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.