Thoughts on the Debate

I did not watch the Republican presidential debate last night. It had no relevance to the eventual outcome this far from the primaries.

All the candidates weren’t there. No Rick Perry, no Sarah Palin, no Chris Christie. All of them are important players. How can you win a game when the most important team members are absent?

Also, we’ve seen Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul debate so many times before. Who wants to watch a rerun? I can’t imagine anyone’s mind was changed by the responses last night.

Ditto for the Ames straw poll that will be taken tomorrow. It’s just way too early to take any of this seriously. How can you decide on something when all the choices are not included? All this seems to give the media something to do, something to hype, something to occupy them.

Many are criticizing the questions put forth by Chris Wallace, Brett Baier and, in particular, Byron York. Debate watchers didn’t like him asking Michele Bachmann whether she was submissive to her husband. They didn’t like the questions put to Newt about his campaign staff shake up either. Why? Let them take a baptism of fire now, rather than at the end of the campaign. They had all better harden themselves, hone their messages and come up with good answers. The mainstream media will be much more brutal than the Fox panel. Best man up, or woman up now.

Yesterday’s incident at the state fair where union people verbally accosted Mitt Romney got wide praise for his handling of it. Seems to me that it laid a groundwork for Romney before the debate. Watchers might be more engaged with him because of it, boosting his standing before he even took the podium.

Call me cynical, but it did strike me as all too fortunate. Immediately, pundits began comparing the incident to one in which Ronald Reagan grabbed the microphone when he wasn’t getting time to talk. So many pundits brought it up so quickly that it arouses my suspicions. Every candidate wants to glom onto Reagan. They all want to seem like the heir to his throne. Mitt so desperately wants to win and has so much cash to work with that I can see him (or an advisor) setting this up. It just didn’t ring true to me.

I also think it was very astute of Rick Perry to postpone his candidacy announcement until after this debate. He and his campaign could watch the candidates, see how they respond and study their strengths and weaknesses. You always want your opponent to show his vulnerabilities.

Perry also takes some air out of tomorrow’s straw poll by announcing his candidacy then. He is choosing to do it in South Carolina, also. That’s kind of a “hey guys put the spotlight on me” taking some of the focus away from Iowa. Coincidentally, the blog Redstate.com is holding their conference in South Carolina. The bloggers there are extremely conservative and wield a lot of power. Best to get them on your side from the beginning.

I concur with Jonah Goldberg who said, “Rick Perry won the debate and he wasn’t even on stage.”

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