Okay - I'll confess right up front: I only watched about 10 minutes of the Republican "debate" last night in South Carolina. I wanted to be able to write about my first-hand reactions, but I couldn't do it. The kicker was when John King - after asking Newt and Paul about 3 things they'd do to help the economy - asked Romney to rebutt a comment just made by Gingrich. That is what a debate
is - a controlled discussion where participants provide their various viewpoints and counterpoints on one more subjects:
- a discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints: a debate in the Senate on farm price supports.
- a formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of a proposition are advocated by opposing speakers.
Romney's response? (paraphrasing here): "I'll do that in a minute, but first I want to answer the question you asked them, and then I'd also like to discuss this...."
Of course - King let him run with it. That is not a debate. It is an interview/press conference. There is no control. I've seen in previous debates where candidates would start arguing with each other and the crowd cheering like it's a WWE show. The audiences, too, are disgusting, cheering the most horrendous chest-beating bumper-sticker sound bites with bloodthirsty verve. Again, the WWE metaphor seems particularly apt.
But - I suppose I should post some of the more discussion-worthy points of the debate...
The tone was set early when John King gave Newt an opportunity to respond to allegations by former wife #2 that he requested an "open marriage". He gave King, CNN, and the media in general an indignant tongue lashing
(sorry for that mental image):
“I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans,” he thundered, winning a standing ovation as he denied the story as “false” and called the question “as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.”
Close to despicable, but not as completely despicable was what he did to wives #1 & 2. King gave the other candidates a chance to chime in, and they all did to some extent, but meekly. Here's a good breakdown
of Newt's response.
Besides Gingrich's complete lack of moral scruples, the other big wowser moment was Romney's clumsy tap dance when asked about his personal finances. He was booed
by the audience as he waffled on when and how many years of tax returns he'd release. Gingrich used that as an opportunity to opine
that " if there’s something in Romney’s tax returns that could sink his candidacy, it’s better to know now than after he’s the nominee".
Besides those two topics
, "ObamaCare" was also discussed
(big surprise there). One does not need a crystal ball to know how THAT went. Romney also made the ludicrous assertion that he's "lived in the real streets of America
". Are those the streets paved in gold, or the Wall Streets and K Streets? This was Mitt's attempt to separate himself from the other candidates who have spent time in DC as "insiders".
Despite there only being 4 candidates participating, Ron Paul still seemed like the odd one out, relegated to the margins by his age and viewpoints which consistently jibe with the views of about 10% of America. At least he's consistent and doesn't seem to be lying every 3rd word.
One thing they could all agree on is that SOPA sucks
. I fear that is this a cause to which the Dems in Congress have unwisely hitched their wagons. I know a stopped clock is right twice a day, and this is that time of day when I agree with the Republicans.
Saturday is the election in SC. I believe Newt will win it, which will puff up his inflated ego and fat head even more so. Romney and Santorum will be a close 2nd and 3rd. Paul will get his usual 10-20%. Super Tuesday isn't until the beginning of March. It cannot get here soon enough.