For anyone who was able to watch the debate and not either fall asleep or just walk away in disgust and the whole process, you were one of the many who saw a back and forth cage match pitting Romney vs. Perry, Ron Paul acting like Ron Paul, Santorum trying to become relevant, and Cain trying stave off even more attacks to his 9-9-9 plan.
Basically, in the most simplest terms, the same as the last debate with a different moderator, different questions, and a different setting. As I have said since I was a young boy, “Same crap, different day.”
You may ask why I am being so hard on this process of debates, and one of the reasons is that the process as a whole is making me sick at this point. When you try to sit here and listen to all the ideas and all the double talk that comes from many of these candidates, it really wears on you mentally. You have no idea who to support because one man says something you may agree with and the man you agreed with yesterday says something that makes you sick and someone who is irrelevant still makes it a point to make sure the American people know we spend too much money. Thank you Ron Paul, I get it! I know we spend too much money. But that is not the worst of it all. The worst of it all is when we hear that primaries may start in December and there are not too many everyday Republicans out there that are too happy about it.
I made my thoughts known on many message boards and articles around the web that we need a national primary day, and I was shot down by many because they say the way it is set up now helps the small candidate reach more people. The last time I checked the only little guy in this race (if you consider him a little guy in the race) that has a chance to win is Herman Cain, and the rest could drop out tomorrow and people would have no idea they were even there to begin with. The process is what makes people get up and want to throw the television out the window, and it is the politicians, along with the moderators of these debates, that make people wish they were stranded on an island with very little food and no water instead of watching the debate or even hearing about it.
What struck me about this debate and the way it was moderated was the fact that Anderson Cooper allowed what I believe to be an all out brawl on the stage between Romney and Perry, with sprinkles of Cain added in for flavor. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry made the debate look like there were two men on the stage and the rest of the people were irrelevant to the whole preceding. The rest of the candidates could have walked off stage and bought a popcorn and watched the show instead of sitting there getting caught up in it. The questions were phrased in a way to make the two go after each other and for others to attack Cain and his economic plan, and the whole debate seemed to be set up as an all out fight with whoever could talk the loudest would win hands down. This is not politics and this is not how people exchange ideas, this is a mockery of the system, process, and the hundreds of years of history we have in this nation of electing a President.
Why is it that I feel this way, you may ask. I understand that good debate sometimes means you have to say you are sorry (even if that is behind closed doors and away from the camera) but I took from this debate was that Anderson Cooper wanted to start these arguments back and forth to wear down the field. When you go back and forth against members of your own party, it does nothing for the party but separate it. We should be looking for the best man to beat Barack Obama and lead this nation for the next four years, not who can dig up the most dirt on another candidate and yell about it for 3 minutes until Cooper stands up and acts authoritative when we all know he is nothing more than the puppet master watching his puppets dance for two hours.
Many of you out there may not have seen what I saw, but what I seen was a moderator trying to divide a party when in fact it should not be that way at all. While I still do believe that Romney and Perry are lukewarm Conservatives at best, I also believe that Gingrich of all people took the high road for most of the night and tried to agree while disagreeing with those who were on the stage with him. He did not try to start an overpowering screaming match with someone else, but when he disagreed he found parts of what others thought was good and incorporated it into his responses. When he was speaking to Herman Cain about 9-9-9 for example, he made sure to point out that the premise of the plan was good, but he may not like the inter-workings of the plan as it is drawn up. Compare that to Romney and Perry who sat up there arguing about Romney’s illegal alien servants who may or may not have cut his grass and you see what kind of people who are at the head of the pack and those who are at the back. In my mind, with the exception of Cain, the roles should be reversed and Romney and Perry should be bringing up the rear looking for a way out of the race.
The reason I say this debate raises more questions than it actually answers is that I do not think it really answered many questions. We still have the same problem with Romney we did 5 years ago, and Perry is not able to substantiate his feelings or even self-rationalize his policies when it comes to illegal immigration. The problem with Cain is not so much a problem of policy but the willingness of the people to get behind someone who is not a career politician, which I thought is what we were looking for anyway. The others in the race have not much hope to get past the first couple primary states, and remain on the stage if for nothing else to show us a good time with the exception of Gingrich who I believe could have a chance to rise in the polls once others drop out of the race, but it could be too little too late by them for him. The way I see it, we still sit with Romney at the top with Cain rising, and Perry, while doing much better in this debate, not being able to rationalize for the people why he does the things he does. If you cannot prove to the people in a Republican primary that you are going to do the people’s work, then you will never beat Barack Obama and true Conservatives will stay at home or vote third party.
With the primary season fast approaching, it is time for all of us to hop on a bandwagon for the long haul and support the person we believe will do the best job for the nation. No circus side show like we saw tonight will teach anyone anything about the candidates, but maybe we can do our own homework and work through the cage fights to find the real answers we need and beg for. It is up to us now to pick a candidate that will work for the people and not themselves, and there are not too many on that stage that we can say would do that for this nation.
Please check out my website, Losing My Political Mind , for political blogs updated daily as well as information on my recent book, "Losing my Political Mind: The Argument for Sanity".