Having MSNBC conduct a Republican debate reminded me of a cannibal tribe inviting tourists to dinner. Aired September 7, 2011, it struck me that it was conducted very unfairly, with Romney and Perry receiving most of the speaking time. It was like Perry and Romney and the six dwarfs. I’d say Perry and Romney together were given more than 50 per cent of the time, with the other six candidates subsisting poorly on the residue. The two governors were repeatedly questioned, and received many followups. In descending order of speaking time for the other six, I’d rate Cain and Huntsman as about tied, then Bachman and Paul, and least of all Gingrich and Santorum. I’d guess each of the latter two had less than 5 percent of the time. It must have been very disheartening for them to have question after question directed at Perry and Romney, and fewer for the other participants, with only about 3 each for Gingrich and Santorum. The moderators constantly tried to get the candidates to comment negatively about each other. Of course, so did Fox News in the third debate.
Once again, Mitt Romney made no mistakes, wasn’t rattled while constantly attacked, and likely won the debate. Perry was also constantly attacked, stuck to his guns, and likely took a hit on his perfectly valid “Ponzi scheme” reference to Social Security, because he failed to explain why Social Security must eventually fail if nothing is done. Another sacred Liberal cow he kicked was the science of Global Warming. He said it isn’t settled science – which is true, but not popular with the Left. I suspect he will slip a bit in the polls because of what he said tonight – the New York Times will no doubt lead the Liberal charge against him.
The post debate analysis on MSNBC was dominated by Liberals, highlighted by Chris Mathews, who was aghast that someone like Perry – with his questioning of science — could become president. Their consensus was that Michelle Bachman, who handled herself well and had specific ideas, nonetheless has slipped to second tier, and thought it was evident tonight. I suppose there is a case that she has slipped. Ron Paul was his usual daffy self. Huntsman was well spoken, for the most part, and may have helped himself. Cain pushed his 9-9-9 plan: 9 per cent corporate tax, 9 per cent income tax (a flat tax), and 9 per cent sales tax. He didn’t explain it very well. He didn’t impress me very much.
Santorum and Gingrich were good in very limited time. Each time Gingrich spoke he drew applause. I think he was only allowed to talk 3 times, or 4 tops. Santorum was logical and well-spoken but received little applause. He was quizzed about being Catholic.
I would have preferred to see the questioning spread around more fairly. Each candidate should have received the same number of questions, and about the same amount of rebuttal time, which is of course controlled by the moderators. That didn’t happen.