Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gipper Debate Watch

I figure that if I'm staying up late to watch the GOP debate at the Reagan Library, I may as well leave a written record. This is the third debate the library has held, and the first of this season. In May 2007, ten contenders stood next to Airforce One and jostled for attention at the first primary debate. Two of them, Romney and Paul are back tonight for the fifth Republican debate this year. Eight are attending, but there would be more if the arbitrary rules allowed Govs. Roemer and Johnson to show their faces. Reagan is bound to be brought up alot, so a drinking game would be simply self destructive. I'm looking instead specifically for props, unfamiliar stories/facts, and bold criticism. Anyway, it's starting.

1:02 - don't recognise where they are, but it has been refurbished since I was there. If it was the pavilion, you'd see the plane.

1:04 - big yawn from blonde audience lady in anticipation of Romney on jobs.

1:07 did Romney just say it's fun to govern? Or was it private industry that's fun?

1:08 Romney brings up Gore internet canard to uproarious laughter

1:11 Cain is a 9 percenter. Probably the only economic plan I will remember at the end of this.

1:12 Huntsman gets in first Reagan reference - his China trip - and points at the plane. They are in the pavilion. And he can speak chinese.

1:14 Bachmann has a prominent flag lapel pin. I'll keep an eye out for the others.

1:16 - Ron Paul factoid comes up - he's delivered 4000+ babies. Can he deliver on the economy?!!Over regulation has ruined the US auto industry?

1:17 oh yeah, forgot about Newt. Trashes Perry's book. I CAMPAIGNED FOR REAGAN WITH JIM LAFFER. Obama should have come to the Reagan Library to learn how to create jobs, and asked Herman Cain.

1:20 Now Romneycare. I'm getting confused with the flitting about. Romeny says nothing new - what's good for Mass is not good for America. Perry: What's good for Mass is not good for Texas - nor is the Fed Gov.

1:24 Huntsman has somehting on his lapel, not sure what it is. Perry has nothing - not a patriot.

1:26 Bachmann says we need a strong leader to repeal Obamacare, can't just do it with an Executive Order. Her argument - she introduced the bill to repeal it in Congress. Good to know she has some substance.

1:27 Gingrich is feisty! Attacking the news media's attempts to divide Republicans. Big cheers. Cain attacks Romneycare. I assume that media attacks Gingrich is referring to are when they record and broadcast him saying things he now doesn't agree with.

1:30 Santorum spent his 12 years in the senate workin' on the poor. Is he running as a post-partisan conciliator? The party is in trouble when Santorum is the reasonable moderate.

1:32 Perry forgets Santorum's name? Then onto a powerful non-sequitur. Quotes JFK on welfare.

1:35 Huntsman makes a sly inplication that Bachmann et al want to "dictate" gas prices.

1:38 Ron Paul is gunning for Perry. I guess that as a consituent, he's the one on the platform most familiar with him. Now Perry is attacking Paul as a Reagan deserter! Paul comes back - I supported Ronnie in '76. But in the eighties, "the message was great, but the consequence was not all that great. Huge deficits". Would like to see this subject play out, but it's gone to adverts. I have a feeling that Perry is not going to get too far attacking Paul for criticisng Reagan from the right in the late eighties - when he himself was a Democrat.

1:44 Little promo for the Reagan Library and the Gipper himself - backing music from the Verve for some reason? Nancy with the laughing face. I'm guessing Nancy is there, but haven't spotted her. And there she is! Looking a little grumpy.

1:50 Paul really doesn't like Perry - and attacks him for the imperial manner of his leadership. It would be nice to have more discussion of the methods of executive power. Bachmann piles on. Perry hates cancer.

1:56 Perry's candidacy - and his book - seem to be leading the debate. On forced inoculation, on Homeland Security, everyone's jumping to the right of him. Only Romney's being nice - "we all love America".

2:02 - Cain has a similar button to Huntsman. What is it? Everyone else's lapels are empty.

2:05 Brian Williams keeps reminding Perry that Texas is shit. 

2:08 Surprise hispanic questioner - immigration reform was a subject dear to Reagan's heart? Perry calls Obama a liar on the safety of the border - is that allowed? Gingrich quotes directly from the Reagan diary on the amnesty bill. Big applause for English as a national language.

2:13 Bachmann gets her first question in ages. Narco-terrorists. Sovereignty. Bay of Pigs Museum. Not sure Floridian cubans are entirely representative of Hispanic-Americans.

2:16 Huntsman: Reagan saw immigration as a human issue.  If Reagan were here...hopeful optimistic...American people. Paul : (Michele Bachmann's) fence might not just keep people out, but it could keep people in! Those people who are getting out with their capital in times of economic turmoil (to Mexico?). I guess that moment would have been the best time yet for Paul to bring up drug policy, but he may be tired of being singled out on the issue. Oh, I wish Gary Johnson was there.

2:22 Williams wants the frequency and velocity of the debate to increase. Great.

2:24 Bachmann says Reagan would also reject a debt deal with any tax increase, because his deal failed. It's a bold claim, Reagan always advocated - or accepted as a fact of life - compromise.

2:28 First mention of GW in a question to Perry on his views on military adventurism. He clumsily changes the subject to Obama and Keynesianism. And Osama? Trying to distinguish between philosophical and political views. Harris sticks to GW as a subject, now to Bachmann, she turns it to Obama and Iran and Israel.

2:33 Santorum: RR was committed to America being a force for good around the world. We didn't have dated exit strategies back then. Please let Ron Paul bring up Lebanon. Reagan tradition vs isolationism is how he defines the foreign policy debate - not Bush doctrine.

2:35 Huntsman back off from naming names on anti-science loony Republicans. Perry is very vague and stumbly on climate science. 

2:39 Bachmann's flag has tilted and is now vertical - not yet upside down, though.

2:45 Haven't been listening closely enough on Perry's capital punishment answer, but I assume he's dodged any implication of his wrongdoing.

And with a libertarian flurry from Ron Paul, the debate is over. Romney and Huntsman came across strongest to me, if that counts for anything. Gingrich seemed to have the most detailed grasp on Reagan; Santorum and Bachmann just blithely imposed their own positions on him; Huntsman made a lukewarm effort to evoke Reagan's character. My award goes to Ron Paul, though, for the bodl criticism I was after, even if it was inarticulate and cut short. I assume that like last time, the candidates will be back next year after being whittled down some. Maybe I will post again before then, but no promises.