Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Seventh Republican Primary Debate (NH)

The seventh Republican primary debate was held Tuesday night in New Hampshire. Bloomberg has provided the full video of the debate here. It's also on YouTube here and here. This debate had the same candidates as the fourth and fifth debates, meaning no Gary Johnson. This was the first debate to focus on a single issue, the economy, and also the first debate to allow the candidates to sit down.

Before watching this debate, I had a fairly positive view of Herman Cain, and somewhat positive views of Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. I had somewhat negative views of Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney. I had very negative views of Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul.

Just as I did in the other six debates, I've summarized and responded to each candidate's positions below, and I've scored each position positive, zero or negative based on my gut reaction to it.  Since these "summaries" can get quite long, you may want to skip to the conclusion at the bottom.

Jon Huntsman
  •  "Washington DC is the gas capital of the country." He opens with a joke and the rest of his answer is mostly fluff with just a passing mention about how taxes and regulation are bad. (-1)
  • He would appoint entrepreneurs like his father to advise him, he likes manufacturing and he instituted a flat tax in Utah. He also wants to complain about "the background checks, the financial disclosures and everything else" that people have to go through to become government employees. Right, because what we really need is to know less about people who work for government! (-1)
  • He says he first thought 999 was the price of a pizza, and instead of 999 we need "something that's doable-doable-doable." He would decrease the corporate tax to 25% and eliminate all the tax loopholes and deductions for individual and corporate taxes. (+1)
  • He doesn't want a trade war, and if we criticize China's yuan policy too much, they're going to point to QE1 & QE2 and say we're doing the same thing. It's hard to argue with that logic. (+1)
  • The "ruinous" part of Obamacare is the individual mandate, and that won't go away with waivers. Romney and Santorum both interrupt him to say they'll repeal it completely. (0)
  • Huntsman addresses his question to Mitt Romney. He criticizes Romney for his history at Bain Capital as "someone who breaks down businesses, destroys jobs" and for Massachusetts under Romney being 47th in the country (presumably in job creation) when Utah was first under Huntsman. I've always thought criticism of Romney along Bain Capital lines was unfair, even if that portrayal of what he did is completely true (Romney says it's not). There are times for every business where they have to cut labor in order to stay in business. Eliminating some jobs in order to make a company profitable again so that everyone else can keep their jobs is not something to be ashamed of. (-1)
  • When he was governor, Utah had an unemployment rate of 2.4%, he says, and he understands "what it means to have the dignity of a job." That rate was true from January to April 2007. With the recession, Utah's unemployment rate has gone up just like the rest of the country. It peaked at 8.0% and is now 7.6%. (0)

Michele Bachmann
  •  Is it right "that no Wall Street executives have gone to jail" for the recession? "You can trace it [the economic meltdown] right back to the federal government." She specifically blames government-pushed subprime loans, the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. It's a question straight from Occupy Wall Street and largely irrelevant for a President, but Bachmann handles it well. (+1)
  • What can we do to reform Medicare? She'd rather talk about how bad Obamacare is. (-1)
  • She was "a lone voice" in saying not to raise the debt ceiling, because she didn't want to give Obama a "$2.4 trillion blank check." Well, if the check is for $2.4 trillion, it's not blank... Also, how long is she going to keep bragging about being on the losing side of the debt ceiling debate? (-1)
  • "The 999 plan isn't a jobs plan, it is a tax plan." She says "the last thing you would do is give Congress another pipeline of a revenue stream." It's not the most eloquent way of saying it, but this is easily the most important criticism of 999, that it creates the infrastructure for an extra tax that, even if it's low today, could be raised by future politicians. It's also a criticism that Cain has been weak in defending against. But then Bachmann ends her point by saying, "When you take the 999 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil is in the details." (+1 for the revenue stream criticism, -1 for stooping to a devil joke)
  • Bachmann addresses her question to Rick Perry, criticizing him for supporting Al Gore once-upon-a-time and for raising Texas' spending and debt. She asks how we could trust him "to not go down the Obama way." I wonder what her questioning of Perry reveals about her strategy. Prior to the debate, Perry was solidly in third place and falling fast. Is she aiming for the VP spot and trying not to anger the two leaders? Or is she just hoping to get support from ex-Perriers, almost all of whom have so far gone to Cain and Gingrich? (0)
  • Responding to Romney's question, she plugs her website and talks mostly about easing the regulatory burden, especially Obamacare. Since her very vocal opposition to Obamacare would be one of the biggest reasons for Romney to make her his VP, her answer, which doesn't criticize Romneycare at all, could easily be seen as confirmation for Romney that she is willing to play that role for him. (+1, for her talk about the regulatory burden, not for my own VP speculation)
  • "Dodd-Frank is the Jobs and Housing Destruction Act," and it has caused the new $5 debit card fee some banks are putting in place. She also doesn't like that Senator Durbin "had former staffers that came to lobby him on behalf of retailers." I like what she says about Dodd-Frank, but her populist appeal against lobbyists makes me wary. (0)
  • She's had 23 foster children, and if more people "reach out as individuals to help" we wouldn't need big government. (0)

Rick Perry
  • He's the governor of the second-largest state. He would help the economy by encouraging jobs in the energy industry. "It's time for another American Declaration of Independence. It's time for energy independence." This might be good, but the "energy independence" rhetoric can also be dangerous. He doesn't give any details yet. (0)
  • What is his specific economic plan? "Pull back regulations" on domestic energy, and also Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, but especially on the energy industry. (+1)
  • What does he think of the clip where Reagan agreed to tax increases? He says we live in different times, and while Reagan traded tax increases for spending cuts, he never actually saw the spending cuts. Perry would support a balanced budget amendment. There's nothing inherently wrong with this answer, but he doesn't quite say what I think he should. He also seems like he's falling asleep while giving the answer. (0)
  • "What we need to be focused on in this country today is not whether or not we are going to have this policy or that policy." And then he repeats his policy for encouraging the energy industry. (-1)
  • He once supported Al Gore because he grew up a Democrat, but when he turned Republican, he was younger than Reagan was when he turned Republican. No explanations for why he switched or why his beliefs are trustworthy, just that's how he grew up. (-1)
  • He also says that under his governorship, Texas has gone from the sixth-lowest debt-per-capita state to the second-lowest debt-per-capita state. That probably says more about Texas' population growth than Perry's debt management. (0)
  • Perry addresses his question to Mitt Romney. Since Romneycare is the same as Obamacare, how does Romney defend his record? (+1)
  • Asked about health care for some reason in the economics debate, Perry says his solutions in Texas were tort reform and something called Healthy Texas which he says "expands the private sector insurance," whatever that means. He also wants Medicaid converted to block grants for the states. (+1 for that last point)
  • The federal government should not be involved in subsidizing "emerging technologies" (green energy), but for some reason states should, and Texas under Perry has. Cognitive dissonance much? (-1)
  • Why are there more people in poverty today than ever before even though the rich are still wealthy, and what would he do to close the gap? "We have got a president of the United States who is a job-killer." Small businesses are "over-taxed" and "over-regulated" and the best thing we can do for them is vote out Obama. While I like the things Perry says in this question, his response is not at all an answer to the questions asked, and only tangentially addresses inequality. I would love to see a candidate bring up just one of the points raised at PostLibertarian, from what the poverty line actually means to problems in comparing poverty rates over time. Or, since the question is phrased in terms of the number of poor rather than the rate, a mention of population growth would've been nice. But Perry doesn't say any of those things, he just accepts the question's premise and uses it to bash Obama. (0)
  • He's the governor of the second-largest state and used to be in the military. He also used to be a CEO. (0)

Herman Cain
  •  For the first question of the night, what would he do specifically to "end the paralysis in Washington"? "Two things"-- the 999 plan and "get serious" about the debt by making sure that "revenues equals spending" in his first fiscal year. The question and its context make it clear that Charlie Rose is talking about political paralysis in DC, but Cain interprets it as economic paralysis in the nation as a whole. Even though I think Cain's answer would be good for the economy, if anything it would aggravate the problem of political paralysis, since Democrats are going to fight both of those issues tooth and nail the entire way. (0)
  • "999 will pass and it is not the price of a pizza." He wants to get rid of the current tax code and start over with 999, and he says we won't have economic recovery by "continuing to pivot off the current tax code." (+1)
  • Asked who his advisers are, he names Rich Lowrie (apparently this guy) and won't name anybody else. (0)
  • In 2008, he agreed with the Wall Street bailout "in concept" but not in implementation. "They were discretionary in which institutions they were going to save, rather than apply it equitably, which is what most of us thought was going to be done." Which raises the question, how do you "equitably" bailout some institutions but not others? Or if you bailout everybody, who foots the bill? (-1)
  • Cain says the 999 plan would be revenue neutral, but Bloomberg's analysis says that current revenues are $2.2 trillion while 999 revenues would be only $2.0 trillion. Cain says, "the problem with that analysis is that it is incorrect." He says Bloomberg has started with incorrect assumptions, and that by broadening the tax base, 999 is able to be revenue neutral with the lower rate. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of 999, this is really just he-said-she-said. (0)
  • The politicians in the race are proposing plans they think can get passed, rather than plans that we need. He says 999 is "bold" and that's what Americans want. The plan has definitely helped Cain's campaign, but this almost sounds like a tacit admission that it won't pass. He also says "bold" three times in six seconds. (-1)
  • Cain addresses his question to Mitt Romney. The 999 plan is "simple, transparent, efficient, fair and neutral." Can Romney say the same about his 59-point, 160-page plan? While it would be nice if 999 was more detailed, the Obamacare bill and Dodd-Frank, as I recall, were both over 2000 pages long. While Americans want thoroughness, they also want transparency, which is a point Cain understands that Romney doesn't seem to. (+1)
  • After Ron Paul criticizes him for saying that those who want to audit the Fed are "ignorant," Cain says he never said that, and he tells Paul, "You've got to be careful of the stuff that you get off the Internet." He also says he disagrees with what Bernanke is doing now, and that when he served on the Kansas Fed, they didn't do any of the things that the current Fed is doing. He then says he doesn't have a problem with auditing the Fed, but it's not his top priority. "My top priority is 999, jobs, jobs, jobs!" (+1)
  • He lists three reasons why 999 won't become 20-20-20. First, he'll require a two-thirds majority to change the 9% rates (which at first sounds meaningless, but as the debt ceiling debacle showed, such rules can have real effects). Second, the transparency and simplicity of 999 will allow Americans to oppose tax increases more easily than they can now and "hold Congress' feet to the fire." (This is actually a good point. Most Americans don't even know their marginal tax rate off the top of their head, let alone their overall effective tax rate or any of the many tiny taxes scattered throughout the tax code. Simplicity makes raising taxes more visible, and therefore more difficult.) Third, as President he would veto any rate increase (which is good for four to eight years, but of course not beyond that). Overall, this is a pretty good answer. At first, while streaming the debate on Tuesday, I was disappointed by this answer. But the more I think about it, the better it sounds. (+1)
  • Which Fed chairman over the last 40 years would "serve as a model" for replacing Bernanke? Alan Greenspan, because what he did "worked fine back in the early 1990s." I've seen a lot of people who don't like this answer, pointing to Greenspan's "I was wrong" moment in 2008. I think that's an oversimplification of Greenspan's 18 years as chairman, and that for the vast majority of those years, most of the things Greenspan did were entirely appropriate. (+1)
  • Repealing Dodd-Frank is good, but if you want to help small businesses, we need to get rid of the capital gains tax, which is "a big wall between people with ideas and people with money." "...And we know which plan gets rid of the capital gains tax." (+1) 
  • Asked about his statement, "If you don't have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself," he says he was not directing that at the "14 million people who are out of work for no reason of their own other than this economy is not growing" but rather at the Occupiers. (+1) 
  • "I was po' before I was poor." He also says the word "bold" a few more times. (0)

Mitt Romney
  •  He promises he'd "be a leader" then bashes Obama for awhile. He somehow misses the irony that Obama also thinks all he has to do is "be a leader" and everything will be solved. (-1)
  • Juliana Goldman asks Romney what he would do if it was 2013 and the European crisis has spread to America and the global financial system is on the verge of collapse. He says that's "a scenario that's obviously very difficult to imagine." Goldman says, "But it's not a hypothetical" to which Romney replies, "I'm afraid it is a hypothetical" and asks her to explain why she thinks it isn't. She says it's not a hypothetical because lots of people think it might happen. I'm tempted to give Romney a point just for putting up with Goldman, but then he gets to his actual answer... (0)
  • His actual answer is that he would "take action" to prevent the collapse, but doesn't say what that means. He's "not interested" in bailouts of "individual institutions" but he is interested in "making sure we preserve our financial system, our currency, the banks across the entire country." And he would do that without bailouts how, exactly? I'm not sure if he's getting at some kind of monetary policy action, or just trying to say that he'd give bailouts without actually saying that he'd give bailouts. (-1)
  • Would he rather compromise by raising taxes or cutting defense? Well, he'd rather answer Perry's question (about the Reagan clip), and he does a lot better than Perry. He says the problem with tax increases is that government continues to grow as a percentage of the economy, and agreeing to tax increases is agreeing to allow it to keep growing. He would rather cut, cap and balance. (+1)
  • Pressed on raising taxes versus "draconian" cuts to defense, he says both are terrible, and the supercommittee needs to reform entitlements. (0)
  • We buy a lot more from China than they buy from us, so he says they don't want a trade war. We have the negotiating advantage. He says, "Day One, I will issue an executive order identifying China as a currency manipulator" and will take action against them at the WTO. Yeah, going after our second-largest trading partner is gonna do wonders to turn around the economy. (-2)
  • He agrees with Santorum that granting Obamacare waivers is not enough. He would grant the waivers on "day one" and would repeal it on "day two" using the same reconciliation procedure that was used to pass it in the first place and that Santorum supports. As much criticism as Republicans heaped on Democrats for using reconciliation in the first place, I don't like Romney and Santorum campaigning to use it again. If we have to use it to get rid of Obamacare, that's a parliamentary decision to be made by Republicans in the Senate at the time, not by Republican presidential candidates today. (-1)
  • Simple plans are "very helpful, but oftentimes inadequate" and we need more than just a tax policy or an energy policy to get the economy going again. Nice swipe at both Cain and Perry. He also repeats five of the "seven major pillars" that he introduced back in the third debate. (+1)
  • He wants to cut taxes on the middle class because they're the ones hurt by "the Obama economy." That's good rhetoric, but Newt had asked why Romney's capital gains tax cut would apply only to the middle class. Romney's answer basically accepts the class warfare foundation Newt is accusing him of having; he says he's not worried about the rich because they're "doing just fine," and he's not worried about the poor because they've got the safety net. It's very much a classist answer, and he doesn't even try to address Newt's point that a capital gains tax cut is most effective when given to those who actually have capital gains. (-1)
  • He says his background is "quite different" than Jon Huntsman says it is, and that "net-net" Bain Capital created tens of thousands of jobs. He also says they started Staples, and a few companies I don't recognize. (+1)
  • Perry asks how he defends Romneycare. Romney replies that he's "proud of the fact that we took on a major problem" in Massachusetts, and it's all about the kids. He says there were 8% uninsured and 92% insured, and Romneycare addressed only the 8% while Obamacare takes over health care for 100% of Americans. He ignores Perry's point that Romneycare actually has raised premiums for 100% of Massachusites. (-1)
  • Romney addresses his question to Michele Bachmann. That in itself is interesting. She's in sixth place according to the polls, with a fifth of the support Romney himself has. Earlier I speculated that her choice to address her question to Perry may have been to play nice to the two frontrunners in hopes of getting the VP spot. Is Romney's choice to address his question to Bachmann a signal that he's vetting her for VP? He compliments her positions, isn't critical about anything, and then gives her a softball, open-ended question. Considering the pressure any white male candidate will face to choose a non-white-male for VP, I think Mitt's eyeing Bachmann. Plus, she's been possibly the strongest anti-Obamacare voice in the race, and having her on his ticket would go a long way towards reassuring the Republican base. (0)
  • Big banks have hundreds of lawyers to deal with Dodd-Frank, but small, community banks can't deal with the extra regulation. I don't know enough about Dodd-Frank to know how true or not that is, but it sounds good. (+1)
  • "The right course for America is not to keep spending money on stimulus bills, but instead to make permanent changes to the tax code." Temporary changes like the payroll tax holiday don't work because employers know that they're temporary. (+1) 
  • We have an economic crisis, but we also have another crisis-- and it's all about the kids. And leadership. And being strong... or something. (0)

Ron Paul
  • He brings up the "partial audit" of the Fed passed under Dodd-Frank, throws out some big numbers with no context and raves about Austrian economics for a bit. "You can't cure the disease if you don't know the cause of it, and the cause is the booms." That's right, the real problem with the economy is that sometimes it's actually growing. (-1)
  • He would get government out of housing, then he plugs Austrian economics for awhile and says he wants to get rid of the Fed. I agree with getting the federal government out of housing, but not with eliminating the Fed. (-1)
  • Paul directs his question to Herman Cain and says the Fed "creates the business cycle" and "produces our recessions and our depressions" (which is why there were no such things prior to 1913). Since he says Cain has in the past opposed auditing the Fed, does he still oppose it? (-1 for the Fed-creates-the-business-cycle nonsense)
  • "Alan Greenspan was a disaster." Yeah, 1987-2006 were some of the worst years economically we've ever seen... Then he says Bernanke is "inflating twice as fast as Greenspan was." Really, because we have actual records about that. Under Greenspan, the CPI increased from 114.4 in August 1987 to 198.3 in January 2006, or 3.0% per year. Under Bernanke, the CPI has increased from 198.3 in January 2006 to 226.5 in August 2011, or 2.4% per year. But yeah, if you ignore reality, Bernanke is totally inflating twice as fast as Greenspan was. (-2) 
  • Dodd-Frank is bad, but Sarbanes-Oxley is also bad. Repeal both of them. I don't know enough about Sarbanes-Oxley to have an opinion on this. (0) 
  • He wants to restore "the cause of liberty" and says free markets and "sound money" are the "humanitarian" option. He would get a point if I didn't know that by "sound money" he really meant "End the Fed." (0)

Newt Gingrich
  • Occupy Wall Street is made of two groups: "left-wing agitators" who will protest anything and "sincere middle-class people" who are "very close to the Tea Party." He would fire both Bernanke and Geithner, and says, "if you want to put people in jail... you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd." Then he goes off on the media for awhile. I've never liked Gingrich's anti-media/anti-moderator rants, but this one was deserved. (+1)
  • What should be done about the large cost of end-of-life care under Medicare? He opposes bureaucrats intervening in health care and "class action decision[s]." He agrees with Palin's term "death panels" and disagrees with the recent prostate test ruling. What he says is good as far as it goes, but he doesn't actually answer the question. (0)
  • Paulson, Bernanke and Geithner "didn't have a clue" and he wants the Fed to release "every decision document" from 2008-2010. That in itself is probably a good thing. More open government is always a good thing, but Newt doesn't say what he wants to do with those documents, or what changes he thinks that would lead to. (0)
  • The supercommittee is "truly stupid," and all the requirements facing the supercommittee are acts of Congress which can be reversed by acts of Congress so they're meaningless anyway. (0)
  • Gingrich addresses his question to Mitt Romney. He says Obama's "class warfare approach" has often been to draw a line between those making more and those making less than $250,000. Romney would cut the capital gains tax on those making less than $200,000, drawing the class warfare line even lower than Obama. Newt asks what was his rationale? (+1)
  • Asked about home ownership in America, Newt fully embraces his "mother hen" role, complimenting in a row the plans of every other candidate. He brings it all together and says, "the Chinese couldn't compete with us in 100 years if we got our act together in this country and we got back to doing the right things in this country." It's a great feel-good moment, and in this circle of people who would be the leader of the free world, Newt somehow manages to look like their leader, their shepherd almost. I've been strongly critical of Newt in the past, but this was a great moment for him. (+2)
  • He grew up as an "Army brat," he says, and "every person at this table" would be better at solving the country's problems than Obama. (0)

Rick Santorum
  • He would eliminate the corporate tax for "manufacturers and processors." He would also "repeal every regulation" that Obama has made. Who counts as a processor, I wonder? Also, what does he have against the service sector? Or agriculture for that matter? (0)
  • This plan "would pass tomorrow" unlike the 999 plan. He's right to criticize 999's possibility of passing, but I think he overstates his own plan's chances. I don't see Democrats agreeing to eliminating the corporate tax for anybody. (0)
  • "I don't want to go to a trade war, I want to beat China. I want to go to war with China and make America the most attractive place in the world to do business." So doesn't want a "trade war" but he does want a regular war? I'm sure that's not what he meant, but I can't figure out what he did mean. (-2)
  • In the same answer, he criticizes Cain on 999, saying it won't pass and no one wants it. He gets the audience to hold up their hands if they want a national sales tax or if they think the income tax would stay at 9%, and basically no one holds up their hands. (+1)
  • His time runs up, but he says, "I am not done yet. I've only been able to answer one question, unlike everybody else here, so let me just finish what I'm saying." While that's kind of true (before this he had one actual question and one follow-up), it's whiny to point that out during the debate. (-1)
  • Continuing his marathon answer over Charlie Rose's insistence that, "You see the red light," Santorum then criticizes Romney for wanting to use waivers to get rid of Obamacare, and we need to repeal it using reconciliation. Why would we have to use reconciliation after Republicans spilled so much ink criticizing Democrats for using it in the first place? (-1)
  • Santorum directs his question to Herman Cain. He says Romney, Cain, Perry and Huntsman all supported TARP, which has been used by politicians to restrict our freedom. He says Cain's 999 plan introduces another tool to restrict our freedom (the sales tax) and asks, because of Cain's inexperience, how can we trust that he won't give politicians even more tools to restrict our freedom? That right there are the two single biggest problems that Cain has, his inexperience and the sales tax portion of 999, and Santorum hits the nail right on the head. (+1)
  • "The biggest problem with poverty in America... is the break down of the American family." He wants to encourage more marriage. I used to find this kind of language really appealing. But then I realized "encouraging marriage" really just means subsidizing the married, usually through tax breaks, by raising taxes on the unmarried. When half of all marriages are already mistakes (given that they end in divorce), is it really a good idea to be subsidizing more? Most conservatives agree with this logic when you replace "marriage" with "green energy startups" and "divorce" with "bankruptcy," yet somehow reject it when it's about marriage. (-1)
  • Income mobility from the bottom two quintiles to the middle quintile is higher in Europe than America, he says, and he would fix that with manufacturing subsidies. I don't like his love affair with manufacturing, but that's an interesting statistic if it's true. As it turns out, it's only half true. That is, it's true for intergenerational mobility (a son's income compared to his father's), but not at all true for individual mobility (my income today compared to my income ten years from now). (-1)

I usually list the candidates in the order that they're standing on stage, but I couldn't do that this time. Instead, they're listed in clockwise order, starting from where the moderators are sitting. Speaking of whom, this was not a good night for the moderators or production staff. Juliana Goldman showed she didn't know what "hypothetical" means, and Charlie Rose said LinkedIn has 120 billion users. Also, after Santorum's marathon answer (during which Rose became visibly flustered), Rose gave Cain a response but the camera panned out and they started playing commercial break music for several seconds before the producers realized their mistake.

Summing my gut reactions, Cain got +5 and Gingrich got +4. Bachmann and Perry tied with 0 each, right in front of Huntsman with -1 and Romney with -2. Bringing up the rear, Santorum had -4 and Paul had -5.

This debate was all about Herman Cain and 999. He is without a doubt Sarah Palin's "flavor of the week," and he faced his first real challenge in this debate with everyone except Perry attacking 999. Overall, I think he handled the debate well. It took him awhile to find his feet, and he definitely had his strongest moments in the second half. Most importantly, he defended 999 quite ably (even if he took to repeating the words "bold" and "pivot off the current tax code" too many times). On the other hand, he also had several times where he said things that are already getting him in trouble. That includes his support for Greenspan and his decision to not reveal his advisers yet. Both of those are entirely reasonable, but they're definitely not going to play well.

Newt Gingrich really surprised me this time. I have very strongly criticized him in previous debates, and he has always ranked near or at the bottom for me. This time, he took second place, just one point behind Cain. Part of that, I'm sure, was the moderator's fault. Newt loves to debate the moderators of any debate, and this time they actually deserved it. He also had a great moment near the end where it felt like he was rivaling Cain for the title of "most optimistic candidate."

Rick Perry utterly failed to impress this time. Having fallen in the polls, he wasn't at all in the spotlight, and he did nothing to bring the spotlight back to him. I get the impression that Perry was never really that into running, and was only convinced to get in because polls showed him possibly winning. Now that the polls have collapsed for him, he's left wondering why he was doing this at all.

There are some issues that Michele Bachmann strongly believes in, and when she focuses on those issues, she does well. Unfortunately for her, she can't build her entire campaign on Obamacare. She had some good points in the debate, especially on 999, but she also had her fair share of slips.

Jon Huntsman was mostly clueless about everything except China. I would like to take Huntsman's stance on China, graft it on to the rest of the candidates, and then throw away everything else. Mitt Romney confirmed that his good performance in the fifth debate was a fluke. He continues to insist that Romneycare was great, just misunderstood. He also talks a lot about being a leader, like that will fix everything.

Rick Santorum needs to drop out of the race before he has an aneurysm. The worse he does in the polls and the less debate time he gets, the angrier he gets, and he's horrible at hiding it. Americans are not going to elect the Angry Candidate. Finally, Ron Paul was Ron Paul. Factually inaccurate, Austrian to a fault and incoherent the rest of the time. I will say, however, that I don't remember him bringing up the wars or the military on an unrelated question a single time.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again. Too bad it couldn't have been Ron Paul without the money system up there, or Gary Johnson, which would almost be the same thing. There are some things I don't like about Cain but I think that defense of 9-9-9 increases is fantastic.