Reactions to the Cain-Gingrinch "Lincoln-Douglas" Debate

Saturday night, Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain met for an unorthodox but highly entertaining debate in the style of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas from their 1858 campaign for the United States Senate. It was a fascinating concept. What I liked about this debate was I got to see real discussion between two candidates that went heavily into the issues instead of just providing for quick, sound-bite answers.

From an entertainment standpoint, this debate was beyond compare. Both Cain and Gingrich are legitimate conservative candidates that I am seriously considering voting for come New York’s primary next year. Both present two great conservative solutions: the 9-9-9 Plan and the New Contract with America. Seeing the two of them square off head to head told me one thing above all else: I’d love to get behind either one of these men in 2012 against Obama.

For the record, I’m buying both of their stocks, so I won’t bother playing Buy, Hold, Sell All or Sold. This was just too different a debate to use the standard format. So instead, I’d like to discuss what I thought was each candidate’s best overall moment, best response to a question, best point made against their opponent and what position makes me, as a conservative, the most excited.

Herman Cain:

Best Overall Moment: “Since Medicare/Medicaid got started in 1965 what it has done trying to control it out of Washington, DC it has gotten states hooked on it like people getting hooked on crack. We have to break the crack habit! Block granting is definitely the approach to end the dependence of states on Washington DC bureaucrats making those decisions.”

Best Response to a Question: We have the best healthcare in the world…we have a Healthcare cost problem. “Don’t let the liberals use their typical scare tactic of throwing grandma off a cliff.” Treat Medicare money like IT’S YOUR MONEY not part of a pool. Ownership of money will cause people to spend it better.

Honorable Mention Moment: Cain’s statement on requiring a photo ID to vote. I had some friends over (including fellow blogger the JC_Freak) to watch the debate and we actually took a moment to discuss what type of individual would actually be able to survive in this country without some sort of legal photo ID. We concluded it would be an individual who had inherited their home on a generational basis going back so far that that Squater’s Rights took over and a photo ID was not required to receive the house in a will, is a completely self-sufficient subsistence farmer who grows his own food and does not sell it, or if he does sell it accepts only cash and then keeps his money under his mattress does not drive, and never purchases any age limited product (ie alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, and NyQuil). That’s the person who would be able to survive without a photo ID, because you must provide it to buy a home, to rent a home, to drive a car and to have a job. So to say that it’s disenfranchising people by requiring a photo ID is just plain silly.

Position that Excites me Most as a Conservative: Cain’s “teach a man to fish” story excited me. Cain gets the problem with the entitlement society…we’re just giving people a fish constantly and now they’re standing with their hands out waiting for their next fish. The truth is that we should create a system where we are not making people comfortable in poverty but where we provide their immediate needs until such time as they can pull THEMSELVES out of poverty.

Newt Gingrich:

Best Overall Moment: “The left has this model in which everybody is weak, helpless and stupid but government will take care of them…which always leads me to wonder who do they think government hires?”

Best Response to a Question: "All of us have a hand in making medical costs a mess. Nobody thought through the consequences of a 3rd party payment system. We have no nat’l hearings on fraud at McDonald’s because you ask for a Quarter Pounder, they give you a Quarter Pounder, you give them money. There is a direct relationship. Medical insurance is not like that."

Position that Excites me Most as a Conservative: In the last part of the debate, Gingrich said “I don’t think you solve poverty problems by considering people helpless.” I couldn’t agree more. We treat the poor as so helpless and useless that they need government to care for them. This is the cornerstone of the liberal mentality that must be changed. People, regardless of their current fiscal property, have the ability to lift themselves out of poverty given the proper impetus. The left doesn’t want that…they believe you need government to save you from poverty. We as conservatives believe that, to paraphrase somebody I don’t like “Yes YOU can.”

Winner of the Debate: Newt Gingrich by a mile. Newt was more articulate and more Presidential. I do believe I’d give my right arm to see Gingrich debate Obama.

I’d love to see a Gingrich/Cain ticket in 2012 (with Newt at the top of the ticket). It would serve multiple purposes, including giving Cain experience as the #2 and grooming him to be President after Gingrich.