Thoughts on (maybe) (possibly) (perhaps) the last GOP debate

I haven’t written recaps of each GOP presidential debate this cycle, but I do have a few thoughts about last night’s, which may have been the last one with these four candidates.

Rick Santorum had a tough night. He appeared aware that he would be attacked, but his answers didn’t always impress. While he deemed his support of the No Child Left Behind law as a mistake he made under pressure from his party because “politics is a team sport” — a sentiment seemingly at odds with his earlier one-word description for himself, “courage” — he gave a lengthy defense of congressional earmarks. There is a case to be made for earmarks: It holds that they allow Congress to preserve more power of the purse rather than yielding more decisions to the executive branch. Even Ron Paul makes this defense. But defending earmarks is a bad spot for anyone in the tea party era, and it’s especially bad for Santroum because it also serves as a reminder that he was in Congress at a time when Republicans were falling off the small-government wagon. That said, I don’t think it was so bad as to have a large effect on his chances in the Arizona or Michigan primaries next week.

Mitt Romney fared better, and it helped his appearance to the TV audience that so many people in the live audience were his supporters. But Santorum landed a good blow on him by observing that even Michael Dukakis had balanced the Massachusetts budget because the state’s constitution requires it. And his attack on Santorum for endorsing Arlen Specter over conservative stalwart Pat Toomey in a 2004 U.S. senate race (as did most of the rest of the GOP establishment at the time) had the unfortunate effect of ensuring Specter’s name was being invoked when Barack Obama’s name could have been. That’s a loss for Republicans.

What about Newt Gingrich? He was back on his game, coming off as knowledgeable, focused and ready to defend conservatism. And he did so without attacking the moderator or, for the most part, the media. But at this point, do debate performances continue to move the needle for Gingrich? Like his divorces and some of his missteps as Speaker, good performances in debates are baked into the cake for him. At this point, that cake is valued at third place by the GOP primary electorate. He wasn’t good enough Wednesday night to surpass expectations, so I have a hard time seeing how the debate spurs him very far upward.

Ron Paul was Ron Paul, maybe a little more appealingly so than at other times. But while his foreign policy stance might help push the party away from military adventurism, it’s not going to be adopted wholesale by Republicans anytime soon. And that pretty much counts him put as a potential nominee.

How did y’all see things? Those of you who watched, that is…

– By Kyle Wingfield

481 comments Add your comment

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
10:54 am

“How did y’all see things? Those of you who watched, that is…”

I’m getting tired of them beating up on each other. The enemy is Obozo.

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
10:54 am

Hillbilly D

February 23rd, 2012
11:07 am

There is a case to be made for earmarks:

That’s true but the fact that they most often try to hide them, says a lot about earmarks, as well.

Circular Firing Squad

February 23rd, 2012
11:19 am

I was impressed with Mullah Santorum’s quest to return the United States to the 13th century, while it is always entertaining to hear what dishonest pandering will come out of Mitt’s mouth next. He proclaimed President Obama was against crippling sanctions against Iran, yet has implemented the strongest sanctions in history against the country….he also suggests the President is anti-religion, particularly with the issue of contraceptives in the healthcare bill, which he also included in his Mass. plan.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2005-12-09/news/0512090161_1_mitt-romney-abandoned-plans-private-hospitals-public-health-commissioner

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
11:24 am

“he also suggests the President is anti-religion, particularly with the issue of contraceptives in the healthcare bill, which he also included in his Mass. plan.”

Which, if you look at Mass. state law, Romney did not.

Try reading the SECOND paragraph in your link.

The willingness to ignore facts in this election cycle is simply stunning.

Hillbilly D

February 23rd, 2012
11:28 am

I’m curious as to how you could return the United States to the 13th century, when it was still a few centuries away, at that time.

Jefferson

February 23rd, 2012
11:28 am

Didn’t watch it, tell me who to vote for.

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
11:33 am

Circular Firing Squad

Then again, you’re an Obamabot so it matters not who the GOP nominee is.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
11:36 am

Kyle, it was interesting to see Santorum simply eviscerated by Romney and Paul on his NCLB vote. The pundits later in the evening all pointed the dichotomy between Santorum’s description of himself – courage – following his rather tepid explanation of “taking one for the team” “it was against his principles” on that vote.

I thought all sides got in good punches on earmarks, which shows they all support them in one way or another, just to different degrees.

I also thought Santorum’s attack on Romney’s support of TARP was misguided, and Romney’s response was great (not wanting ALL banks to fail and pointing out Santorum’s support for steel industry bailouts).

I was surprised at how laid-back Newt was last night. He made some good points, but for a guy who arguably needs a knockout punch or two, he seemed more willing to counter-punch rather than take the fight directly to the front runners.

It does seem as if Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are in cahoots in some fashion. Don’t know the hows or the whys about it, but they are two of the more unlikeliest candidates to join forces against another in that field.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
11:37 am

Hillbilly D @ 11:28 :lol:

Nice point!

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
11:39 am

Oh, and Circular?

“Strongest sanctions in history” does not necessarily equal “crippling sanctions”.

Just sayin’!

Circular Firing Squad

February 23rd, 2012
11:51 am

I am not sure what facts I ignored…..so re-reading the second paragraph, Romney was for a birth control waiver to Catholic hospitals before he took it out and required them to comply?

As for the 13th century reference, I should have made it more clear so even a hillbilly could understand. That was the period right before the renaissance swept Europe and brought the age of reason and enlightenment. My modern day points of reference to Santorum 13th century mindset are his disdain for birth control, women working outside the house, equal rights for gay Americans, and for proposing the teaching of “Intelligent Design” in science classes.

Inside Out

February 23rd, 2012
11:52 am

Funny… as wacko as Ron Paul can come across sometimes, when he had a chance to make a point, he came across as far more “real” and everybit as prepared to be POTUS as the other three …….

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
12:02 pm

“so re-reading the second paragraph, Romney was for a birth control waiver to Catholic hospitals before he took it out and required them to comply? ”

No, Circular, MA state law already barred the state from forcing religious institutions (as in private hospitals) to dispense contraceptives, so dropping his exemption wasn’t needed, therefore, he dropped it as being redundant.

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
12:16 pm

“That was the period right before the renaissance swept Europe and brought the age of reason and enlightenment.”

And the Bubonic Plague?

BTW, what happened to glorious Europe?

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
12:17 pm

“Mullah Santorum’s

I’m confused about that comparison. When did Santorum fly planes into the WTC and when did Santorum cut off the heads of anyone who doesn’t believe what he believes?

Circular Firing Squad

February 23rd, 2012
12:29 pm

Tiberius – we may be talking about two different issues, I am referring to the Massachusetts health care law, passed while Romney was Governor, that requires that companies, including religious hospitals, to provide coverage for birth control. This is the same issue on which Romney is currently attacking the President.

What you are correct on is that Mass. does not require all hospitals to supply the morning after pill, even after rape, but if they deny such care, they have to provide transportation for the patient to another location that will provide such treatment.

What it boils down to is that saying things like the President is the most anti-religious in our nation’s history has no basis in fact and is only meant to rile up mouth breathers with red meat. This is particularly outrageous given the fact that Romney’s polygamous Grandfather was forced to move to Mexico because of religious intolerance.

Linda

February 23rd, 2012
12:30 pm

Circular@11:51, Equal rights for gay Americans? Don’t gay Americans already have the same equal rights as everyone else in this country?

ragnar danneskjold

February 23rd, 2012
12:32 pm

As is my custom, did not watch the exchange of sound bites – think the debate short-answer format interferes with my ability to learn what the candidates believe. I’ll enjoy the comments of others.

jm

February 23rd, 2012
12:35 pm

I thought Mitt won.

I thought Santorum did an ok job fighting back but he went down some rabbit holes.

I hardly remember anything Newt said or did which is probably not good for him.

I liked Ron Paul, there’s a lot to be said for the guy. But he won’t win and won’t be the VP on the ticket.

Inside Out

February 23rd, 2012
12:39 pm

“Don’t gay Americans already have the same equal rights as everyone else in this country?”

In a word…..NO!!!!

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
12:45 pm

“I am referring to the Massachusetts health care law, passed while Romney was Governor, that requires that companies, including religious hospitals, to provide coverage for birth control.”

Which was actually created by the Mass legislature, and was rendered inoperative due to existing MA law, Circular, so the point you are tortuously trying to make is moot, and that Romney’s contention about the current Disaster-in-Chief is correct.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
12:46 pm

“Don’t gay Americans already have the same equal rights as everyone else in this country?”

Please. Linda, do we REALLY have to go down that path again?

The Hypocritical Christian Right Need To Nominate The Right Christian

February 23rd, 2012
12:49 pm

@Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
10:54 am
“How did y’all see things? Those of you who watched, that is…”

I’m getting tired of them beating up on each other. The enemy is Obozo.

*************************************************************************************

“The enemy is Obozo.”

Comments like that is going re-elect Obama.

Why enemy? Because he is black?

Why not Opponent? Because he is black?

I bet you $10,000 OBAMA WILL BE RE-ELECTED. :)

The Hypocritical Christian Right Need To Nominate The Right Christian

February 23rd, 2012
12:50 pm

The whole world is LAUGHING AT THE ANGRY WHITE MEN!

Linda

February 23rd, 2012
12:54 pm

Tiberius@12:46, Ask Circular. He brought it up.

Linda

February 23rd, 2012
12:57 pm

Where did CNN get that short narrow table? From a first grade classroom? Made those big men appear to be crammed in a Volt, elbow to elbow. Part of their strategy?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
12:58 pm

“Why enemy? Because he is black?”

Ah. The race card.

No, Hypocrite, it’s because the current Disaster-in-Chief’s polices are likely going to destroy what made this country great, and anything that has the potential of destroying that which is the essence of America is, in fact, worthy of being called an enemy.

jm

February 23rd, 2012
1:00 pm

People should read this before they vote. We are deep fiscal doo doo. I think Mitt has the best chance of saving the Titanic, but right now, the US looks like the Titanic about to go down.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/291628/we-re-already-europe-michael-tanner

Mitt 2012, to save America.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
1:00 pm

No, Linda, you posted the absurd question, “Don’t gay Americans already have the same equal rights as everyone else in this country?”

Are you REALLY going to need to be schooled again on equal rights?

Don't Tread

February 23rd, 2012
1:01 pm

Why enemy? Because he is black?

Obama, October 25, 2010: “And if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, we’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”

He refers to people (Americans) that don’t agree with him as “our enemies”. That’s “why enemy” [sic].

Linda

February 23rd, 2012
1:19 pm

jm@1:00, We still have the Post Office & Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac & dozens of others holding out big double hands for more bailouts. As Europe tanks, do does Wall Street, again. Too Big To Fails continue to fail.

There’s still a bunch more countries we have to bail out. We’re already giving foreign aid to every country in the world except for 3. We need to up our ante to the IMF to keep bailing out Europe so that we can continue Obama’s dream to turn ourselves into these European-style governments.

Linda

February 23rd, 2012
1:21 pm

Tiberius@1:00, I already earned my degree. Thanks, anyway.

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
1:24 pm

“The whole world is LAUGHING AT THE ANGRY WHITE MEN!”

Not nearly as much as they are laughing at Obozo.

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
1:26 pm

“Comments like that is going re-elect Obama.

Why enemy? Because he is black?

Why not Opponent? Because he is black?”

Ok, so your schizo and racist.

“I bet you $10,000 OBAMA WILL BE RE-ELECTED.”

You’ve never seen $10,000 in your entire life, simpleton. Besides, you don’t have enough food stamps to pay off that kind of bet.

Go back to your section 8 housing and beg for more government money, troll.

Finn McCool

February 23rd, 2012
1:27 pm

You would think all the Conservatives would be in ecstasy since the anointed one threw them a bone yesterday in the shape of a corp tax cut….

That’s the answer to every problem, ins’t it?

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
1:27 pm

“Are you REALLY going to need to be schooled again on equal rights?”

Sex offenders don’t get equal rights.

Bernie

February 23rd, 2012
1:28 pm

Did anyone see how awful Newt looked last night? He looked like a pregnant woman, as he walked on to the stage. No stage presence at all. He looked as though he were a Man in very poor health.

Also did anyone notice, As he sat at the table, Newt was constantly leaning to the right because of that huge stomach of his would not allow him to sit up straight. His body language was awful!

His body language said many things, including, he was resigning himself that his candidacy was all but over,except for the official announcement.

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
1:28 pm

“That’s the answer to every problem, ins’t it?”

Except for the fact that there are NO tax cuts in his proposal. Hey goober, explain how even Democrats run from Obama policies.

Finn McCool

February 23rd, 2012
1:29 pm

Do What, did you save up enough to move up into a double-wide yet? I’m heading out for lunch so don’t forget I like fries with my burger.

See you at the drive through!

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
1:29 pm

“He looked like a pregnant woman, as he walked on to the stage. ”

Obama looks like a woman with PMS whenever he takes the mound at a baseball game.

I have pictures/video if you’d like to see.

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
1:30 pm

“did you save up enough to move up into a double-wide yet?”

No, I don’t plan on moving in next to you.

“I’m heading out for lunch so don’t forget I like fries with my burger.”

I’m sure you do, obese troll.

“See you at the drive through!”

Cool, I’ll be sure to spit in your food.

Inside Out

February 23rd, 2012
1:45 pm

“Cool, I’ll be sure to spit in your food.”

Now, Thats just plain nasty…..

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
1:49 pm

And like most degrees regarding the Constitution, Linda, yours is virtually useless.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
1:50 pm

“Sex offenders don’t get equal rights.”

Gays are NOT sex offenders, Do What??. In any state in the nation.

Epic fail for you. Again.

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
1:51 pm

“Epic fail for you. Again.

Since when did you become important?

“And like most degrees regarding the Constitution, Linda, yours is virtually useless.”

Looks like tiberius needs a nap.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 23rd, 2012
2:00 pm

Prove me wrong, then, Do What???

Provide any proof whatsoever that gays are sex offenders according to the laws of any city, state or Federal statues.

Then tell me, Constitutionally, why gays shouldn’t have equal rights as any other American.

MarkV

February 23rd, 2012
2:01 pm

I must have been trasported for a while to a parallel universe. I am in agreement with Tiberius.!

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
2:06 pm

“Then tell me, Constitutionally, why gays shouldn’t have equal rights as any other American.”

The US Constitution has nothing to do with getting married. Like I stated many times, let the voters decide.

Do what??????

February 23rd, 2012
2:07 pm

Tiberius – Your lightning rod of hate!

The average lifespan of a gay man is 44 years. Why is that?