The Czar watched the debate this evening with millions of other Americans (at least until Top Gear came on, which to be frank, was one of the funniest episodes they have ever done). Overall, there was not much more on substance than on the prior debate; however, some differences stood out:
- The candidates were much more willing to call each other out, even though there were heads nodding in agreement though most of it. Of particular interest, naturally, were past comments made by Perry and Romney and whether the other candidates agreed more with one or the otheralthough Santorum scored big by demanding to know whether they agreed with him. Santorum definitely wins the No Loss of Focus Award.
- The questions, composed largely of Tea Party representatives, were far tougher than anything the media coughed up to date. You arent surprised, either?
- Wolf Blitzer still underwhelms as a moderator, interrupting frequently, and focusing far too much on Perry and Romney. In fact, nearly every question of his seemed to revolve around asking candidates whether they agree or disagree with either of the two men. Enough, already.
- Some advice for Perry, Romney, and Hunstman: we are tired of your gubernatorial accomplishments! Stop comparing lengths around the urinals, guys. We want to know what you would do as President, not who was the better governor. Hint: the United States of America is bigger than Texas, Massachusetts, or Utah. Combined. Get over yourselves and talk about our future. So far, none of you really seem to appreciate what a big job the Presidency is.
All right, the part you all read this for: the rundown on each candidate.
Rick Santorum is still doing an excellent job of keeping track of everything thats going on. He does not like to play the medias reindeer games, and knows that the harder he hits, the more attention he gets. He was deliberately skipped on the question about countering unemployment, and while it was awkward, good for him to go back to it during the next question. He looks better now than he did after his last debate performance, but he still has so far to go to grab the attention of the public overall.
Mitt Romney is still a sharp guy, and won many arguments tonight. Unfortunately, he lost manyparticularly when dueling Perry on the subject of social security. In fact, all of Romneys stumbles occur whenever he tries to go on the offense against Perry. Instead of delivering a powerful right cross, he winds up whiffing the swing and getting a hook to the liver from Perry. Romney, to put it simply, is at his best when he appears unflappable and unphased, not when he tries to paint Perry as an over-the-top blowhard. It fools no one. Also: stop attacking Perry on things he said or did that you have said or done yourself. It is a bit embarassing each time you blast Perry, and he quotes your book in which you admitted the same thing.
Rick Perry dominated early on, but clearly found some of the questions tough, particularly on foreign policy. The problem with Tea Party candidates is that while they say great things about the economy, they tend to forget the Presidency is about a helluva lot more. Perry needs to be better prepared to lead the country…although to be fair, he could already smoke President Obama in a one-on-one debate about foreign affairs.
Herman Cain continues to delight and entertain. He is thought-provoking, sensible, and ultimately charismatic. He stands a snowballs chance of winning the nomination, but whoever does win must find a place for this guy in the cabinet. Please. He is too valuable to lose!
Newt Gingrich still plays like he has nothing left to lose. His answers are often brusque, and he still knows how to get applause and cheers. However, he is starting to wander a bit too much into the past lately: he is quite confident that everything can be fixed by going back to 1994 thinking. The economy, the world, and Americas savviness have changed too much for his ideas to work.
Michele Bachmann did not do her best, and while she had some solid answers and good applause, still cannot capture her early magic. This could be perhaps because she continues to repeat herself ad nauseum on the economy. Really: are there any Tea Party voters out there who still need to hear that she was the only one who authored bills of repeal for Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, and voted against the spending agreement? Bachmann urgently needs to find some new bullet points, as all hers have been accepted or overcome by the other candidates. In other words, she is rapidly becoming irrevelant.
Jon Huntsman needs to just shut up already. He comes off, yet again, as whiny, petulant, and so under-appreciated by the others. And what hurts about this is that, pretty often, he comes up with a pretty interesting idea. Unfortunately, it tends to get lost in his personal irritation that no one ever spots these ideas. At least he looked like a candidate up there tonight, and not as a guy whose name wasnt on the list.
Ron Paul. Sigh. The Czar treads on tricky ground here, because he knows so many readers like and even support Dr. Paul. And we hear so often that Paul would be so much more popular if he just got proper media attention. The problem, of course, is that when the media gives him a few minutes of attention, he says what he actually thinks. And what he thinks is off-putting, impractical, or outright reckless. He deserved to be booed tonight when his Truther theorythat the US bears responsibility for the September 11th attacksslipped out more than he wanted it to.
Friends, you need to understand that the more the media shines a light on Dr. Paul, the more he reveals. A lot of you are probably thinking that he didnt…couldnt have…meant that tonight. Well, he did. And whats more, he has even darker, scarier thoughts that he has not articulated yet. The more this guy speaks, the more of this lunacy leaks out of his brain. You havent seen half of what he thinks, and it is about time that Pauls most loyal supporters start adding up the misses as well as the hits. Because there is more miss than hit with Dr. Paul. Because all those awesome ideas we keep hearing about are just the sweet icing to a bitter, unpleasant, and even poisonous substance underneath.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.