Tonight was the official beginning of the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary. The debate in Greenville, SC was very enlightening and surprisingly entertaining. The following are my thoughts on each candidate:
Herman Cain: He clearly won the debate. In every primary, a candidate emerges that no one knew before. In 2008, for example, it was Mike Huckabee. In this campaign, Herman Cain appears to be that guy. His answers were crisp and concise. He displayed not only his policy positions, but his decision making process. He demonstrated that he is a leader and, if he gets any play, he stands in stark contrast to Obama as a leader. Of course, as an African-American conservative, expect the MSM to be especially harsh and cruel to him and his family. It is in all of our interests, as a movement, to make the MSM pay for such behavior.
Gary Johnson: Gov. Johnson seems like a nice guy, albeit a little weird. He also seems to have a command on the economic issues. But, his answers on foreign policy and the War on Terror were simply unacceptable. Also, there’s a Ned Flanders quality to Gov. Johnson, that I don’t think inspires people. He would make an excellent cabinet secretary, but he is not a President.
Ron Paul: Ron Paul was, well, Ron Paul. There’s a lot to like about his position on government spending and the federal reserve. But, he would clearly abandon the State of Israel and would also gut our military budget, leaving the United States vulnerable to attack. A President Paul would not be much better, at all, than the current occupant of the White House.
Tim Pawlenty: When the campaign began, I had high hopes for T-Paw. After watching the debate tonight, T-Paw is not going to win this nomination, period. He had a chance to dominate this field and separate himself and, instead, played it safe. He was measured when he should have been passionate and his attacks on The One were, at best, milquetoast. However, all is not lost for T-Paw, as he is clearly the front-runner for Vice President, which is almost as good.
Rick Santorum: Rick Santorum had the most passion, by far, of any candidate in the debate. When he was hitting Obamacare, he was particularly on fire. But, uncontrolled passion can be more dangerous to the person speaking than the intended target. Santorum is a passionate, well-spoken conservative warrior. But, he never once cracked a smile. Part of the presidential calculus is the ability to get average people to like you. They won’t if you seem angry all the time. As such, Santorum will not be the nominee either.
In summation, I believe that the only person who really helped himself tonight was Herman Cain. He showed he can compete on the big stage. It will be interesting, for sure, when Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich, Bachmann, Palin and Daniels get in. However, tonight, Cain proved he belongs on the stage with the more well-known candidates and I’m not sure anyone else did that tonight.