Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 5, 2007
POLITICS: Tonight's GOP Debate

My quick thoughts, to be supplemented later?

Well, everyone will have their own take. I thought, having caught only parts of the earlier debates, that this was an excellent debate. I wouldn't presume to declare a winner, but my guy Rudy had a very good night, benefitted from his command of the details and gave a heartfelt answer in defending his performance as Mayor during and despite the ugly eruption of his personal life. But the debate covered a lot more ground than just that, for all the participants. I personally thought Hunter and Huckabee both auditioned well for the VP job, although I know some people found some of Huckabee's answers on the war off-putting.

In fact, other than Tancredo (who stammers too much and who doesn't have a real role to play with Romney and Hunter carrying the immigration-hawk banner) and Brownback (who has been largely marginalized to his pet issues and isn't aggressive enough in this forum), most of the candidates played fairly well to their pre-existing images: Romney worked at exposing the fissures between himself and the others (notably his sustained attacks on Rudy on the "sanctuary cities" issue), McCain was both grave and wisecracking in turn, Huckabee was eloquent and got off some great lines as always, Hunter was serious and tough, and Paul was shrill but made sure the others had to answer his unique perspectives. (I didn't much like Romney's performance but that's mainly because of the issues I had with him going in). As a field they work a lot better with 8 than with 10, and hopefully that field will continue to narrow - my vote would be for Tancredo to pull out next.

Probably the best line of the night was Huckabee's response to Paul on the idea that Iraq was hurting the party at the polls ("Even if we lose elections we should not lose our honor"). Chris Wallace sounded like he had it in for Paul, going after him with a zeal rarely applied to marginal candidates (e.g., asking if we should take our marching orders from Al Qaeda on withdrawing troops from the region).

Finally, I have to think that Fred was a loser with the people who watched this - unavoidably, perhaps, but we need to get him out there and see what he's made of in these things. Fred needs less tell and more show. The only candidate who really gave a full preview of his line of attack against Fred was Rudy, who lumped him in with Hillary, Obama and Edwards in lacking executive experience (a distinction that drew a smile from Romney). If nothing else, Rudy's willingness to throw a punch at a guy who wasn't even on the stage was vintage Giuliani.

UPDATES: I've decided that Paul reminds me of this guy.

Hunter also had a good line about how the Democrats make their scandals chairman.

Rudy will be held to that promise to go to Iraq this year.


Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:17 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

"Finally, I have to think that Fred was a loser with the people who watched this - "

But Fred knew that 40 gazillion more people were watching him on Leno. You're a perfect example Crank. You, as well as all the other tuned in political mavens have already decided on their guy. Fred doesn't want your support, he already doesn't have it.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 6, 2007 8:26 AM

Great point, daryl. It does however underscore the fact that Thompson will be more about style than substance, eschewing serious forums in favor of exposure/popularity.

I think this guy is going to flop big time—not because he is too late, September is NOT too late to enter, but because he was on the fence for so long. And I don't think the candidates already in are going to take his entrance lying down. Rudy already showed that. I think these guys are pissed that this no-experience actor clown is supposed to be the party's savior and they are going to gang up on him in a hurry—particularly Rudy, Romney and McCain—and expose him, and takke him down several pegs.

Posted by: Mr. Furious at September 6, 2007 9:27 AM

Daryl - Yes and no; I've been saying for months that I was still open to be persuaded to switch from Rudy to Fred, although Fred's dithering has dramatically reduced the odds of that happening.

Furious - "no experience actor clown" is overstating things rather dramatically. The man was a U.S. Senator for 8 years, which last I checked was equal to or better than the principal qualification of each of the top 3 Dems. Fred's presidential resume is relatively thin but he's hardly getting into this as an actor making his first foray to public life.

Posted by: The Crank at September 6, 2007 9:48 AM

Fred does need to put on a full court press, but not for the exposure. He needs money and a lot of it. There is still a lot of Conservative money on the sidelines and Fred better get it.

As for getting in late, I think it is more a matter of everyone else getting in to early. I am already tired of the race and it hasn't even started yet.

I have been thinking about my feelings about the various candidates recently. Romney reminds me of a sleezy TV preacher, Rudy reminds me of a Mafia Don and Mccain...well I wouldn't vote for McCain for dog catcher so it doesn't matter. Fred just reminds me of a big old teddy bear. There just isn't a negative feeling so far, but that could change too.

Posted by: maddirishman at September 6, 2007 11:14 AM

Fred the teddy bear better be able to bite back real hard if and when he faces the Hillarybeast. She plays for keeps, and the media will not keep her honest. Given what he's showed, I am not sure Fred has it in him.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at September 6, 2007 1:13 PM

Fred has shown the ability to get tough so far. I think that is what I am most concerned about regardless of who the candidate is. Republicans just don't seem willing to take the gloves off.

Posted by: maddirishman at September 6, 2007 1:56 PM
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