Newt is still awesome! He was almost ignored by the annoying moderator (was he anderson cooper’s boyfriend?) who should have been shot for saying “all right, all right” after the candidate had said more than 2 words, but every time he spoke, he was incredibly calm, intellectually deep and accurate and full of the confidence of principle.
When Romney had made a quite presidential and seemingly flawless response, where he tried to make Herman Cain look bad for saying he would not hire a Muslim in his administration, Newt came in with an uppercut, with bold non PC-ness and one upped him where it seemed impossible. Again, substance over symbolism and political posturing; he told of a terrorist suspect in court, who when asked by the Judge why he broke the US rules when he himself had signed that he would abide by them when obtaining his entry visa, said “you are my enemy, I lied”. This type of geopolitical realism is so sorely missed with this fumbling administration who constantly betrays friends, and rewards enemies (by virtue of fear).
Ron Paul, as usual, was pretty awesome, he really is a champion of freedom, he lives in another world.. a world where the constitution is actually followed, and an individual is really free, free from entitlement from the government, and more importantly free from indebtedness and slavery to it. It is so far removed from today’s reality, that the questions asked of him don’t really apply…
(for theoretical example, “how would you save social security which is going bankrupt” and he would go, “save it? I want it abolished!”) One of his best lines was how there should not be any group rights like “gay rights” etc.. as the govt should not assign people into groups or estates as was the case during feudal times. There should only be individual rights, same to all. (Funny enough, that ties in to what I say about the marriage license debate, a gay man does have the same right as any other man, he has the right to marry a woman just like everyone else). Speaking about the gay marriage debate, he also happened to have made the correct libertarian point that so many libertarians miss as I have pointed out before. (In short, this is that many libertarians support gay marriage thinking govt should not regulate who does and who does not marry, forgetting they are speaking about a govt license, and the true libertarian position is not that gay couples should also get a govt license, but rather that no one should. A private group, church, temple, etc etc can marry anyone they want according to their beliefs, which already is the case, and that a formal govt license sanctioning gay marriage (or any marriage) is govt overstepping its bounds).
Unfortunately, he (Ron Paul) is so far committed to this anti-governmentness and individual freedom that he opposes the one thing the government should do, namely to have an army to protect those very freedoms he wishes to have from enemies who would otherwise enslave and kill us, and that’s where he loses me and many other conservatives. His pure republican isolationism would abandon the West and the world to the wolves, be it nazis, communists, muslims extremists, or whatever enemy tomorrow brings us.
Romney it seems would make a decent President, and he certainly is presidential, pretty intelligent, and a strong executive. But he is still rather political and sly, less genuine, less principled, and certainly much more moderate than one would like. So, I don’t think any big change can be expected with Romney. He is very similar to a George W domestically, without George’s radically hawkish coolness in international affairs.
Rick Santorum is pretty annoying, and seems like some combination of Pailin and Huckabbe. He is apparently deeply religious and socially conservative, without much understanding of the world, economics, war or history. These types of people are fine citizens of America, but hardly fine presidents. He also seems wound up tight, intense in an introverted way, not charismatic, not intellectual, and not the stuff of leadership.
Michele Bachman is another non president. Her principles were ok, some of her answers even bordered on good and she got a good response from the crowd several times, but she again lacks the 3 dimensional depth required to lead the free world, and looks like she is on a mission of building an impossibly impeccable resume “I raised 45 kids, I wrote this bill, and that one, I was a corporate lawyer, a businessman and businesswoman, served in every position in government, am a full time housewife, a multi-billion dollar entrepreneur, co-wrote the constitution, speak to gd often, and just need this president thing to top off my list.” No Margarete Thatcher here, perhaps a Pailin+ at best.
Pawlenty is a slightly better version of Rick Santorum. He is gutsy at times, but again pales in comparison to the ideological rigor of a Newt Gingerich (or even ron paul). Pawlenty and Santorum, being the young tea party newcomers were given by far the most time, and still failed to really impress. Santorum annoyed, and Pawlenty was decent. Certainly didn’t help that Pawlenty was in a union, and was so proud of it.
Herman Cain, pretty impressive. He actually looks like he can be a very good executive, and hence probably his success in business. His instinct are good, as his political knowledge and history are quite limited, but he gets most answers right. He also is genuine and does not try to pretend what he doesn’t know (like when he admitted earlier that he did not know what the palestinian “right of return” demand was). He seems firmly conservative, recognizes the Muslim threat on the West, and unlike his fellow black, Obama, he does not believe US blacks are an oppressed minority in need of govt guidance and support, but equal citizens in what should be the freest and greatest country on earth. However, the lack of political and historical knowledge, of a certain academic ability required in government, and lack of eloquence makes him short of Presidential Material. It would be great to see him in some capacity in 2012 administration.
But all in all, great to see the civility and strength of the field, much better than what the media kept calling a “week field”. The modern debates have all too often become an endless session of a “citizen” who is a member of some subgroup of society saying “I am a single mom with 4 legs, cancer and 45 half orangutan children, what will you do for me?” and the candidate, be it republican or democrat has to say “Oh.. why yes, there are 4.5 million Americans today (showing that they memorized a lot of facts for the debate) who are single 4 legged moms with cancer and 45 orangutan children, and under MY plan, you would get x thousand dollars each. Under my opponent’s plan, only y dollars.” And on and on it goes, as if voting is about dividing the pie between all the sub groups of society that govt should do something to help. And you never hear the candidate who says, “what will I do for you? Nothing… except keep you free, so you can do and EARN whatever it is you want to do and earn or not do and earn, and once you do earn it, I won’t take it away to give it to the subgroup the next audience member with a question belongs to”. it was a democrat who said it famously, “ask not what your country can do for you…” Today’s debates are all the opposite, what can the govt do for me.. what bribe comes my way if I vote for you. And elections are about demographics and statistics,a balancing game to promise enough bribes to each group to secure the election.
This debate was a nice breadth of fresh air compared to all that. Over and over, smaller less intrusive govt was promised, as opposed to everyone’s hopes and dreams on a silver platter. Sure its, the Republican primary, so each person is trying to outflank the other on the right, to secure the nomination, and they will likely unfortunately behave differently in the real debate, but either way, the field looks good, and Obama would have a terrible time trying to debate any of these people, none are Mccain. Especially without a teleprompter.
The gap between campaign promise and reality has never been as great as it is with the current administration…a decent, responsible and steady administration was not what was promised… the messiah had come, and he would turn back the waters, bring in peace, new age technologies, a new Utopian world order, economic prosperity, the end of social ills etc etc, and so far all he has been able to do is maintain a terrible recession and unemployment for record time, reverse his military positions (close Guantanamo, bring troops home), explode the debt and deficit, cheapen not only the US dollar, but the US name as he betrays allies and fears enemies with a fickle and illogical (or non existent) foreign policy, pass an unconstitutional health care law (ironic for an attorney president), sue states who want to help uphold federal law, oh and yes most importantly give an ipod to the Queen of England.
This being the case for the time to come, and seeing the ideological strength of the Republican field, Obama is certainly in trouble, which means the US and the West see a glimmer of hope for 2012.
Ok for the ranking:
Of course, the medial will try to precisely reverse this order… will try to say Newt is a bored disconnected college professor, that romney is a cautious or unsure front runner, and they will try to declare the winners the underdogs they do not see as being able to win the general election… maybe pawlenty, herman cain or Bachman. Some on the left though, will not be able to resist trying to attack Bachman since the only thing they hate more than a conservative man, is a conservative woman.
The real danger in primaries is when weaker candidates do not drop out early enough, and this splits the vote in ways that makes the winner pretty arbitrary. For example, mccain won because huckabbe and romney split the conservative vote, leaving the left leaning mccain the nomination when most republicans would never have voted for him. This is the Ross Perot effect (who secured Bill Clinton the victory in 92 by taking votes away from Bush, while having no realistic chance to win himself). So, its too early to predict the scenarios that may arise here, as results come in in the early sates, and candidates either drop out or add themselves to the list, but therein lies an important danger.