Many may have missed it last Thursday because the headliners like Romney and Palin were not on the playbill. I did not. I DVR'd it so I'd have the option to watch it if there was some media worthy moment (not expected) being talked about the next day. That way I could do a rewind to catch the full context. In the end I watched the GOP debate in Greensville, SC the same night I recorded it because my curiosity got the better of me. For those of you who missed it here's a scorecard so you can know your players.
Facing them from Left to Right as they stood on Stage
Ron Paul a.k.a. Dr. No loses me every time on matters of foreign policy and national defense. It would seem that in his want of returning us to Constitutional Federal government he wants us to have collective amnesia about 235 years of American history and simply withdraw from our place in the world because it is fiscally inconvenient. His consistent point around fixing the Federal reserve made my eyes glass over which tells me he lost 99% of the non-Accountants in this country as well. And then there was the delivery . . . not mellifluous . . . not ready to take down Obama in a war of words.
Herman Cain is not quite "The Rent is Too Damn High" party. I've heard him speak on a couple of occasions before the "debate" and he appears serious enough. I can't get past the fact that he's going to apply his experience from corporate America. A little like trying to teach an indigenous people about calculus and advanced electronics. The current DC government is so far removed from sound fiscal theory that it's going to take more than a quick discussion about the nation's balance sheet. His lack of real foreign policy experience ranks right up there with the Donald Doctrine of taxing imports at 25% and laying claim to another country's oil fields. Once we get past the national threat of our debt and deficit and the malaise of our no-jobs recovery we will have very ominous threats from North Korea, Russia, China, etc. You can't privatize or outsource those solutions.
Tim Pawlenty, maybe by virtue of the lighting but almost certainly because of the odd angles in the underlying bone structure of his face, looked like the Tin Man. His unnatural hand gestures weren't helping either. I honestly can't recall much of what he said because I kept wondering which Media Consulting firm had been working with him for all of about 1 week on his "presence". It was so obviously forced that it was distracting. By the way Unnatural Hand Gestures spells UHG and that about sums it up for Pawlenty.
Rick Santorum was taking a little while to get his comfort level but once he did I think he started gaining momentum over the rest of the candidates. On one hand I like the "fire" he showed when asserting he was the guy for the job . . . the job being to beat Obama. On the other hand I am not sure that looked entirely Presidential. It looked more like the end of so many job interviews I've conducted as a hiring manager where I ask, "why should I hire you" and I get the stock response "because I'm a hard worker, a fast learner and a people person."
and then there was Gary Johnson. Did he really come out in this non-partisan, largely conservative forum and say he would pander for votes? His selling point, other than he has 3 more big mountains to climb on various continents which are mostly not in North America (apparently that's his Porous Border Foreign Policy Doctrine), was that he was okay with abortion so if he miraculously coasted past everyone in the primary after openly admitting that he's squishy on the topic of when life begins (read your history Gary, particularly the chapter on Rudy G's 2007 primary run) he was in a better position to win the general. But if you were a jobless, free-love twenty something and that wasn't enough for you well, hey, he's pro-drug legalization too. Gnarly dude.
And there you have it, and it is early yet, except if your Obama who has been campaigning hard for six months in a non-primary election.