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The Iowa Republican Debate

Recs

17

August 12, 2011 – Comments (4)

We learned a LOT from yesterday's debate in Iowa.  Before I go through each candidates performance, I want to make clear ALL the candidates missed a huge opportunity.  During the exchange between Pawlenty and Bachmann, one of the other candidates should have said:
"I need to politely ask Gov. Pawlenty to stop attacking Rep. Bachmann concerning her time in Congress.  She is but one person in a body of 435, and to assert that she single handidly was unable to get through legislation that many in her own party do not support is pure absurdity."

This one statement would have a) Made you look like a gentleman b) by defending a woman, you demean her as not being able to defend herself c) you make her supporters like you d) you look moderate to non-Republicans who don't really care about issues or substance, but just want to feel good about their politicians.

Sadly none of the candidates did this, but they should think about it for future debates. 
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More sadly, all the candidates,except Ron Paul, basically declared war on Iran if they continue trying to build a nuclear weapon.  This, IMO, was the saddest part of the debate.  Let's look at history:

1) 1951:   Iran elects Prime Minister Mosaddeq
2) 1953:  U.S. covertly overthrows the democratically elected gov't and backs a dicatator (Shah)
3) 1953-1979:  U.S. continues to support the Shah of Iran, aiding his repressive police force.
4) 1979:  Iranians overthrow their repressive dictator and install a theocracy.
5) 1980 - 1988: U.S. supports Saddam Hussein's war against Iran, with money and weapons.
6) 1988: Iranian death toll in war tops 250,000
7) 1991: Iran watches as U.S. wipes out Iraqi troops on their border.  Realizes it has no defense against U.S. military and begin to develop a strategy to get a nuclear weapon
8) 1996: U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran
9) 2002: U.S. declares Iran part of the "Axis of Evil"
10) 2010: U.S. passes "Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act"
11) 2010: U.S. attacks Iran nuclear facilities using Stuxnet virus (the U.S. considers cyber attacks "Acts of War")

Seriously, and I mean seriously, if YOU were an Iranian politician, wouldn't YOU be trying to protect your people from an aggressive United States?
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In alphabetical order, here's how the candidates faired:

Michele Bachman: Not a great performance, but much better than many pundits expressed afterwards.  She showed she was tough and she threw a lot of red meat to her supporters. 
GRADE: B-

Herman Cain: Did not make any big mistakes, but lacked the flair he had in the first debate.  He clearly distingushed himself as a candidate who has no ideology, much like Ross Perot, who tries to solve problems one at a time.  This is why America supports a theological Saudi King, but says we want a secular gov't to form in Egypt.
GRADE: C+

Newt Gingrich: Regardless if you like the man or not, he clearly won. His statements were clear, he not only deflected gotcha questions, but made Fox news correspondents appear to viewers as liberal NY Times columnists.  He articulated why things were great while he was in office and stayed out of fighting with other candidates.
GRADE: A-

John Huntsman: If nothing else he clarified he's a moderate Republican, much like a Gerald Ford.  He was charismatic, but did not support his differing views on Civil Rights from a Constitutional standpoint or deal well with his past Cap & Trade ideas and support for a bigger stimulus.
GRADE: D

Tim Pawlenty: Made himself look like a fool.  He's not going to get to the right of Bachmann and by attacking her on very questionable issues, he looked immature.  His candidacy is done.
GRADE: F

Ron Paul: Ron Paul was once again Ron Paul.  He fails to speak to a larger audience.  Instead of telling us why their is malinvestment, which 90% of viewers don't understand,he needs to simply communicate that he would spur on the economy by completely ending the Income Tax.  When asked how will you get that legislation through a divided Congress, instead of saying the truth that it would be difficult, he can respond that ANYONE not paying their taxes would get a full pardon from President Ron Paul.
GRADE: C+

Mitt Romney:  Call him an escape artist, but the front runner got away big time.  Yes, he clarified that he's a big gov't Republican who won't make any big changes to what ails our country (instead hoping growth will solve our problems), but that's what a lot of Americans want to hear.   The king of the status quo did the best he could have hoped.
GRADE: B

Rick Santorum:  This guy should have just come out and said, "America needs a dictator and I'm your man!"  He looked pathetic asking for time to speak, he looked pathetic talking while other candidates were talking, and he showed his lack of knowledge of history when he said Iran has been at war with the U.S. since 1979.  Like Pawlenty, his candidacy is over.
GRADE: F

4 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 12, 2011 at 10:16 AM, edwjm (99.87) wrote:

Thank you for an informative political post with no propaganda or posturing!

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#2) On August 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM, Turfscape (40.76) wrote:

And this, folks, is why we will have President Obama for a second term.

The party system almost guarantees it. You see, the early Republican "contests" (straw polls, early debates, etc) appeal only to the most partisan of partisans. That means folks who have no chance of truly being elected by the general public come out as the winners and start scooping up the early cash...and let's not kid ourselves, these elections are solely about the cash. So, Bachmann will look fantastic.  Gingrich will look fantastic. Even Santorum will get huge praise. Ron Paul will look like an also-ran (you see, he's not really a Republican).

So, the GOP will start putting a bunch of support behind candidates who will not make a difference in the long run. And, all the while, President Obama will start making progress towards amending hurt feelings. He will start making a few small promises. And the general public will say, "All right...but you better follow through on your promises this time or we SWEAR we will not give you a third term in office" (because, let's face it, the general public thinks this way).

So...mind your portfolios, folks. Be prepared. If you have your strategy set properly, you can prosper under any political administration in the U.S.

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#3) On August 12, 2011 at 11:37 AM, TMFAleph1 (95.13) wrote:

Great post; funny and informative. I didn't watch the debate, but I'm more than willing to believe that is an accurate summary of the proceedings.

Alex Dumortier

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#4) On August 13, 2011 at 12:46 PM, edwjm (99.87) wrote:

I didn't watch the debate live, but I did watch the the rebroadcast Friday night.  My imediate reaction was that you (FreeMarkets) were too kind to Bachman and Romney, but then I thought about the audience for whom their remarks were intended.  However poor they may have been as answers to the questions asked (many were classic "non sequitur"), Bachman's answers were, as you point out, red meat to the indended audience.  But the 'B' you gave Romney is harder to defend.  I would have put him down with Pawlenty and Santorum, although I admit the "red meat for intended audience" defense could be applied there also.

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