Friday, December 16, 2011

GOP 2012 Iowa Fox News Debate Winners: Gingrich, Romney – Stable, Bachmann Misleading

Paul’s Foreign Policy Issue. Lackluster: Perry, Huntsman, and Santorum

The Frontrunner(s) - image Washington Examiner

The Fox News 2012 Iowa GOP Debate offered very little new in the way of showing differences between the candidates – Both Gingrich and Romney remained polite and did not heed the call to arms from the moderators, specifically Bret Bair (who appears to like a bit of rabble-rousing) – on points and on answering the questions without “dodging”, Gingrich was straightforward, however, appeared off his game and somewhat tired. Romney, true to form, ignored the timer, however, was given the time to do so by the moderators more than any other candidate, he appeared to stand up for himself, however, took less barbs than the current front runner Newt Gingrich.

Those who are running behind Romney and Gingrich in national polling, attempted to compensate and ended up overcompensating, specifically Bachmann, who leveled the most accusations against Gingrich and his record, with increasingly inaccurate and misleading statements. Gingrich, to his credit, remained calm and refuted the false allegations, with the exception of one: Bachmann’s claim that Gingrich favored Partial Birth Abortion and was not pro-life. In that instance, Bachmann went off the charts – refer to articles from: Life “Misleading calls claim Newt Gingrich Not Pro-Life on Abortion. Apparently, an anonymous group in Iowa has been making claims regarding Gingrich since November, and Bachmann has no problem aiding them (according to Poltiico. Bachman also had a difficult time grasping the difference between a lobbyist and a private consultant, consistently harping on Gingrich “taking taxpayer money” for work done for Freddie and Fannie. When called on these allegations by Gingrich as being false, Bachmann immediate cited the St. Petersburg Times (not the most Conservative of Organizations) Politifact as giving her a perfect rating, Politifact immediately put out a statement disputing Bachmann’s claim.

Ron Paul, who, as of yesterday, was neck and neck with Newt Gingrich in Iowa polling, remained true to Paul form, he is an isolationist in the mold of George Washington, however Paul neglects to acknowledge that times have changed since 1786. That said, he is perhaps, the most consistent constitutionalist, with the exception of Gingrich, on the panel. Ron Paul did get into a heat with Bachmann, again, Bachmann overstating the truth on the issue of Iran and its nuclear capabilities as to who said what when. Paul also appeared less energetic in this debate than in the previous debates.

Rick Perry remained Rick Perry, with little opportunity to answer questions, he compared himself to football sensation which is being called a ”Hail Mary Pass” and rightly so. Although acknowledging that he is enjoying the debates (that may be subject to a fact check), Perry’s inability to articulate at a level shown by the other candidates, explains his less than exciting poll performance.

John Huntsman, who is perhaps one of the more underrated candidates, simply has not had the same camera time as the balance of the candidates, and it is unfortunate. His record as Governor of Utah is impeccable (especially when compared to Perry’s and Romney’s – the two other Governors on the stage). Huntsman’s governance in Utah would make a great case study for any of the GOP candidates on that stage – as a tutorial on “what to do right”. His lack of organization, and his soft-spoken demeanor, for now, has held Huntsman back.
Santorum’s performance was solid, however, he had about as much time on questions as Jon Huntsman, and for someone who has spent time in Iowa, more than any other candidate on that stage, the reception belied the effort.

The audience: made of Iowa Republican caucus goers, gave the loudest and lengthiest applause to Newt Gingrich, the other candidates not so much.

One heckler for reform of the Federal Reserve noted their disappointment in the fact that there were no questions poised on that subject – in the last 10 minutes of the debate. It is assumed that this would have been a Ron Paul supporter – the individual who received the second highest applause from the audience.

The television audience: For the very small percentage of the entire electorate that actually turns on debates, Fox News was not quite as solid as the ABC debate held just last week. ABC has, to date, the highest debate viewership at 7.6 Million viewers. In the 2010 elections 81.9 Million votes were cast. Putting that into perspective, calculating a minus 40% for Democrats and 20% for Independent Voters, that leaves: 39.3 million Republican’s available to watch debates. (Note: The Fox News Debate Viewership should be out before Monday)

Therefore, although a certain segment of the electorate (those categorized as “political junkies” (blogger: guilty, or those who seek to really understand the process) do tune into the debates, the balance who don’t rely on advertising and/or the person they see most in the News (if and when they do watch a news segment). This is why, when pollsters fail, and the chips fall in a shocking direction, the pundits are put to shame.

Who will win the Iowa Caucus, at this point in time it is difficult to tell, however, the individual with the best ground and grassroots campaign going may be the surprise candidate. With the individual running the most positive messages either in a tie, or close, this may be why Mitt Romney wisely failed to jump on the front-runner Newt Gingrich, knowing that negative attacks and advertising diminish the candidate espousing the same.
For this blogger the most entertaining segment of this debate was the Fox Post debate review, and one Charles Krauthammer, who appeared to have difficulty weighing in on the performances of the candidates, perhaps he, like Gingrich and Paul, was simply tired, or “off his game” a bit. The Fox Post Debate Team surprisingly gave the debate to points to Michelle Bachmann, for being “aggressive”.

Currently Fox News has not released the full video of the debate, rather Snippets of the candidates question on electability
In closing, one can anticipate swings in the polls on both the national and primary or caucus state level, some of which will bear little resembles to the outcomes, (excluding those taken within the last two weeks prior to the vote). It will be the ground game in both New Hampshire and Iowa that will garner the win, in South Carolina; it will be the individual who comes across with the most sincerity and conservative credentials that are proven. As of today, Gingrich is tied in Iowa with Paul, behind Romney in New Hampshire and South Carolina (said to be the state that is most predictive of the nominee) Gingrich is currently leading by a wide margin.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment to this conservative feminist is one Michelle Bachmann. One cannot take away Ms. Bachmann’s personal record, which is stellar, nor her voting record, again, she voted against Bush as many times as against Obama, however, when it comes to crunch time, instead of playing fast and loose with the facts, in this opinion, standing firm on her convictions and attacking anyone but those candidates on that stage, would have pushed her polling higher. She has the ability to be an effective leader, and the heart to take on the task, but she has a trust factor when it comes to facts. A sticking point from this perspective - one which leads down the slippery slope of intentional deception, one which is not admirable in a woman or a man. Therefore, Congresswoman Bachmann should, calling it quits by Florida at the latest.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Tina - this is very good political analysis! You describe the landscape well.

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