Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Republican cage match in Vegas

Last night's debate was way more fun to watch than I anticipated.

And when I say "fun", I mean fun in a sort of horrified fascination at how extreme most of the candidates were. But I love to watch Republicans attacking Republicans, especially thinking of how the hallowed Saint Ronnie is spinning in his grave.

Herbert Cain ("Herbert"? Maybe I mean "Herman"?...I don't really know or care) was exposed as the naive dolt we all pretty suspected him of being when he blathered stupidly about how emptying Gitmo in exchange for a single US hostage was a really swell idea.

Now, I'm not against closing Gitmo and giving the suspected terrorists a fair trial under US law, but for Cain to say something like that in front of a Republican crowd and, worse yet, the other candidates, is simply not very smart. Plus, his "9-9-9" tax plan is obviously ill-conceived when he has such a tenuous grasp on the concept that he flings crippled metaphors about trying to explain it to his fellow Republicans. Who else besides me wasn't sick of hearing about "apples" and "oranges" by the end of the night?

Michelle Bachmann was seen stalking around the edges of the debate, her crazy eyes lit up like a nighttime flash photo of a wild panther in National Geographic. I suspect when she's at home she scrawls obsessively on the walls like John Nash from "A Beautiful Mind", only less coherently. But as far as substance goes, there just isn't much there.

Some other guys were there too, but besides me catching a fleeting glimpse of Newt Gingrich's weirdly bloated face, the main story was Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. Perry was in full attack mode last night. He (and the other candidates) hammered on Romney about his revolutionary healthcare plan, and his "hiring" of illegal immigrants to cut his lawn.

Romney pretty much dealt with the attacks and constant interruptions deftly, turning the charges of hiring undocumented workers back onto Perry with this uncharacteristically redundant counter-attack:
"Texas has had 60% increase in illegal immigrants in Texas," Romney charged. "If there's someone who has a record as governor with regards to illegal immigration that doesn't stand up to muster, it's you, not me."

Romney also countered the healthcare charges by explaining that the Massachusetts healthcare plan was right for his state but not necessarily for the rest of the nation.

Truth be told, out of all the Republican contenders, I think Mitt Romney will be the most difficult to beat should he win the nomination. I've long said that he is the most moderate challenger in the race, and while he'll have trouble with the GOP base in the primaries, in the general election he'll quite possibly receive a significant percentage of the unaffiliated vote.

However, this is just one more debate in a seemingly endless series of debates. I believe the next big GOP debate is scheduled for November 9th, and the topic will be foreign policy. This will be a golden opportunity for the extremist candidates to take their "crazy" out for a walk in public. If Romney manages to sound halfway smart in that one, it will likely cement his position as front runner going into the (early) January primaries.

Which, by the way, are already breaking down into another rush to "front load" the schedule, as several states have already done. I still don't know why they haven't worked out some sort of plan that gives the primary schedule some breathing room and allows voters in more states the time to actually see and hear the candidates in person.

But I've never accused the Republicans of being too smart.

And, judging from the talking heads this morning, the big winner of last night's debate was President Obama.


Jonathan Kantrowitz said...

Excellent post. I've ignored Herman Cain on my blog, since I think he's a clown beneath contempt, and his moment in the sun, like Michelle Bachmann's before him, shows just how unthinking the Republican electorate is.

My hope is that Romney's nomination will so dissatisfy the right wing that a third party candidate will emerge to seal a Democratic victory in 2012.

CT Bob said...

Thanks, Jon. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about Romney. If he gets the nod, the radical teabag side of the GOP (i.e. roughly 30-40% of them) may choose to back a more extreme, hostile, "give 'em raw meat" type of candidate.

And next year, if a 3rd-party guy steps in, you can be sure he'll take way more votes from the GOP candidate than the President. That will spell "Term Number Two" for Obama.

(keeping my fingers crossed!)

JTHM said...

Heh, no matter who the finalist is going to garner all the votes regardless. A third party spoiler will never happen. Everyone knows that another Obama admin will be the destruction of this once great country. Clearly we are a nation in decline with this President Downgrade at the wheel, and short of major scandle nothing will stop the opposition candidate from cleaning house. Have you seen the swing state polling data? OMG! It's unreal, ok not really when you decide to crush states like W. Virgina and Penn through EPA fiat it has a domino effect, nobody likes to see their fellow man destroyed because of a sick and twisted ideologue.
I was never a fan of One Party Rule regardless of Party, I liked checks and balances, buuuuttt... It'll take a complete Republican take over to undo the damage inflicted on us by Barack, Nancy and Harry.
Speaking of which, Bob can you honestly say Harry Reid is on target with his message that the "private sector is doing just fine, it's the Public sector that's hurting more"? I mean, with leadership like that who needs political foes?
Plugs Biden? more Rapes and Murder? Uhmm yeh, not so much according to the FBI, what a tool. Does he and Barack really think that we're all that dumb not to realize this is "Jobs Plan" is nothing more that "Union Job Plan Ver,2.0" and it was never meant to pass, it was a simple Campaign Move, it didn't pass a Senate owned by the Democrats, it never needed Republicans to kill it, it's Political theater played out horribly bad.
God I can't wait till 2012.

oldswede said...

Sounds like JTHM is hitting the champagne way too early and much too hard.

CT Bob said...

JTHM, I'm not a big fan of Harry Reid. I think we would have gotten a lot more done with just about anyone else as the Majority Leader. He leaves too many tools in the toolbox. He's a weak leader.

So who's your man or woman for the GOP nod? And why? I'm honestly curious.

Oh, and Lieberman voted Nay on the most recent jobs bill. He didn't have to. He sucks. I know you like him JTHM, but shit does he annoy me!

JTHM said...

Of course Joe bothers you, he votes 98% Dem yet he votes Fiscal, I understand that, most Dems now have a all or nothing vow.

You have me cornered on the GOP nod Bob, man it's tough to pick in a pretty bad field save for a few.

I along with most thought Perry was da'man...until, well the debates started in with more frequency..ohh boy were we wrong.

My pick, Cain. If he can at least realize he's the front runner and stop with his grade B level faux pas he can step to the top.

OK, laugh ( ohhhh I know you are Bob) but Herman has done so much, he is really an accomplished business star that most only dream about. Is that enough? I don;t know, but every smart business guy/woman I know surrounds themselves with with the smartest people around to get the job done. BO..ehhh, not so smart in the pickings he made.

General mood and establishment pick, Romney aka McCain ver,2.0.

Winner, anyone but BO. Senate goes GOP. Swing to the center happens after election of 2012 and things begin to normalize.

Times of moderation and apathy begin take place in 6yrs or so.

Of course I could be wrong and a much more organized Leftist movement could take hold try for major reforms of our Governemnt. In which case, I'm already loaded for Bear...let the games begin.

lakezoarian said...

I think these might be "on-topic" as a comment to your story. Enjoy, Bob.

And more seriously, here's a way we democrats can actually try to improve things this cycle. I'm really considering taking the (temporary 1 year) plunge:

Do check it out.

CT Bob said...

JTHM, well it looks like Cain got beaten up pretty soundly yesterday in Iowa. He tends to speak before he thinks, and I seriously doubt he has any smart people surrounding him. Every new guy who bursts onto the scene without a political history looks good at first, but then they open their mouth and the ratings drop. Happens every time.

I wonder why Romney skipped the meeting with the faith-based group? Possibly because of his moderate views on abortion choice.

This is one reason the Republicans have such a tough time of it: the issue of choice. Polls consistently show Americans are pro-choice, but the Republicans doggedly maintain their medieval views of women's rights, and in the end that costs them on election day.

What the GOP needs to champion is a fiscally-conservative/socially-moderate candidate, and then they'll have a chance. My guess is Romney is as close to that as they'll get, but I see him having a tough time getting the party's nod without a bloody-knuckled knock-down primary fight.

(I'll have the popcorn ready for the games to begin in January!)