One of These? Please...

After some digging, I finally found the debate on Bloomberg TV.  I didn’t know we got that channel until I went looking.  Suffice it to say that I could have saved myself a good deal of trouble and faked my way through by guessing at the way it would go.   It wasn’t inspiring, and in fact, disappointing, not for the lack of fireworks, although there wasn’t much there either, but simply because there is nobody among the eight candidates who appeared Tuesday night that is worthy of endorsement.  It’s possible that if you took the best traits of each of them, you might cobble together a worthy candidate, but it seemed more like a staged coronation of Romney and a further opportunity to hammer Perry.

My assessment of the candidates, in no particular order:

Rick Perry: Better.  It’s obvious that he was the only candidate Karen Tumulty recognized at the table. While I’m no Perry fan either, this was a bit blatant.  She seemed to be seeking the approval of liberals everywhere as her questions all seemed to have a tone of indignant harumph about them.  Score Perry 20 points just for refraining from telling her to crawl back under her rock.

Michele Bachmann: That’s it? That’s the extent of her arguments?  How many times did she praise Mitt?

Jon Huntsman:  Who cares?  Everybody knows he’s in the room to make Mitt Romney look less liberal by comparison.

Herman Cain:  Blew it big-time on the 9-9-9 plan.  His insistence that the American people would hold Congressional feet to the fire to prevent the 9-9-9 from becoming 19-19-19 is laughable.  He’s either naive or dishonest.  I’m still willing to believe naive.  Also, he mentioned that he would be President so he would veto anything done to abuse his formula.  That’s all well and good while he’s still President, but hopefully, the country would go on a bit longer. What then?  Lastly, never say that “I have some candidates for that job” unless you’re willing to discuss them, because thereafter, it will look as though you’re hiding something, which you are.

Newt Gingrich: Too bad about Newt.  He’s a remarkably smart fellow, but his willingness to join with Nancy Pelosi on theGlobal Warming hoax damned him forever more.  Nobody will really trust Newt. Me included.

Ron Paul:  He made an excellent point about Sarbanes-Oxley, and also about Greenspan vs. Volcker.  Greenspan did help create the bubble. As usual, Paul is good as gold on economics but he’s a disaster on foreign policy.

Rick Santorum: Makes a good point about the importance of family with respect to poverty.  Otherwise, I think he was simply happy to be there.

Mitt Romney:  The good news for Mitt is that he didn’t say too much to get himself in trouble with the press, but every republican should be deeply troubled by what he did say.  Romney is playing a game of class warfare only slightly different from the Democrats, and he’s taking it in a different direction, but it’s the same thing.  He also lied about Romneycare.  In several ways.  Romney is precisely what we do not need: He’s a liberal.

We need to begin to ask the question about what it is to be a Republican.  We need to differentiate between conservatives and progressives.  Tonight’s debate served only to further muddy those waters.  What does the party stand for anyway?  If these people are representative of that, whatever it is, we’re in deep trouble.  Sure, if I could take Paul on economics, Cain on combative business savvy, Bachmann on confronting the welfare state, Gingrich on thoughtfulness, Perry on reducing regulation, and Romney on “looking presidential,” we might have something.  The truth is that we don’t have such an aggregate of good ideas and traits in one person.  If this is the pool from which we hope to draw the person who will defeat Obama, never mind restore our nation, I think it’s time to call Houston, because we have a real problem.

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