1. Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney was the big winner last night, almost as big a winner as Jack Nicholson, four decades ago. The former Massachusetts governor and son of the Michigan governor who said he was brainwashed about Vietnam has been running for the Presidency since 2006. He seems to be hitting his stride. The president from central casting has had a good year, as the frontrunner, albeit with some ups and downs. A Mormon with a picture perfect family of seven (only one wife) to match the perfection of President Obama’s family of four (only one wife), Romney bounced back from a flat performance in last Saturday night’s ABC sponsored debate. That debate was a face-off between Newt and Mitt, and Newt won it as the guy with the requisite smarts to take on Obama.
When the ageless former Nixon aide, Diane Sawyer, seemed to trip Newt up last Saturday night on illegal immigration, telling him that there were an estimated four million, or so, undocumented workers who fit Newt’s criteria for citizenship, he corrected her—saying that his criteria required twenty-five years in this country and the study she referenced required only fifteen, meaning that there were quite a few less illegals who met Newt’s criteria to jump on the path to citizenship. The main point was that in that debate, Newt appeared in control and he demonstrated he wouldn’t take any guff, if he were debating Obama, from either a moderator or Obama. The Republicans lost in 2008 with a presidential candidate, Senator McCain, who didn’t have the smarts, energy or debate skills to keep up with Obama. They don’t want that to happen again. So, for a week, or so, smart, cunning Newt looked like the Republicans’ best presidential shot for 2012.
However, last night it was Mitt who had all the answers. For example, Romney pointed out that Obama learned when he took over the auto companies that you had to cut employees and other fat to make them profitable, similar to what Romney did with various companies when he was a turnaround specialist in the private sector. So, Obama is just learning about the market what Romney knew decades ago. More importantly, said Romney, Obama still doesn’t understand the workings of the free market. President Obama thinks his Nobel prize-winning Secretary of Energy, Chu, can out-perform the market in picking winners and losers. Think again, says Romney.
Obama and his minions designated the likes of green industries and solar panel maker and Obama contributor Solyndra as a winner (of federal largesse). Now, Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff and currently Chicago Mayor, may become a loser as the investigation of bankrupt influence peddler, Solyndra, comes home to Chicago’s version of Rhambo. Romney, on the other hand, wants to unleash the free market to determine who can best meet the energy needs of our country and create millions of new jobs and great wealth for the country in the process. Now, that’s a debate Romney can handle. Can you imagine John McCain trying to debate that with Obama? What a terrible memory that is for Republicans.
Newt (three wives, in case you’re keeping score) did not perform badly last night. He came out of the debate in a strong No. 2 position as we head toward the final approach to the January 3, 2012 Iowa caucus get-togethers. But, Gingrich emerged from the debate bloody and a notch below Romney. Most importantly, Newt had to contend with attacks from Michele Bachmann (one husband) and Romney had no one coming after him. Bachmann was effective, slapping Newt around on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in the same way a cat plays with and drains a mouse of his energy, until he falls limp and dies. Mercifully, Michele stopped short of a final solution for Grandpa Newt. .
It has become the accepted catechism in Republican circles that the 2008 economic crash was caused in large part by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac promoting loose borrowing standards for low income individuals to buy homes they could ill afford. The financial institutions then packaged the bad loans into mortgage backed securities, which escaped the junk rating they warranted and were sold into the market. The rest is history, as Newt might say, or more accurately a painful history for Newt.
Newt keeps saying he did no lobbying to influence Fannie and Freddie, but he won’t quite come clean and say what he did to earn his millions from F and F. Last night, under cross-examination by Bachmann, Newt conceded he was doing something to help Fannie and Freddie promote home ownership by low income people. That was enough to make it appear, to Republicans, Newt is guilty as charged. Further, the picture painted was one of a tired looking, 68 year old grandpa and former philanderer and Casanova being beat up by an attractive 55 year old woman (again, one husband) who looks 42 and who has raised two dozen kids. The visual contrast was devastating. As Roger Ailes used to say, TV is a visual medium.
On a roll, Bachmann also pummeled Newt as weak on partial birth abortion, aka by the late, great Democrat, Patrick Moynihan and many Republicans as resembling, if not actually constituting, infanticide. Newt’s somewhat weak defense was that he simply declined to purge supporters of partial birth abortion from the Republican Party. Again, guilty as charged. A big loss for Newt, when you consider that 60% of Iowa Republican primary voters are evangelicals.
Newt had some good moments when he described the imperial judiciary and instructed Congress as to how to trap Obama into vetoing his own payroll tax cuts. But, at the end of the evening, Newt couldn’t remove the blood stains from his suit and Mitt hadn’t broken a sweat. Michele won’t benefit from her attacks because going negative not only hurts the victim but also drives up the negatives of the attacker. Mitt should send Michele a roomful of roses.
3. Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann, born in Waterloo, Iowa, emerged the third big winner. Obviously, she has no chance to win the presidential nomination of the Republican Party. But her showing last night will bring in enough money to keep her going through Florida and South Carolina. That may earn her the respect this former tax attorney, five term congresswoman from Minnesota lusts for, but she’ll only see the oval office if Mitt wins and remembers the favor he owes her for last night’s demonstration of her pugilistic talents, on his behalf.
Michele also reminded Grandpa Newt that she did have her facts right, so said the fact checker from last week, and that she was as serious a Presidential candidate as anyone else on the stage. Lest Newt forget, we’ll remind him that Hell hath no fury like a woman not treated as seriously as her male competitors, and almost as much as a woman scorned by a grandpa (with three wives). Newt made the big time mistake last night of taunting Michele, saying she should try to get her facts right. If nothing else, as the proud father of two daughters, this author quite admires the spunk, spine and forceful language of Michele. .
4. The Democratic Party and President Obama
The Democratic Party and President Obama perhaps were big winners last night because Ron Paul moved one step closer to leading a third party, libertarian effort that would drain significant votes from a Romney-Rubio ticket. On the other hand, a Ron Paul who emphasizes his isolationist, anti-war, anti-Israel views could end up doing more damage to Obama than to the Republican nominee if Paul attracts left wing Democrats who think Obama is too interventionist for their tastes[even in July, 2006, Obama was talking to Berkowitz about stabilizing Iraq-- watch this clip from 7:20 to 8:20].
Paul reiterated in his post-game interview with Hannity that he has no intention, now, to run as a third party, but he continues to say he “won’t rule it out.” Further, it was clear from the Texas congressman’s statements on Iran that he has no business staying in the Republican Party.
According to the liturgy of St. Ron Paul, there is no evidence that Iran wants to develop a nuclear military capability. That is right-wing, Israeli war propaganda, implies Paul. Further, even if there were such evidence, Iran would be warranted in developing a nuclear capability for defensive reasons. Really? If you drink the Paul Kool-aid, you visualize Iran living in constant, daily fear of attack from Israel and its neighbors. Last night revealed the whacked out world of Ron Paul for what it is—another whacko from Waco. It was a bit surprising Ron Paul did not attribute the fear by America of Iran to the Federal Reserve System’s inflationary actions and the International Jewish banking conspiracy. Maybe Paul is saving that for the New Hampshire debates.
The domestic, public policy, libertarian views of Ron Paul have a solid grounding in conservative, free market philosophy, but his foreign policy has, at best, a fringe following in either major political party and little, if any, intellectual basis. Congressman Ron Paul, proud father of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, is an old man with a consistent mind and an oversized ego. The good doctor might find the cheers of a third party movement sufficient inducement to bolt the Republican Party and hand Obama the re-election he so wants. Perhaps Obama will send his money men, far left, speculator George Soros and the Oracle of Obama and Omaha, Investor Warren Buffet, to finance Ron Paul’s third party effort. Talk about strange bed fellows. Could Soros and Buffett end up financing a loss by Obama, inadvertently, of course?
5. The Republican Party Establishment
The Republican Party elders think it is time for the Party to prune the field to the real contestants, Mitt and Newt. The elders, aka the Republican Party establishment, made some progress last night. It has become clear to all that Texas Governor Perry, former Pennsylvania U. S. Senator Santorum, Texas Congressman Paul, Minnesota Congresswoman Bachmann and former Utah Governor Huntsman will not be the next Republican Presidential nominee. Moreover, none of those individuals can give Florida freshman U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie a run for their money for VP. So, what is the point of continuing to distract the voters and viewers? There is none.
The Party is saying, “Let’s narrow this race to Mitt and Newt,” to make sure the remainder of the debates and discussion are run to test those two and produce the strongest alternative to Obama. That, my friends, is what the Republican Party wants and that is what it shall have. It is just a matter of time. You can make book on it.