Conservatives Generally Agree On the Outcome of the Presidential Debate

Bookmark and Share    Monday’s Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN/WMUR and the Manchester Union Leader, produced few waves and even fewer opinion changes regarding the seven candidates who participated in it. While opinions vary slightly on who came out as a winner or on even if there was any clear winner, most agree that the debate’s moderator John King, was a loser. His performance offered an endless rash of irritating, inappropriate grunts of “uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uhlright” as he tried to interrupt everyone who spoke every time they spoke.

As for the participants, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, and Ron Paul, most agree that none of them did any harm to themselves or was hurt by any of their opponents.

A review of several opinions offered by WH12 staff writers all agree that while some of the candidates did well, none of them really distinguished themselves as standouts. At the same time, everyone at White House 2012 agreed that for a number of reasons, Michele Bachmann surpassed expectations. Everyone at White House 2012 also agrees that as a group, the seven candidates agreed on the main issues, the economy, and stayed focused on what that which they have in common rather than their differences. That type of unity bodes well for the Party as a whole, but it will among those running for the presidential nomination, each one will soon have to point out their differences if they want to defeat their opponents.

At this stage in the race though, as Smashey put it, “they all played it safe.”

Below are more detailed analyses form three of the White House staff writers; Smashey, Friday and Kempite.


I believe the debate proved one thing……the Republican candidates seem to be willing to lay off of differences with each other to untie against the failings of the Obama administration.

I don’t think anyone stood out as a front runner nor do I think anyone took a hit to the negative. Everyone played it safe.

I expected Bachman to be the kind of speaker she was in her SOTU reply but she was surprisingly more polished this time around. Gingrich showed he is an accomplished speaker as did Romney and as was expected. Pawlenty didn’t make a move to wow anyone as I expected him to which was a bit disappointing. Cain stayed on message as did Santorum but both also, as with Pawlenty, did little to make that impact I think they needed to get to the same level as Romney. Paul was Paul as was expected.

In short I don’t think anyone came out ahead and no one lost. They all played it safe and had a united message against the policies of Obama.


This debate was very good. Candidates did what they needed to do most and focused on the economy and on Obama. Even when egged on, the only candidate who briefly faltered in this was Pawlenty. Pawlenty, who had recently coined the term Obamneycare, was put in a tough spot when John King seized on that opportunity. When King attempted to get candidates to distance themselves from Sarah Palin, they instead put the focus on Joe Biden’s absolute failures. This was a success because each of these candidates has been portrayed as unexciting and undesirable. Whether by pact or nature, by allowing themselves to agree with one another and focusing on Obama’s massive failures, these candidates each built their capital in this primary. Even Ron Paul seemed cordial.

An obvious dynamic came through in this debate. We are starting to see a top tier and second tier emerge. Some candidates appeared to have jumped into this race with both feet, focused on their issues, but are now finding themselves relying on stump phrases without much substance. Cain and Bachmann seemed to fall into this category, while Santorum appeared as the sacrificial lamb for classic conservatism. It is good to have each of them in the race, but at this point their biggest contribution is contrast. All three would have done very well were this debate a TEA Party rally. However, Considering the TEA Party influence in 2010 and Obama’s 2008 win using the same basic campaign style, I wouldn’t write this off a as a negative just yet.

Ron Paul was well prepared and had answers ready, but not to any of the questions King asked. Paul’s anti-federal government stances were refreshing for constitutionalists and will certainly inspire his libertarian base, but he is sure to lose any liberal who opposes entitlement reform this time around. Right?

No single winner in this debate. However, Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich and Bachmann certainly helped themselves. I don’t think this debate will give Paul, Cain or Santorum as much boost in this race.


While John King proved himself to be a horrible moderator with obvious political biases that he can’t contain himself from at least subtly projecting, the seven G.O.P. presidential debate participants proved to be an assemblage of promising leaders, even if they did not all prove themselves to be presidential material.

In the final analysis, the only standard by which you can arrive at winners or losers in presidential debates is the one that shows a particular candidate helped or hurt their chances to get elected. None of the seven debate participants did anything to hurt their chances but none of them performed in a way, or said anything that significantly improved their chances of getting elected. Under those circumstances, as the frontrunner going into the debate, Mitt Romney comes out as the winner of the debate.

If there was a trophy for second place, Michele Bachmann’s overall performance earned it for her.

Bachmann was strong and whether enough voters currently think she electable or not, they have now been forced to give her chance and with that chance, Bachmann has more control of her electoral destiny than do others like Ron Paul, who seems to be unable to run a campaign that can appeal to more than 10 or 12 percent of the Republican presidential electorate.

Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum held there own but that is not good enough for either one of them. They need to begin inspiring more voters and fast. Herman Cain underperformed in that sense that he is a much more electrifying speaker than he showed himself in the debate. And as for New Gingrich, at times he seemed out of place and like Herman Cain, I believe he underperformed. However it is important to note that in my opinion, even an underreporting Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich still performs better than President Obama and would get my vote

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One Response

  1. I have haven’t decided on my personal front runner so these comments are strictly objective:

    Gingrich-the grown up in the room. If he seemed out of place perhaps it is because he is the only candidate present that one can imagine in a strategy session with Churchill. His wealth of knowledge and experience is unsurpassed. I have two friends who watched the debate together, both males between 40 and 50. One has inside Republican experience and the other absolutely no experience. Both responded to Gingrich. If he seemed bored, perhaps he was.

    Bachmann-now that we know for sure she fostered 23 children, let’s not bring it up again. Better than she was before, and certainly along with Santorum the possessor of the kind of insider information and perspective that only grassroots activists have, she has a long ways to go to reach the ranks of Thatcher or the presence of Susanna Martinez of Arizona. Also, I need to help her with her make-up-a little overdone. If that’s catty, it is still true.

    Pawlenty-almost but not quite hardly

    Santorum-can we help him not clench his teeth when he talks? If not, he needs to practice smiling before a mirror. With that said, aside from the fostering of 23 children, behind the scenes and in the daily grind, he has done more hard work to move forward the conservative cause than anyone especially in the area of human rights/human trafficking and other causes that share a broad concern and appeal. He walks the walk.

    Cain-many call him refreshing but that’s just his personality punch phrases. When it comes to real depth, and certainly in foreign policy, he relies on generalizations. I might not know who yet, but I can’t support him.

    Paul-I’m glad for him. He keeps us all honest even if we disagree. And, who is like him? True to himself all these years. While he may be a libertarian, he is certainly a social conservative. Why, he’s delivered half the people in his district, he knows that an unborn is a real person you should not kill. (He knew that before you were born.) And, he has served in the armed forces. Not many left like him. Someday, if he leaves before we do, we’ll all mourn this country’s loss. But, he won’t be President.

    Mitt-(I’m taking a deep sigh before I continue) He has great hair and lots of money and experience. He probably couldn’t address the newly formed battle group that Poland is leading; tell why the abortion issue is at the heart of a conservative worldview; explain the problems with Frankfurt Institute and how it relates to the Columbia School of Education and most public school curriculum directors and why Dewey’s philosophies are at the heart of our educational demise or most of the philosophical underpinnings of conservative activism. What does he think of Mises?
    I don’t know but he feels like Bush-trying to look like he understands the unwashed masses. Why does he bug? I want to like him.

    My favorite part was imagining what it would have been like with nine there-Perry and Palin. Wouldn’t that have been fun? That would have added some spice to the guacamole.

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