by Andy Weddington
Saturday, 12 November 2011
"I wish I could give you a lot of advice, based on my experience of winning political debates. But I don't have that experience. My only experience is at losing them." Richard M. Nixon
The GOP debates are necessary. But debates next fall? Why bother?
Now to explain.
Recent polling indicates Mr. Romney is in a statistical tie with President Obama in several key "battleground" states. Analysts argue the Republicans need to put forth the best candidate possible to beat Mr. Obama, and consensus is that candidate is Mr. Romney. Though analysts admit many in the party will toss their head back and pinch nostrils closed while voting for Mr. Romney. Why? Because Mr. Romney has baggage not to the liking of conservative America but, per the analysts, has the best chance of holding his own when debating with the president--a proven competent debater and superb speaker (at least with teleprompter).
But that perspective does not make sense. It's illogical. The thinking and the deduction is flawed. Sure the strongest candidate ought to be in the arena against Mr. Obama but, to date, there's not a compelling case Mr. Romney is that candidate. Nor is there any reason to debate.
I digress but necessarily so.
Mr. Perry stumbled, again, earlier this week during a debate. He went blank--he could not remember something. And oh how uncomfortable it was watching him struggle. But in the heat of the moment he handled it about the best way he could--he sort of threw up his hands, said he couldn't remember, and comically said, "Oops." Then the next day he aggressively set out to repair whatever damage (and raise money), real or hyped, that'd been done with a touch of humor tagline "I stepped in it."
By the media's and analyst's pounding on Mr. Perry's all-too-human gaff they'd have us believe he committed the crime of the century. Some tagged it the worst moment in televised debates in the last 50 years. That's hard to believe. Who hasn't gone completely blank on occasion? A couple of weeks ago at a social I forgot a longtime friend's wife's name. For whatever reason, cells and synapses failed me. Embarrassing? No, not really. I managed, gracefully, anyway. So what. Are we to slay a candidate for the presidency because of a momentary memory lapse? It's just too bad Mr. Perry has had more than one burp at the podium. But still. There's another debate this evening. We'll see.
Mr. Cain, relieved to have some pressure off, certainly took no joy in Mr. Perry's hiccup. And yet those same imbecilic media and analyst types would likewise have us believe the manufactured sexual harassment allegations (Ann Coulter recently exposed a slimy, stinky trail leading back to David Axelrod and Chicago--ah, perhaps a prominent Chicagoan's fingerprint to appear in a dusting; verifiable against birth certificate) against Mr. Cain are his death sentence. Baloney! Media's trying to sell. The public's not buying. Mr. Cain's campaign, even while straying from message to address baseless attacks, has reported raising more than $9 million. Explain that one? The folks are weighing in--with cash and support.
Newt Gingrich is steadily recovering from his bumpy start and the staff turmoil that marked his entry into the race. He's now perched on the top tier. And those who jumped ship to join Mr. Perry are probably now thinking how hasty their decision. Whatever. Mr. Gingrich, appearance after appearance, proves he knows the issues, foreign and domestic, and is no dim bulb. Most agree he is the one candidate who would bury--in form and substance--Mr. Obama in debate.
What of Bachmann, Santorum, Huntsman, and Paul? They're no dummies. But their's seems to be more of a supporting role keeping the top tier candidates sharp. And that's good.
Now back to Mr. Romney as the candidate to beat Mr. Obama, and the matter of debate.
I said at the onset the logic is flawed. It is.
Once the Republicans have chosen their candidate debate is moot.
What would be the point? What in the world is there to debate? It would be one thing if Mr. Obama's policies and administration were moving the country in the right direction, but most polls indicate more than 70% of Americans do not believe that to be the case. So, what of substance is there to debate?
These are unusual times. Remember, in 2007 and 2008, our sitting president promised the world. He's not delivered. He talks. He spins. He blames--everyone but himself.
Mr. Obama's tenure, particularly regarding the economy, has been a disaster. A disaster stemming from two primary causes: 1) He has no clue; 2) His economic team--no longer serving--had no clue. Cause 2 may explain cause 1. Maybe.
Protecting our borders--especially to the south--has not been any better. Let's set states enacting bills to enforce federal law aside. The larger issue is the problem has been framed wrong. The language is wrong. Mr. Obama, and Republicans, too, refer to "immigration" (illegal). That's ridiculous. The problem is "infiltration" not "immigration." In military parlance, "they" are inside our wire. We need to get them out. We need to keep them out. And that is accomplished through an interlocking and overlapping array of physical measures e.g. ditches, moats, fences--solid and wire, listening posts, observation posts, mines, fires registration points, fields of grazing fire, aerial surveillance, and manpower. That is how to protect our perimeter. Ask any combat arms Marine.
"Green" energy and jobs? Where? "Dirty green"--can you spell Solyndra?
And as to foreign policy, there's the headscratching snuggling up to and sharing winks, nods, and not-so-secret handshakes with known thugs, thieves, and backstabbers while cold-shouldering friends. What? Why?
There's more but the point made.
Words may be powerful. Results more powerful yet. Still again I cite the quote embossed on a plaque that sat on a bookcase behind an old commanding officer's desk: "Don't Confuse Effort With Results." By extension, effort includes talk.
By the time next fall--traditional presidential debate season--rolls around Mr. Obama will have had an entire term to have done something. Nothing significant is going to happen between now and then. Besides, governing has taken a back seat to campaigning.
No, there's no need for any Democratic vs Republican debate. None. Enough talk.
America listened. America, for a while, was patient. America, restless, started to fidget. America is fracturing. America has heard all she needs to hear--at least from opposing party candidates in a formal forum.
The Republican has nothing to gain by debating. Though there's much that could be lost against an opponent who dazzles with clever words and mesmorizing delivery.
Debating is tactics.
Not debating is strategy.
A compelling case has already been made to oust Mr. Obama. And he made it himself.
All the Republican candidate needs to do is stay on message and remind the country of the mess Mr. Obama has made. That's it.
It's time for our "45th President of the United States." But the logic for Mr. Romney is flawed. Seriously flawed. And smelly. There's no reason for American's to have to hold their nose voting for a president. None. And they don't have to. And so is there no sensible reason for debate--the choices clear.
Some doubt Mr. Cain will survive the smear of the sexual harassment allegations. Though knowing nothing about politics and campaigning, I am not so gloomy and am willing to give Americans more credit for using their heads. Bold, I know, but there are encouraging signs (e.g. money flowing to Cain; standing room only rallies; etc.).
Several of the Republicans are problematic for Mr. Obama, but none more than Mr. Cain. A black (conservative or not) squelches any possibility of Democrats painting the Republicans (and Tea Party movement) as racists. His substantive resume of leadership and accomplishment, understanding capitalism and economics, trumps the sitting president's thin (and some say questionable) resume and dismal term.
In the end, race of candidates will not matter. And it will matter not how the black vote goes in 2012. The white vote, as it did in 2008, will determine the election. And Mr. Obama their choice will not be.
Finally, on a lighter note and to prove I am definitely comfortable in my own skin, something that occurred to me while polishing this Commentary, a thought for a campaign bumper sticker:
"HONKy for CAIN!"
Or so it seems to me.