Monday, September 12, 2011

Tea Party Debate Tonight

This one is, I'd say, quite a bit lower profile than last week's Reagan Library debate. That one had Rick Perry for the first time, and the flap with Obama's speech scheduling, and the Reagan Library debate tradition. This one? I guess the Tea Party angle is something.

Apparently the big anticipation tonight is that Michele Bachmann is going to go after Rick Perry on Social Security. She basically treats the presidential nomination contest as if it was an early-afternoon cable net talk show, doesn't she? Of course, that's her skill set as a politician. I mean, not winning those shoutfests, but being willing and able to take part in them. The problem for her is that since nominations aren't like that at all her upside is very limited. The problem for Perry is that her position, which seems to be "keep the government out of my Social Security," is entirely unconstrained by rationality, and thus potentially somewhat difficult to refute (not that there's much rationality to his Ponzi scheme thing, of course).

Hmmm....trying to decide here between when Picard told Tasha that "There's no logic in this at all," or Spock's "logic is a little tweeting bird chirping in a meadow." I suppose the latter would be really good if Bachmann was going to take on Romney.

At any rate, getting back to the debate, it'll be interesting to see whether Perry takes the bait or not. His best bet, it seems to me, would be to shrug off anything Bachmann says and focus on establishing his policy strengths, but that's not how he's acted so far.

I'll once again be tweeting and then doing a recap over at Greg's place. Anything else we should be looking for?

4 comments:

  1. The only thing you have to be looking for is chinks in Romney's armor, or any potential weakness, of any sort.

    There will come a point when the full mass of supporters will be distributed, and nobody much will be left on the sidelines. It may come early or late, now or in March or in between, but if Perry has bluffed them into making it early, and in his favor, you'll be able to see it in Romney's face. He's lived through that before.

    Bachmann can be ignored, for the most part. Let her sleep. She won't be able to fund a long campaign of consequence, so both Romney and Perry might want to let her alone. If I was Bachmann, I'd attack Perry on illegal immigration, not Social Security. That might give her traction, and keep her in the race.

    Romney can attack Perry on SS, but he best tread carefully, as people appear to be getting a nuanced and sophisticated position on that, and the classic fearmongering may not help him. Would love to see it argued bloodily however. Entitlement reform will have to originate somewhere, and the Left will never do it.

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  2. I'm starting to think that a long primary campaign would be very bad news for the GOP, in sharp contrast to the way the long Dem primary in 08 mobilized that party. The more I watch these debates, the more I think that the GOP primary is not going to bring in new republicans. In talking to directly to a certain group of people the way that they are, they are simultaneously distancing themselves from everyone else. The longer this goes on, the more likely that Mitt Romney says things or takes positions that cause him problems in the general. Moreover, the more he has to battle with the far right, the more he has to repair that relationship after the primary, by say, nominating a very conservative running mate. Still, my sense is that they only way Mitt doesn't win this thing is if he comes in third in IA and somehow loses NH, which might happen if Huntsman gains momentum up there. Regadless, I think some in the GOP want a long primary to mobilize the party, but I don't think it will be as helpful to them as they think. Mitt needs this primary to be over, pronto. By the way, how much of a joke is Jon Huntsman?

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  3. I tired to watch it, I really did. But I could not get beyond the CNN theater of lights, music, stage; of introductions of candidates as if they were wrestlers at a sporting event.

    Politics is not a sporting event. I'm repulsed by media coverage that presents it so.

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  4. We're talking the Tea Party 'debate', if you want to call it that. I expected nothing less than a pro wrestling-like event. The cheers from the audience on the hypothetical posed by Blitzer of letting an uninsured man die, certainly reminded me of such a barbaric sport.

    But, there is a good article over at The Prospect by Paul Waldman on what was witnessed in both last night's debate and the debate last week. I tend to think he's right. But I still find this dramatic performance troubling; it is conditioning an audience to a cruel and inhumane way of thinking, imo. Guess, they're trying to prepare us for what is to come if they ever get their way.

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