Yesterday, I blogged what I was hoping to see from the debate. Here's my post debate thoughts.
Where can you start but with CNN. I had hoped that the liberal bias wouldn't be present, and that they would at least pretend to be a news network and not Obama's propaganda machine. Shows what I got for hoping. Right off the bat they insulted Fox by claiming this to be the first Republican debate. Come again? Pretty sure Fox was first. Granted Bachmann, Gingrich, and Romney weren't participating in the debate, but that's on them, not Fox. It just got worse from there. We all know how politicians like to not answer the question. It come's without saying. But multiple times, King would interrupt the candidates and say something like time is short are you actually going to answer the question. Are you freaking kidding me? Who the HELL is he to interrupt someone? If a candidate doesn't answer the questions, guess what bub, that's on the candidate. Not you. Not CNN. And what's up with those annoying little, "mmhmm"'s every other second while the candidates were talking? I'm pretty sure they were King, but they were annoying and distracted from the answer. The whole set-up from CNN was ridiculous. The format was awful, and any time they actually got into a good debate, they would for "time" reasons move on. Yeah its great to allow the candidates to say rhetoric, but isn't that what speeches are for? Commercials? Blogs? Social networking? Debates are the meat and potatoes. It's where candidates separate themselves from the others. I'll give CNN this, they really outdid themselves on lackluster performance and outright disrespect. Anderson Cooper's post debate was nothing but what this means for democrats, democrats response, Obama this and Obama that. I tried watching to see the post debate polling, but couldn't take it after twenty minutes. CNN you get a giant F for your performance.
Now that that is out of the way. Lets get to the real reason your reading this. The candidates. I'll come out now and declare a winner. Nobody. There was no real clear winner, and conversely, there was no real clear loser. I highly doubt this debate did much for undecideds. The candidates all held to what they've been saying, not necessarily a bad thing, but there was no big shocker or game changer. The only chance that could have been made was by Pawlenty, and he steered away from it. Perhaps he was afraid to steer the debate towards Romney, perhaps he didn't want to play CNN's game, but regardless, he missed a great opportunity. In alphabetical order, here we go.
Bachmann: The first thing she mentions is she's running for President. Well that was no brainer. Overall, I think she did a good job. She knows how to get people excited, and she further proved that last night. Cain has been favored by a good number of the Tea Party, but Bachmann has been one of the key players in the Tea Party so it'll be interesting to see her effect on things. Overall, she gets a B.
Cain: He was the winner from the last debate by a landslide. His speeches has been right on target for a lot of people, myself included. Admittedly, I was hoping to see him shine tonight. There were two times that he did well. Sharia law and same-sex marriage. The rest of his responses were almost cut and paste from his speeches, which good for fan-fare, bad for debates. He did, however, shine with his clear, straightforward answers. Overall, he gets a B.
Gingrich: I'll give him this one. He didn't seem the least bit phased about his staff leaving on him. He was calm, collected, and seemingly very prepared for the debate. A lot of his responses were well placed with a little ounce of zing to it. Unfortunately, I just can't see it in him. He almost reminds me of Fred Thompson back in 2008. While thinking about the debate, all I came up with him was, too little too late. Newt has a lot going for him, and is a strong political thinker. He would be best served to support a candidate, not try to be one. Overall, he gets a B-.
Paul: Say what you want about Paul. But, he's one of the few politicians that hasn't changed his stance as far as I've seen. He's been true to his beliefs. I liked a lot of what he talked about. Especially when posed about health care for illegal immigrants. Government wasn't always involved. Why should it be today? A great answer. Unfortunately, his views on foreign policy is just to far out there. He's right in some ways, but history teaches us what happens when we ignore the enemy. Overall, he gets a B.
Pawlenty: He was the only one with a clear opportunity to strike at one of the others on stage. And... he sidestepped it. I'm not really sure why. It obviously ticked off CNN and King, as King kept trying to force him into the attack, but for whatever reason, he stayed true to not lashing out. That was a disappoint for me, since I'm no Romney fan. Other than that, he did reasonably well. Overall, he gets a C+.
Romney: I'll give him this, he knows his strengths and he focused on them. His focus on the economy is his greatest strength and he played it through and through. Several times he got caught up pretending to be a conservative, voicing the rhetoric the crowd wanted to hear. But, here's the thing. We all know he's moderate (if not RINO, which is my opinion) so him pandering to what the crowd wants, to me, only shows his true colors. But a lot of people like him. He's up in the polls, and nothing about last night will change that, other than the emergence of Bachmann, and those on the fence about the others. Nothing about last night will hurt Romney. Overall, he gets a B.
Santorum: I want to like him. Hes not a bad candidate. If he was running for congress, I would most likely support him. But lets face it. This election is huge. Crucial. With the very likelihood of two SCOTUS nominations, the economy, and big government, a "not bad" candidate just doesn't cut it. He had good things to say last night, his rhetoric was fairly spot on, except for same-sex marriage. But overall, I enjoyed listening to him. He just doesn't wow me like we need. Overall, he gets a B.
Honorable Mentions: Huntsman and Palin were brought up, with the later more so. Perry wasn't mentioned that I heard. Which is odd with all the buzz lately, especially for Gingrich. I would have thought this would have been a great platform for the discussion of a possible Perry candidacy. But oh well. Nothing new about Palin. You either like her or hate her, and the candidates seemed to be playing the respect card. Huntsman really isn't that special. So its no surprise he wasn't discussed. I'm still hoping for a Perry candidacy.
The "grades" I gave each candidate only reflects for last night. Not the individual and their campaign. I think that goes without saying. Most of the night you heard a lot of "this administration," and "this President." It seems as if the candidates are focusing on Obama, instead of each other. An interesting move. Cain said it best. Each person is well qualified for the job, and most of their beliefs are the same. So perhaps the candidates are trying to show which can face Obama the best, not which is best for the country. I'm not sure I like that strategy. Yes we need a strong candidate to face Obama. But we also need a strong candidate to face the country. I think they should debate their strengths over the others and why they are uniquely qualified to get this nation back on track. That alone will prove powerful enough to face Obama. Not the other way around.