Tonight’s debate on CNBC required me to reprogram my satellite TV receiver to pick up the station which I never watch – for good reason judging by the pissy moderators and the annoying tickertape that constantly rolled across the screen (except during commercials). Which begs the question: does anyone actually read those things? If I want to know how a stock is doing I either track it in a trading program that updates up-to-the-minute or I click on a stock symbol. Watching that tape scroll across the bottom filled with tweets – another technology I have issues with – was incredibly distracting.
Anyhow the debate will go down in history for the Rick Perry gaffe where he forgets the third federal department he’d cut. It’s a brutal moment; Perry reminded me of a wildebeest caught in the jaws of a Nile crocodile, mooing and wildly flapping its legs. Probably taking pity on him, a commentator threw him a bone later and asked him the same question again, giving him the opportunity to recall the third agency he’d cut: the Department of Energy.
I can relate to Rick Perry; I often come across as awkward and uncomfortable in public. Perry’s demeanor is not even. He swings from making jokes to dead seriousness too quickly, making really jerking motions with his head and overall body language the whole time. He just looks very uncomfortable in his own skin, and that just won’t do for a modern politician. As for his ideas, I think the GOP faithful was expecting more from him – obviously given his collapse in the polls. I think it may be time for him to cut his losses, head back to Texas. In four years (or eight) he might have the role down for a run.
Bachmann, Santorum and Huntsman also need to go. They are in single digits and aren’t moving in the polls. They are done. They have given it their best shots, but it’s time for the Republicans to look at the top tier.
I like Herman Cain and believe he’s been smeared unfairly, but I also think his response has shown poor judgement on his part. I’m also concerned about his lack of deep understanding of the issues. His debate answers are always a bit too high-level, and the 9-9-9 has become a bit of a joke. The wife watched a little and asked me if I thought he’d recover from this scandal. I said that it was doubtful, but I have been wrong about Cain before. I expected him to quit in early September just before his meteoric rise in the polls.
There were no foreign policy questions tonight so Ron Paul came off as saner than usual. I noticed one tweet that called Paul a genius but then lamented that his foreign policy ideas were horrible. I’d have to agree.
I could sit and listen to Newt Gingrich for hours. He’s witty and extremely intelligent with a solid command of history. I just don’t know if that’s enough to beat President Obama.
Then there’s Romney. He’s so careful in his answers: no ditching of the tax code or dismantling of federal agencies. He’s definitely the least “radical” conservative of the current bunch. And he’s also the most relaxed on stage almost to the point that he appears to be enjoying himself.
What does this mean? Probably not much. The early primaries next year will do what these debates have not: winnowed the field. Until then consider the debates the GOP body electorate navel gazing.