Fox / Google Republican Debate
by Stephen Richer • Sep 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm
Thursday night's Republican debate… There's been so many of them now that they're starting to blend together, but here's a few things that stood out:
1) G-chat noise
Apparently a number of viewers complained that the timing buzzer at the last Fox News debate sounded too much like the buzzer used to scold a dog. I don't know what that sounds like, but I guess it's a bad sound…
So instead, Fox News borrowed a noise from its cohost Google. Each time a candidate reached his allotted time, the moderators loudly played the iconic Google noise used to notify you of a new G-chat message.
The moderator asked, "Does everyone like the new sound? Far more pleasing than the old one?"
My answer: No. I did not like the new sound. In fact, I hated the new sound. I watched the program on my computer, and I spent half of the two-hour debate minimizing and maximizing screens to see if the candidate had run out of time or if somebody had g-chatted me.
Speaking of failing, the consensus is that Perry got his ass kicked again. But even worse this time.
I'm not sure I noticed a difference. Perry didn't impress me in either of the first debates, nor did he impress me in this one. But I didn't notice a substantial dropoff in his performance. In almost every confrontation with Romney, he gets destroyed. The other candidates recognize Perry as the poll leader and have made him into a pin cushion – especially Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann. And Perry still averages at least two responses a debate that leave me trying to figure out what he said.
So will Perry's nice little run at the top be ended? Maybe. Only two days after the debate, Cain won the Florida straw poll with ease, a poll that Perry had pushed hard for.
But I don't know how many people watch/care about the debates. I guess the thought-leaders (don't worry, I'm not including myself in this list) watch the debate though, and then they tell others what to think about it.
3) Education – consensus
No issue produced greater consensus. And that's a good thing. Education could be an issue where the Republicans go from zero (No Child Left Behind) to hero (school choice). School choice is popular with the public; it's already yielded results; and it's well-branded as a Republican idea.
I think Jon Huntsman summarized the education consensus pretty well: "Localize, localize, localize." Also a lot of talk about closing the Department of Education, which, with the exception of the job of one Ricki M., would cause me no sadness.
4) Foreign policy – rift
Unlike the education world, there is a growing rift on foreign policy. This is a bit surprising. Throughout the 80s and through the George W. Bush administration, all Republicans were fairly aggressive on foreign policy. Now, however, we have a growing "bring the troops home movement," best embodied by Ron Paul, but echoed by Huntsman, Perry, and Governor Gary Johnson. The most strident defender of the traditional side is Rick Santorum, but also in the still-majority opinion are Romney, Gingrich, and Cain.
For more on this interesting development, check out Eli Lake's article in this week's Newsweek / Daily Beast: "Republican Military Deserters."
5) Santorum / Newt Bromance continues
In my post on the last debate, I commented on the seeming bromance between Santorum and Gingrich. Accordingly, I absolutely loved it when Santorum responded to the question "who would be your vice president?" by saying, "the man to my left, Newt Gingrich." It would have been even better if Newt had responded in kind by naming Santorum, but he decided "not to play this Hollywood game."
6) Vice President
"If you had to choose one of your opponents on stage to be your vice presidential candidate, whom would you choose? ... More or less."
So I actually really loved this question. But I only rank questions based on their potential humor value. Major negative points for the people who didn't answer. There were definitely two right answers to this question: 1) Herman Cain – he's the only one who smiles all the time, is consistently coherent, and makes good jokes, or 2) Mitt Romney – he's the most competent manager of the past 100 years. Say what you will about his ideas, but why wouldn't you want this guy implementing your ideas. Look at Bain, Massachusetts, 2002 Olympics; he took all of them from the red to the black.
- Apparently Huntsman favors natural gas subsidies…
- Line of the night, as everyone has said, does have to go to Johnson: "My neighbor's two dogs have created more 'shovel-ready' projects than President Obama."
- Best question of the night came from the guy on YouTube from Ohio: "Why do we continue to give billions of dollars in aid to countries that hate us."
- Some good Euro-bashing by Romney: "Europe isn't working."
- Good catch by team Perry on the difference between Romney hardback and Romney paperback.
- Johnson. Got on the stage. Finally. Won't go anywhere with it, but he has a platform now. Got to talk about how many bills he vetoed, and he got the line of the night. Didn't seem to have a lot of spunk / charisma though.
- Romney. He wins when Perry loses.
- Cain. He continues to be a crowd favorite, and his "9-9-9" policy is probably the only piece of policy that everyone remembers.
- Newt. Articulate as always. Seemed super comfortable. Got the most votes for mock VP.
- Santorum. Continues to punch way above his polling-weight. Has become a leader on foreign policy.
- Huntsman. Got a little more fired up, and he got in a nice jab about being the only one with foreign policy experience.
- Paul. Good night for Paul because he didn't have to answer a foreign policy question that caused him to reveal his belief that we Americans brought 9/11 on ourselves.
- Perry. A few good moments, but on the whole, more and more Republicans realize that the only thing this guy can do is refer back to Texas. Despite the fact that he's had high levels of success, and he has some good ideas, he would get rhetorically trashed by Obama in a debate. President George W. Bush anyone? Except for A&M instead of Yale. Is that a good thing?
- Bachmann. Woah. After a strong debate, Bachmann has fallen off the radar. Tried to get a bit of her steam back by hitting the mandated Texas vaccination, but that was sooooooo last debate. Also, it sounded somehow science fictional when she said, "I'm the biological mom of five children."
Thanks for playing.
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