Saturday, November 12, 2011

CBS/NJ South Carolina Debate

As with the CNBC debate last time around, the clear winner was the format: relatively narrow topic debates sure seem to be a lot more substantive than open topic debates. In large part, that's (I suspect) because it means that we get very few gotcha and political questions, and virtually no gimmick questions. I haven't counted yet, but I'd bet that almost everything tonight was a straight policy question.

In terms of horse race, it's unlikely that much happened tonight. Mitt Romney probably didn't hurt himself. Rick Perry rebounded well, probably having his best debate -- he's now been okay in two of the last three debates, and has done about as good a job as possible recovering from the CNBC disaster. Herman Cain was utterly lost again, especially without the 9-9-9 crutch to fall back on, and at least for now he's lost his humor and zing. Newt? I suppose if you like what he's selling, you'll like him tonight. As for the rest, no effect, even indirectly, on the horse race at this point, regardless of what they do.

Of course, the substance was quite depressing for anyone who opposes torture and supports the rule of law. Others will cover it better than me, so I'll just stop at that. Meanwhile, it certainly is interesting that a large chunk of the GOP is hopping on the pro-Mubarak bandwagon.

Oh, and the CBS/NJ feed during the last half hour was clearly the big loser of the night, for whatever that's worth.

So: if there's any political news at all, it's going to be that Rick Perry managed to get through 90 minutes without making a complete idiot of himself. I see on Intrade that he's currently a bit below 4% (and Newt is up to 14%...I'm confident that Newt Gingrich doesn't have a 1 in 7 chance of winning the nomination, and I suspect Perry has a much better than 1 in 25 chance, but it's hard to tell.


  1. I thought Newt was smug as usual, and not out in front with ideas. He didn't impress me at all with his answer for how he'd "think outside the box." However, I do agree with his defense of the Awlaki killing, and I thought he delivered it well. I think there is a need for a category like "enemy combatants" to cover terrorists who strike from outside the US. Other than that answer, Newt seemed flabby and me-too. Ditto for Cain and Mitt.

  2. Ah, but the REAL story coming out of the debate was Bachmann's clear evidence of a liberal news bias!

  3. What happened?

    I put in a /sarcasm joke html tag, and it disappeared.

    Hmm....blogspot must have read the html and ended my sarcasm

  4. Again, I'm saddened Paul gets so little mention in the press. He clearly stood on his convictions of the illegality of torture, the importance of Congress in declaring war.

    I suspect the press's failure to mention these things is due to a covert operation; perhaps a cyber action that deletes all the Paul text before the pieces are printed or posted.

  5. zic: Agreed. And you can be sure that a Ron Paul Presidency would roll back the Presidential powers accumulated over the past ten years and dramatically increase government transparency in the process.

  6. Connor Friedersdorf has what I'd call the best analysis of last night's debate up:

    The summation:
    "Among the candidates at the debate, Huntsman and Paul are the only ones who can credibly attack Obama on the foreign policy grounds where he is weakest: his radicalism on executive power, illegal war in Libya, civil liberties violations, the destabilizing effect of his drone war on Pakistan, and the fact that he has an assassination list with the names of American citizens crossed off it."

  7. How many Republican primary voters care about an "illegal war in Libya" or "radicalism on executive power?" I'm guessing very, very few, particularly given that nearly all Republicans fervently supported George W. Bush's foreign policy. Friedersdorf is in a state of deep denial about the GOP.

    The talk-radio right was pro-Mubarak during the Tahrir Square days when all other articulate opinion was pushing for his ouster. Looks like they're winning the battle within the GOP. Don't underestimate the depth of anti-Muslim feeling among conservatives.

  8. @Richard Skinner

    How is Friedersdorf in denial about the GOP? He wasn't saying that Paul and Huntsman's views on national security and civil liberties represent those of the average Republican voter, he was simply saying he personally approves of those views and wishes they were more accepted in the party.

  9. Why does Friedersdorf think there is any chance at all of these views being more widely accepted in the GOP? That's like wishing the Pope would come out as an atheist.

  10. Are you being deliberately obtuse? Nowhere does Friedersdorf suggest those views are likely to become accepted by the GOP anytime soon. He simply expresses his own preference for said views--nothing more, nothing less.

    You really need to take a step back, because it sounds to me like you're more interested in scoring points than in listening to what people have to say.

  11. Late, but just now thinking there should be a Secret Plan Theorem: if a candidate says he won't discuss his military strategy because he doesn't want to tip off the enemy, he doesn't have a military strategy.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?