May 4, 2007

Did McCain win the debate?

Andrew Sullivan says so:
McCain's strong criticism of a "badly mismanaged" war gave him the edge in my book. McCain was easily the strongest on spending.... He also forthrightly supported evolution which puts him in the ranks of sane Republicans.... I have to say I found Romney smarmy beyond even my expectations. The man will obviously say and do anything to get power or please a crowd.... Giuliani is simply not a very impressive speaker or debater...
Power Line:
Frankly, I think John McCain had the best night. He seemed a bit nervous at first, but soon found his stride. He managed more ably than his chief rivals, McCain [sic] and Romney, to give answers that will appeal to a reasonably full spectrum of Republican voters without seeming to pander to anyone.
Redstate:
John McCain won. Let's not dance around this. Mitt Romney shined, he stood out, he did well. Rudy Giuliani imploded. Rudy totally and utterly self-destructed tonight. He had many chances to get in good with the core base of Republican voters and ignored every moment.

But McCain cuisine reigned supreme. He served up a dish of anger, a willingness to criticize, and a desire to fight — hard.
What's really going on here? Looks like people really want to destroy Giuliani. Power Line even blots out his name.

I thought McCain was fine. You could see he was trying very hard and seemed to have a lot of memorized lines. He had a forced tough-guy style of speaking. But I thought it was clear that Romney was the one who excelled. Was I a sucker for "smarmy"? Or did Andrew Sullivan just already hate Romney?

ADDED: Jonah Goldberg:
McCain sent the signal he's all nerve, raw, exposed, slightly crazy nerve. The "gates of Hell" line, for example, was brilliant, if not brilliantly delivered. He's going to be a mad dog — for you.

Meanwhile, Giuliani seems to have forgotten why he's the front runner. Optimism is nice, hooray for cheeriness. But what the base wants to here is proof that he's going to be the "tough S.O.B. — for us." He didn't even come close to doing that. Meanwhile, McCain went almost too far in that direction last night. But too far in this situation is a lot better than not far enough.
Okaaay.

MORE: I should say that Power Line quote above is from Paul Mirengoff and that Power Line's John Hinderaker adds (to the same post):
... I thought Romney did best by a pretty wide margin. Giuliani did OK question by question, I thought, but didn't present as coherent a whole. McCain seemed surprisingly ill at ease, especially early on, and while I liked most of what he had to say, I don't think he was as effective as usual.

62 comments:

Hayes said...

Sullivan has hated Romney since it was clear that Romney was going to backpedal from his Log Cabin Republican statements.

The fact that Sullivan had a bigoted "Mormon week" on his blog where he mocked and scorned the mormon faith is evidence enough that he will NEVER buy anything Romney sells.

Fen said...

McCain has done very poorly in rw blog polls, and has taken alot of criticism from rw bloggers. He is not liked, so I think comments that McCain won are based more on reality than partisan support.

the Rising Jurist said...

McCain's responses often seem rehearsed, which was jarring against the more spontaneous responses from other candidates.

Giuliani didn't stand out in a strong way, especially for someone who is supposed to be the front runner.

And Romney smirks, constantly. It was extremely distracting.

Fen said...

Best lines of the night:

"We must lead by building a 21st century military [that] stays on the offense."

"No President should ever hesitate to use force—unilaterally if necessary—to protect ourselves and our vital interests when we are attacked or imminently threatened."

"America must lead... by securing, destroying, and stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction... we must never take the military option off the table."

Sloanasaurus said...

I thought Romney did best. At this point, as a conservative choosing between the top three, there really isn't any reason not to chose Romney. Although I think all three are qualified to be President (unlike the Democrats where Obama is grossly unqualified).

If Romney has to take on the baggage of Mormans and their history of non-traditional marriages, then he should also be saddled with the rest of Morman stereotypes, such as being an overly honest and moral group of people.

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

PWS said...

I am on the left and did not watch the debates. I find it interesting that the comments about McCain are using phrases like "tough," "Mad dog," etc. and exalting these qualities. Isn't Bush's go-it-alone leap-before-you-look attitude akin to being a mad dog? Even if you're on the right, aren't you concerned with competence for your next candidate? I mean even if you agree with the policy on Iraq, the execution has been very poor and is likely to cost the Republicans politically into the future.

By the same token, I don't care as much about the Dems getting us out of Iraq. I would like to see a plan for what is going to happen in the region. Yes, get out but what's next?

Sloanasaurus said...

It should also be noted that the Republicans showed by going on the liberal and partisan MSNBC that they want to be President to all Americans and they are confident that all Americans should be part of the debate. The Republicans showed that they are adults.

Unlike the Democrats who show their pettyness and partisanship by refusing to appear on Fox. Unlike the Democrats who don't really believe in debate or freedom of Speech. From a Democrats point of view, why debate if you already have a "consensus"

What a bunch of babies.

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

Roger said...

Damn, Fen--you beat me to it--I was going to post those--let's just keep our little secret and see what we can chum up with thost juicy items.

hdhouse said...

Sloan...your eyes must be dark brown.

Faux Noise is so stridently partisan it should make your head hurt. Further, it has NO NEWS programs. Just entertainment. Zip. Nada. So why go there? It has an audience that is mainly senior citizen CD county with a literacy rate just above Uganda. Geeze you know nothing about demographics do you. Why waste time.

SteveR said...

I refuse to get involved in judging candidates based on this process, not when the most serious contenders have well established positions. I realize its a lot of fun to look at what so and so said or how he walked in or what kind of tie he wore, but I'd rather look at the record.

To the extent I don't care, it's at least useful to ignore AS's judgement.

rossi said...

Oh hayes, put away the false indignation for a moment. His expose on Mormonism was stark at worst. But it wasn't bigoted, and he certainly isn't the only one (including the Christian right) who finds Romney fake and, as he put it, smarmy.

I really don't care who won or not. It was not American Idol, it was a show put out months too early.

To me it was Fred Thompson who looked the best. Because he wasn't there.

Invisible Man said...

Sloanasaurus,

I know that the tit-for-tat logic makes perfect sense to you, but MSNBC is far from liberal. If you take its 4 main shows, you have Olbermann, who I will give you, but then you have Tucker and Scarborough two clear conservatives and Chris Matthews who definitely isn't a liberal. Chris Matthews might have worked for Tip O'Neill during the frickin' Carter Administration but its pretty hard to call a guy whose favorite 2 candidates in the presidential race are Guiliani and McCain and supported Bush over both Gore and Kerry a liberal.

Fox News isn't even close to being comparable to MSNBC or to being a legitimate news organization.

Mark Daniels said...

I commented on McCain's and Giuliani's performances here. In a nutshell, I think that McCain helped himself while Giuliani hurt himself.

I just updated that post in response to the comments of Dean Barnett and others calling the debate for Mitt Romney:

"I think that his reaction to Romney's performance last night is wishful thinking. The guy came across as a phony to me. I think that some of the positive assessments of him today result from the fact that he was regarded as a complete stiff going into the thing and so, he beat the expectations game. When your reputation is that of a stump corpse, any sign of life makes you look lustrous."

Mark Daniels

Roger said...

Rossi--are you sure the debates (on both sides of the aisle) ARENT American Idol? :) Starting to look like it more and more.

vet66 said...

Battle Royal!

With Sarkozy set to win in France, against the lefty Segolene Royal, the anti-war appeasers are back on their heels in France and the U.S.

McCain and Sarkozy represent the people who are tired of the cut and run crowd and the business as usual car burnings that characterize Paris these nights.

Smarmy is out and good ole' Main Street-High Noon justice as espoused by McCain is overdue. Reid sounded the death knell for the dems when he declared the war lost.

McCain or Fred Thompson! The time for pussy-footing is over.

Fen said...

[FOX] has an audience that is mainly senior citizen CD county with a literacy rate just above Uganda.

And yet, people like you still believe the CBS memo's were genuine... still follow CNN after admissions that they covered up Saddam's rape rooms and torture chambers to shape public opinion...

And Chris Mathews? Worst moderator ever.

I don't like FOX New's entertainment approach, esp their "underwear sniffing rubberneck" coverage of Chandra/Lacy/AnnaNicole et al, but I'll take Brit Hume and his panel over anyone else on cable.

Roger said...

Without wading into a shouting match about the politics of the media, seems to me that the democratic candidates might have foreclosed potential support from disaffected republicans by not appearing on Fox. My understanding is that Fox has a pretty good size viewership, and it would have permitted some democratic candidates to appeal to disaffected republicans.

(of course, I also suspect that calculus was they had to get the democratic nomination first and therefore note offend "the base.")

Sloanasaurus said...

To me it was Fred Thompson who looked the best. Because he wasn't there.

Fred Thompson seems appealing, because your right he is not there. But Fred is a lightweight in the experience category when it comes to the top 3.

At some point people need to acknowledge that the leading Democratic candidates are also lightweights in the qualification categories. You have Obama, a law professor, former state Senator and U.S. Sentor for 4 years. And Hillary, a former lawyer, first lady and U.S Senator for 8 years. neither have any real executive experience.

In fact both of these candidates will be far more inexperienced than any Democratic candidate for President since.....since....I am running a blank.

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

Fen said...

What Roger Said

[now simply "WRS", for brevity sake]

Sloanasaurus said...

Fox News isn't even close to being comparable to MSNBC or to being a legitimate news organization.

this proves a point about liberals. You think you are so correct and rightous that you refuse even to attempt to appeal to a different audience. This is the behavior of the Democratic Presidential Candidates. They will remain stuck at 49%.

Jimmie said...

It doesn't look like an attempt to "destroy" Giuliani.

Sullivan was as imprecise in his comments as he is on everything else. Neither Power Line nor Red State, being generally more socially conservative than Giuliani, are kindly disposed toward him anyhow. And, by all reports, Giuliani fumbled his way through the question that would have been most important to social-cons.

There's no conspiracy to destroy Giuliani. He apparently had a bad debate and it got noticed.

Invisible Man said...

“In the 2004 election, according to Mark Mellman, Fox viewers preferred President Bush over John Kerry by an astonishing 88 percent to 7 percent. Bush’s backing among Fox viewers was more solid than his support among white evangelicals, gun owners or supporters of the Iraq war.”

I know that many of you watch Fox News and therefore respect them, but this is truly the Republican Party's base. When people wonder how that Bush approval seems to hit a floor around 30%, Fox News viewers seem to be the reason why.

vet66 said...

Fred Thompson could be the next Ronald Reagan! The things being said about Thompson are the same things that were said derisively about Ronald Reagan.

Fen said...

Invis, I find MSNBC to be as biased as you find FOX. Imagine if the GOP candidates had all cowardly boycotted MSNBC. To me, the Dem boycott of FOX its just more proof that the Left will not tolerate any difference of opinion.

Cable News Ratings for May 2, 2007

P2+ Total Day
FNC – 860,000 viewers
CNN – 463,000 viewers
MSNBC – 256,000 viewers
CNBC – 228,000 viewers
HLN – 220,000 viewers

P2+ Prime Time
FNC – 1,885,000 viewers
CNN – 902,000 viewers
MSNBC – 437,000 viewers
CNBC – 324,000 viewers
HLN – 446,000 viewers

http://insidecable.blogsome.com/category/ratings/

Sloanasaurus said...

To me, the Dem boycott of FOX its just more proof that the Left will not tolerate any difference of opinion.

It's no further surprise that you find leftist politicians advocating a return of the "fairness doctrine" which is nothing more than a tool to suppress free expression.

Free speech has a tendency to disseminte the truth and gets people to ponder more than just superficial emotional arguments - something the left hates.

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

PatCA said...

I look at records, and McCain's does not make me want to vote for him for president, regardless of these oratorical contests.

To me, Giuliani is the only one with any sort of civilizational energy. He's proved it (returning the money to the Saudi prince). I'm sure the logos and the talking points will come, but I would trust him to fight for me, and that's what I want in a president.

Invisible Man said...

Fen,

I personally think that coffee at a BP tastes better than anything at Starbucks, but we aren't talking about my opinion or yours for that matter. You can think whatever you want, but you've yet to put even a scant bit of evidence that supports your opinion that MSNBC is liberal as some fact. I can use the roster of guests on Fox or quotes from Fox News personalities or even statements from the president of Fox News as evidence to support my opinion.

Thorley Winston said...

Does anyone have a link to a transcript or a downloadable audio file of last night’s debate?

peterike said...

Oh Fen Fen, I know you are so eager for someone to take your bait. OK, best lines of the night...

"We must lead by building a 21st century military [that] stays on the offense."

Oh my gosh! Could that have been said by.... OBAMA?? Yes yes, what a tricksy fellow you are. Well, aside from his poor grammar, there is something else you need to know about those big, bold Obama statements. They are what are commonly referred to as "phoney baloney."

The key is in the second statement you quote: "No President should ever hesitate to use force—unilaterally if necessary—to protect ourselves and our vital interests when we are attacked or imminently threatened."

Ahhhh, but when does a Leftist ever feel we need to protect ourselves or our interests? When do they ever feel threatened? Answer: never.

Well ok, that's not true. They feel terribly threatened by Bush and the US military. But crazed 9th century Islamofascists who want to kill us all? All we need is love baby, and they will come around.

Obama build up the military! It is to laugh.

Sloanasaurus said...

MSNBC is a liberal network. Everyone knows this. If you don't you are a fool. One of my favortie examples of bias on MSNBC are the "war" debates on Chris Matthews:

He would have on a liberal democrat (pro-defeat) from the left, and Pat Bucannan (pro-defeat) from the right to debate the war.

It would be like Fox having on Christopher Hitchens from the Left (pro-victory) to debate Duncan Hunter (pro-victory) to debate the war.... except Fox doesn't do this - only MSNBC gets away with such BS.
Further, Fox's highest rated commentator, O'reilly, is only a "cultural conservative" he is not conservative in other areas such as economics and hates Bush with the rest of them. In contrast, Olberman and Matthews are the complete package.

Roger said...

Peterike: those were quotations from a speech by Sen Obama Monday nite which you can find here. It is really quite a sensible foreign policy speech and is relatively non-idological. I disagree with what I believe is an over reliance on International Institutions, but it is a pretty good piece of work, IMO.

Monkeyboy said...

The link to the Mellmen poll is here

Don't know about the reliability of the polling, but comparing the CBS TANG story to the Obama/Madrasses story is simply stupid.

Can't find anything on the voting record of MSNBC viewers, but in a 2005 an online poll found 86% in favor of impeachment. Unscientific, but very lefty.

Invisible Man said...

Sloan,

Repeating yourself over and over again doesn't improve your argument. And stating that "everybody knows" something isn't really proof that everybody knows.

Also, the quote that O'Reilly "hates Bush" is completely laughable unless by "hate" you mean he "loves Bush's steely determination but will provide polite criticism for his position on border security."

Sloanasaurus said...

Repeating yourself over and over again doesn't improve your argument. And stating that "everybody knows" something isn't really proof that everybody knows.

It is common sense. Most journalists are liberals. This has been proven in poll after poll of newsrooms. Journalism is a field that attracts people who tend to be more liberal - "do-gooders," people who want to save the world, blah blah. Network TV has really only one recognized conservative right now, John Stossel. The rest are all liberals.

All the TV networks, NPR, and most newspapers have liberal bias because most journalists are liberals themselves.

Talk radio is diminated by conservatives because 1) most talk radio personalities are not journalists, and 2) there is a huge appetite for conservative media.

Fox News is different because it went out of its way to be less liberally biased, which by default gives it a conservative bent.

Jay Reding said...

I think that Giuliani tanked because he didn't look like a leader. That's Giuliani's strength, and he didn't have it last night. The way he fumbled the question about Roe did not make him look good in the slightest. Even if you are pro-choice, Roe is simply bad law, and a strict constructionist judge would likely find that it goes against the basic principles of American federalism.

I agree that Fred Thompson wins this debate by default. None of the candidates set the world on fire, which leaves him an opening. For those who think he lacks experience, remember that he was in government long before he was in acting, and he was a US Senator as well.

What the GOP needs is a strong leader, something Bush hasn't been for some time. Giuliani was ahead because he exuded a sense of strong leadership and conviction. He didn't show either last night, and that's why he's facing such a backlash now.

Wade Garrett said...

Romney smirks so much that he makes George W. Bush look sober and serious by comparison. No thanks, Mitt.

Wade Garrett said...

Sloan - the Democrats refusing to go onto Fox News has no free speech implications. You're just ranting.

Fen said...

I can use the roster of guests on Fox or quotes from Fox News personalities or even statements from the president of Fox News as evidence to support my opinion.

Because FOX admits it leans right. The "Fair and Balanced" meme is about presenting both sides of the issue, inviting guests with opposing POVs, and not stacking them up 3 libs vs 1 conservative.

MSNBC will not admit its bias, so obviously there will not be statements that admit to bias.

And Brit Hume, with Mara of NPR, is a very fair panel. Why would Democrats be afraid of them? How cowardly.

the Democrats refusing to go onto Fox News has no free speech implications.

Not free speech. But cutting FOX out of the debate with a boycott is a deliberate attempt to marginalize new orgs that don't toe the party line. I'm sure Dems will be boycotting Broder next, simply b/c they don't like what he says.

Fen said...

"attempt to marginalize news orgs that don't toe the party line"

B said...

Oh Andrew, Andrew . . .

. . . how far the talented have fallen . . .

Poor Andrew, always fluttering between his Catholicism and his Gayness.

Everything he writes comes through the confused lens of either what's in his heart or what's in his pants.

How sad.

hdhouse said...

Fen said...
"but I'll take Brit Hume and his panel over anyone else on cable."

Really? You will? Ok.
and then there is Sloan...dear prescious sloan

Sloanasaurus said...
"....Democratic Presidential Candidates. They will remain stuck at 49%."

of course this idiot fails to grasp the point that the Bush led GOP will grovel around in the low 30s. There will be a record turnout as the very nation is at stake with the threats you pinheads cause. did you listent to those answers last night?

"....macho macho man......i wanna be..a macho man...macho macho mannnnn....."

B said...

Re: Bias in the News Organizations

The only thing that matters - and the only thing really worth judging
- is how each individual news item is presented:

How's the headline worded?

What's the angle the story is coming at you from?

If someone is quoted, who gets the first word?

Most importantly: Who get's the Last word? What is said in the "wrap-up" - final paragraph, or last broadcast sentence?

The late (and VERY liberal) reporter David Shaw wrote the legendary expose in the LA Times on the media's constant liberal slant in reporting on abortion rights:

Los Angeles Times:
"Abortion Bias Seeps Into News"


It is still a marker of what is alive and well today.


Invisible Man seems to claim that there is little liberal bias in MSNBC and other networks. This leaves us two choices:
1)he(or she)is either blindly ignorant - therefore his(her) basic intelligence must be brought into question.
2) he (or she) is willfully ignorant - his (her) world view will be shattered if the major news sources aren't "middle-of-the-road". After all, he agrees with their presentation of the news most of the time. If the media mostly slants left in it's presentation, then that would have to mean that Invisible Man is more "extreme" than "middle-of-the-road" . "Why that would mean that most of the country actually doesn't necessarily agree with Invisible Man - too hard to think! Must sit down! Can't believe that Media is left!"

Of course, the third possibility is that, like some liberals, Invisible Man is actually just disingenuous -
knowing the truth, they keep harping about no liberal slant in the Main Stream Media so that others will believe them, even though they know better. Which of course fits with the basic foundational Machiavellian philosophy of the left: the ends justify the means.

Roger said...

There is perhaps another way to frame the debate about media bias: lets simply assume that ALL media is biased in one way or the other. I prefer to get my news from the Wall Street Journal, because its biases support my approach to economics; I am sure readers of the NYT enjoy the opinions of Paul Krugman because his views complement theirs.

Rather than argue who is biased and who is not, lets agree that they are all biased, because human beings are, in fact, biased, and do not like, as a matter of course, to expose themselves to cognitive dissonance.

Its fundamentally a free will issue. I think where journalists tend to fail, is to somehow convince themselves that it is possible to set ones biases aside and report objectively. Where consumers of journalism fail, is to not recognize how their internal biases affect how they choose their reading material.

Its ultimately a silly debate; the best thing that has happened, IMO, is the wider range of material now available, via the internet, for those who want to make more discerning choices. There is no longer a media monopoly on journalism, and thats a good thing for all.

Cedarford said...

I thought McCain was fine. You could see he was trying very hard and seemed to have a lot of memorized lines. He had a forced tough-guy style of speaking. But I thought it was clear that Romney was the one who excelled. Was I a sucker for "smarmy"? Or did Andrew Sullivan just already hate Romney?

McCain was scripted. Like Ann, I thought Romney was the one who excelled and did an excellent use of his time in talking to the "base" about religion in several answers he gave.

Andrew Sullivan is totally consumed with gay marriage and has hated Romney and written hysterically about Romney and the evils of Mormonism for nearly 2 years - all over gay marriage. It began when Romney started resisting the efforts of the Mass Supreme Court to legislate from the bench and shove gay marriage down the throats of Mass residents as somehow "constitutionally mandated" - then tipped off their bias even further by declaring changing the Constitution would not deter the progressive judges from imposing it. They overreached. Romney led the effort to stop them, and Andy is hysterical about it. Pure and simple, that is about it for Sully. He still hates bin Laden, but only because Binnie cannot see the right of a man who loves a man and likes to bareback to get his man into a wedding...

Frankly, it's hard to judge them based on 10 people limited to 30 second sound bite responses. It was a good way to introduce the present candidates and give the 3 leaders a chance to reassure voters and Party - Giuliani "I'm strong and hate abortion and want it sent to the States but then they decide, not Congress RTL forces" Romney - I'm strong, a good executive leader, I'm nice, and Mormonism is very compatable with American values" McCain - I'm strong and not a gadfly. I'm reliable. Look at my Senate record conservative ratings, honest!"

Mindsteps said...

Hmmm. The way to 'cure' bias in one direction is to introduce comparable degrees of bias (or even more) in the opposite direction. In that way the opposing biases magically zero one another out and 'poof' the bias dissapates into the atmosphere.

It sure beats attempts to identify bias and make efforts to reduce or eliminate it.

Invisible Man said...

Andrew Sullivan is totally consumed with gay marriage and has hated Romney and written hysterically about Romney and the evils of Mormonism for nearly 2 years - all over gay marriage. It began when Romney started resisting the efforts of the Mass Supreme Court to legislate from the bench and shove gay marriage down the throats of Mass residents as somehow "constitutionally mandated" - then tipped off their bias even further by declaring changing the Constitution would not deter the progressive judges from imposing it.

Or maybe he just realizes that we are witnessing one of the great political con men of all time. A man wholly without principles who their is no issue that he wouldn't do a complete 180 to get elected.

Sloanasaurus said...

of course this idiot fails to grasp the point that the Bush led GOP will grovel around in the low 30s. There will be a record turnout as the very nation is at stake with the threats you pinheads cause.

Considering all of the Republicans and Conservatives that are upset with Bush over this or that issue, Bush is actually doing quite well in the mid 30s. There is a block of conservatives that despises Bush for immigration, for spending, for the war, for Harriet Miers, for Dubai - they all have their lame duck excuses. I know because I argue with all of them. It's vogue to be critical of Bush at this stage... there is nothing to lose from doing so.

Democrats are deluding themselves if they expect these groups to be divided for the the next Republican candidate. In addition, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to raising taxes and desiring more government control over our lives - something that will unite conservatives and independents in opposition to for the 2008 campaign.

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

Joe said...

I think McCain is bat shit crazy, and I'm not talking metaphorically.

I was impressed with Romney when he ran the Winter Olympics. I was also impressed with how Giuliani turned around New York City. Unfortunately, I'm disgusted at the lack of integrity from both and how they are now sucking up to the religious right instead of telling them to fuck off.

This sucks. Another election cycle where I'm left without a candidate to vote for. Instead, like I've done since 1988, I'll be voting against someone.

Kirby Olson said...

The debate sold me on Guiliani.

Revenant said...

Unfortunately, I'm disgusted at the lack of integrity from both and how they are now sucking up to the religious right instead of telling them to fuck off.

Sucking up to liberals when you need their votes and to conservatives when you need *their* votes could show a lack of integrity... or it could just show a lack of strong personal feelings on the subject in question. Both men have plenty of reason to have mixed feelings about abortion.

I'm pro-choice, but abortion just doesn't matter much to me. I'll support pro-life candidates if they've got the right positions on important issues, like taxes, gun rights, and free speech.

Cedarford said...

Invisible Man on Sully and Romney - Or maybe he just realizes that we are witnessing one of the great political con men of all time. A man wholly without principles who their is no issue that he wouldn't do a complete 180 to get elected.

I doubt it because Sully has repeatedly attacked Romney on his insensivity and "gay hatred" over whether or not lawyers in robes get to foist gay marriage on Mass without a vote.
As for the "man without principles" argument that anyone who changes their mind on an issue and therefore is to not be trusted on any issue - well, Reagan changed his mind. Notably on abortion, but several other matters when confronted with new facts and political realities. The mark of a good decision-maker.

Contrast that to Dubya. So sure of his convictions that he never permits emerging facts or political realities to change his mind until he has drifted with his deeply-held convictions into yet another disaster.

I'll take a seasoned executive decision-maker like Romney, Thompson, Giuliani, a pragmatic centrist Democrat even - over a Bushlike figure whose mind is all but frozen in stone.

I decided back in 2000 that Runsfeld is my man. No election will change that. We are winning!

I know Harriet. She is good folks and will make a great justice and no one can tell me otherwise.

I know Brownie. I'm convinced he is doing a great job.

Illegals are noble hard-working people that only want to do the jobs Americans refuse to do.

Compassionate conservatism means bigger government. My growth may be bigger than LBJs, but it's smarter than LBJ's. Plus, Americans don't have to pay a cent because I borrowed the money from China. So-called facts to the contrary are just fuzzy math..

I've always believed people want to be free and have a democracy. Laura says women wish to shed their burquas everywhere, and the noble purple fingered Iraqi freedom lovers just reaffirm my conviction that democracy in Iraq is coming along fine..

XWL said...

People watching the debates now, most likely, aren't 'persuadeables'. They're just looking for reasons to keep supporting the candidates they're already leaning towards.

In that respect all the main candidates in both parties did no harm to themselves in these first debates (and none of the middle of the pack candidates were given an opportunity to move up).

To anyone not predisposed to liking McCain, I think he did more to scare them away than to persuade them. So I don't see this as a momentum builder for him, even if he did do as well as some bloggers are suggesting.

Likewise, Giuliani didn't do anything to woo social conservatives, but he's better off not doing too much in that direction if he wants to win the general election in November '08.

18 months is an eternity. And we are even 10 months before the bulk of the primaries, so really, who cares at this point?

If Rudy somehow survives the Republican primaries, how exactly could any of the possible Democratic candidates beat him?

(center-right beats left of center any day of the week, even in France and Canada, let alone the United States)

Mike said...

I think the fact that MSNBC chooses Pat Buchanan as their resident conservative pretty much convicts them on the liberal charge. The only outstanding question is: do they know what they're doing (i.e. they choose him because he makes conservatives look bad) or are they clueless (i.e. they really think he's a legitimate conservative voice)?

Internet Ronin said...

XWL wrote:

If Rudy somehow survives the Republican primaries...

Not very likely, as the reaction to this debate demonstrates. The primaries will be low-turnout affairs dominated by die-hard party loyalists to whom his appeal has always been limited. The wishy-washy mass of voters will not be casting ballots.


...how exactly could any of the possible Democratic candidates beat him?

Odds are they couldn't. Fortunately for them, defeating Giuliani is highly unlikely to be their problem.

Fen said...

Well, we can go around in circle about who's more biased, but the larger point is how both parties react to that bias.

Democrat complaints of FOX being a right-wing mouthpiece are laughable to me, because conservatives have been dealing with left-wing media mouthpieces for decades now. Talk radio wouldn't exist if the Left hadn't developed a monopoly of thought and driven us from media venues. So we developed parallel venues where we could exchange ideas, and we still engaged the biased networks, even though it often meant a panel stacked with several libs against one conservative.

The Democrat response to percieved bias has been much different. "We hope the result is that Fox is permanently chilled within Democratic circles from being considered a neutral news source worth legitimizing,” said MoveOn organizer Adam Green.

Short version: the Right has faith in their ideas and is willing to debate in any venue; the Left does not and threfore seeks to control the venue.

Revenant said...

People watching the debates now, most likely, aren't 'persuadeables'.

My sense is that a large majority of Republicans have no strong preference in candidates and are vaguely dissatisfied with the choices. I suspect that many of those watching were hoping to see someone really stand out from the herd.

Patrick said...

My sense is that a large majority of Republicans have no strong preference in candidates and are vaguely dissatisfied with the choices. I suspect that many of those watching were hoping to see someone really stand out from the herd.

That's me precisely. I watched because I haven't a clue who I'd pick yet. Everyone has their positives and negatives. I'm an Evangelical social conservative, but with strong distinctions from that pack especially on the environment. So, I was genuinely open minded while watching, keeping in mind this kind of debate says very little.

Giuliani didn't do that well, but for some reason I'm still leaning towards him. Maybe it's the electability thing. Maybe it's the fact I think Romney would be weak in the same areas Bush is weak. McCain seems like he'd get my vote, only I can't quite get over some vague distaste.

Honestly I was really hoping someone would stand out, strike me with new interest or somehow catch something. Unfortunately for those ten, my strongest thought throughout was wishing Fred Thompson was there answering questions.

joe said...

I do have a preference at this stage and it's for Rudy, but I would support any one of them over anyone the Dems could possibly nominate.

PatCA said...

Rudy only "stumbled" because he didn't deliver the talking points to the base, like all the other phonies.

Look at the poll at LGF, where half of the people there agree with him on abortion! And I think we are safe in saying that LGF posters are a little...to the right.

Nachum said...

Giuliani is an atrocious public speaker. Combined with his obvious lack of any coherent vision, either for the office of President or this nation, and that's why I think a lot of people criticize his performance in the debate. Personally, I think the man is an embarrassment to the legal profession.

McCain, on the other hand, knows how to deliver a speech, and conveys something closer to vision (though I don't really think he has a solid and coherent vision either). I don't support him, and don't agree with some of what he's saying these days, but I can understand why people respond positively to his public appearances.

As for the rest -- well, it was far too crowded onstage for me to have drawn many opinions. You can't effectively conduct a debate with that many participants. At least not unless it is part of a series, in which each debate focuses more narrowly on one related set of issues. But that would be asking for more substance than I think any of the participants, or perhaps even the party itself, is willing to allow.

Nachum said...
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Revenant said...

Giuliani is an atrocious public speaker.

Giuliani is an *inconsistent* public speaker. His speech at the 2004 convention was excellent, as were his speeches in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

I suspect he's just really bad at speaking to topics he doesn't really believe in, which is why is sounds iffy on subjects like abortion.