Newt the “Great Articulator” wins big in South Carolina

Not since President Ronald Reagan has a Politician stirred the deepest heartfelt passions & spoken to the sense of disillusionment, about every American household’s current struggle & experiences, then former Speaker Gingrich has this past week. “It’s not that I am a good debater,” Gingrich said, “It is that I articulate the deepest-felt values of the American people.” President Reagan may have been known as the “Great Communicator,” I welcome Speaker Gingrich as the average ordinary person’s “Great Articulator.”

Gingrich won 40% to Mr Romney’s 28% in South Carolina, a victory that seemed most unlikely a week ago. It proves that focussing on the issues and being prepared to stand up for traditional American values and speak directly to the people about the real issues, not the sugar coated spin often associated with the media’s interpretation of the issues, is what really appeals to the ordinary person. Other Republican hopefuls, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and Texas representative Ron Paul, were trailing badly with 17% and 13% respectively.

In his victory speech Gingrich went out of his way to praise his presidential rivals, getting an especially lively response when he cited Rick Santorum’s “enormous courage” for campaigning, and winning, in Iowa when he had no money, organization, or media coverage.  He was careful to cite the issues the other candidates have championed, as well as offering personal praise. Gingrich also said, ”Obama is the most effective food stamp president in history, I would like to be the best paycheque president in American history.”

Newt Gingrich’s thumping victory last night was based not only on his willingness to stand up against the media bias, which has traditionally attacked Republican candidates. It is also founded in the support base and homes of every American household, it is jobs and shows true people power is still the effective tool in American politics.

Gingrich spoke about a pro-growth strategy similar to the proven policies used when he was Speaker to balance the budget, pay down the debt, and create jobs. Political commentators and the media in general, have grossly underestimated the influence of social networks such at Facebook, Twitter and others have had in this result. The support base are now better informed and more independent then in any previous election, due to their willingness and ability, to undertake their own research on allegations and facts on the internet.

This election is without a doubt a watershed in American history, it will dictate whether America recovers from its slow economic decline over the last decade, and have its American spirit and love of free enterprise restored. The election boils down to the traditional question and bottom line. “Are you better off now then you were four  years ago?”

President Obama who is a very likeable person and rode a wave of public disillusionment in 2008 to win the White House with the message of hope and change, respectfully has proved an ineffective and at times weak leader. The near $5 trillion dollars of spending, and a perceived detachment from how ordinary American’s are feeling, is a world away from the optimism he espoused. American’s sense that their society, and indeed government, have never been as divided before. The ordinary voters haven’t switched off from President Obama the person, they have switched off from his administration’s poor policies, and all too frequent politicking in crucial matters. American’s want jobs and action, not political rhetoric.

Gingrich’s victory, should also send a clear and distinct message to Governor Romney, who has already spent $7 million dollars in Florida on media ads, the message is that dirty personal attacks are not what is going to make him president in this election. Voters want to know what the candidates stand for and what they will do to help them, with a passion.  I still believe Romney will win in Florida due to his spending advantage. However, Romney needs to win over the hearts and minds of the voters. He is coming across as too insincere, too out of touch and too much the professional politician. Fundamentally, people are sick and tired of the personal attack ads he so frequently uses.

Voters don’t want their votes and support taken for granted any longer, and political consultant’s will need to adapt their long held strategies and rule books and recognise, and respect, the reality is the modern voter is better informed and educated on the issues than ever before. Ordinary grass root supporters are also fed up of having a preferred establishment candidate being jammed down their throats, as if their own views and choices don’t matter.

This election is about restoring the American Dream, restoring jobs, rebuilding the education system, rebuilding communities, and above all, restoring the American dream with its unique exceptionalism together with a clear vision about the American future.

People are no longer interested in the trash talking that most of the television networks engage in, while reality T.V. may have made the debates more attractive and appealing to the younger generation. People want to know they can have a secure pay check at the end of each month and are able to meet their commitments and have the personal security that brings. They want a leader who puts America and Americans first, not their party or themselves. Gingrich has a record for delivering large scale improvements and for putting the people first, not the political elite.

The most evoking line that signalled Gingrich’s intent going forward against the GOP establishment and media attackers was, “We want to run, not a Republican campaign, we want to run an American campaign.”

Gingrich is slowly becoming the champion of the American dream and American exceptionalism for its people. More importantly, Gingrich is starting to make the ordinary American believe again in their leadership and country, that with optimism, hard work and some sacrifice, the American Dream can and will shine brightly for generations to come if he is elected.

Welcome Gingrich, the “Great Articulator”.

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Newt Handed the Debate Win by CNN

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CNN handed the debate to Newt Gingrich on the opening question about his ex-wife’s allegations. With an economy in the toilet, millions out of work, a debt that is out of control and so many other issues facing us, CNN decided that the old allegations dredged back up by ABC were the top issue to debate about. Newt hit back hard and brought even more cheers than he did in the last debate. The audience was with him regardless of who they had originally come in supporting and that is all he needed to roll up another debate win and very likely a win on Saturday as well. It was a massive media gaffe, the likes of which the GOP can only hope to have in a debate against Obama in October.

Beyond the wild start, the debate was mainly between Romney and Gingrich with Santorum shoehorning his way in whenever he could find a chance. At one point, Ron Paul even had to tell him that he wasn’t referring to him in an answer and “I think you’re too sensitive.” Speaking of Ron Paul, he continued to lose out in the debate format by only occasionally being asked a question while the ‘chance to respond’ rule mainly kept the entire debate between the other three who kept attacking each other. At one point the audience actually booed and demanded the moderator let Ron Paul answer a question when he was about to be skipped over yet again. They ought to bring out an easy chair for Paul to relax in during the 20 or so minutes he has to wait before getting a chance to speak.

Santorum is showing no signs of dropping out and has only stepped up his attacks against Gingrich. He feels that he beat Gingrich twice and deserves to be the one conservative candidate. On that measure, he has a point. The problem with Rick is that he always sounds like a whining spoiled child arguing with his parents. Even when he is making really good points, he is about as unlikable as Romney. You have to give him credit for not caring what others think and being willing to stand by his convictions. Unfortunately, his convictions don’t line up well with the majority of Americans when weighed across all issues. America may be generally more conservative than it is liberal on key issues, it isn’t in favor of government meddling in the internet, the bedroom and a number of other places Santorum thinks are fair game for federal agents to dictate.

Romney had one of his best performances. He tried to channel a little Newt-ness with a couple quick one word answers – particularly when asked if he would follow the example of his father and release a dozen years of tax returns. Unfortunately for Mitt, he doesn’t play the part of jokester well. Those failed attempts to have a personality aside, he did a far better job articulating his positions than he has in the past few debates. He managed nearly whole audience support several times, although he did get heckled once. All in all, Romney seems to have refound his footing and should be able to prevent any further backslide in support for awhile. He may have to accept the fact that he isn’t going to win South Carolina and the nomination isn’t going to be easy to obtain.

No one collapsed in the debate. In fact, all four candidates turned in better performances they they had previously. The lines are becoming more clearly drawn. That makes Ron Paul the real loser of the debate as his inability to clearly articulate his ideas seems worse than it did when Perry was around doing an even worse job. If Paul can’t find a way to make salient points without drifting off-point constantly, he’s going to see his percentage of support drop over the next several contests as undecided voters don’t connect with him.

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Analysis of the CNBC GOP debate from across the Big Pond

Bookmark and Share  Sitting down to watch the CNBC GOP debate last night, the first thing that struck me was the aggressive style of questioning from the hosting panel. There was one gentleman, Jim Cramer, who clearly either drank too much caffeine or was a tree short of a forest on the evening in the manner he was asking  his questions. To be fair, I didn’t like the question regarding character thrown into the debate by Maria Bartiromo who was only doing her job. The debate was meant to focus on the economy and after almost two weeks of the Herman Cain affair, nothing objective or constructive could be obtained by posing such a question. I enjoyed her tussle with former Speaker Gingrich during the night and to their credit, both provided the night’s best moments.

The Texan boot size error by Governor Rick Perry was certainly a major faux pas, but to his credit he took to the morning shows today and openly admitted it. It was unfortunate, as up to that point in the debate, I believe Perry was actually putting in his best debate performance of the campaign so far. Yes, this mis-step will hinder him for the news cycle however, Perry should look to the positives and hopefully his experience of the military and managing the Mexican border will assist him in this coming Saturday’s debate. One major factor that may work in Perry’s favour indirectly is his recognition factor is sure to shoot up. Expectations going forward in debates couldn’t be lower at this stage, and Perry only needs one strong performance to knock the ball out of the park so to speak, time will be the biggest decider, if this is possible.

The winners in my view were as follows:

Speaker Gingrich provided a mixture of charm, assertiveness and clarity that the other candidates couldn’t match. Speaker Gingrich did have a difficult moment when questioned about his $300,000 consultancy payment for lobbying work connected to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapse in 2008 , he claimed that his advice was ignored. This may come back to haunt him and scrutiny is certain to follow in the coming days, but his back and forth with Maria Bartiromo was entertaining and in fact, made Speaker Gingrich raise his game in comparison to previous debates. The clear winner on the night.

Governor Mitt Romney put in another presidential like performance with the exception of stumbling over how long he was married to his wife, but he recovered brilliantly. Romney brought the audience to a rapturous applause when the panel tried to put him on the spot over whether he would hire Herman Cain. Romney delivered a brilliant rebuff to Bartiromo when she asked, why he made no mention of housing in his 59 point plan. Romney replied saying it’s simple, because it is a Jobs Plan not a Housing plan, an excellently executed response. Romney as in previous debates was firm, quick minded and authoritative in his delivery, another strong performance.

After two difficult weeks, Herman Cain delivered a good strong performance considering, the intense pressure he has been under in the lead up to the debate. He managed to deliver a good retort to Bartiromo when asked abut his alleged indiscretions and went back to his core message of 9-9-9 and emphasising why politics needs a fundamental change.  He had some good lines, referring to Nancy Pelosi as “Princess Nancy,” and two of the problems with the Dodd-Frank Bill, these being Dodd and Frank. While they made for good sound bites and were well received by the audience, Cain needs to have another policy area to build back his credibility. The 9-9-9 plan is good however, if he doesn’t come out with an in-depth and demonstrable knowledge ability in another policy area, he is in danger of being perceived as a one trick pony.

The remaining candidates found it difficult to break into the debate on the night although, Jon Huntsman delivered a good response on the housing crisis,” Lost in all of this debate is the fact that there are people tuning in tonight who are upside down in terms of the financing of their homes, are feeling real pain, people who probably heard today that they lost a job. These issues are very real.”

Representative Ron Paul was very good on discussing the economic issues outlining his five point plan and how he would cut $1 trillion straight away in spending. He really does have some excellent ideas on the debt crisis and economy. It is a shame that his statements on Iran in the last debate where polar opposite to most common thinking. Paul may be able to retrieve himself in Saturday’s foreign affairs debate. A good performance.

Senator Rick Santorum attempted to break into the debate, but just couldn’t turn the tide of attention away from the leading four. Santorum’s biggest problems in these debates is not just time allocation, he has developed a habit of talking in the past-tense, instead of the future tense. I do like some of his ideas. He needs to project his forward thinking ideas more into the remaining debates to match his retail politic efforts in Iowa. Maybe, just maybe, he might be able to surprise a few people there. A tall order at this stage of the race though.

Representative Bachmann actually had some new ideas and messages last night saying her everyone-pays-something plan is part of the needed reconfiguration of the tax code. She promised a big performance last night, sadly, it just didn’t materialise. Overall though, it was her best debate performance since the CNN debate to date. Bachmann needs a big performance and soon. Should Bachmann fail to gain some attention, she may be out of the race even before we arrive in Iowa proper.

The big question remains with only 60 days to the Iowa caucuses, who will be the alternative to Romney? I think it will be between Gingrich, Paul and Perry and possibly Huntsman, if he can finish in the top two in New Hampshire.

You’ve noticed no Cain that is correct. My view is based on his campaign’s inability to deal with a known on-coming crisis effectively and nothing to do with the allegations. I think Cain has lit up this campaign with his unconventional approach and straight talking approach. I just can’t see him winning the nomination or beating President Obama following the damage of the last two weeks. Cain needs another unique moment to save his campaign in my view.

Overall, I thought most of the candidates did well against some tough questions which is how it should be. The only criticism of the night was in the manner the questions were posed, not the content of the questions.

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CNBC versus the GOP

Last night the GOP candidates went into hostile Michigan to face a hostile set of moderators who were booed into sticking to economic issues by the crowd after an unfair detour against Herman Cain.  In all, the night turned into somewhat of a circus.  Hopefully, the GOP will shun CNBC in the future, as this was the worst and most unprofessional case of moderation we have seen.    But aside from that, let’s get to the winners and losers.  First up…

It floored me when they tried to ask if companies should be making a profit or growing jobs.  Excuse me, but how the heck do you create jobs if you aren’t making a profit?? Gingrich’s response was beautiful. Watching the moderator rolling her eyes when Gingrich said a 30 second answer on healthcare was ridiculous was fun to watch.  But my favorite answer of Gingrich’s was on education, where he offered a real life example of a real life solution that addresses the issue of education that is getting exponentially expensive with much cheaper results.  As someone who works full-time, is a full-time grad student and has been in college for a decade following various business and religious pursuits, I connected with Gingrich’s answer and could not agree more.  This morning Neil Boortz in a morning phonecall to WOKV implied that Republicans needed to worry about who could beat Obama, not who would be the best President speaking of Newt Gingrich.  Bull.  Gingrich keeps winning debates because he is the smartest man on that stage.  And he made a joke out of those bombastic, rude moderators.

Rick Santorum did well.  This doesn’t mean anything, he still can’t win.  But he did highlight his leadership on things like medical savings accounts and gave viewers no reason to mark him down.  He has struggled in debates, but performed well last night.  Ron Paul also did a good job.  He avoided saying anything outlandish and produced a solid, constitutionalist approach.  Bachmann did well, but was once again forgettable.  Huntsman also did pretty well, though his attempt at “answer this in 30 seconds?” humor sounded like a lame, screwed up retelling of a good joke.

Mitt Romney needs to understand his precarious position.  He is stuck at 30%.  The rest of the GOP voters are looking for not-Mitt-Romney as their candidate.  His smoothness, economic savvy, and gaffe free debate performances have gotten him this far (along with a great deal of establishment money).  He needs to figure out how to get himself the rest of the way.  He has to find a way to make Social Conservatives trust him. Mitt, if you are listening, make a major statement in favor of state personhood amendments.  Consider that step one to breaking into the 40s in the polls.

Herman Cain also has hit a roadblock, but it is a policy roadblock.  I think many viewers were left with the feeling that if nuclear missiles were airborne from China heading for the US, President Cain would be on the phone with the Chinese President telling him how his bold plan, the 9-9-9 plan, could solve their problems by growing China’s economy.  9-9-9 is to Herman Cain what Windex was to Tula’s family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  This one dimensionalism will leave him open to a Gingrich rise.  On the other hand, Cain did very well defending himself against accusations which are more and more looking like racist smears from the Axelrod/Democrat machine.

Rick, Rick, Rick.  By the way, if you want to see the sexism of the left, just watch how long Perry’s crash and burn stays in the media cycle and blogosphere compared to a Palin or Bachmann gaffe.  Talk about not being ready for primetime.  I think Perry likes to start talking and get rolling, and that’s why he sometimes forgets what he was talking about mid-sentence.  No excuses.  You are running for President of the United States.  Running before you secure the ball is how you lose games.  Running your mouth before you have your answer and grasp on the issues is what makes Presidents say stupid things.  E.g. Barack Obama talking about police officers who arrested his professor friend.

Time to thin the herd

All is not lost!  Yes, it was an ugly night for several GOP candidates.  Newt’s frustration with the format is certainly understandable.  It made for great television, but it was a bad debate.  However, there were some glimmers of hope, starting with the Vegas Champ…

Newt Gingrich.  I didn’t give Newt the win last time because I didn’t think his campaign would see a boost.  After this debate, I think it will.  Newt once again is the adult in the room.  He puts himself above the fray and really acts as a second moderator.  Voters should give Newt a second look.  Give Newt seven debates with Barack Obama and Obama might even drop out of the race before November.  I would love to see these debates as more candidates drop out and more time is given.  Newt has been so supportive of other candidates that his questions of other candidates carried a great deal of weight and were therefore more devastating.  Cain will not survive the 999 barrage, look for Newt to pick up steam.  Newt’s statement on faith put him squarely in the majority of conservative thought.  Newt’s biggest slip up was on appearing weak on states rights.  Another candidate who performed well, but likely won’t see much change because of it was…

Mitt Romney.  Romney was once again the big punching bag, and once again hit back.  He continued to defend his healthcare program as a state program and did pretty well.  But here Newt hit him hard on the big government aspect of it.    Romney kept his cool when being shouted down by Rick Santorum and talked over by Rick Perry.  Romney screwed up on Cain’s 999 plan trying to argue that Cain’s plan would add federal taxes to state taxes.  Excuse me, Mr. Romney, but you already pay bushels of apples and oranges.  Don’t feel bad, every candidate but Cain and Newt seemed to forget that 999 would eliminate our current tax code.  In the end, especially with no Huntsman, Romney’s got his support base solidified and did nothing to hurt that. Unfortunately, this is the last good report on a candidate performance in this review.  Although, it wasn’t terrible for everyone, especially…

Michele Bachmann.  Michele, Michele, Michele.  First, Obama took us to Libya, THEN, he took us into Africa!  Oops, Libya is in Africa.  But again, if Joe Biden can be VP, we shouldn’t be too hard on Bachmann for her frequent misspeaks.  Aside from that, she did well in another forgettable performance/turned stump speech.   As a tax litigation attorney though, I am disappointed in her evaluation of Cain’s 999 plan.  A VAT because every corporation in the manufacturing process pays 9%?  What does our current corporate tax do?  Same thing.  Shame on you Michele.  But most people won’t figure that out, so you’re good.  We will see if the media picks up on Bachmann’s idea of a $1 poor tax.  Bachmann won’t see any uptick from this debate.  Another candidate with no uptick or downtick…

Ron Paul. Paul is good on state’s rights.  The other candidates would do well to learn some things from him.  On the other hand, we heard a lot of the same platitudes and fuzzy one liners that leave us scratching our heads about if Paul actually has a viable plan.  Get rid of the income tax?  Oh, ok.  Is that like repealing Medicare part D?  Would be nice, but not a priority?  Paul came out with a new economic plan that cuts a trillion in spending.  Worth taking a look at, but didn’t get much play last night.  He will maintain his small support base, but with his vagueness and legend over substance approach this debate won’t give him a bump.  But at least he won’t lose support, like…

Herman Cain.  Cain gave the media some pretty good quotes last night.  Would he shut down Guantanamo to negotiate with terrorists?  Kinda sounded like it.  Apples and Oranges?  Cain, that is simply not Washington speak.  Cain looked amateurish.    He is an amateur though, so he may get a pass for the inability to articulate his 999 plan in a way that Americans can understand and latch on to.  Fortunately, his opponents weren’t much better.  In fact, only Newt seemed to have a clue how 999 works, but he wasn’t about to throw Cain a bone.  Cain right now is riding on populism, but poor debate performances can sink that ship (Bachmann, Perry).  In fact, I think it did sink two ships last night, starting with…

Rick Santorum.  Rick continues to be an advocate for the family.  He continues to present strong conservatism.  But his discussion with Romney early on just set a bad tone.  He reminded me of an angry teenager.  It was unprofessional and amateurish.  It’s been good to have Santorum in these debates for the most part, but after last night he needs to drop out and endorse a social conservative who can still beat Romney.  You’re not going to win, Rick Santorum.  At this point you are hurting more than helping.  But at least Santorum did better than…

Rick Perry.  Geez.  I don’t want to sound politically incorrect, but Perry seemed…slow.  Can we still use that term?  When Romney was answering and Perry was slowly drawling over him and droning on, I couldn’t help but laugh.  But it got worse as the night went on.  Perry, who gave instate tuition to illegals and opposes a full border fence, went after Romney for hiring a landscaping company that hired illegal aliens.  And that wasn’t the only 2008 unfair attack that Perry dug up.  Even when Perry made a good point (We need to uh, look at, uh the…darn, which amendment was it again?  Oh yeah, tenth amendment for uh…issues) it was lost in translation.  Perry was put in his place over and over.  It was a complete dud.  Even his distancing from Pastor Jeffers was not believable.  The best we got from Perry was a promise that next week he will have a tax plan. The good news is that even Rick Perry had a better week than…

Barack Obama.  Rumor has it, after a bunch of his tour supplies were stolen, that his teleprompter is currently being interrogated by Iranian sponsored Al Qaida terrorists in Mexico.  Although, there have also been alleged sightings of his teleprompter in Zuccoti park, smoking a joint and displaying a message about being overworked and underpaid.

The CNN Las Vegas Debate – A Bad night for Republican supporter’s

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich summed up Tuesday nights’ GOP debate best when he stated,” Maximizing bickering is probably not the best way to the White House.” The Former Speaker was right, there were better dust ups in last night’s GOP debate, then in any boxing match held in Las Vegas for months.

The sharpest exchanges were between, Texas Governor Rick Perry who accused former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney of lying about hiring illegal immigrants. Romney countered calling Perry effectively, an Al Gore Democrat in Texas when George Bush was running and accused him of creating one-third of all jobs in Texas for illegal immigrants. Romney did come under fire from a number of the candidates again throughout the evening, but still managed to come out looking the most presidential at the end of the debate, but perhaps, a little more rattled then in previous debates.

Herman Cain got attacked by Perry, Santorum and Bachmann over his 9-9-9 plan with all three calling it a value added tax and saying the people of New Hampshire won’t want to pay another 9 percent sales tax on their goods. Cain did well in defending it using the apples and oranges analogy. Cain did get tripped up by moderator Anderson Cooper over comments he made earlier in the evening regarding negotiating with terrorists and didn’t really manage to convince people on his position.

Texas Governor Perry put in a much more assertive performance on the night overall. I think it is fair to say that he will never be an outstanding debater, but he did rattle Governor Romney a number of times, especially when questioning his record on jobs as Massachusetts governor, and said it did not compare to his accomplishments in Texas. The two men, standing side by side in the middle of the set, frequently interrupted each other in what became an increasingly bitter exchange as the night went on, Romney even calling for the rules to be abided by at one point. Perry managed to put forward his achievements as Texas Governor much better then is previous debates.

I thought Ron Paul had a much better debate this time out, then previous debates. I may not agree with his view on every issue, but his is absolutely historically and factually correct about all big empire’s greatness coming to an end by their sheer size and financial cost of maintaining their empire. The 900 or so U.S. bases in over 150 countries are financially unsustainable and Rep.Paul is quite correct in his assertion. He played to his base and supporters well last night and his performance was energised compared to previous debates.

Rep. Bachmann tried her level best to make an impact in the debate however, her every effort now has the news impact equivalent of watching a BBC 24 News Channel show, it sounds the same every time and simply doesn’t change. It is full of sound bites and she’s used them all before too often. A geography note for future debates, Libya is in Africa! Rep. Bachmann is quick to attack other candidates on their plans and proposals but simply doesn’t sound convincing in selling her own or putting forward solutions for the nation’s current problems. People need to hear more then President Obama will be a one term president as a way of intending to run a country. Unfortunate, I do believe Rep. Bachmann has lots of potential but she simply hasn’t evolved as a candidate since her early burst.

I did Like Senator Santorum’s performance again last night, he gave the most substantive answer in defending Governor Romney and the attack on his religion and managed to explain his own valued stance and why the Latino population are important in American society because they understand the importance of family and want the American Dream. Santorum has performed well in all the debates and should be proud of his efforts to date.

Speaker Gingrich as ever delivered confident, assured and factual answers but again struggled to get air time among as he framed it, all the “Bickering.” I would love to see him engage President Obama in Douglas-Lincoln style debates, although I suspect, even in the unlikely eventuality of Gingrich winning the nomination, I very much doubt President Obama would want to engage Gingrich in debates as he simply wouldn’t stand a chance in them.

Overall, the debate highlighted some serious concerns with the Republican field. The mess that has ensued over the primary season following Florida’s decision to move its primary forward, has only served to create more problems then it solves. It doesn’t lend any advantage to the eventual Republican nominee, going up against President Obama next year in the election which above all, should be the priority.

If last nights’ debate is anything to go by, the Republican Party need to seriously look beyond personal loyalty and start looking at who can actually beat President Obama in 2012. The only true winner from last nights’ debate was President Obama.

If the Republican candidates keep tearing strips off each other like they did last night, they will have done all the undermining and character assassination of each other necessary, to convince the electorate to vote for President Obama over the eventual nominee regardless by the time they choose him or her.

Personally, I think the Republicans need to ask themselves what they want more. Do they pick a candidate in 2012, which represents their traditional conservative party values but will most likely lose to President Obama in 2012? Or do they go with a moderate like Romney or a Gingrich substantive conservative who can beat President Obama on substance in a general election? I know people may not like the fact I’ve said this, however, this in my view is the harsh reality.

The fact is you cannot make a difference to how the country is being run, if you are not in power. The Republican Party may have to concede on one or two areas of their traditional foundation in electing their eventual nominee this time around. The choice is simply this, would they prefer to take back the White House in 2012 and work with a Republican President, or put forward a candidate who cannot beat President Obama and stay in opposition for another four years?

Looking at last nights’ debate, time is running out for the Republican Party to adopt Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandant and move forward the discussion on issues in an informative and open manner, instead of attacking each other. If they continue attacking each other, they may as well hand the election to President Obama, a disappointing night from a Republican perspective.

Verdict: Victory to Team Obama

Welcome to the top, Herman Cain

The most recent debate is over, and Herman Cain is discovering what Rick Perry felt like when he was the front runner.  The way the debate went, there was clear recognition of Cain, Romney and Perry as front runners.  The other candidates almost seemed to be helping in the vetting process as though they were seeking to help Americans choose from one of those top three.   So here goes, the latest debate in retrospect.  And the winner is…

Romney back in the driver seat

Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney had some good news today.  He picked up an endorsement from Chris Christie, which is huge.  He also had some bad news.  Rush Limbaugh questioned Romney’s conservatism compared to other candidates and gave the death knell that took down Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.  Rush called him the Republican establishment candidate.  Still, Romney was his usual comfortable self.  His adopting the Trump doctrine on China will help build that portion of his base.  Cain did Romney a huge favor by asking him about his 59 point plan and giving him the chance to explain it and expound on it.  In fact, the questioning session turned into an opportunity for the other candidates to seem to vet the apparent front runner candidate.  Romney’s own question to Michele Bachmann was very gracious and showed the kind of class that simply makes Romney likeable.  Romney’s answer on Dodd Frank was pure gold.  He was polished and Presidential.  Romney still has to get a little bit stronger on his conservative stances and lose a bit of that obvious shine in order to pick up more of the anti-politician minded rightwing, especially the TEA party.  But for this debate, Romney managed to edge out…

Newt Gingrich.  Newt Gingrich is the best debater.  As the best debater, Newt spewed pure common sense.  His best was when he bluntly spoke about how absolutely stupid the debt commission is.  His answers put him above the fray and he maintained his mantra that any candidate on that stage would be better than Obama.  However, Newt did not get enough face time.  He took no arrows, shot no arrows at the other candidates, but simply did not have enough chances to speak to make a difference.  Newt has won several of these debates, but winning these debates is not enough for him at this point.  He must so completely knock each debate out of the park that everytime a front runner falls he is there to pick up the pieces.  In this case, he did not even mention his campaign’s new contract with America.  It was a lost opportunity.   So far he has not accomplished what he needs to do in these debates.  I can’t give him first, no matter how well deserved.  But as a representative of the Social Conservative flavor of this party, he did outperform…

Cain has his work cut out for him

Herman Cain.  Cain’s 9 9 9 plan finally got the inspection it deserved.  A striking moment was when Rick Santorum polled the audience on who wanted a new 9% sales tax, and who thought a 9% flat income tax would stay at 9%.  Not a single hand in the audience was visible.  Santorum hit the nail on the head.  The result is Cain will be in trouble after this debate.  He must now find a way to explain his plan in a way that resonates with Americans.  He made a good start when he talked about how the 9% sales tax would replace a 15% payroll tax, which of course we all pay.  If he can hit that point and solve the question of how to prevent future Presidents from turning his 9 9 9 plan into a 35 35 35 plan, he can salvage his front runner (by my calculations) status.  Cain took a huge hit on the federal reserve when Paul questioned him too.  Later when he spoke about fixing the Fed, Paul made easy work out of Cain.  Still, his likeability level and pure down home realness will keep him afloat for at least one more round.  At this point, if Cain falters I predict voters will finally give Newt Gingrich a second look.  Another candidate they might be looking at is…

Rick Santorum.  Rick Santorum did very well.  He made a key point when he said he did not support the bailout.  He called out Cain’s 9 9 9 plan and struck a very strong blow on it.  He exposed Cain’s naivete beautifully.  But that was the extent of Santorum’s stunning performance.  Like Gingrich, he simply did not get enough other face time to make a huge difference.  No one is afraid of him becoming the front runner any time soon, so there wasn’t much interest in him among the debate moderators.  While Santorum did not make a strong case for himself as President, he certainly gave voters a lot to think about with the latest rising star in Herman Cain.  That may be his purpose at this point.  There is very little chance of his campaign being successful.  Almost as little chance as…

Jon Huntsman.  Jon Huntsman did not do bad for the most part.  His answer on China will not connect with Americans and for a good reason.  Being nice to China does not sell when as Romney pointed out we are already losing to them because they are cheating.  Two debates ago I said Huntsman’s campaign is over.  Nothing changed with the debate tonight.  Feeling our pain because he helped run the family business and was a good governor is so cliche at this point, it’s really forgettable.  But not as forgettable as…

Michele Bachmann.  Michele Bachmann did well.  She spoke on Obama’s failures and conservatism.  But mostly she was forgettable.  At one point, it sounded like she said she raised 28 children, 22 foster and 5 biological.  I could understand, with that many kids, how easy it would be to get the math wrong.  But it’s not good when that’s what sticks out in my mind.  No highlights, no major gaffes, and in fact her role in Congress became even more forgettable when Gingrich asked why the House has not made any move to repeal Dodd Frank or Sarbanes Oxley.  I was left wondering where her actual leadership has manifested itself.  The exchange with Romney was her one saving grace, proving that at least she is not one dimensional unlike…

Popularity off the debate stage won't save these candidates from earning low marks in this debate.

Ron Paul.  Ron Paul did ok.  He made it pretty clear he isn’t a fan of the fed.  But on the fed, especially Bernanke, Newt stole his thunder.  What else did Paul speak about?  Again, another forgettable candidate.  Paul fans, don’t hate me for saying that.  Step outside of the movement for a minute and ask yourself if he truly made a splash.  Did we hear anything new about Ron Paul that would make us want to make him in charge of everything the President of the United States is responsible for?  No, but I’d be happy to see him head up the Fed audit once we get a President who has that as a priority (which apparently is not Herman Cain).  But even Ron Paul did better than…

Rick Perry.  Rick Perry came across as a something between a walking cliche and a deer in the headlights.  He simply does not debate well.  He again was slow in his responses and his wording did not connect.  He came across as very unprepared once again.  His good answers were copies of other candidates, and his bad answers seemed to drag on with his drawl.  I’ve said before that I would love to see Newt Gingrich debate Obama.  I would not love to see Perry debate Obama.  I’m not sure I would be able to watch.  Can Perry turn things around?  Possibly.  I’m not ready to give him the Dead Candidate Walking title along with Huntsman just yet.

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