G.O.P. Presidential Debate

There was a G.O.P. Presidential debate last night. I had my fun razzing them on Twitter, so I’m not going to bother doing that too much here. (It’s not fair, but it’s fun playing Statler and Waldorff via Twitter in real-time with your Twitter friends.)

Instead, I’ll refer you to analysis from Rod Dreher at The American Conservative (h/t Tipsy).

A couple of notes:

#He was “disgusted” by the crowd at the debate “cheering the execution of 234 Texas death row inmates.” If one supports the death penalty, it ought to be as a necessary evil; not a matter of glee.

#He thinks that Rick Perry “won” the debate, because of – and not in spite of – Perry calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme (and, though he doesn’t note it, a “monstrous lie.”) The main concern with Social Security seems to be that it’s structured such that younger workers support older workers and that it invests in Treasury Bills (which Tipsy refers to as promissory notes signed by drunken sailors.) I also have issues with how payroll taxes are used to fund current expenditures, but I view that as a problem with inadequacies in the general fund, not Social Security. In any event, politically, I don’t see that playing well in the general election; no matter how many times they reassure the elderly that they will get their cut of the monstrous lie, Ponzi scheme — it’s only younger workers that will get cut out. I don’t know how this sort of thing plays with your average Republican primary voter. He notes in an update that the sources he was reading regarded Romney as having “won” the debate.

#Dreher endorses the view of Jonathan Chait that Perry “won” the debate because, by ignoring constraints of reason and debate rules, he better represents the “Republican id.”

The media seems to consider Romney the winner. Pardon the condescension, but they’re not thinking like Republican base voters. Romney approaches every question as if he is in an actual debate, trying to provide the most intellectually compelling answer available, within the bounds of political expediency. Perry treats questions as interruptions. What scientists do you trust on climate change? I don’t want to risk the economy. Are you taking a radical position on social security? We can have reasons or we can have results. His total liberation from the constraints of reason give Perry a chance to represent the Republican id in a way Romney simply cannot match.

#Reps. Bachmann and Paul are largely ignored along with the rest of the field which, it seems to me, has much more anemic support than do those two. I did enjoy Dreher’s description of Rick Santorum: “Santorum came across as jittery and very Doug Neidermeyer tonight.”

#As to John Huntsman, he states:

[H]e’s not on as solid ground as he thinks saying that the Republicans can’t get elected if they “run against science.” Pew Research finds between 40 and 50 percent of Americans believe the Biblical account of creation. Also, Gallup found earlier this year that 43 percent of Americans believe that climate change fears are exaggerated, and the percentage of Americans who say they worry about climate change is at its second-lowest measure in history. I happen to believe that Huntsman is correct, but he is out of touch with political reality.


  1. says

    It’s a stretch to compare evolution, a proven scientifc theory that has been subject to the scientific method to the theory that “man is causing dangerous global warming that will wreck the planet,” a politicized conclusion that is reached through a looking at some scientific evidence while ignoring other evidence that doesn’t fit the hypothesis.

  2. says

    Everyone will get their social security benefits, only in dollars that are virtually worthless. That’s really my point about how the “Trust Fund” is invested. It’s defensible to invest in the supposed “safest thing around,” which is U.S. Government obligations) – if you’re a trustee, you’ve got to invest in something – and the general fund is indeed the problem. But it all is interconnected, like a house of cards.
    Perry would be more credible if he offers a solution. But Paul Ryan offered one, and I can’t help but notice he’s not running for President. Coincidence? I think not.

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