Reactions to the ABC Your Money, Your Vote Debate

Saturday night, the Republican candidates met in Iowa for yet another debate.  The group was smaller, thanks to Herman Cain ending his campaign a week ago and Jon Huntsman stayed home, eliminating the vast majority of my built in bathroom breaks in the debate.  ABC hosted the debate, and did pretty much exactly what I expected.  Diane Sawyer asked a lot of liberally premised questions which was bothersome (she also has the personality of wet plywood) and Mr. Snuffleupagus…ERRR…George Stephanapolus…wasn’t too bad. 
So let’s play a round of everyone’s favorite post-debate analysis game: Buy, Hold, Sell, or Sell All.
Michelle Bachmann – Sell (Sell):
Again, Congresswoman Bachmann had some great moments.  She had a great exchange with Governor Rick Perry on the subject of Pakistan.  Her debate performances keep going up…but her poll numbers don’t.  I think Congresswoman Bachmann might be a good Vice Presidential nominee, I also think if, as expected, Speaker of the House John Boehner faces a Tea Party primary challenge, and if he loses, Bachmann would make a fine Speaker of the House.  But right now I do not see her rebounding.
Congresswoman Bachmann really explained the problem with continuing the Payroll Tax holiday…the payroll tax pays for Social Security and cutting that tax is the equivalent of cutting 1/3 of your personal food budget while still needing to spend the same amount on food.  Social Security is self-sustaining through the Payroll Tax, but now the Obama solution is to use money from the general fund to pay Social Security, which means you pay for someone else’s retirement…that is Socialism.
Bachmann would make a great Vice Presidential nominee.  Like Sarah Palin, she’s an excellent attack dog.  That’s what you want in the #2 spot, especially if the nominee isn’t Newt Gingrich, who would be his own attack dog (his perfect VP would be someone like Herman Cain).  I just don’t see her rebounding, but I’ve been wrong twice before in this race so don’t trust my predictions in this race!
Newt Gingrich – Buy (Buy):  Gingrich again showed that he is, in my opinion, the single most knowledgeable candidate on pretty much every issue in these debates.  He understands reality and understands how to solve problems.  (Yes, I’m becoming a Newt man, if you didn’t pick that up.)  He understands that developing our domestic energy supplies, namely oil, will solve a whole lot of problems in our national security by removing our dependence on many foreign nations for those supplies.  And yes, Newt is right, if we are serious, we can change the face of the oil market by drilling for our own oil in a serious manner. 
Newt did a good job, although I do think he was hurt by CNN spreading out the questions evenly because, by other debates have given the frontrunner more questions, and that frontrunner, friends, is Newt Gingrich. 
Newt did a pretty good job of explaining his support of an individual mandate in the Hillarycare battle and explained that it was an attempt to deal with the real problem of people failing to pay for themselves when they could afford to…he also admitted flat out that he was wrong. You see, I don’t expect people to never make a mistake in their political past.  (I’ve been convinced to change my mind on certain issues too…I’ve done so in this year that I’ve been writing this blog through debates I’ve had with others.)  The reality is sometimes you consider a pragmatic solution that you decide after it’s failed to be implemented (or succeeded) you change your mind.  Newt has done this on other issues too, like sitting on the famous couch with Nancy Pelosi.  He was also very candid and, I felt, genuinely contrite of his marital failures and spoke of going to God for forgiveness.  This is why I feel his past sins are not a problem, because I believe he has genuinely repented.
Aside from that, Newt was straight forward and honest.  He reminded me of Ronald Reagan saying “there you go again.”  I would like to see Newt have more of a grandfatherly tone than a professorial tone…in other words, I’d prefer that he’d say “there you go again” instead of blinking with a tone that says “are you stupid?” but I do know that Newt would trounce Obama in a debate, and that, I believe, will do wonders to take away Obama’s pretty words.
I am becoming confident that Newt is going to be the Republican nominee, and that frankly excites me, because he can effectively communicate conservatism, and real conservatism wins every time it’s effectively communicated.  I also think the digging for skeletons in the closet with Newt is going to fail, because his skeletons are in his front yard, and they’ve been there so long that people have stopped noticing them.
Jon Huntsman – Not In Attendance (Sold):
Well, a pig flew by tonight because I agreed with Huntsman on one statement: We do need term limits for Congress.  Then he proceeded to drive me so crazy through the debate that I felt I couldn’t just make a fun joke about Governor Huntsman.  I’ve seen pieces of wet one-ply toilet paper with more tensile strength than John Huntsman’s spine.  He’s a wimp, and we’ve already got a wimp in the White House.
Huntsman’s absence left me without opportunities to use the bathroom or get myself a beverage.  Of course, it did mean there was more real debate happening. 
Ron Paul - Sold (Sold):
When Paul talked about our spending problems, I stood up and cheered.  Yes, I agree that our spending problem is one of our biggest national security issues.  That being said, in a few places, Paul also showed a whole lot of the reasons why I can’t support him…on the subject of National Security, Congressman Paul sleeps with his Happy Imagination Hat on.  I, on the other hand, live in the Real World.  Honestly, I do not believe that we can just play the isolationist game in this modern world…we just can’t.  I’m sorry, but that’s the reality.  To paraphrase a favorite television show, there’s a time and a place for everything, including idealism and it’s called college.  It’s not called the White House.
Overall, however, Paul focused on the 85% of issues I agree with, and stayed away from a lot of the issues where I do agree with Cain, starting with really dealing with our real problem, which again is not revenue, it’s spending.  Congressman Paul really fascinates me, because he has a condo up the street from me in the Real World that he lives in 11 months a year, but then decides to take out his Happy Imagination Hat and live at his time share in Happy Imagination Land when it comes to foreign policy.  I just don’t get it.  How can one man be so realistic when it comes to the economy and so unrealistic when it comes to foreign policy?
Ron Paul danced around with his Happy Imagination Hat on again, talking about his unrealistic non-interventionist policies as if they were practically possible in the modern world.  Those policies only barely worked in the early 19th Century and they absolutely don’t work now.  Look, the reasons that the Islamic Fascists (note: does not include all Muslims) hate us does not have to do with bases in any location or interventionist policies.  They hate us because they believe their god commanded them to kill all infidels, which is defined as all non-Muslims, in an effort to spread their religion.  (As a Christian, I understand proselytizing, I was commanded by Christ as all Christians were to go into the world and preach the Gospel and make disciples…but we do it through love and through service, not through killing unbelievers.) This debate showed why Paul is not going to be the Republican nominee.  He is out of line with the vast majority of the Republican Party, with the conservative base, and yes, with the Tea Party…on the subject of defense at least. 
Rick Perry – Hold (Hold):                                                                                                 
Perry maintained his gains from the last debate.  He’s begun to pick up a few points in the polls.  I really like his plans, I like his Flat Tax, I like his Balanced Budget Amendment, I especially like the idea of making Congress part-time.  That being said, I don’t really think he’s going to rebound THIS ELECTION.  I do think you could see Perry be a very strong candidate in eight years as a second time Presidential candidate.  So many candidates are better the second time around.  Look at Mitt Romney.  Also, look at Ronald Reagan.  I’m not writing Perry off yet, because his numbers are climbing, but I don’t know if there’s enough time to climb back to the top.
I also want to give a quick reality check to Governor Perry:  Just because you were able to work with Democrats in Texas, doesn’t mean you can work together in the same manner with Democrats in the United States Congress.  The man Governor Perry served under as Lieutenant Governor of Texas, former President George W. Bush had the same expectation and it didn’t pan out…and that’s because a Democrat in Texas is often more conservative by a fair margin than a Republican in say, Connecticut or New York.
I think Perry did well tonight, just based on debate performance.  I think he stood strong and did pretty well.                       
I loved Perry’s statement that his marriage vow was not just a vow to his wife but a vow to God.  Perry was on the attack, and honestly I wasn’t a fan of it in many cases.  I think Governor Perry is throwing haymakers.  He’s been kind of the Rocky Balboa of this race, in that he’s taken a terrific beating largely by blocking punches with his face and won’t go down.  He’s losing on points by a whole lot, and he’ll lose the decision if he lasts to the end of the final round.  But, like Rocky, there’s the possibility he’ll last that big knockout blow in the final round and win in a knockout, which is why I continue to hold Perry’s stock. 
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I love Perry on paper.  I just don’t think he’s ready, yet.  Remember how many Presidents ran previously and did not win the first time:  from Thomas Jefferson (1796) to more modern examples like Richard Nixon (1960), Ronald Reagan (1976), and George H.W. Bush (1980) all ran for President before they were ultimately elected.  I think Rick Perry might be one of these.  I’d look for Governor Perry to be a much stronger candidate in the election of 2020. 
One final note on Perry:  He made Romney look like a fool with his response to Mitt’s “I’ll bet you $10,000” remark by simply smiling and stating “I don’t gamble.”
Mitt Romney – Hold (Buy):
 “What you have is a President who has a priority of spending us into bankruptcy, but he’s not just spending us into bankruptcy, he’s spending the money foolishly.”  Amen, Mitt, amen.  Once again, foreign policy is a good place for Mitt.  I genuinely would trust him to keep ups safe if he became President, just like I trusted George W. Bush to keep us safe.  That’s the big reason why I could live with Mitt as President.  I still want better, though.
Mitt is what he is…not a RINO, but a Rockefeller Republican.  He’d be better than Obama and I will get behind Mittens, yep, that’s his real name (no it’s really not…it’s Willard), if he does win the nomination.  I’m glad he’s not on track to put me in that position.  He got roughed up by Gingrich…he was lost when he was asked to name where he differed from Speaker Gingrich…his first response was opposition to a plan I bet none of us had heard of regarding mining resources on the Moon.  (If anyone was actually aware of that proposal before it was brought up in the debate, I will let you guest post on Biblical Conservatism on a topic of your choosing within reason.)  I’d also like to note that he looks orange.  Like Benjamin Grimm orange. 
I did enjoy Mitt’s response to the “Newt Romney” line from Michelle Bachmann with his parody of Lloyd Bentsen in 1988, and more importantly he’s steady.  He knows who he is and what policies he’s supporting.  What I do believe is going to hurt him still is his refusal to back down on Romneycare.  Mitt’s other big problem is the fact that it’s not 2008 anymore.  Something has changed in the Republican Party since 2008.  We conservatives have stood up and said absolutely no to the GOP trying to choose our nominee based on whose “turn” it is…so sorry, Mitt, I don’t think this nomination is going to be yours. 
Mitt also really shot himself in the foot with his “I’ll bet you $10,000.”  It sounded tremendously out of touch…not many Americans just up and wager ten grand like they were waging five dollars.  The response itself wasn’t completely foolhardy, just the wager he offered.  If he had rather said “I’ll wager you dinner after the next debate” or “I’ll make you a bet, if I’m wrong I will wear a Bugs Bunny tie on the next debate, but if you’re wrong you do the same,” he would’ve been fine.  But offering a wager that is approximately 20% of the median household income of a family of four…well, just shows that Mitt is out of touch.  It’s been said of some of the most well spoken politicians that they have a “rapier wit.”  In this gaffe, Governor Romney showed that his wit was more like a fencing foil.
Rick Santorum - Sold (Sold):
Honestly, I’m getting annoyed with Santorum.  He’s so busy showing he can play the same lame compromise game (I promise I wasn’t trying to do a Dr. Seuss impression) that has caused the problems we have in Washington.  Democrats want Republicans to compromise when the GOP is in power, and then tells us “elections have consequences, and we won” when Democrats are in power.  We do not need to compromise with Democrats.  We need to defeat them.  Santorum wants to play the same Washington insider game, and we don’t have time for that game. 
My concerns remain with Santorum.  He’s a Washington insider.  His greatest qualifications seem to be playing the Washington game, and that is not a qualification in this race.  This election is about anything but Washington Insiders. 
Debate Winner(s):  Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry
Please note:  My perceived debate winners have zero to do with chances to win the Republican Nomination.
As it sits now, the race for my personal vote looks like this:
1.       Newt Gingrich
2.       Rick Perry
3.       Michelle Bachmann
How about you?  Let me know in the comment section, on Twitter (@UpstateMetFan) or on the Biblical Conservatism Fan Page on Facebook!