Quick Remarks About The Iowa Presidential Debate

With family for dinner, I DID manage to watch the Republican debate in Iowa Thursday night. Debates always tie hands of candidates trying to distinguish themselves. Of those on the stage, I was partial to Herman Cain, who was good and straightforward. A question referred to his previous relative unfamiliarity with the jargon of political discussion. He said he has become clear and assured about those matters. I wish he would have stressed even more, the point he has made before. He isn’t a political poser: he’s an executive who defers on counsel from trusted advisors and sources. I see him as the un-Barack Obama: smart, and assertive, and purposive in achieving objectives.

I agreed with the observation of another that in terms of systematic philosophic thinking and strategy, Newt Gingrich stood out from the rest. He would thoroughly embarrass Obama in a head-to-head debate. But my main problem with Newt is that he’s an old-style politician, who will tack with the political wind. Not long ago, that was more necessary for Republican politicians. But things have changed and continue to. Some of you may know of an obvious example: several years ago, at the top of the global warming scare, Newt made a public service ad with Nancy Pelosi about dealing with “Climate Change.”

Do I think Newt bought all the claptrap about approaching calamity? No. He’s too smart for that. Here’s an interview he had about it. I think particularly at that point, that Gingrich had judged that we’d lost the public debate and conservatives should be offering their own strategies. Companies were selling “green” products and flaunting their carbon-emission virtues. (barf) I actually suspect that when John McCain had breathed an affirmation of cap & trade, he DID believe in a threat. But there is no way thatGingrich or the fiscal hawk McCain who has never voted for a tax increase, were ever going to support a national or global energy-taxing scheme. Gingrich was just politically calculating. And I don’t fancy OLD Newt talking vaulted rhetoric to young people next to a young Obama’s street talk and hip-hop culture references.

Rick Santorum sounded good. I don’t think most people will care. I don’t think despite his frantic scratching, mostly at Bachmann, that Pawlenty broke out. Nor did the high-minded Jon Huntsman. I could wish that a serious question had been raised about “frontrunner” Romney. I don’t hate the man. I just think he’s a cosseted pragmatist who doesn’t have a lucid driving philosophy for the general good of society. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the eventual nominee, a Palin or Perry perhaps, was not on the stage or registered for Saturday’s Iowa Straw Poll.

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