Ames Debate Coverage

I will be watching the Ames GOP Presidential debate tonight – my first debate of campaign season – and this will be my first attempt at semi-live coverage of the proceedings. I would never make it in politics – not in a million years – but I have felt an increasing desire to be engaged and involved in the process and I’m going to attempt to cover the event with a running commentary attached to this stub. The comments will appear below…my co-author may have some reaction after the fact (she works too late to actually view the debate live).

Starting at 9 PM EDT. Looking forward to it.

My pre-debate prediction would be that Bachmann continues to benefit from the double-standard and the desperados (like Huntsman, Pawlenty, Santorum, and Paul) – guys who need to come out swinging and make a big dent in their perceived weaknesses as candidates (the “they all look alike” problem) will turn their attacks on Mitt Romney. Romney – though an early frontrunner – makes an easy target for Republicans if the question of medical care comes up. His Massachusetts universal health care system is the kernal on which ObamaCare is based and he has refused to admit that it was a bad idea when he signed it into law. So rather than appearing sexist (by attacking the lone woman on the panel), I expect the attacks will be aimed at each other and at Romney.

Meanwhile, I think Bachmann needs to be squeaky clean and come across to independents as someone who knows her stuff. She has the reputation for not knowing basic American history (people from New England are particularly annoyed that she thought Lexington and Concord were in New Hampshire…they don’t see this is a minor gaff…they think a president should know that kind of minutia and be well-versed) and needs to defeat that notion here.

Debates rarely make or break elections anymore…but with such a huge GOP field, this one could be interesting.

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5 thoughts on “Ames Debate Coverage

  1. O…K…

    I was WAY wrong about no attacks on Bachmann. Some of it is the format of the debate, but Pawlenty and Romney both went after her in the first round. Frankly, Bachmann is sounding very inexperienced and I don't think she would hold up under the pressure of a long campaign against Obama. I wanted to like her, but I just don't think she's ready yet.

    However, the big loser so far is Ron Paul. He's only had one solid question, but his response was difficult to understand and filled with unnecessarily emotional sound that made him come off as a wacko. There's a reason he got hammered the last time around. I think he's a non-factor.

    Herman Cain stands out like a sore thumb as the least credentialed person. I like him…but he doesn't strike me as having a realistic idea of how Washington actually functions. And as much as I'd love to say that's a good thing…we have to deal in realities…not in the realm of Obama and “Hope'n'change”

    Romney is sounding shockingly competent so far…and I was very skeptical of Romney.

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  2. Newt Gingrich is KILLING in this debate, folks. For a guy who has a history of being one of the most divisive and hard to deal with Speakers of the House in recent memory, Mr. Gingrich is showing a tenacity and strong-willed, clear-headed mindset that none of the other candidates can match.

    Romney is well organized and has his talking points down to a science, but Gingrich seems to have that skill AS WELL AS an appropriate amount of anger. His angry rant about the congressional supercommittee on spending reform, in particular, was STIRRING. The energy he brings to this debate is remarkable.

    On the other hand, Bachmann is playing herself out of the race, IMHO. She sounds hopelessly unprepared and required three (THREE!) redirects to fix yet another verbal gaff on a question of her vote on a spending increase in the Minnesota Senate. And…she just showed up late to round three.

    Ron Paul is a moron. Can't stand the man. Romney is dead wrong about the 10th amendment…his constitution is itself unconstitutional if it allows the state to do something that is manifestly unconstitutional at the federal level. The Federal Govt. can defend its own law of the land if the states try to step over the line as MA did with RomneyCare.

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  3. NEWS FLASH, Mr. Paul…terrorists are not criminals…they are WAR criminals. There's a different law in place for war criminals. If you ask anyone with half a brain, they can tell the difference between a terrorist and a simple murderer. The difference is that one commits his crime for personal reasons, the other for an agenda that is a direct affront to the agenda of the United States. Paul…you are a relativist…and I want no part of you.

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  4. On the rest…I agreed with Herman Cain regarding energy independence and its' power to cripple the bullies in the middle east. But that can't be your only solution. Cain has no feel for what kinds of people he's dealing with. If we don't have to negotiate with Iran…that will back them into a corner. Terrorists, when cornered, attack. We have to be prepared for that.

    Bachmann, Paul and Cain are out, IMHO. Santorum hasn't stood out either. Seems that Romney and Gingrich are the big winners here.

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  5. Final thoughts:

    THe social issues part of the GOP debates is always the most dull…they all pretty much say the same boilerplate bullet points and their views are well known. Bachmann, for example, did much better here than she did anywhere else in the debate.

    But on the whole, three people improved their position with this debate, and four people played themselves right out of the race if the voters were paying any attention at all.

    Ron Paul…his DEEPLY mixed reacdtion in the crowd should be a cautionary tale to the GOP. Do NOT pick this guy…he cannot unite the people. His xenophobic, dated, and frankly unrealistic view of America's role in the world and the global economy is shamefully out of touch with all but college aged conservatives with no moral fortitude.

    Bachmann and Cain just are not ready. The main criticisms levied against them have been vindicated by this process. They lack the experience and media savvy to navigate an election and run this country. Cain needs to serve public office and should work very hard to improve his knowledge of global politics. Bachmann needs to stop trying to sell the sizzle and develop some damned steak. She was full of big ideas and ZERO worldly successes. Maybe some seasoning will ripen her for a renewed push in 2016.

    And finally, Pawlenty simply wasn't strong enough tonight. He was on the fringe as is, but tonight, he sometimes seemed petty and small in his views.

    Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman didn't move either up or down…they just stayed meaningless to this proceeding.

    The three that I'm moving up with a BULLET…are Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and, for not participating in this event and choosing instead to make himself the center of a whole media cycle dedicated just to himself…Rick Perry of Texas.

    Those are the legitimate contenders if you ask me. I'm not comfortable voting for any of the others. Gingrich is hit or miss for me, but tonight he really gained a measure of respect in my mind at least. Even ROMNEY made himself much more acceptable in my eyes than he was before the debate.

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