Debate Redux

I watched the debate last night with about 350 of my closest friends as well as the Patriot’s nightside host Rusty Humphreys out at the Minnetonka Marriott last night.

 

Quick impressions:

  • Mitt talked too much.  He came across a bit like…a too-slick CEO.  Not that he didn’t have great points – but there were times he needed to stop short of where he did, and just talk less.
  • Mike Huckabee presented himself very well, although occasionally at the expense of actually answering the question.  Perhaps he was trying to edge around the “nannystater” rep he’s gotten in conservative circles in the last few weeks.  Oddly, Anderson Cooper didn’t seem to press him to answer the question as much as he did other candidates.
  • Giuliani looked nervous, and occasionally distracted.  As a rule, he gave good, solid answers (including, I think, to the “gotcha” question toward the end), but he could have come across better.
  • Thompson seemed (a little) more “relaxed” than “asleep”.  He had some sound bite lines, but he didn’t get enough air time.
  • It was the first time I’d seen Tom Tancredo in a debate.  He did well, not that it matters much.
  • Duncan Hunter, on the  other hand – a guy I’d love to see as a front-runner – could have done a lot better. Part of it may have been lack of practice – I think they only got around to him two or three times.
  • Ron Paul seems to be morphing into Ross Perot.  His crowd, incidentally, was out in force last night, with posters and a booth and a big, raucous turnout.  I’m pretty sure Rep. Paul won the straw poll (although I had to leave a bit early).
  • John McCain is taking great pains to push his conservative credentials – understandable, given the audience.  At times I found myself painfully wishing he could go back in time and take back McCain-Feingold and the Gang of 14; he almost sounded supportable.  I feel the train has left the station for the Senator, and it made me just a little sad.
  • Anderson Cooper is a twit.
  • I loved the way CNN picked the two “gun nuts” and one literal “bible waver” that most perfectly fit the most caricatured stereotype of Second Amendment activists and Christians they could find.  And where I say “loved”, I mean “thought it was as predictable as…well, Anderson Cooper being  a twit.
  • While I’m ambivalent about the “gays in the military” issue – I don’t personally see a reason to exclude them from military service – I confess that by nature of my background I’m loath to suggest imposing a rule on the military by complete fiat; “unit cohesion” is a matter of life and death.  I’m not entirely sold on the idea that gays in squads will wreck unit cohesion – the British military has allowed openly gay servicepeople for quite some time, and the British army has been famous for unit cohesion for a very long time.  That being said, General Kerr got way too much air time.  While King and I both commented “good question” during the General’s video appearance, the General’s open-mic harangue from the audience was long, preachy, and excessive. 

Anyone else?

UPDATE:   Michelle Malkin notes that there was more to the questions than met the casual eye:

Retired Brig. Gen./gays in the military lobbyist/Hillary-Kerry supporter Keith H. Kerr wasn’t the only plant at the CNN/YouTube debate. The plant uncovering is in full-swing over at Free Republic.

Example: “Journey,” a.k.a. “Paperserenade,” the girl who asked an abortion question, is a declared John Edwards supporter.

You couldn’t tell from the video that CNN aired, where she’s wearing a plain shirt:

1journey.jpg
But if you click through on her YouTube profile, you see her latest video in response to the candidates’ answers. And she’s prominently wearing…her John Edwards ‘08 t-shirt:

And on, and on, and on.  Read the whole thing.

And for the record (on the off-chance that anyone is keeping the “record” of my statements), I don’t care that they’re Democrats; merely that CNN presented them – I would suspect with full knowledge – as just regular folks.

Ed sums it up well:

CNN deserves the brickbats it will receive for its atrocious research skills. However, Republicans should be prepared to answer the questions the candidates received in this debate. At some point, this will cease being an intramural fight and we will have to convince all of America to vote for our nominee. That won’t happen if we can’t handle fastballs, with a couple of curveballs in the mix.

True.  As long as America knows that CNN is putting spit, pine tar, bondo and/or spackle on the ball without telling anyone.

CORRECTION:  Yep.  Pine tar is for bats.  I plead caffeine-deprivation.

CORRECTION 2:  Or not.  Sentence rewritten to cover all possible permutations.

13 thoughts on “Debate Redux

  1. You were right the first time, Mitch. A little pine tar on the ball will make it dance like Romney’s position on abortion.

  2. “”I don’t care that they’re Democrats; merely that CNN presented them – I would suspect with full knowledge – as just regular folks.”"

    Democrats aren’t regular folks – Check

    What I learned fromt he debates:

    Democrats can be mean to each other, but have a high lever of respect for their constituency, regardless of ideology.

    GOPers, especially last night, are just plain mean, even hateful, especially towards those that don’t fit into their ideological perfect world.

    I could turn into a Right of Reagan Republican but don’t think I would ever want to associate with them publicly. I don’t know how you do it, Mitch. You are a pretty nice guy.

    Flash

  3. At some point the Republicans turned into the Asshole Party, Flash. Policy preferences flip-flop back and forth (controlling the deficit? Hahahaha!) But the desire to be a big bunch of assholes actually seems to be holding the party together right now.

    How else to explain the success of pro-abortion, anti-gun Rudy Giuliani? (“Sure, but he’s such an asshole!”) And the relative obscurity of Mike Huckabee (Good on the Jesus issues, but not an asshole).

    So Angryclown predicts that whichever candidate can convince Republicans that he’s the biggest asshole in the land will get the nomination. The ideal ticket Republican ticket would actually be the Dwight Yoakam character from Sling Blade and Cartman from South Park. Unfortunately, the Constitution prevents the election of fictional characters, so the Republicans will have to limit themselves to the current crop of assholes.

  4. Politicians are assholes? News flash. But of course the true assholes are all on the right, because the definition has been changed to “doesn’t agree with angryclown.” So count me in!

    Try going on a college campus with a right-leaning political message and find out how people on the left treat those who “don’t fit into their ideological perfect world.”

  5. “While King and I both commented “good question” during the General’s video appearance, the General’s open-mic harangue from the audience was long, preachy, and excessive. ”

    So how did you feel about the audience of Republican faithful booing a retired service member? I thought it was a nice contrast to the standing ovation the service member at the Democratic debate received.

  6. “And the relative obscurity of Mike Huckabee (Good on the Jesus issues, but not an asshole).”

    Of all the ones on the stage last night, I agree that Huckabee was the most desirable of the lot. He reached out to those who didn’t agree with him, while making it clear he wasn’t going to adjust his convictions for them. But still, that level of empathy is surprisingly missing from the Right.

    “Try going on a college campus with a right-leaning political message and find out how people on the left treat those who “don’t fit into their ideological perfect world.”

    Steve; what I have found, is that students are more than eager to discuss and debate political issues, specifically with those they don’t necessarily agree with. (I live near Hamline U) Since I like to pick those issues I tend to be Right leaning on (The War, funding private education, 2nd Amendment) what I get from them is how nice it is to have these conversation with someone who is willing to debate the issue, not shove it down their throat.

    So believe what you want, but it may not be the message, but the way the message is delivered by the messenger.

  7. Rick, had the service member at the Dem debate given a multi-minute sermon against the use of embryos for stem cell research, would they still have given him/her a standing ovation?

    Personally, I think you might have heard a couple of boos.

  8. So how did you feel about the audience of Republican faithful booing a retired service member?

    Actually, his initial video got a few scattered claps and favorable, receptive comment from the people sitting around me.

    When the booing started, they weren’t booing a veteran; they were booing an appropriate, long-winded harangue about a C-list smear issue. I was embarassed for the General.

    I thought it was a nice contrast to the standing ovation the service member at the Democratic debate received.

    Well, good for them – but if talk is cheap, applause is even cheaper. I don’t think “Support the troops, but render their mission in vain” is going to resonate much next year.

    Y’all have become the party of Sheehan, even after she’s faded from the scene.

  9. “So how did you feel about the audience of Republican faithful booing a retired service member? I thought it was a nice contrast to the standing ovation the service member at the Democratic debate received.”

    That almost makes up for booing the Eagle Scouts at the 2000 Dem convention!

  10. “He couldn’t have been a *real* retired serviceman, Rick. Ask Rush.”

    Clown is accusing the General of lying about his service?

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