GOP Debate #4327: Washington DC – The belly of the beast.

Our man Wolf Blitzer gets another shot at these Presidential hopefuls as CNN hosts the next GOP debate, main topic: National Security.  This may set up well for Newt and Jon Huntsman, the only two on the stage with any cred in that area.  The debate is at the DAR building.  That’s Daughters of the American Revolution building in case you were wondering, and it’s in the heart of devil town or as some people call it Washington DC.  I’m personally hoping for another Wolf Blitzer Miss America type training session on how to introduce yourself.   I might just DVR the first 10 minutes in case Wolf decides to creep us all out by giving a demo on the proper introduction technique.

Some pre-game info: Newt misses the chance to get on the ballot in Missouri.  Filing deadline was today, $1000 and some forms in triplicate and his staff missed the deadline.  So Newt will not be on the primary ballot in Missouri.  Keep that trend up and it might be hard to get votes.  Of course Missouri is one of those goofy states that does both a primary election and a caucus.  In the election all registered Missourians will vote, in the caucus only party members will vote.  Guess which one actually counts – that’s right the caucus vote.  Newt may have just saved himself $1000.  I’ll take him to win the Missouri caucus in March in a landslide if he’s still in the race in March.  His personal baggage and a commercial he did with Nancy Pelosi about climate change is starting to hurt him a little, but not nearly as much as missing ballot registration deadlines will.

Mitt has put some ads on the air in New Hampshire, even though he’s winning that state by almost a 3-1 margin over the next closest rival.  The ad getting the most buzz – a spot where Mitt attributes comments Obama made about McCain to Obama himself.  Bottom line is the ad just outright lies about what the President said.  Politifact gave the ad a “Pants on fire” rating.  Mitt’s staff maintains that it’s all fair game baby.  So now we know where the bar is set, lets see who tries to go under it.  The ad is here:  Mitt’s Ad

Oh great, Ari Fleischer is on the CNN pre-debate coverage.  President Bush 43’s first press secretary, Ari is possibly the most delusional poltico turned politco pundit out there.

It’s go time.  Wolf intros the candidates all by himself, having them line up in front of the podiums like at the all star game in baseball.  Now we get the rules.  Wolf leaves no stone unturned.  Oh NO!  He does it, Wolf gives us the intro demo.  Holy cow, I thought I missed it.  And yeah it was creepy.

First question is about the Patriot Act, signed by Pres. Bush 43.  Newt is for it and even strengthening it.  Ron Paul is completely against it in the name of liberty.  And Ron Paul gives the first Founding Fathers quote of the night and gets the first round of applause.  Look out Wolf, the crowd is not following the rules.   Be advised, whatever the answers are tonight, the final sentence will be “it’s Barak Obama’s fault.”

Getting a little ugly now.  Just had some Mormon on Mormon crime as Mitt and Jon Huntsman lock horns on troop levels in Afghanistan and their relationship to Pakistan.  Mitt says commanders on the ground want troop levels to drop slowly.  Huntsman counters with a hissing “The Commander-in-Chief makes the call.  Commanders can be wrong.”

Newt chastises them both and then cuts Wolf in half with a no-look condescending look.  Blitzer literally was split in two by Newt.  So far only Megan Kelley of Fox News has been able to de-fang Newt.  Newt is batting around 900 with respect to crushing moderators.  This is Newt’s second stomp of Wolf this season.

Perry begins to sputter on the supporting Israel question.  He’s leaking oil.  Full scale Perry melt down all but guaranteed in the next hour.   Cain will support an Israeli attack of Iran if they have a good plan.  A 999 plan perhaps?

God love Newt.  He’s such a pompous ass, but he’s right just about all the time.  His responses are measured and thought out, only Jon Huntsman can match wits with Newt.  Only moderators feel Newt’s sting.

Mitt has engaged his cloaking device.  Which means he wins this debate as the rest bloody each other with non-facts (read lies & made up stuff) and mispronounced names of foreign leaders.

An hour and 15 minutes in and Cain still can’t find the switch to raise his cone of silence.  Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are leading Cain in time of possession by some 10 minutes of answer time.

Newt now lecturing on models he drew up to balance the budget.  Might be a power point presentation complete with laser pointer any moment now.

Snarky but true, a drop out from clown college did Bachman’s make up.  Tammy Faye Baker would be proud.  That being said I was wrong before, Bachman also has street cred on these issues.  Her Pakistan answers were as good as anyones, to include Newt.

Perry is warming up for the big melt down.  Says he would make congress part time and draw from the regular citizenry.  What’s that great line from a NFL coach, “Take advice from the fans and it won’t be long before you’re sitting with them.”

Newt now schooling Bachman on the Dream Act.  He likes the idea of giving illegal immigrants citizenship if they serve in the US Military.

Wolf sees through Mitt’s cloaking and hits him with a direct question.  You da man Wolf.  Mitt takes Newt to task with Wolf’s question.  Where do we get these names?

Perry literally froze for 3 seconds mid sentence and you could hear the hearts of the 400 in the audience and the 60 or so watching at home, skip several beats as they wondered if Perry would finish the sentence or just stop talking.  It’s coming folks, although we’re late in the 4th quarter, the melt down is coming.  Newt and Perry are on same page with respect to illegals gaining citizenship for serving in the military and going to state schools.  That may hurt Newt in the republican party.  It buried Perry.

Now Wolf sniffs out Cain like a pig to a truffel.  Hitting Cain on Perry’s idea for No FLy Zone over Syria.  Cain does not agree with Perry’s No Fly Zone idea.  Gave short answer and shut his mouth.  National Security is clearly a weakness for Cain.

Huntsman gets the question on the crisis in Egypt.  Remember Huntsman was President Obama’s ambassador to China.  Huntsman is debunking the myth that sanctions are a useful tool.  Says China never buckled under to sanctions and won’t play ball in enacting them on Syria, Eygypt or anyone else.

Mitt disassembles Perry’s No Fly Zone idea by pointing out that Syria has no viable air force but they have over 500 tanks.  “Maybe we should have a no drive zone”  Ooh, beat down Mormon style.

Final words from each candidate.  Only Huntsman says joblessness is America’s greatest enemy.  The rest spout about China, except Newt who fears EMP – Electro-Magnetic Pulse.  Not sure what he means by that, must be some pseudo reference to a cyber attack or something.  Santorum, he fears Honduras.  Personally Rick, I’ve always be suspicious of Belize, but I’m a worrier.

Well that’s it from the pressure chamber that is the Nation’s Capitol.  Next up, Drake University in Iowa on the 10th of December.  Check back for a Mitt Romney profile.

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Diary of a Stay at Home Dad: Well it looks like mud!

So we decide to go on our first real family outing.  I think it was our first.  It was a weekday so that means Tracy took the day off.  It must have been a special occasion of some type, but currently it escapes me.  Stop the presses, my dutiful wife just reminded me it was Frank’s first birthday.  Yeah, seems like I should have remembered that.  Anyway we decide to make a weekend of the whole thing starting off with a trip to the zoo.  Whoa, whoa, whoa,  hold the phone a second.  My diluted memory is coming back, thanks to a photo album I did of the event on Facebook.   Frank was actually only 19 weeks old, so it would have been the end of September, not his first birthday which is in May.  It was the weekend I retired and Tracy went back to work from maternity leave.  Yeah seems like ol` mommy should have remembered that.  Well we’ll just keep that between us, no need to gloat to Tracy that I remembered and she did not.

No matter, we press on.  Our “garb” makes more sense now.  No way I would have been wearing a long sleeve sweatshirt in May; end of September, early October probably.  But its East Tennessee and the weather gets “ah mite bit squirrely” as they say round these parts.  That would account for the garb Frank had on.  And before I describe it let me just say Frank followed the runners code of dress ten degrees lighter than the temperature.  In other words if it’s 30 out, dress like it’s 40 because you’ll eventually heat up.  The problem in this case is Frank was not going to be doing any running and we dressed him like it was 60 and it was probably closer to 48 in the early morning hours at the zoo.  Well too late to do anything about that now.  I covered him  with my sweatshirt I think.  Not too bad a mess up for first timers until we run into a group of friends in front of the bear cave.  Seems they have this little zoo get together club one a week I believe.  Now we feel like dopes and we can taste the judgement raining down upon us.  They weren’t judging us in the slightest but we felt stupid and frankly probably deserved a little judgment at that point.  I mean for all we knew Frank was going to have hypothermia before we made it to the monkey cage.  That would have been a real downer too because the highlight of any zoo trip for me is always the olympic style feces tossing that goes on in the monkey cage.

We did in fact make it to the monkey cage.  Too cold for the feces toss.  Can’t have the gorillas pull a hammy or blow an achilles while they’re tossing their excrement.  Crap!  Although I will risk a fire bombing by PETA to say that seeing a gorilla blow a hammy in the middle of a heave might have been too funny for words.   Oh well.  It finally warmed up and we ran into the group of friends, all moms by the way, near the little zoo eatery.  We were pleased to show them that not only was Frank still alive, but the same color he was when they saw him 15 degrees ago.  On a side note I thought it was odd to put a hamburger/hotdog/BBQ joint right along the path of the animal cages.  I mean the cheetah habitat was to the right of this joint, the zebras a little further down.  You would think the animals wouldn’t take kindly to the smell of burning animal flesh all day.  Apparently they didn’t care so we sat down and muckeled some burgers.  I guess cows are not respected by the animals of the Serengeti.

All in all it was a lovely day.  Frank survived and we headed for the gate.  We stopped for the obligatory bathroom break for Tracy.  As I was sitting on the bench fixated on Frank I noticed some mud on his shoe.  That was really odd because at 19 weeks he couldn’t have walked or even stood up, not to mention the fact that we never took him out of the stroller.  The real odd part was the mud was on the top of his shoe near his sock, not on the bottom where you would expect to find mud, that is if he could have walked in the first place.  So no, the bell is not ringing for me yet.  Tracy walks up and I asked her where could he have gotten mud from.  She say’s what mud?  I said the mud on his shoe and as I point I can now see the mud on the side of his leg and in the stoller seat.  I’m like, dammit where is all this mud coming from?  Tracy looks at me with that penetrating look that says, your smart enough to fix military airplanes for ten years and you can’t see that our son has just emptied his bowels all over the stroller!?!?

Yeah, alright now I see it’s not mud, but it looked like mud.  Even the “mud” that got on my hands still looked like mud to me.  It wasn’t until the smell overtook us that it became clear there was not one drop of mud anywhere.  It was all Frank.  Funny thing among a host of funny things, Frank was not the least bit concerned.  He had not a care in the world.  So we hotfoot it back to the car.  Yes the car.  This was October of 09.  We didn’t get the mini-van/shuttle Frankerprise until April the following year.  We’re going into hazmat mode in the back seat of my Grand Prix.  In case you were wondering, it ain’t built for that.  Plus we were woefully underprepared.

I have no idea what were were thinking, but we only had 3 diapers and a small amount of wipes.  The diapers became an issue because the back seat was quickly becoming contaminated and Tracy threw me some diapers.  Wrong answer, diapers 1 and 2 now contaminated beyond usage.  I mean it was like this stuff was just multiplying.  “Mud” was everywhere and the wipes inventory was reaching a critical state.  Just as I wiped some up, there was twice as much as before.  I had to make a command decision.  The back seat was becoming uninhabitable.  We were about to lose the whole shooting match if we didn’t do an emergency egress.  I picked up Frank, stuffed the clean diaper in my pocket and moved to the trunk lid of my car.  We were in full view of the public in the zoo parking lot but at least I could breath and see the sky; two things I was almost positive I would never be able to do again.   Frank, the kid is a trooper.  He was quiet for the most part, probably dumbfounded by what he was witnessing.  At one point it seemed like he laughed a little bit.  Not a jolly, 19 week old type laugh.  It was more of a subtle, sarcastic, “God why do you hate me” laugh.  Now I have to set up a potty triage on the trunk of my car.

The little mat that you put down on a public restroom changing table, yeah that was annihilated inside of 3 seconds.  But a quick lesson for the young kids – the reusable shopping bags all the tree huggers use at the grocery store – they double nicely as a diaper changing station and, when torn in small pieces are surprisingly absorbent.  So we might have to max out on the diasper rash ointment to save Frank’s bottom, but those shopping bags really cleaned up the area.   It was a shame though.  The 4 grocery bags that bit the dust were actually a gift from my little sister.  When she heard I used those at The Kroger she sent me 4 bags with the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies logos on them.  Good soliders all.

Somehow we managed to finally get cleaned up.  We did have a onsie that survived the avalanche.  So Frank rode home in style.  We tightened up his diaper bag after that little adventure.  I also put a few packs of wipes in the car as well, just in case.  We learned some valuable lessons that day.  Not the least of which was, if your kid can’t walk, then that can’t be mud.

 

All smiles at the bear cave...

About Me

Originally born and raised in Mays Landing NJ with my 5 sisters and 2 brothers, I now live in Knoxville TN with my wife Tracy, our 4yr old, Frank and his 1 yr old sister Anne Marie. This blog is named for Frank and was Tracy’s idea. So it is truly a family affair.  

I’ve had the privilege of serving for 22yrs in the United States Air Force, first as an aircraft electrician, then as an instructor at the Noncommissioned Officers Academy in Knoxville, TN.  In that time I received an associates degree in Mathematics from ACC, a community college in South Jersey, and a bachelors degree in History from the University of Maryland’s distance learning program. Aside from my formal education, I was educated by some great people in the military. There are so many, too many to name but W. Clark Allen, Tim Donovan, Joe Zane, and George Wessler are the 4 guys who got the ball rolling. They taught a 20yr old, know-it-all it’s not enough to strive to be good at your job, you have to be dependable, reliable, and trustworthy as a person, be someone others can and want to count on, and when the red phone rings answer only with; “yes sir I’m on my way.” In other words, as Clark would always say “Vinny, it’s time to grow up.” To that foundation all others have added on. Well guys, I hope I’ve been worthy of your efforts.

ps The aircraft in the header – “142″ is an F-16 Falcon from my old unit, 177th Fighter Wing in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Home of the Jersey Devils!

GOP Debate #3958 Hello from Spartanburg

The gang teed it up in the Palmetto State on Saturday Night.  What nothing better to do fellas?

Yeah we just did this 3 days ago, what’s it to you.  CBS gets a chance tonight.  Should be big fun.  I’m slightly late to the party.  Frank decided to give back his lunch and possibly part of his breakfast.  I’m still checking my sweatshirt for biscuit fragments.  But we’re all cleaned up, drugged up, temp coming down and sleeping comfortably at the Embassy Suites in Raleigh North Carolina, so let the show go on.

Same cast of characters but cast in a different light.  Newt has moved into a statistical dead heat at the top of the polling along side Mitt and The Herm.  Expect Newt to start catching some flack.  And since he’s an egotistical jerk-weed his return fire should be awesome.

Like I said I came late, but not too late to see Newt schooling the moderator on the judicial disposition of captured terrorists in the American legal system.  The moderator, whoever this dude is, looks like a geriatric ken doll.  Scott Pelley is his name and anchoring CBS news is his game.

Michelle Bachman got a few questions and regardless of topic her answers consisted of a noun, a verb, and Obamacare.

Rick Perry said he would stop all federal aid to foreign countries.  Mitt agreed.  That can’t be good.  All countries would start at zero and then have to make their case to get money from us.  Sounds reasonable, but moderator was quick to add, “does that mean all aid would stop to Israel as well?”  That brought a mental grimace from Perry because he realized the size of the can of worms he just opened.  Instead of changing his tune he just decided to eat the worm and said “everybody has to start at zero and make a case.  It can’t work any other way.”  Good for him.  It will raise a lot of questions on the Sunday morning political shows but at least he didn’t back off.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina asks a three part question and wonders out loud if he’ll be able to remember all three parts.  ZING! Perry style.

Senator Graham does ask a good question about water boarding.  For the first time in 11nty billion debates the candidates are answering from the gut and not the “elect me president” play book.  How can you tell?  None of them are saying the same thing.  Perry gave the best answer, in favor of water boarding.  Leans on his time as an Air Force pilot when discussing the value of information, no matter how it’s obtained, to troops in the field.  Not sure I agree but it was a solid, well thought out answer that came from somewhere outside the politics first reflex.

Ron Paul stays true to his libertarian philosophy and is opposed to water boarding and the assassination of people by the U.S. government.  This is in line with his opposition to the death penalty.  His feeling is the government should not be in the business of killing anyone.  This is the bedrock of Libertarian politics.

Mitt and Cain are in favor of water boarding or “enhanced interrogation techniques” as it is currently called.  Neither were asked directly but had staff members put out statements to the effect in the spin room during the debate.

Bachman tried to answer but was completely ignored by moderator Scott “Ken Doll” Pelley.    Pelley then gave her a softball on the economy as it relates to national security and she blamed the President.  No, not Obama, Michelle blamed Lyndon Johnson for the condition were are in today.  I’ll say it, what the @#c% is she talking about?  Why is she still in the debates?

Newt has been quiet since schooling Pelley on the American Judicial system versus military law during war.  He was right, Pelley knew it and now won’t ask Newt a question.

Wow some serious questions tonight.  Serious Commander-in-Chief stuff.  Cain going with the “I don’t know” but “I’ll consult with my  military commanders.”  He used that for a few questions.  Not sure that’s going to help him.  But foreign policy is one of his weakness’ and that’s common knowledge.  Staying quiet for the most part is his only hope.

Really only Newt and Jon Huntsman have a foreign policy cred.  Both of them gave great answers on dealing with Pakistan and our own debt as national security threats.

Most startling answers of the night, Newt and Mitt favor war with Iran to keep them from building a nuclear arsenal.  Equally startling is Ron Paul, believing soverign countries should be allowed to develop how they want with out imperial intervention from the U.S. or any one else.  Which means he might not favor Iran getting nuclear weapons, but he does not believe it’s the job or the right of the U.S. to stop them.  A lot to debate in all three answers, but this is CBS so we get more single camera shots of moderator Scott Pelley and then an idiot grenade thrown to Bachman, which explodes in her face.  Well played Pelley, well played.

And out of no where Scott Pelley ends the debate in the middle of Rick Perry’s answer.  Holy crap that was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen.  No joke, Perry was literally still talking about foreign policy, Pelley interrupted and said thanks for watching we have to go.  As if the debate was not irrelevant enough.  What a joke.  Hey Pelley, this isn’t a sideline interview during the Orange Bowl, you half a dope. (he’s not smart enough to be a whole dope)

The shame of it was, the questions were coming from South Carolina’s two Senators, DeMint and Graham, and they were great questions.  The key indicator the questions were thought provoking? For the most part the candidates were saying what they thought, not what they thought would get them elected.  So great job CBS, an by that I mean go play in oncoming traffic.

Ladies and gentleman this is why CBS is third among the big three networks.  If we had 8 networks they would be 8th in the ratings.  The network of Captain Kangaroo, Captain Noah and His Magical Ark, and Chief Halftown has gone to hell in a hand basket.  Now all we get is Captain Haircut and his band of half wits.  (Chief Halftown is a Jersey Thing.  Captain Noah might be too. see them here: Captain Noah & Chief Halftown)

Ok, well that was interesting.  Winner was once again Mitt Romney because once again no one challenged him.  Newt also upped his street cred.  Look for him to be in first place all by himself in Monday polling.

The big loser, and this is by consensus, was Herman Cain.  He clearly has no idea when it comes to foreign policy or economics.  His “I’ll ask qualified people” line was cute when he was a scrappy insurgent, polling in 4th or eve 3rd place at times.  Now, it just seems like he’s ignorant to foreign matters.  In other words I think his shtick is wearing thin.

Next up, Des Moines Iowa on the 19th.  It’s on-line streaming video so only the hard core folks, or geeks like me will be watching.  I’ll tell you this much, if the debate on the 19th is being run by some obese kid sitting in his mom’s basement, muckling pizza pockets, with World of War Craft on one monitor and  the debate production on the other monitor, it will still be better than the dumpster fire we witnessed tonight.  But have no fear.  If you can’t watch it on-line then you can read about it right here, and as usual same great price, same great blog site.

GOP Debate #3876 Motor City Mayhem

Welcome back sports fans.  We are live at the Detroit Super Metro Cinama-Plex Dome.

The money nerds from CNBC finally get their chance.  It’s the Mother of All Economic Debates!  The economic arm of NBC is hosting tonights affair.  Oops I meant debate, sorry Newt, sorry Herm.  Maria Bartiromo is lead moderator.  The team is filled out by the wall street analysts from CNBC’s market coverage.  Jim “I never met a crappy prop I didn’t like” Cramer is one of the moderators.  That’s right, Jim “68% of the stocks I recommend either lose money or completely tank in a week” Cramer is asking questions during the economy debate.

Yeah so it’s an economic debate, which means it’s boring as watching moths mate.  The second question comes from Maria, a leading market analyst by the way, and favorite MoneyLine “IT” girl of my buddy Kevin.  She uses her question to ask Cain about all the sexual harassment issues.  She gets murderously booed by the crowd.  Ok let’s get to it.

Some of the players reverted to their usual roles tonight.

Rick Santorum was questioned 3 or 4 times maybe.  On a question about health care he complains he didn’t get to answer on the economy.  He then whines his way through what he did about healthcare when he was in the Senate.  Never answered the question.  Probably why he got freight-trained in his losing bid at re-election to the Senate.  Again, it’s just not a debate until Santorum cries about some thing or another.

It also falls short of a debate until Newt crushes the moderator for asking an epically stupid question.  He went at Maria with both barrels and although he won the shootout ole` Maria winged Newt a few times.  When Newt realized Maria was impervious to his Jedi “charm the pants off older women” powers he went to the dark side and got angry and ugly at the same time.

When asked to take 30 seconds to respond to what he would do to fix health care Newt looked a death ray at Maria and said “30 seconds, are you serious?”  Apparently she was because while he stammered through some of his best pick up lines she started to offer the question to someone else.  It worked like a champ, as it often does with my 2yr old, and Newt gave a good answer.  It was along the lines of private healthcare accounts, letting states decide how to implement healthcare on their own, and reforming the malpractice system to free up doctors, that’s Tort Reform folks.

Cain, fresh from a press conference where he basically said he never did nothin to nobody, claimed to have the answer to health care in the U.S.  He said the bill has been written already but “Princess Nancy” squashed it in House committee.  Of course he is referring to former Speaker of the House and current minority leader of the House, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.  Odd choice of words coming from a guy who just said he never acted inappropriately with anybody, ever, especially women.

Not really sure how this helps his argument that the harassment claims, from now 5 different women, are all a big fat attempt by the mean little democrats to get Herman Cain out of the race.  I would think with the way Cain and his chief of staff, Mark Block, lie so frequently the democrats would want Cain to stay in the race.  By the way Cain immediately began walking that statement back durting the post debate interviews.  He said to CNBC’s reporter that he should not have said that but he was trying to make a point.  So now I get it.  It’s OK to be sexist and harass women as long as there is a point to be made.  Apparently I missed a memo.  You can watch the CNBC take down of Cain here: Princess Nancy

I’m not all that impressed with the current President, but he’ll eat Cain’s lunch and make him order dessert.  Cain claims that he may not know a lot but he’ll have great people around him that do.  So like, for example, his Chief of Staff.  Mark Block went on Hannity the other night and said the writer from Politico, the outlet that broke the harassment story, was the son of the first accuser.  Hannity, being the crack journalist that he is asked, “you’ve confirmed that?”  Block said “oh yeah it’s been confirmed.” Hannity says great and allows Block to go on for some time about the hit job Politico is doing.

Turns out over a year ago a writer who has the same last name as the first Cain accuser did work for Politico  Two google clicks later you find out that A. He no longer works there and hasn’t for a year, and B. He is in no way related to the first accuser.  Two clicks on my desktop computer in Knoxville TN and I confirmed what the Chief of Staff of the front running GOP Presidential candidate could not.  So he just lied about it.  Another sign the apocalypse is upon the Cain campaign; Herman Cain speaks about Herman Cain in the third person.

But the line of the night, or lack there of goes to Perry.  He was asked directly what 3 government agencies he would eliminate when he became President.  Perry began to tick them off like a child using their fingers as place holders while reciting the state capitols, “Dept. of Commerce, Dept. of Education,” and …, some minor mumbling, …., looks up in the air, …., back at the camera, …, Mitt says “EPA?”, Perry – “Yeah EPA”… “No that’s not it.”  Perry looks at Mitt with that frat boy smile after just being farted on and says “Good one Mitt.”  He goes back to looking in the air, still holding his third finger.  Finally after 48 seconds, which is like 9 dog years in television time,  he just says “oops” and gives up.  It’s either painful or hilarious to watch depending on the condition of your soul.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you, here it is: Perry candidacy fades before your eyes

The rest was all filler.  In the end only Herman Cain and Mitt Romney have published economic plans.  Y’all know Cain’s 999 plan, which has become a punchline not a serious consideration.  Mitt has put out his 59 point plan, explaining the U.S. economy is serious and complex and can’t be solved with a bumper sticker slogan.

You can read them both here: 999 Plan   Mitt’s econ plan

Believe it or not the next debate is Saturday 12 November, from Spartanburg South Carolina.  CBS is the host this time.  See you in the Palmetto State.  Can’t wait.

Presidential Profile: Eye of Newt

“Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”

The second witch from Shakespeare’s Macbeth uttered that little ditty.  I’m not sure why it appeals to me when profiling Newt, but it does.  It really does encapsulate Newt Gingrich’s run to the White House.  At the same time it describes what Newt has done to the rest of the GOP field as he rises from DEAD LAST a few months ago to third in some polls currently, and what he must do to the GOP voters to cover the final mile in the primary campaign.  But first a little bit about the man who would be king.

BIO
Born in Pennsylvania in 1943, Newt was educated at Emory and Tulane Universities.  He earned his PhD from Tulane in European History in 1971.  Newt is a professor of History and the author of 23 books.  Should Newt become President he will be only the second Commander-in-Chief to have a PhD.  Name the other President to have a PhD and Frank will come do your laundry for a week.  Frank works for Ravioli and M&M’s in equal measure.  Oh, Frank can also flip his own french toast, so there’s that.

Political Experience
Gingrich won a Congressional seat from Georgia in 1978.  In 1994 he was chose by a House majority to be the Speaker of the House.  He was the first republican to hold that seat in 40 years.  Architect of the Contract With America, Newt  also orchestrated a couple government shutdowns and led the charge on the impeachment trial against President Clinton.   As Gingrich’s popularity was dwindling already due to the government shutdowns, it really went down the drain when the impeachment of President Clinton failed to result in a resignation.  Newt’s laser focus on getting rid of Clinton was his eventual undoing.  His own party turned on him for failing to do the people business during the impeachment.  After some ethics violations, fines, losing 5 House seats to Democrats in the mid-term elections, and rebukes from the House of Representatives, Gingrich stepped down from the Speakers Chair in 1998.  He resigned his House seat in 1999.

On the Issues
On the economy Newt is a flat taxer.  He believes in a 15% rate for everyone.  This plan mirrors the plans Rick Perry and Herman Cain have put out.  He will repeal Obamacare.  At this point, who won’t repeal Obamacare.  Newt also is in favor of tax cuts to get business back on track.

Newt is big on education as you might imagine.  He favors the voucher so parents can pick the school they want and not pay tuition to a good school plus taxes the public school.  He also believes the Pell Grant system should be extended to kindergarten through 12th grade.

Newt generally mirrors the rest of the GOP field on the rest of the issues and rarely offers much in debates.  You can read his thoughts here: Newt Gingrich for President.

State of Affairs
That may be a unfortunate heading.  Truly the one thing holding Newt back are his numerous extramarital affairs.  Three have been documented and he’s been divorced twice and married 3 times. The one that will hurt is the divorce he engineered while his first wife was dying of cancer.  Surprise, she literally came back from the dead, survived and is blasting Newt when anyone puts a mic or iPhone in front of her.

However, having said all of that, the little political savant is climbing the ladder.  Left for dead by most, me included, a few months ago, Newt is one more Herman Cain accuser away from being toe to toe with Mitt.  He needs some PR help.  He comes off like a jerk when he speaks to his competitors.  That is common among genius’s I believe.  If he can soften that and then get the conversation to steer clear of his personal baggage he might pull this thing out.  He has a immense personal fortune so money won’t be a problem.  Plus if he keeps climbing support money will start to roll in.  This is the guy that scares the Romney camp the most.  The GOP establishment, i.e. the money people, can get behind Newt.  If that happens Newt can get by Herm and Mitt.

The question is can Newt get by himself.

I failed to include the Cain Train’s web link in his Bio so here it is: Herman Cain for President

Texas Tea Party Patriots Pac Debate

The Texas Tea Party Patriots Pac “moderated” a one on one debate between Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain.  Televised on CSPAN at 8:00pm, I’m sure it out performed LSU vs. Alabama on CBS or South Caroline vs. Arkansas on the Mother Ship.  Well no matter, it was mano-a-mano for the right to face Mitt in the semi-finals of the 2012 presidential race.

The moderator and warm up act kept calling this the Lincoln-Douglas debates of our era.  Look it up here young people: Lincoln v Douglas in 1858  Yeah, not even close.  First of all no one is wearing a stove pipe top hat.  Second, either Lincoln or Douglas would serve these two minor leaguers their own hind parts on a platter.

Congressman Steve King (R) Iowa, 5th District, warmed up the audience with what I’m sure he felt were wonderfully entertaining slides depicting the future path of our economy if we stuck with the Socialist, Fascist, Communist, Kenyan, Muslim, Radical Christian, Black man.  They were horrifyingly boring and I believe half the audience started drinking by slide #4.

Me thinks Cain bit off more than he could chew tonight.  Newt may act like the south end of a north bound donkey but he is extremely smart and, well, Cain isn’t by comparison.  Cain spoke in sound bite fashion, actually pausing for applause at pre-determined spots to less than desired effect; sometimes applause, sometimes crickets.  Any of my former students will tell you; say your impact line and keep moving.  Lack of applause won’t be as damaging and applause interrupting your next point is a sign of respect.  Professional comedians call that timing.  Cain, as we have seen over this latest scandal, has none of that when it comes to public speaking.

Newt, on the other hand is in full college professor mode.  And yeah, he is schooling Cain and educating the audience at the same time.  Newt used a McDonald’s drive thru window analogy to easily explain how a well functioning health care system should work.  It was simple, concise, and connected with the common folk, like myself, who on occasion, frequent the drive thru window.  Cain adding nothing and admitted he had no disagreement with Newt on that issue.  The follow up question went to Herm and he stuttered for a second, then said, “you go first” to Newt.  This debate was over before it started.

The moderator eliminated the clock and both Herm and Newt were encouraged to speak as long as they wanted.  Advantage Newt.  In the social security section the moderator allowed them to question each other.  Newt served up a softball and Herm whiffed big time.  Newt asked Herm “what advice did you give other CEO’s when you were head of Godfather’s Pizza?”  Herm decided to say what he will tell the government about how to spend, but again no specifics, just general talking point stuff like, “You got to get involved.”

Newt spent a good portion of the SS questions educating the audience on the way forward with that system.  He also did a nice take down of the President’s scare tactics about SS checks not going out during the debt ceiling debates of the past summer.   The follow up question again went to Herm and he again said “Go first Newt.”  His issue had become clear.  He is not schooled in the nuances of the issues so he let Newt answer and then cobbled together some thoughts while Newt was talking.  He then tried to dovetail it into what Newt just said.  Honestly it was a little embarrassing.  It was at this point it became clear it would have been better for Herm to run to the Domino’s and get a large Meat-lovers with extra cheese, as it was obvious Herm was not following a thing coming out of Newt’s mouth.

Medicaid was the last issue and Herm started off with a crack analogy, saying we have to break the addiction to the crack of federal funding and let the states decide.  This is a gross generalization of the Paul Ryan (R) Wisconsin, plan to give block grants to the states.  In other words, the government would send the states a block of money for the year and the states would decide what social programs to spend it on and how much to spend.  Once the money is gone, it’s gone.  What I just said is a gross generalization and Cain’s answer was 5 sentences shorter than mine.  Block grants will be an economic and social issue buzz phrase during the general election debates.

 

Newt surprised me tonight.  He carried Herm for 15 rounds, but never made Herm feel bad for being completely overmatched.  Two revelations early on: first Congressman King is a dead from the neck up moron.  The people of the Iowa 5th district are being hoodwinked and bamboozled.

Second revelation: Newt may have been a viable candidate if not for his marriage (x3)/adultery (x3 that we know of)/cheating on wife dying from cancer issues.  She ultimately survived and will not be a good character witness for Newt.  He really seems like he knows what’s happening and he would enter the White House with instant street cred.  If he performs a public relation miracle and wins the primary, then the other stuff won’t matter.  I for one would back Newt for President if he wins, as a moral compass has little to do with leadership ability.  John F. Kennedy was one of the biggest whores to ever occupy the oval office and yet one of our greatest Presidents, even in failure.  JFK’s handling of the aftermath of the The Bay of Pigs was text book damage control.

So Newt has some baggage, which in my opinion has no bearing on his ability to be president.  I just don’t think Newt and his personal baggage can get by Mitt in the primary.  Tonight’s performance shows he’ll easily  get by Cain and be on Mitt’s tail down the stretch.

This one on one format was a lot more effective than I thought it would be.  I would love to see Newt and Mitt try this.  Newt has made me a believer and I need to see some more to make up my mind.