Thursday, November 10, 2011

Debate Wrap: The Education of CNBC

Another debate is in the books. We learned little. CNBC made fools of themselves. One candidate imploded spectacularly. A couple impressed. And the rest were there too!

Epic Loser: Rick Perry. Do you remember the “agony of defeat” guy from Wide World of Sports? Rick Perry just topped him. For the first half of the night, Perry proved he doesn’t realize that being President won’t be like being Governor of Texas where even the Democrats are solid conservatives. Then it happened. Perry proudly claimed he would eliminate three departments if elected. He named two. . . and then he froze. For about a minute, he was unable to tell us which agency he passionately wanted to eliminate, and he couldn’t think of a way to end his sentence either. He just stood there stunned like Wiley Coyote with his arm pointed at Ron Paul and two fingers stuck up in the air. Finally, he said, “Oops.” Then someone suggested “the EPA” and he heartily agreed, only to admit a moment later that wasn’t the agency and he still couldn’t think of the name of his nemesis. Rick. . . quit.

Winner: Newt Gingrich. Newt was the big winner, just edging out Cain. Newt was on fire. He was calm and brilliant. He showed both the breadth and depth of his knowledge and he took down the CNBC hacks with devastating wit:

● He took down Maria Bartiromo and Jim Cramer with: “it’s sad the media doesn’t report accurately on how the economy works.” Both Cramer and Bartiromo had shown a lot of economic ignorance, like when Cramer demanded from each candidate: “do you really believe a company can make a profit and create jobs at the same time!!!” Uh. You pretty much have to Jim or you fail and all the jobs go away.

● Or when he blasted Maria’s ridiculous question asking the candidates to tell her in 30 seconds how they would fix health care (18% of the economy): “My colleagues have done a terrific job of answering an absurd question!!” Maria didn’t like that.

● Or when he crushed a sleazy question by John King on what Gingrich told Fannie and Freddie (King wrongly implied Gingrich was paid $300,000 by Fannie and Freddie to act as their lobbyist): “I gave them advice which they absolutely didn’t follow.”
Ultimately, Gingrich won because he gave the strongest performance. This will continue to solidify him as the alternative to Cain for conservatives, which will keep him in the race and may let him overtake Cain when Perry/Bachman/Paul and Santorum start quitting. Don’t be surprised if he draws neck and neck with Cain soon.

Winner: Herman Cain. Everyone wanted to know how Cain would handle THE question. He was brilliant. He tossed it away by pointing out the public wants to hear about important matters and said America deserves better than character assassination. An upset Maria Bartiromo immediately tried to assassinate his character with the sleazy tactic of asking Romney if he would hire Cain given Cain’s answer. The audience booed her. This is significant because it tells us Republican primary voters despise the gotcha game the media is playing with Cain and want to move on.

Beyond that, Cain explained why his 9-9-9 plan works: (1) it eliminates $430 billion Americans waste manipulating the tax code each year, (2) it eliminates hidden taxes, and (3) it gets Washington out of the game of picking winners and losers. He argued it would make America more competitive against China: “the tax code is what sends jobs overseas.” He also shot down the argument it would result in higher rates by first questioning the stupidity of the idea that this was a unique problem to his plan (this argument can be used against any plan) and then by saying the transparency of his plan would make it harder for politicians to get away with raising rates -- an argument against the tax code tinkerers.

Cain was jovial and knowledgeable -- something which tells us he’s not affected by the harassment issue. My one criticism is he needs to speak more broadly than just his 9-9-9 plan or it will start to sound like snake oil... it can’t cure everything.

Winner: Ron Paul. Ron Paul was excellent. He made the great point that the areas where we have problems (housing bubble, student loans, stock market bubbles, health care) are all the direct result of government intervention and government money. And when the government helps one group it often hurts another, such as when the government keeps interest rates low to help banks, it cheats the elderly who rely on interest for income. The CNBC crew were oddly stunned to hear this. Call it a teachable moment.

Draw: Romney. On one hand, Romney’s a clear winner because he continues to come across as acceptable. But I suspect he’s actually a loser. His current strategy is like a prevent defense in football: rather than trying to win the nomination, he’s just trying to survive while the others all lose the nomination. The problem with this strategy is he’s letting others decide his fate for him. Right now, that works because people haven’t made up their minds -- so 25% support keeps him tied for the lead. But once the other 75% begin to settle on one or two candidates, 25% won’t be enough and he will have blown his chances to win people over.

This strategy also confirms the fear conservatives have that Romney has no leadership skills. You see this whenever he gets criticized because he starts to dance because he’s afraid to defend his beliefs. He had no response when CNBC pointed out that his tax plan accepts the Democratic premise that progressive taxes are good and the implicit class warfare arguments. At one point, he firmly agreed with Ron Paul about health care, only to turn to Jello moments later when he was asked if that means he no longer believes there’s a role for government to provide insurance to the uninsured.

His answer to the Cain question also demonstrates the problem. Bartiromo sleazily asked him to attack Cain (“would you hire Cain as a CEO given his answers”). A leader would have seized the moment: “I don’t know what Herm did or not, BUT I think it’s obscene the way the media.....” Romney didn’t do that. Instead, he said it wasn’t his place to comment. If he doesn’t think it’s his place to comment when an American citizen is being slandered by the media, then why would we want him as a our leader?

Last night, it struck me for the first time that this prevent defense wasn’t working anymore. Romney seemed a lot less relevant than before. So I suspect he may eventually look back on last night as the moment his candidacy started to slip away.

Loser: Maria Bartiromo/CNBC. CNBC sells itself as a no-nonsense pro-business channel. Their claim is based on having more knowledgeable reporters and deeper analysis than others. Last night was full of nonsense “gotcha” questions, cheap shots, and whiny, abusive and shrill comments. Maria and Jim Cramer were particularly rude and proved they don’t actually understand economics.

Loser: Michele Bachmann. Bachmann continues to talk about her tax plan, which doesn’t exist. If you ask her any question, she whines her way through all of her talking points, always in the same order, and she’s never seemed less relevant than last night.

Loser: Rick Santorum. Rick can’t win the nomination. So presumably, he’s playing to raise his profile for fundraising purposes. But Rick is not helping himself. In the last couple debates he was simply obnoxious, talking over people and making unfair attacks. Last night, he smugly fell in love with himself. Then he declared himself an advocate of the poor by throwing the Republican Party under the bus. He didn’t understand what “picking winners and losers” means or why it’s bad. He also chastised the others for wanting to cause problems with China, after saying last time he wanted to start a trade war with them. He also promises subsidies to his favored industries while saying his plan (which also doesn’t exist) would eliminate subsidies. And yet, Mr. Inconsistent attacks the others for not being consistent in unspecified ways.

Loser: CNBC. Finally, CNBC gets a thumbs down for not streaming this over the net.

62 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, on the Cain accusations:

1. Here's a fascinating article by Ann Coulter on the David Axelrod connection. Apparently, Axelrod has always used surprise sex-related allegations against all of Obama's prior opponents. And he has connections to these accusers. It's worth the read: (LINK).

2. The accusers are now backing down from having a press conference.

Ed said...

Excellent breakdown Andrew. I think Perry's been finished for a long time and last night only reinforced that. I understand his few remaining followers are lashing out at everyone else though.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I don't want to broadbrush any group of supporters, but there are some hardcore Perry types I could name who have really gone on the offensive after last night.

I also saw some very angry Palin people yesterday who are convinced that Cain has done something dirty to keep Palin out of the race.

That said, the Newt people seem nice and I'm sure the Huntsman supporter is a nice guy too. ;)

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

Nice analysis! I didn't see the debate live but heard some analysis on the talk shows today.

1. Rick Perry. Watching that 53 seconds is cringe-worthy. I just get the impression that this man is not serious about being president. All the inarticulateness that we hated about George Bush seems to be even more prevalent with Perry. If you can't speak in public, you shouldn't run for president. Period. And Perry has had plenty of chances to correct this failing.

2. Newt. Where has this Newt been lately? This is the Newt I used to like. Maybe there's still hope for him. I also like that he recently renounced his "Pelosi couch" moment. Now if Romney would only renounce RomneyCare.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I've only seen parts of the debate in replay. Mostly, I've seen the Perry performance. Holy smoke!

T-Rav said...

Excellent wrap-up, Andrew.

I think last night--well, so much of it as I could follow (thanks for nothing, CNBC!)--was a rather weak performance by Romney, at least by comparison with prior debates. Bachtorsman was the usual, while Ron Paul easily had his best debate thus far.

As for Rick Perry: Oh, where to begin.

First off, I think this has to translate into a rise for Newt. The reason people supported Perry in the first place was he seemed like the best alternative to Mitt, and they're almost unhinged in their hostility to Cain right now. There's nowhere else for them to go, unless they continue their fanatic defense of Rick. I've been hearing excuses of 1) it wasn't that bad, and 2) are we going to abandon a guy because of his debate performance and not his substance?

Well, 1) yes it was. Virtually everyone who watched it live cringed, and I do mean cringed. Perry and anti-Perry people alike were chiming in with "That was just painful." 2) Fairly or unfairly, yes we are. You can talk about substance all you want, but that doesn't mean a thing if you can't sell it to the audience. The fact is, we have been electing people based in large part on their style and debate performance since at least Kennedy/Nixon, and that's not going to change any time soon. Perry may have some great ideas (which I doubt), but it's all for naught if he can't even tell us what those are.

Finally, it might be best if Cain and Gingrich, who seem to genuinely like each other, sit down in the near future and strike a deal. One drops out and endorses the other, then gets the VP nod. That could be the Not-Romney juggernaut we're looking for.

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, Thanks! I concur.

Cringe-worthy is right. It wasn't funny or anything like that, it was one of those moments where you just feel like... "this shouldn't be happening," and you wanted it to end.

It's very hard to see a man as fit to be President when he can't explain his ideas in a debate. Sure, mistakes happen. That's expected. But his mistakes are constant and repeated. Moreover, there's no sense that this is his only flaw. In other words, we don't look at him and say "sure, his tongue sometimes trips him up, but we know he's smart and capable." All we've seen from him is verbal gaffes, cringe-worthy moments, verbal Freudian slips that confirmed our worst fears, and a total lack of substance. In fact, even worse than just a lack of substance, he genuinely doesn't even understand why we think he's lacking substance. It's like someone telling you: "ok, I understand what I did wrong" and then not being able to tell you what bothered you.

I agree about Newt too. He's really impressed me a lot lately. If he had done this before Cain's rise began, I think he would probably be the front runner right now.

On Romney, I certainly haven't ruled him out as the winner, but I think he's doing a huge disservice to himself playing defense when he should be out there (like Newt) trying to win the voters over.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Holy-smokes is right. It was stunning. Watching it was just incredibly painful in the "just make it end" sense.

And then later, he went back to it!

Tennessee Jed said...

I had already read the Coulter article and agree it is fascinating. Axelrod is Obama's Luca Brazi and this has the stink of Axelrod all over it. As a matter of fact, a new twist on the old saying may have been created. "This will stick to him like stink on Axelrod."

Newt was the best I have seen him to the point I could actually see him being elected POTUS. As much as I have like the Hermanator, he has made some pretty spectacular gaffes himself, mainly due to political experience. I believe Americans want their leaders smooth. It helps with the notion of their being in control. Nobody came close to Newt in smoothness.

Another thing that came out of this debate. Hypocricy. Hypocricy towards Canin and hypocricy towards Perry. Don't get me wrong, Perry is toast, but the media is piling on when time after time they have excused similar gaffes from Democrats.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Thanks!

On Perry. First, I have seen these people too. Some of them have been blasting all of us stupid public in some rather nasty terms for even daring to suggest Perry ain't doin' well.

Secondly, you are right that style wins these things. That (sadly) is our system and that won't change any time soon. You need to look and act the part and the substance can come second.

But third, even if we went for substance.... Perry still loses big time. That's his real problem. People will overlook the occasional gaffe (in fact, they can become endearing) IF they believe the guy is really smart and has solid ideas and just has a hard time with public speaking. But Perry has none of that. He comes across as a snake oil salesman who is waiting for some very slow advisors to put together a plan that he will then sell as something he's always believed. If I cornered him right now and said "give me specifics of your plan," I have no doubt he couldn't give me more than 2-3 slogans.

I think you're right too that this will help Newt. The Perry people pathologically hate Cain because he's the one who replaced their guy. So they want to see him destroyed as revenge. So I see them eventually shifting to Newt, though one threw a huge tantrum today and said "It's Perry or I stay home and I'm not kidding." Fine, f-off you disloyal turd.

A Gingrich Cain may ultimately be likely, but they will first need to sort out who would be the P and who the VP, and there's plenty of time for that once this becomes a 3-4 man race.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, On the hypocrisy, that's very true. The media will attack Republicans for anything, no matter how petty, and then play the smear game. At the same time, they ignore much worse from the Democrats time and again. Both Perry and Cain are being hit with that, as was Bachmann at one people before this. The MSM wants to bring down and damage conservatives so they can't gain a strong national following, because that would endanger the world they have helped create.

Gingrich impressed me a lot. He has really improved in my estimation to the point that I could happily vote for him without any heartburn. I didn't feel that way even a month ago. I still have a nagging doubt about whether he wants to lead or just wants to be liked, but I could still support him enthusiastically.

Cain has made many gaffes. I'll tell you why I don't think they're a problem yet -- because the public hasn't heard them and because they seem "inside baseball." For example, the suggestion that he doesn't know the difference between pro-life and pro-choice is so obviously a smear. That he doesn't know the term "right of return" isn't something the public knows either. Ditto on his Chinese mis-statement. So I don't see these as a problem. That said, he does need to start running a tighter "verbal" ship.

On the Coulter piece, I think her ultimate conclusion is fascinating: all of the allegations against Cain come from a small group of people who are all connected and all from Chicago and seem to have a connection to David Axelrod, who has done similar smears in every prior race.

That's a very interesting observation.

tryanmax said...

Sorry, Andrew, but I know, or rather knew, the Huntsman supporter and he is not nice. He's the one who banned me from his website. Wha-wha-whaaa!

DUQ said...

Andrew, T-Rav, Tam, Joel and everyone, you all did a great job with the play by play, even if you had problems with the feed!

Thanks!

tryanmax said...

“My colleagues have done a terrific job of answering an absurd question!!” - Awesome!

Right up there with, “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.”

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I'm sorry to hear that. You've burst my bubble. LOL!

Seriously, why are they letting people with 0.0% support in the polls participate in these debates at this point?

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, You're welcome! Feel free to join us next time! :)

Also, let me thank everyone who participated as well. I think the debates are much better when people are sharing their thoughts.

tryanmax said...

Newt also reminded me of Buckley's "I would like to take you seriously but to do so would affront your intelligence."

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, It was a great moment. Maria B. was flabbergasted and demanded to know what was absurd about it. So Gingrich laid into her with "you want us to tell you how to fix something that absorbs 18% of the economy in 30 seconds?!" She still didn't see the problem and then she got really pissy with him and he just kept laughing her off. It was a very nice slap in the face to the all of these moderators.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, LOL! I'd forgotten about that! Buckley was one of the greatest wits this country has ever produced.

DUQ said...

Speaking of media bias, Yahoo has a headline up about Cain losing an endorsement. It's a joke from the Mustache Association. They're claiming his mustache isn't real. Yet Yahoo is running with this joke as if it were a real headline.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I saw that. I clicked on it and shook my head when I saw what it was. Do you think they would do that to a Democrat? No way.

Yahoo is really starting to tick me off in many ways. This is just one more nail in their coffin.

tryanmax said...

Buckley is my favorite. He could turn a phrase like it had handles.

AndrewPrice said...

What I thought was great about Buckley was that he could also completely take somebody down without getting nasty about it and often with them even realizing it. He had an incredible way with words.

Tam said...

Cain may have lost an "endorsement," but his fundraising is through the roof, especially in the past 10 days. That speaks volumes.

And, it is fun and interesting to participate in the debates with you guys.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, If I'm remembering this correctly, he collected something like $9 or $10 million in the past week or two. That would be HUGE. This is a guy who was only collecting $3 million per quarter before this. So yeah, people are definitely voting with their wallets and the verdict is that they don't care about this scandal.

I am annoyed about the endorsement though because it's clearly not a serious matter but Yahoo is running with it like a serious headline as if someone genuine was now disavowing him. They would never do that to Obama.

It is fun to recap this stuff and I love hearing everyone else's thoughts! It really does add a lot to the debates. So thanks for participating! :)

Ed said...

Andrew, I don't want to say all of his supporters are jerks either, but some of them are really big jerks.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Everybody has some obnoxious fans. The problem is that some candidates encourage that and others don't. Plus, as a candidate (or sports team or whatever) starts to flame out, the "true believers" tend to get more desperate and start lashing out at everyone and everything that confirms their pending collapse.

T-Rav said...

Personally, a lot of my issues with Newt got cleared out a couple weeks ago, when his daughter came out and said the whole "he left his dying-of-cancer wife for another woman" thing isn't actually true. I heard this so often I thought it was true. Now, this had greatly rankled me as a social conservative, but more to the point, I've estimated that the Dems would not hesitate to make mincemeat of Newt for that. Because that's behavior which most people cannot, under any circumstances, condone.

However, if the situation is more along the lines of "he's divorced twice, had a couple of affairs"--okay, that's still hard for me to overlook, but that's not so far outside the mainstream of acceptable behavior. If the rebuttal is true and becomes widely known, I think a lot more people will be ready to support him. (For the record, some of his policy missteps may have had a bit more context to them as well. So there's that.)

All of which is to say, today I am doing what I was not doing even a month ago: seriously considering the prospect of a Gingrich nomination.

BevfromNYC said...

Of course you have to take in consideration that "they" have already taken a lot a whacks at Gingrich. His candidacy was supposed to be dead in January, but he's still here. And stronger than ever.

Frankly, I'm getting kind of tired of the "Whack-A-Mole" style of the MSM. Each person whose come out of the candidate hole to the temporary "top" has been whacked hard by all sides. It's to Gingrich and Cain's great credit that they keep looking good.

Did anyone really take Perry seriously? I mean, even I thought "no more Texans for a while"...

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I was glad she cleared that up too because it really was a huge black mark on his record for me. Although, interestingly, the Perry people I reference above in the comments still cited that last night as a basis for not supporting Newt. And when it was pointed out to them that this was untrue, they simply refused to believe it.

My issues with Newt are slightly different. Having watched his performance as Speaker, I have a lot of concerns about his willingness/ability to lead:

1. His style was to constantly make incredibly over-stated, downright nasty statements in defense of conservatism. He would do this without coordinating with the others on the Hill. Then, they would loyally go along with him, despite their best judgment, only to discover that as they are supporting him at one press conference, he was throwing them under the bus at another. And then he would propose extreme liberalism to atone for having been so nasty.

I saw this over and over out of him.

2. He very much NEEDS to be loved and that creates a real problem because he was constantly flirting with the wrong people and buying into their garbage in the hopes they would suddenly fall in love with him.

That is a very dangerous trait for a leader to have and it makes him highly unreliable.

3. I think there is a definite concern about his judgment when it comes to issues of corruption. He has shown a willingness to use campaign funds to live lavishly. That is again a problem.

Those are my problems and nothing he's done has really convinced me he's overcome those issues. So for me, it's more a question of whether I can overlook those issues.

T-Rav said...

Bev, this is the thing I never understood about Perry--or more specifically, about his supporters. They seemed to act like because he was the governor of Texas, he was the greatest thing since sliced bread and was the ONLY TRUE CONSERVATIVE in the race. Now, I love Texas, don't get me wrong. But not everyone from the Lone Star State is a conservative, or is capable of being President. I think they just assumed he was a "Ronald Reagan meets Chuck Norris" sort of guy. I didn't see it, personally, but whatever.

I can excuse his supporters for thinking that he's the best Not-Romney guy in the race. What I cannot excuse is their refusal to be disillusioned, even after he has proven he's not.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I agree entirely about the whack-a-mole game going on. The media is not trying to help the public understand who these people are or vet them, they are systematically trying to destroy the conservative front runners. I'm sick of it and I'm sick of the conservatives who are playing along hoping their guy won't be attacked somehow.

I also think it says a lot about Cain and Newt that they have withstood this and keep gaining in popularity.

In terms of Perry, I do think he had an extremely good chance originally. When he entered the race, he seemed to a LOT of people to be the real front runner, ready to take the crown from Romney and cruise into the general election. He was sold as a smarter, more conservative GW Bush. He seemed to have solid experience, Tea Party credibility, and swagger.

But he hit the ground with a thud and collapsed in a ball of incompetence and unpreparedness. Then he started making statements that viscerally alienated conservatives at every turn. Then the cronyism allegations came out and his response was basically "I can't be bought that cheaply". Add in that suddenly he seemed to have no plan and no idea he needed one, and his debate performances were so bad he had to deny being on drugs or alcohol during them. In effect, he made himself come across as a dumber, more corrupt version of GW Bush.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, The reason Perry's supporters are acting this way is because he's played the victim card over and over. Sadly, crying victim works.

Perry started doing this early on when he claimed that people who oppose him are just heartless people. Then he tried to explain away his failed debate performances by saying that the reason all those evil Republicans "hated" him and wanted "to destroy" him was "his faith." That's the biggest pile of horse crap, but it works for some people. In fact, it works really, really well.

Cultists do this. Racists do it. Race-hustlers do it. Hitler did it. Socialists do it the world over. OWS does it. Sports teams do it. And failed politicians do it. These people all know that if you can turn the world into us versus them, then the us's will forgive any failure to protect you because you is "us." They will also blind themselves to all evidence to the contrary because that evidence is produced by the very people trying to destroy "us."

That's why this fringe of Perry people are so insane at the moment. They have bought into the victimology and they see Perry as that lone shining point of light standing against a corrupt secret conspiracy to keep people like them from ever having a voice in governing themselves.

It is not rational, but it works.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. T-Rav, I also don't want to make that sound like a mental condition. It's not. I think it's human nature. People don't like unfair attacks and they really don't like unfair attacks on people they like.

It takes a lot of mental discipline to step back and think things through fairly and ask how a neutral observer would see the situation.

That's something I ran into in law a lot. You would see people who fell for their client's stories rather than evaluating them fairly and that always led to disaster because they lost their ability to think rationally about the case.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I will say that I didn't think Perry's answers in the rest of the debate were THAT bad. Nothing great--I don't think he said anything that would have won many people over--but nothing terrible either. But, of course, that doesn't matter anymore, after that long, painful stumble. If Perry's campaign goes into terminal decline at this point, I think its epitaph should read "Gone in 60 Seconds."

On Newt, those are problems I've heard before, and they are serious--though at this point, not so serious that they turn me off. I think among the general population, the third is perhaps the most serious threat in a Gingrich vs. Obama match, unless he can focus attention on Barack and Michelle's--um--"dalliances" in that regard.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I don't think Perry's answers were horrible, they were just pointless. He has yet to explain what he would do which the others haven't thought of or why we should believe he's better equipped to deliver on those promises than the others.

Also, I do have a problem with his thought process: he doesn't seem to understand that DC is not Austin. He doesn't seem to get that just because he was able to get everyone to agree to lower taxes and less regulation in Austin, doesn't mean DC will fall in line the moment he arrives.

In fact, that was John King's point about "home games" versus "away games." Romney, to his credit, has had to contend with never having a home game, i.e. a legislature that wanted to work with him and achieve his goals. Perry has never had an away game, i.e. he's never faced actual opposition. So in terms of how they will handle Washington, Romney clearly has much more valuable experience than Perry. The fact Perry doesn't get that and can't explain how he would work with people who will instinctively oppose everything he does is a lot like young Barack Obama saying "trust me, I'm just gonna go to Washington and work with people."

It shows a mind that is not prepared for and does not understand the challenges it faces.

AndrewPrice said...

(continued)
On Newt, the finance stuff is the most salacious, so the public will be the most attracted to it. But the first two points are really the most concerning because it means he's not driven by principle so much as he's driven by whim.

Making a man like that President is truly dangerous because it means you never know what he will do next. If he decides he suddenly wants Pelosi's love, then he'll hop back on the couch. If he decides he wants Putin's love, he'll abandon Poland. Etc.

That is what makes me nervous about Newt, that he's mercurial and driven by whim rather than reason when he finally starts making decisions.

StanH said...

The Georgia boys did well again. Good synopsis, and I like what T-Rav said about Herman and Newt getting together, interesting thought.

T-Rav said...

Stan, I say that because while I didn't see the debate the two of them had Saturday night, everything I read said it went well, and that the two had a lot of respect for each other. Let's just say, I could easily see a Cain/Gingrich or Gingrich/Cain ticket happening.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Stan. Georgia is representing quite nicely aren't they?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, After their Lincoln/Douglas debate didn't end in fireworks (the only story according to the media) they laid out the relationship between the two and apparently they've been friends for a long time and Gingrich even got Cain appointed to a job at one point. So there is a definite relationship there and I could easily see them agreeing to be on the same ticket. I just don't know which way round it would be?

But first, both need to survive the primary process, which they seem to be doing.

Joel Farnham said...

The Media/Democrats are getting desperate and don't understand what is really happening. The secret that they aren't understanding is the people are actually getting what the candidates are saying. They aren't following what the media is saying about any of the Candidates. Especially about Cain.

CNBC deliberately with held their signal from the local internet, but as to quote a Serenity character, "You can't stop the signal, Mal." I know this because it was sent to overseas internet but not the local. IT guys worth their salt wouldn't allow that unless deliberately told to do so.

Supposedly this is to help the overnight numbers. I doubt that.

Gingrich, as Rush says, always goes one or two statements beyond what needs to be said.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks for the superb wrap-up Andrew!

I concur about Romney playing prevent defense.
His tactics remind me of a team being 2 points ahead of Green Bay with under 2 minutes left and deciding to quit playing pressure defense, which had worked up to that point, and simply trying to prevent the Pack from scoring.

I've seen lots of teams lose by suddenly going to a soft defense and not just against GB.

He plays the same kind of offense:
gets a bit ahead and tries to run out the clock with safe runs only.

And finally, as you said so well, his lack of leadership and flip-flopping all over the place is a big red flag and most voters ain't buying it.

I also like your review of Herm's performance.
Although our present tax code is partly responsible for jobs going overseas, the main reason is all the draconian regulations and he should concentrate on that more.

Especially since a lot of these idiotic regulations are done by fiat and without representation by all the various (and super bloated) agencies (and czars) that Perry can't remember.

As has been discussed here many times, regulations do more to hurt businesses and lose jobs than taxes, but the tax code does need reformed.

Joel Farnham said...

On Palin, unless Cain falters, and the only people who think he will are delusional, won't get into the Presidential Race.

With Gingrich, yes, the Couch Incident was a stupid thing to do with Pelosi. Why didn't he know that instinctively earlier? His conservative instincts are suspect. Either they are dulled or he never had them in the first place. I wouldn't be unhappy with Cain/Gingrich pairing if Cain was President.

These are just off the top of my head.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I think the media is truly frustrated by Cain because he's not reacting the way they expect. Romney does, but Cain doesn't. When they say "you're a bad man," the media has come to expect Republicans to just fold up and beg forgiveness. Cain doesn't do that, he looks them square in the eyes and says "up yours."

Also, when they say, "but some lefty policy institute says your plan won't work," they expect Republicans to say "I'm not wedded to it!" But with Cain they get, "yeah, well, they're wrong."

They don't how to handle this kind of response.

I also think you're right that the public is listening directly to the candidates. The ratings are way up for the debates this election cycle. The internet gives people direct access. Blogs and listservs let people discuss the candidates..... The media monopoly is over and I don't think the media knows how to handle a public that is well informed for a change.

On Gingrich, I think Gingrich IS a genuine conservative. However, my concern is that he doesn't always act on principle, instead, he sometimes acts on the basis of trying to gain popularity with his enemies. That scares me because it means he's unpredictable. But he is winning me over.

On Palin, I think there is 0% chance she will jump in. For that to happen, Cain and Gingrich and maybe even Bachmann would all need to flame out fast and quit. PLUS, then she would have to jump in before Christie decides to jump in and pretend to be a conservative. And frankly, I've never felt she was interested in running. But honestly, some of the comments I've seen at other sites are downright vile about Cain and how he's somehow secretly at fault for keeping Palin from running. It's bizarre.

Finally, I think you're right that Cain won't falter. I think he's been hit with the best they have and he keeps on going up. At this point, the only thing that can stop Cain are Romney or Gingrich.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I'll also say I have been inpressed by Newt.
I always knew he was very knowledgeable, although he did make some major mistakes before deciding to run and early on.

I truly hope it ain't an act and that if he wins he doesn't become another "compassionate" conservative.
He's definitely saying the right things and I think he would wipe the floor with Obama during any debates, even with the stupid soundbite debate style preferred by the MSM.

And I love how he sticks it to the moronic moderators, LOL.

I also think Cain is improving. He should do more long debates with Gingrich and really study foreign policy hard to round out his repetoire.

Former ambassador to the UN John Bolton would be a good person for him to talk to at length concerning foreign policy.

I concur, the rest are done. And Ron Paul will be done too, because he has said too much crazy stuff in the past.

And although most voters are concerned primarily with the economy, I don't think they want another foreign policy imbecile like Obama.

Come to think about it, both Obama and Paul have a few things in common:
They both are no freiends to Israel (to say the least) and they both think we can be friends with Islamic countries (or that they'll leave us alone if we simply pull out).

Neither one has a clue why most muslims hate us and Israel.
It's because we value liberty which is anathema to Sharia law and the teachings of Mohammed.

The GOP candidates must understand the clear and present danger even our Islamic allies (and I use that term loosely) pose, and that they can't be placated with money (although they'll gladly take it).

In the end, Pakistan would be just as glad as Iran to see more terror attacks on US soil.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Thanks! I agree entirely.

I think Cain needs to diversify his talking points. He needs a little more than just 9-9-9. I think attacking some specific regulations would be a great start. So would outlining his healthcare reform plan. If he doesn't do that, then he risks sounding like he doesn't have any other plans and his appeal will be limited to just people who like that plan.

On Romney, I know exactly what you mean about sitting on a two point lead and that's what I see Romney doing here. He's had a strategy that worked so far. But rather than keep pushing and trying to win more people over and affirmatively win the nomination, he seems content to hope that the other guys all implode. That's a horrible strategy because it leaves him at the mercy of the others. If they all fall apart, then he wins by default and limps into the general election with soft support. But if any of them don't fall apart then he loses because he never gets above 25% support.

If I were one of his supporters, I would be truly frustrated at his strategy and I would probably already be assuming he's doomed.

You know what they say about the prevent defense: "it's the defense that prevents you from winning."

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I thought it was very telling that in the debate before this one, although all the candidates were critical of Cain's 999 plan, Newt was the only one who even tried to be moderate and constructive about it.

On the Pelosi couch thing, that sticks in a lot of people's craws (although less so for me than the more recent "right-wing social engineering" remark). Newt did say some time later that he intended it as a means to get back into the debate over global warming, a statement that could be interpreted in a favorable or an unfavorable manner. And he did come right out the other day and say something like, "Yeah, that was the single dumbest decision of my career." So he's clearly trying to win some wavering conservatives over.

As for Palin, she won't get in. I do think it's funny, though: some diehard Palinistas have attacked Cain for somehow being responsible for her not getting into the race (???), while a lot of people hostile to both have called "Cainiacs" warmed-over Palinistas. It's bizarre.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I think Cain is improving and frankly, the idea of him debating Gingrich or Bolton (in private) is an excellent one. The only way to improve public speaking is to practice, and debating someone who knows more than you is the best way to learn. If I were advising Cain, I would hire a couple people to debate/advise him on the weekends until his brain is full.

Realistically, I think Paul never had a chance. He's got too much baggage that scares too many people. I would honestly love to find a candidate to take the Paul mantle and run with the good parts but ignore the bad parts. Maybe that's Rand Paul? Who knows. Unfortunately, the bad usually comes with the good with Paul people because there's too much temptation to fall into the conspiratorial aspects of Paul thinking.

On foreign policy, I honestly think the public doesn't care in this election, so the less they say the better. But I agree with you, we do need someone who understands that the world is not a happy-happy joy-joy place of people ready to become just like us. Many people want to kill us and no amount of olive branches will change that.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav,

Cynically speaking.... Gingrich has been pandering like mad lately. He went after the Palin people by praising her and sympathizing with them about the attacks on her. He keeps going after the Paul people by attacking the Fed. He's praised Cain and his plan to syphon off Cain supporters who may become disillusioned. Etc.

Does he believe any of this? I doubt it. He's never said any of this before and it all frankly runs counter to what he's said throughout his career. But it wins him votes, and it makes him seem like a new, more conservative Newt.... very smart.


On Palin/Perry/etc... keep in mind that ALL candidates have a small fringe on the ends who are just nuts. Those are the people complaining right now. Those are the people who just can't let go and are looking for anything to explain to themselves why it's all gone wrong. I wouldn't read anything into it.

By the way, the couch thing actually doesn't bother me. I don't judge candidates by photo-ops. I judge them instead by their thinking processes. That's why I'm bothered by the inconsistency and more importantly the strong desire to be loved by the wrong people.

I can see why you would be upset by the "right wing social engineering" comment because it was a declaration that the government should not be dealing with morality issues.

AndrewPrice said...

Here's an interesting article. It's about a guy who used voice stress software to decide if people are lying. (I'm not sure I believe this works, but it is interesting enough to pass on.)

He claims Cain is telling the truth, but Bailek lied when she said he tried to put his hand up her skirt.

LINK.


****

Also, I have to say, I just keep chuckling about what Paul did during the Perry seizure moment. With Perry sticking his two fingers in the air at Paul saying "three... three", Paul suddenly held up 5 fingers and said "Five!"

I don't know why, but I really find that hilarious on Paul's part.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Waittammint! Paul only said five? LOL! That is pretty funny!

BTW, I have read all the debate threads after the fact. Good stuff!

I would watch the debates but my lovely wife hates them...mostly the stupid formats I think.
Plus, she has a lower tolerance for politics than I do.
Particularly when the moderators or some of the candidates go full retard, lol.

Interesting about the voice analysis.

I used to watch that now cancelled show "Lie To Me" but it quickly veered left, unfortunately, and the writing was boring most the time.

Great concept but very poorly executed.
Most people do tend to unconciously give signals when they lie.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I don't know if the voice analysis is anymore reliable than the polygraph, which is entirely unreliable. But it is interesting, isn't it?

Sorry to hear you can't watch the debates! :( But I am glad you're enjoying the debate threads! :)

I thought it was hilarious when Paul told him "FIVE!" It really was just one of those comedic moments you couldn't have written any better.

rlaWTX said...

Thanks for the wrap-up!

I knew Perry was going to have some obstacles to overcome - I just didn't realize he'd be one of them!

I can't get excited about Newt.
(1) President Newt????
(2) I've had that "which ever way the wind blows" feeling about him for a while...

And honestly, even though my bits have helped his $ explosion, I am getting less excited about a Cain presidency. Still hopeful though...

I know 1 person who is a Santorum fan - and as far as I can tell, it is almost entirely social positions based. But she claims that he is the second-coming of Reagan!

I really hate the MSM.

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome rlaWTX!

Yeah, Perry is his own worst enemy by far.

Newt still troubles me, but I would absolutely support him.

I'd like to see Cain take it to the next level and show he's a more rounded candidate than he seems at the moment.

Santorum can't spell Reagan, much less is he Reagan. He really has misinterpreted everything Reagan stood for.

Yep, the MSM sucks.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, that's not really why his comment upset me. I mean, yes, I want to see some enforcement of morality, but what bothered me was that he applied it with no apparent logic to Ryan's budget plan and fed, inadvertently or otherwise, the media's "Even conservatives don't like this!" line. We don't need that. I think Newt may have a harder time living that down with Tea Partiers than the couch thing.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Excellent point. AND that is my point 1 above about the problem I've had with Newt for so long....

He says things like that, shooting from the hip, doing tons of damage to other conservatives, and never thinks about how he's helping the other side or how he's just thrown something important under the bus.

When he was Speaker, there was a continuous stream of items like that. It happened so much in fact, that I basically came to expect it.


By the way, depending on the poll, Gingrich is either even with Cain in second place to Romney or even with Romney in second place to Cain.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I noticed that. Those numbers seem a little low for Cain, especially by comparison with a few days ago, but I don't know.

By the way, Rasmussen's new poll has Perry's favorable/unfavorable rating at...25/61.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Different polls. Depending on the poll, he's somewhere between 15% and 28%.

But we'll see how the numbers change over time.

In any event, it's interesting that Romney seems stuck -- both Cain and Gingrich seem to be ahead of him.

Writer X said...

I didn't watch the debate as I was too busy working. If it hadn't been hosted by CNBC, I would have probably made more of an attempt to watch. Thanks for the summary!

P.S. Ann Coulter's post on Axelrod was terrific! Very revealing. There needs to be a spotlight put on Alexrod. What a sleezebag.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I agree -- Coulter's piece is really a fascinating read. If what she says isn't true, then the level of coincidence here would be truly amazing!

Yeah, CNBC really did not acquit themselves well.

AndrewPrice said...

Did anyone know there's another debate tomorrow night? Ug.

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