The final debate before the Iowa Caucus took place last night on Fox News. Most of the pundents are saying that Newt got hurt some by Bachmann’s attacks, Romney did better than the last debate, and Perry did very well. We don’t totally agree.
1) Rick Perry did do very well. He even commented that he ‘likes’ debating now and would show up ‘early’ at a debate with Obama. Perry looked at ease and much more confident in stating his positions than he has in the past. He had several lines that got very loud positive responses from the audience.
And he even compared himself to Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow suggesting he wants to be the “Tim Tebow of the Iowa Caucus” making a comeback at the last minute and take the win. For those of you that don’t know many said Tim Tebow did not have the skills to play in the NFL (some imply that about Perry and beating Obama) but he has engineered many come from behinds wins this year and has won six games in a row.
Perry should be getting better with each debate but what it kind of shows is that he did not prepare very well for his first few debates and that cost him dearly. Do we all remember he was the front runner? The other reason he is doing better now is that he has a strong message to put out (part time Congress, flat tax, dismantle Washington) and the fact that because he is NOT the front runner any longer he is not being attacked. Not being attacked makes a big difference.
2) Many say Michele Bachmann won the debate but we disagree. Yes, if you say she won because she attacked Newt Gingrich and scored some hits on him then maybe you would be right. But if you look at it from the standpoint of did she improve her standing with voters by effectively presenting her positions and why she would make a good President we think she failed. We think she failed because her attacks were so strong and so often that is all people will remember. Some of the insiders even suggest she is just being the attack dog for Romney. Who knows if that is true but that is pretty much what it looked like last night.
3) Romney was back to his normal self. Take no chances, don’t attack anyone (which is smart because like Perry he is not very good at attacking the others and it makes him look bad), and try to just be steady. He did a good job at that and the media and Republican establishment was happy as can be with his performance compared to the last debate.
He did have one very outstanding remark when he compared what he did in business (laying off some people, closing down some businesses) to what Obama did with GM, closing down some factories, layoffs and closing dealerships to ‘save’ the company. Good analogy that should work to combat the notion he was just a cold-hearted businessman that did not care about people.
4) Newt was in the center stage position because he is leading in many polls. The moderator even commented about that and Newt joked that put him right in the middle of the cross fire. We think Newt did very well considering all the attacks he endured from Bachmann and Ron Paul. For a while it seemed like the whole debate was just going to be about attacking Newt and seeing how many kill shots the others could take on him. It was the same in the last debate and it actually seems to be working though as he is losing some in the polls. Just like with Perry and Cain, when the others (including the media) all gang up on you there will be some damage in your standings.
Newt had strong answers again as he always does. The attacks probably did a little damage but he offset that with some excellent responses on many important issues so we think he did not lose ground at all. He never lost his cool and even had moments of humor like when he said, “I don’t want to sound ‘Zany’ in my response” which was in reference to Romney calling him “Zany” last week. That was Romney’s attempt at politely calling Newt ‘crazy’.
5) Ron Paul really got animated at moments and had a confrontation with Bachmann over the issue of allowing Iran to get a nuclear weapon. Despite being in the Republican party Ron Paul is a true Libertarian. There is no problem with that except for the fact that majority of Republican voters will not support someone that believes in the type of foreign policy that he supports. He will show very well and could even possibly win Iowa but after New Hampshire he will not be a player to win any primaries. His stance on the economy, federal spending and the Federal Reserve gain a lot of support from all conservatives but then all the gains he made are lost when he talks about Iran.
6) Huntsman and Santorum seemed to be less relevant than in other debates which is not a good sign with this being the last debate before voting actually starts. Santorum will probably do OK and surprise some people in Iowa but then he will be done. The same with Huntsman. He will do OK and surprise some in New Hampshire but then after that he will drop out due to lack of support.
This is how it looks; Newt, Romney, Paul and Perry will be the top tier candidates.
Ron Paul is included in that group just because his supporters are so loyal and committed it makes some think he can win the nomination but the majority of people think he cannot.
Perry is in the group because he is improving every day, the others are not attacking him right now, he has lots of money and his message is very popular with Republicans if they take the time to listen to it.
Newt and Romney are the true front runners and for totally different reasons. Newt is an intellectual powerhouse and can debate at a level far above the rest. We all want to see that Obama-Newt debate! You could sell tickets to it and help pay off some of the national debt! As Dick Cheney commented, “When Newt said we could win back control of the House after 40 years of Democrat rule we all thought he was crazy. But he would not give up on the idea and actually made it happen. Don’t underestimate Newt Gingrich.”
Newt is a historical figure in American politics and an expert on American history and how the government works. If he is truly committed to changing our direction and taking the country down a conservative path he is one that would actually know how to get it done. The question is if we can really take him at his word now and he won’t change.
Romney is the favorite of the Republican establishment and “they” really believe they control who will be nominated. They gave us McCain and Bob Dole and George Bush. True conservatives don’t want him but he may be the person we end up having to support in the fall of 2012 against Obama. And the bottom line is we MUST support whoever the Republican nominee is. We MUST get rid of Obama. No support for a third party this time around. It would be too risky and give Obama the White House again.