Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Manatee Madness Debate Wrap Up

There was another debate last night. It stank. Yeah, even by the standards of recent debates, this was a turkey. Here’s what happened.

Winner: Brian Williams. Williams manipulated the candidates like a chess master last night. He got them fighting each other. He tossed mud and they re-tossed it. He had them buying into leftist assumptions all night and pledging fealty to leftist ideals. He also did his best to prolong the horserace and thereby help Obama by making Romney and Gingrich look bad while making Santorum and Paul look good.

Loser: Newt. Here’s why Newt should have lost. Newt lied through his teeth and proved repeatedly that he’s a slimeball. Here are some samples:
● Romney very accurately went through Newt’s baggage. Newt attacked him for telling “at least four lies.” What were these supposed lies? Newt sidestepped: “I’m not going to waste time going through them.” That’s because they weren’t lies and Newt knew it. But in making this kind of defense, Newt dodged his entire record and called Romney a liar, even though Newt was actually the one lying. This is a schoolyard bully tactic.

● Newt was sent packing by the House Republicans in disgrace. Last night, Newt actually tried to claim HE asked the Republicans to vote to censure him because he was becoming “a distraction to the cause.” How noble. Of course, this is a stunning lie and Ron Paul called him on it later. Newt also claimed he wasn’t fined, despite the $300,000 fine that’s on the record. Apparently, Newt is betting you’re too stupid to look it up.

● Newt claimed in prior debates that he created Ronald Reagan and Reaganomics. Anyone with a brain knows this is a lie, and last time, Romney countered that Newt is only mentioned once in Reagan’s Diary. Nevertheless, Newt repeated the claim last night and added a suggestion that he created Barry Goldwater too. This is Megalomania.

● Newt tries to pilfer supporters by talking about how much he agrees with certain candidates without ever actually saying how he agrees with them. Last night it was Santorum’s turn. He also pandered again to the Ron Paul people on the Fed and on gold by claiming views Newt has never held.

● Slimeball Newt keeps making smears while claiming he has no intention of smearing his target. For example, he said he wouldn't make an issue of the tax rate Romney paid. . . right before smearing Romney for not paying enough in taxes because he’s rich. This is the politics of envy and anti-capitalism.

● Newt lied big time and smeared Romney about lobbying. Freddie Mac’s lobbying office paid Newt $25,000 a month to act as a consultant, which apparently involved visiting Congressmen on its behalf. That’s called “lobbying.” Yet, Newt used a false technicality to claim he was never a lobbyist: he claims he was a “consultant” and not a “lobbyist.” Except lobbyists always call themselves consultants, and what really matters in determining whether someone is a lobbyist is what they do, not what their job titles are. Newt was a lobbyist and he knows it and he’s lying to hide it.

He also tried to turn a million dollar lobbying income into $30,000 by claiming he only got a small portion of the amount he was paid because the rest went to a business, which is wholly owned by. . . Newt.

Then he doubled down on gall by accusing Romney of being a lobbyist because Romney also worked as a consultant. Only, “consultant” is a generic title for anyone who performs special tasks under contract rather than as an employee. No evidence has been produced suggesting Romney ever lobbied or worked in the lobbying industry. Newt’s suggestion to the contrary is a lie.

He then also tried to claim that all of Bain Capital’s income was actually Romney’s income, even though the claim is ridiculous.

● Newt said he opposes the DREAM Act, but he again promptly said he supports its parts. Then he mis-described the act to make it sound palatable: Newt argued that it provides a path to citizenship for those who serve in the military. But that’s already the law. The DREAM Act gives citizenship for college attendance and uses taxpayer funds to pay for the tuition.
But conservatives are proving they aren’t smart enough to distinguish between substance and the Big Shiny, so that’s not why Newt lost. Newt lost last night because he didn’t deliver the Big Shiny. His attacks on the media fell flat, the audience didn’t whoop, he landed no blows, and he never looked commanding. And without the Big Shiny, he’s just an ass.

Perfect Attendance: Romney. Romney gave a great defense of capitalism, refused to apologize for being successful, gave a great defense of English only (it’s the key to success to “speak the language of America” and teaching students in foreign languages leaves them unprepared for school -- when they changed the law in Massachusetts to require English immersion their schools shot up the charts), and he landed a few solid blows on Gingrich. But I don’t think conservatives were listening. They’re too busy proving the media’s meme about conservatives having crushes on whoever is hot at the moment.

Winner: Santorum. Santorum is a noxious socialist and a liar. But Brian Williams helped package him as a “genuine conservative” by repeatedly touting his conservatism as a fact, by never asking him about controversial issues, by posing the questions as softballs, and by never following up on the answers no matter how ridiculous. For example, he didn’t even follow up when Santorum said there was good capitalism and “destructive capitalism.” He also let Santorum get away with implying he was opposed to illegal immigration because “they broke the law when they came here and every day when they work illegally” even though Santorum has actually worked to make it impossible to stop illegals from working.

Winner: Paul. As with Santorum, Williams did his best to hide Paul’s crazy. He tossed out softballs and avoided anything truly controversial.

All in all, last night felt like a wash. There was no decisive win, no decisive moment, and I doubt any candidate helped themselves much. The one guy who was probably most hurt was Newt who failed to deliver the Big Shiny, but we’ll have to see how that affects his supporters. At this point, Florida will come down to a few factors: (1) Will more moderates or more conservatives turn out on the 31st? Florida always seems to shift toward the center from what the polls predict. (2) Will enough people who know Newt come out and explain why they aren’t supporting him. (3) Can Newt get a Big Shiny in Thursday’s debate and will people remember it when they vote? Apparently, 1/3 of Florida has already voted. And (4) who will Democrats vote for to cause the most problems?

Finally, let me ask this. The complaint about Romney is that he flipped from moderate to conservative. That’s a legitimate complaint. But how does it make sense for conservatives to prefer candidates who not only held the same moderate views Romney did, but have never made the flip to conservatism?

Don't Forget: There's a new Politics of Trek today at the film site.

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