The GOP debate in New Hampshire

I did not see the GOP debate last night, and am interested in hearing readers’ observations of it.

Here are two highlights:

Bachmann on why the 9-9-9 plan is bad (it provides the federal government with another revenue stream).

Romney on why he supported TARP—not to bail out individual institutions and companies—he’s against that—but as a measure that was necessary to save the currency and the financial system as a whole.

Also, in a roundup of the debate, Guy Benson at TownHall says about Bachmann:

[S]he had a fabulous night. Her answers were on point, she was engaging, and she may have given the best answer of any candidate to Charlie Rose’s somewhat esoteric final question. Her personality, passion, and personal narrative shone through, and probably reminded many viewers of why she was once a top-tier candidate in this race.

But a commenter at says: “I was impressed with Bachmann up to the point when she had to remind everyone once again that she’s raised 500 kids.”

Another L-dotter says:

Bachmann has got to stop reciting her resume every single time she gets a question. I’d love to hear “I will” instead of “I was” or “I did” or “I am.”

That’s been one of my main criticisms of her all along. Though she does emphatically say, “I will,” with regard to what she will do with Obamacare.

There are numerous other interesting comments in the Lucianne thread. The bloom seems to have come off Cain. Several say that they like him less and less, but don’t explain why.

Meanwhile, Byron York at the Washington Examiner says that Perry had his third poor debate in a row and that he seemed to give up on having anything to say about the economy in a debate focused on economic issues.

UPDATE, 10:45 a.m.: VFR comments on the debate have now started to come in:

Buck O. writes:

Perry doesn’t even want to be there. I don’t mean that it seems as if he doesn’t want to be there, but that he clearly doesn’t. I’m betting that he wishes that he had not entered the race. I’m betting that he realizes what a huge mistake it was. He bought into the hype about himself, and can’t even begin to muster the energy or brain power, or articulate the principles needed to lead the field.

He seems to act like he would much rather be some where else or that he being forced to be there. He leaves the impression that he’s annoyed that he’s being forced to answer these difficult questions, instead of just being allowed to show up as the leader of the great state of Texas. Alternately he seems to act like he’s being forced to speak by a gun to his head.

Romney is still the man. No one, other that glib professor Gingrich, can match his rhetorical skills. Romney seems completely comfortable in his own skin. Answers come effortlessly. He projects confidence and certainty and never seems to stumble. I think that he killed the RomeyCare issue last night when he explained that his Massachusetts plan only covered the 8% that were uninsured, not the 92% that were. That’s the killer distinction between RomneyCare and Obamacare. If that’s a fact.

Cain, if this was the frontal attack on him, handled himself very well and survived un injured.

Bachman had her best performance.

Huntsman was the loser. A gratuitous slap at Romney’s religion made him look small.

I’ll also say this. I think that a government run by all of these men, if they could and would act as a team, would be superb.

The debate brought out a good deal of good from all of them.

They turned that table over on Obama.

Whether any one of them can beat him, that’s another story.

Andrew E. writes:

I did watch the Republican debate last night, in fact I’ve seen all of them. One of the things that struck me most last night was just how little Perry has to say on anything. I’ve stopped listening to him. It took me four years to realize Bush was a phony but only four weeks to see the same in Perry. He was extremely boring and repetitive and thus awful last night.

I liked Bachmann’s performance overall but agree with the criticisms that she refers to her resume and her foster children way too much. I can’t help but think it may be because she’s a woman. I would love for her to drop her bad habits and pick up good ones because she’s excellent on so many issues but I don’t know that it will happen at this point. Her excellent and polite takedown of Cain’s 9-9-9 plan was exactly right. It’s a terrible idea to open up any new revenue streams to the federal government. The FAIR Tax would be a much better idea if the federal personal and corporate income taxes, the gift and estate taxes, the Social Security and Medicare taxes, the capital gains and self-employment taxes are all replaced with a national sales tax (combined with repeal of the 16th Amendment). It’s far better to tax consumption rather than savings and production, to apply the tax at the end of the production cycle rather than at the beginning or along the way (VAT tax). But Cain is wedded to his plan now and I agree that he will begin to fade over time. Maybe Bachmann can work her way into the voids that Cain and Perry will leave behind them.

I must say I like a lot of what Rick Santorum has to say. I wish he were polling better so he could get more attention at these debates. He’s perfect on all the social issues which is extremely important and he’s shown some chops when it comes to economic issues which is absolutely required for the Republican nominee to take down Obama. I love his idea to eliminate the corporate income tax for all manufacturers so as to rebuild our industrial base. He’s also excellent on the need to repeal Obamacare. However, while he would be very good on ending illegal immigration he’s totally in the bag for America as an immigration nation. That worries me along with his mystifying enthusiasm for maintaining U.S. military forces in the Middle East indefinitely if needed. Nonetheless, he likely has no chance at the nomination anyway.

Romney did very well last night. He looks and acts like the frontrunner and I think he can see himself winning the nomination and the presidency. I can too. He’s expanded his position on repealing Obamacare beyond simply granting a waiver via executive order (Day 1 of his presidency) to now also insisting that on Day 2 he will work to pass a reconciliation bill through the Congress to effectively undo the legislation. The excellent Republican field forced Romney to get specific about his Day 2 actions with respect to Obamacare which is a terrific thing for the nation. Santorum and Bachmann were big in pushing Romney to get realistic and serious about this. Romney has also been very good about the need not just to repeal Obamacare but to institute reforms to bring more market forces into health care overall. Exactly right.

Romney’s answer regarding his support for TARP was interesting indeed. I agree that without the kind of action that was taken in 2008 the U.S. dollar might not have survived as the world reserve currency. The problem is that Romney—nor anyone else in politics for that matter (even Ron Paul I would say)—doesn’t understand that the era of the dollar as world currency is ending anyway. It is my view that all the worldwide financial instability we now read about on a daily basis is the consequence of the world economy groping, in fits and starts, for a new primary currency reserve asset. For 65 years, as a result of our economic dominance coming out of WWII, the U.S. has been saying to the world that our currency will and must serve all three functions of money for worldwide trade: medium of exchange, unit of account and store of value. But the world has wised up and understands the dollar has utterly failed as a store of value, for decades really, and is looking for another one. The world will find the replacement, physical gold bullion, soon and when the dollar loses reserve currency status our president better be able to navigate what would be the largest currency hyperinflation in history. Romney has the smarts to handle such an event, I wonder if he has the fortitude.

I’m sorry for the long comment but those were some of my thoughts on the candidates thus far.

Paul K. writes:

I watched all but the last half hour of the Republican debate. Rick Perry’s cockiness seems to have been replaced by a look of desperation. He’s reminding me more and more of GWB, and even mangled the language several times in classic GWB fashion. For example, he said, “Americans are so untrustworthy of what’s going on in Washington” when he meant “distrustful.”

When asked for specifics about his economic plan, Perry said he had a plan, but “I’m going to be laying out over the next three days—and I’m not going to lay it out all for you tonight. You know, Mitt’s had six years to be working on a plan; I’ve been in this for about eight weeks.” He sounded like a kid who didn’t have his book report ready when the teacher asked for it.

Perry keeps talking about all the jobs he created in Texas. Why do none of his opponents bring up the fact that a sizable chunk of these went to recent Mexican immigrants, including illegals? Are they saving it for later? It seems to me this would blow Perry out of the water.

I thought Cain didn’t justify his 9-9-9 plan very well in the face of the criticism of it. When asked from whom he gets economic advice, he said he had experts, naming Rich Lowrie of Cleveland, Ohio, as well as “a number of other well- recognized economists that helped me to develop this 9-9-9 plan.” When pressed to name some of them, he only repeated Lowrie’s name but this time placed him in “Cleveland, Texas.” Looked like a senior moment.

My wife didn’t like it when John Huntsman said he thought 9-9-9 was the price of a pizza. Whatever his faults, there’s something decent and straightforward about Cain that makes snide remarks seem uncalled for.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 12, 2011 08:40 AM | Send

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