and the experience, with Perry a maybe in a situation where maybe won't do. And I don't trust Mr Chameleon. Makes it easy. Now I just have to convince myself that Gingrich can beat Obama, but the way it's going Richard Nixon's corpse could beat Obama in 2012.

(2) ColoComment made the following comment | Oct 12, 2011 8:57:44 PM | Permalink

Completely agree on H, S, and UR. I'm trying to picture either Romney or Gingrich as Leader of the Free World and am having a difficult time doing so.
Gingrich grates on people. I love his policy-wonkish talk, but he's made some egregious non-conservative type blunders, eg. ethanol support.
Romney is so bland and plastic looking that I tend to look around for Barbie standing next to him. Romney has his own well-known problems with conservatives, but I think more anyone-but-Obama voters would find him palatable than Gingrich.
Finally, I don't much like Romney, but should we get more truly fiscally-conservative types in the House, and take the Senate, I think Romney could be counted on to sign rollback bills on the dotted lines.
When you think about it, any Republican beating Obama will bring us relief from the ecomony-destroying incompetence and far-left agency politization of Holder, Napolitano, Salazar, Chu, Sebelius, LaHood, and the rest of the morons in Obama's cabinet.

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