When will one of these Republican candidates act like a conservative in these horrible debates?
Not just talk like a conservative. They all “talk the talk,” in increasingly trite ways. They are parodies of themselves. Batty old great uncle Ron, earnest retired professor Newt, snarky student body president Santorum, fighter pilot Perry, rigid (I’m playing an adult on TV) Romney, Hurri-Cain, and bomb-thrower Bachmann.
Sniping, jabbing, clawing each other this week on a stage set in Las Vegas that may as well have been designed by Simon Cowell. Moderated by Obamabot provocateur, in his highest-ratings appearance ever, Anderson Cooper, who couldn’t help laughing out loud at the spectacle of Republican candidates making Obama’s case against each other.
In previous debates, I thought any one of them would make a better President of the United States than the incumbent. Now I despair. The liberal chattering class is leading these candidates around by the nose.
After the last debate in Hanover, N.H., ObamaPundits declared Rick Perry dead unless he could make the case as the anti-Romney.
In Vegas, Perry came out swinging, interrupting, shouting, bullying. Something about illegal gardeners. Mitt Romney said, “Let me finish,” or some version of that, some 26 times and finally put his hand on Perry’s shoulder to restrain him.
The American Success Story, Herman Cain, unique among the candidates, actually has a tax overhaul plan called 9-9-9.
Because it would tax Obama voters who currently pay nothing, the ObamaPunditry spent the previous week hammering its defects, urging other Republican debaters to attack it and Cain. Right from the start, Cooper pitted one debater after another against Cain. It looked like bear-baiting, although some of the attack dogs resembled Chihuahuas.
Perry was the fiercest attack dog. He called Cain “brother” and vowed to “bump plans” with him. Do the other candidates know that Perry is armed?
The “bear” got predictably irritated and the other candidates’ staffs got the message. Who cares that the public wants fundamental tax reform? Who cares that the public sees the current tax code as a giant campaign slush fund fueled by myriad special tax breaks? Propose a specific reform that deprives the political parasite class of its money and power, and its media partners will tear you apart.
Cooper’s job included using Obama attack lines. Take ObamaCare.
Provoked by Cooper’s question, Rick Santorum took Romney out on “RomneyCare,” using the exact same argument that Obama will use against Romney if the two of them end up debating next fall. ObamaCare is a direct copy of RomneyCare. Obama even used Romney’s health care advisers to craft his plan. Romney as the Republican candidate takes repeal of ObamaCare off the table, no matter how often Romney vows to do it.
Newt Gingrich joined the attack until Romney reminded him that he (and The Heritage Foundation) had supported the insurance mandate before they opposed it.
Not one question about Fast and Furious. In an effort to blame gun ownership in the U.S. for border violence, a program budgeted by Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder allowed thousands of guns to be illegally purchased in the U.S. and disappear into Mexico to arm the already dangerous Mexican drug cartel. Not one candidate spoke up.
Not one question about Solyndra. About crony capitalism. About Obama’s inaction on the Keystone XL pipeline. Did the candidates think that Cooper would ask questions that would allow them to attack the most failed record of our times since Jimmy Carter? If not asked, why didn’t the candidates act like conservatives and bring up these topics themselves?
Only Perry dared to stray from the question to state a case for oil and gas drilling to create jobs. When challenged by Cooper to “answer the question,” Perry said, “You ask the questions, and I’ll answer them.” The only time a candidate challenged Cooper. The only time a candidate dared to define a position that put Obama on the defensive and not a fellow Republican.
Ron Paul has called for drastic cuts in the behemoth federal government. Cooper asked Paul about it in the tone of a counselor urging a mental patient to open up. Paul did his best, but looked frail, only sporadically coherent. His time has passed, but I hope his budget ideas haven’t.
It doesn’t help Paul that he sees no threat from Iran (they aren’t that “stupid”) and would immediately eliminate all foreign aid, including to Israel, and withdraw all overseas American troops. The bloodbath that would follow is unimaginable.
The debate was held in Las Vegas, with 15% unemployment and two-thirds of its homes under water. The worst economy in the country. No one brought up Obama early on deriding businesses who convention in Vegas, condemning Vegas the way he would later condemn corporate jets, causing mass cancellation of conventions and the beginning of the Vegas Depression.
Harry Reid must have breathed a sigh of relief.
I just sighed.
The first primary is less than two months away, but the election is still 13 long months from now. When will the Republican candidates insist on a moderator who will let the voters hear more than 30 seconds of attack sound bites.
Voters deserve better. Voters want to hear how each of these candidates would act to free the economy, limit government and restore the blessings of liberty. Maybe next debate.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter