The New Hampshire Debates and Moving Forward

By Jedediah Bila

This weekend’s GOP debates were pretty standard—lots of pre-rehearsed talking points, a medley of absurd questions from liberal moderators, and some mudslinging here and there.

You can check out my full twitter commentary from Saturday’s debate and my Saturday pre-debate analysis at BreitbartTV. However, some key points from both debates merit extra focus.

First off, Rick Perry had his best two debates by far. He was focused, prepared, confident, willing to talk tough, and unapologetic about distinguishing himself from some of the compromisers on stage. It’s a shame this side of Perry wasn’t evident in the debates from the start. Whether or not GOP voters will be willing to give Perry a second chance now that he has proven himself in a debate setting remains to be seen. South Carolina will speak volumes.

Huntsman’s delivery continues to be problematic. There’s an arrogance and condescension that never takes a day off. Combine that with an underlying need he appears to have to be politically correct and to embrace compromise at all costs, and it’s a consistent turnoff. The more he talks about trust, the more I’m reminded of how little I trust him.

Ron Paul was Ron Paul. He’s fantastic on constitutional principles and fiscal policy, but foreign policy gets him every time. We simply live in too dangerous a world for Paul’s vision to make sense. However, I have to admit that his willingness to stand by that vision is impressive, despite the fact that he knows it’s unpopular with so much of the GOP base. I think Paul genuinely believes what he says he believes, and that should count for something.

Gingrich, Santorum, and Romney had strong overall performances. Santorum was excellent on Iran, but didn’t do such a great job of responding to Paul’s labeling of him as a big-government Republican. Gingrich and Romney continue to be articulate on policy, but need to stop wasting the viewers’ time with complaints of how one’s ads were unfair and other’s rhetoric was unkind. Barack Obama and the leftist machine won’t be fair or kind. Get used to it, learn to counter it or move on, stop complaining about it, and focus on showing us why you’re the right man for the biggest job in the country.

I think Romney did what he needed to do to sustain his lead, particularly in New Hampshire. No one did a good job of going after Romney, and it appears that the other candidates have an easy time calling themselves the anti-Romney, but not such an easy time holding Romney accountable in a way that resonates with GOP voters, showcases themselves well, and detracts from Romney’s consistent—albeit somewhat fixed—popularity. Romney has very big weaknesses, but it’s his strengths that repeatedly shine in these debates.

Although there are more debates than many of us can believe, the good news is that our candidates are getting sharper and sharper with each one. Unlike many who would prefer that GOP candidates sit out debates with liberal moderators who aim to trick them, I feel quite the opposite. What better preparation is there for facing Barack Obama and the enormous liberal machine that will be backing him than your standard liberal primary moderator?

I want our candidate of choice polished and ready to go by the time he has to step on stage with Obama. And if liberal moderators and their absurd questions can help us work out the kinks now, then I hope they’ll continue to give it their best shot.

Survival of the fittest, my friends.

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Jane Price
9 years ago

Just returned from a meet-and-greet with Rick Santorum at the world-famous Beacon in Spartanburg, SC. He spoke eloquently on the need to return the manufacturing base of our nation. The Upstate has become quite attractive to industry, and we need to continue the trend of “Made in the USA.” By the way, Newt may be the Czar of Zingers, but there’s more to true conservative thought and governance than animated delivery of a handful of valid observations. And the multitudes of robo calls from Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are just plain obnoxious… Not a game-changer for me!

9 years ago

Nice analysis, Jedediah.

9 years ago

What is wrong with Mitt Romney? From his Mitt Romney 2012 Site: After going to both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School simultaneously, he passed the Michigan bar, but never worked as an attorney. As a venture-capitalist, Romney’s first major business deal involved investing in a start-up office supply company with one store in Massachusetts that sold office supplies. That company, called Staples, now has over 2,000 stores and employs over 90,000 people. Romney or his company Bain Capital (using what became known as the “Bain Way”) would go on to perform the same kinds of business miracles again and again, with companies like Domino’s, Sealy, Brookstone, Weather Channel, Burger King, Warner Music Group, Dollarama, Home Depot Supply, and many others…Got your calculators handy? Let’s recap. Volunteer campaign worker for his dad’s gubernatorial campaign – 1 year. Unpaid intern in Governor’s office – 8 years. Mormon missionary in Paris – 2 years. Unpaid bishop and stake president for his church – 10 years. No salary as president of the Olympics – 3 years. No salary as MA governor – 4 years. That’s a grand total of 28 years of unpaid service to his country, his community and his church. Why? Because that’s the kind of man Mitt Romney is.

9 years ago
Reply to  Luana

“What is wrong with Mitt Romney?”

Whatever the answer to the question (Mitt Romney is not above criticism), the idea that he is “clearly very liberal,” to quote Jim, is without merit. There are reasons to call Romney a moderate, and there are reasons to doubt his consistency, but he’s not “clearly very liberal.”

Of more interest, though, is Jim’s full statement there, “Romney’s clearly very liberal, as are most mormons where their own family isn’t directly involved.” Really?

Mormons actually tend to be conservative. Since actual facts (voting records, polls of Mormons, recent group political activity) indicate this, one wonders were the remark about Mormons and their families comes from. Is this more about the religion? It certainly isn’t about their actual politics.

Well, comments on the Internet. Some of the remarks here, although a bit odd, are pretty tame, really. It’s not like we should say, oh, I don’t know, “These comments are clearly very misinformed, as are most Internet commentators where their own family isn’t directly involved.”

9 years ago
Reply to  Lasseter

Say, I coulda swore I typed a URL in my comment to a page with data supporting my statement about the conservative tendencies of Mormons. I mean, I didn’t just pull the conclusion out of thin air. People have researched this stuff. Anyway, I thought it would be useful to have some facts about Mormons and their politics for the record. Even though the link in my comment was removed, I didn’t just make up what I said.

8 years ago
Reply to  Lasseter

What I claim has no justification at all is him eirndsnog Gary JohnsonWell, it’s not like I want him to endorse Gary Johnson. But Johnson’s the closest equivalent of Ron Paul, in the sense that a) he’s an actual politician who has held major office, and b) is actually running for president, and c) is more libertarian than anyone else (except Ron Paul) who meets the first two descriptions. So in that sense Johnson seems the logical next choice for anyone who endorsed Ron Paul. He’s not my choice, but then I didn’t endorse Ron Paul either.

9 years ago

Good reporting, Jedediah. I’ve still not watched any of the debates because most were conducted by liberals (or worse) or by neo-cons who generally don’t think social conservatism is all that important, although the Founders would strongly disagree.

Huntsman has finally thrown in the towel and nutty Ron Paul is a Libertarian, not a conservative. That leaves us with Rick Perry, who got off to a rocky start and recovered a little late, and Gingrich or Santorum. Romney’s clearly very liberal, as are most mormons where their own family isn’t directly involved. Gingrich is the only Speaker to oversee a balanced budget in over a half century; Santorum has a near perfect score with the American Conservative Union. Both men have flaws but a Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

My Fla absentee ballot is sitting on my desk and I’m waiting till the last minute to see who else drops out before casting a wasted vote.

Richard Hutchinson
9 years ago

I was born in the year that Herbert Hoover was elected as President… The first President I was
able to vote for was I Like IKE…I would have preferred MacArthur but he was tied down in an
effort to form a civilized nation (Japan) at the time and would not run for President !!!
Looking back down that long long road and into the future I see,at the present time, only one
man who may be qualified to begin ironing out the problems this nation faces and that would
be Neut Gingrich… No President or Congress can bring America back to it’s former glory,
only a change in the mind and heart of the people can do that…

8 years ago

Oh boy have I wondered about that. I’ve got a coplue of Paulbot friends, and when I first mentioned Ron Paul endorsing Mittens they about came unglued. For a coplue of days they kept bringing it up and telling me how I knew nothing, nothing, about Ron Paul and his lifetime of Mother Theresa type altruism. They can see his halo, I cannot.Paulbots must go to some particular school for this kind of insane ideological fanatical support. But since this past weekend when I layed out to them how it looked to me to be becoming visible, I have not heard back. These guys are gonna be crushed.

Jane Price
9 years ago

I’m an SC Tea party gal who’s very involved locally, been to Washington a couple of times, etc. Jim DeMint is my Senator and spoke of Ron Paul’s pursuit of a limited, Constitutional government. Even though I love the idea of a strict Constitutionlist as President, I think that purist attitude is unrealistic. And, while we all are aware of the gravity of the current political situation, I believe the 50-and-up crowd are missing the boat (badly) with this dewy-eyed allegiance to Ron Paul. I have six children, two of whom are 18 and 21. They did their own vetting and tell me this: If you seriously think the young voters and independents crossing over for Ron Paul are conservative, you’re wrong. Libertarianism is dangerous, ultimately a selfish and irresponsible philosophy destined to end badly. For those of us who love our God, our families and our country, think twice about proclaiming all the virtues of Ron Paul and ignoring the doubts and fears you feel. I’ve been volunteering for Rick Santorum and will continue to stand with his team. He is a well-rounded candidate with excellent ideas on tax reform, restoring our manufacturing and industrial base and national defense. As a homeschooling veteran of 25 years, I very much appreciate his stance on education, too.

9 years ago

There are no good candidates left to chose from, with the exception of Ron Paul.And he is not really interested in winning, but rather gaining enough delegates to help force the party to address the problems he has been espousing.The country is facing serious problems, which the politicians ( both parties), don’t want to address.God help this country.

Carol from Jeannette
9 years ago

Before Obama was elected, there was a photo making the rounds on email that shows Obama reading a book titled “The State of the World Post America”. Yes, there is such a book and yes, Obama has read it. This picture was emailed to a lot of people, and maybe someone has a copy of the photo.

Dave from Florida
9 years ago

Great commentary Jedediah, your critique of the candidates is great and you not offering advice on who to vote for even better.

Robert Hirschmann
9 years ago

Ron Paul is the only true conservative in the Republican race for president!! All the others are “business as usual”. It’s time for America to wake up and take our country back. His foreign policy has turned many away from him but remember that he believes in the Constitution and that congress will not allow him to completely pull out of world affairs. His domestic policy is right on and we need him to get us back on track. None of the other candidates have a plan to fix the economy. Or if they do it has not been publicized. If we do not vote him in this country is doomed. The next best seller will be “The Rise and Fall of the American Empire”.

Obama MUST be defeated! However, be very careful who you elect to replace him! Romney is a flip-flopping RINO that goes where ever the wind blows. If he is elected we will still be going down the tubes. This country is broke and we still spend and borrow and send billions to foreign countries that hate us. Does any of this make sense to you?

WA Conservative
9 years ago

Agreed. Paul is the only pure conservative in the race. He’s honest, steadfast and true to our Constitution but regarding policies toward our sworn enemies, he’s wrong, wrong wrong.
I will vote for him should he be our candidate but will be hoping and praying for a Congress that will keep his foreign policies in check.

9 years ago

Ron Paul is NOT a Conservative. He is a Libertarian, and an Isolationist. He is unfortunately the only current candidate who seems to know what the Constitution of the United States is; however his stated positions would prevent him from protecting and defending it. We must also understand that a “balanced” budget does not mean a lack of national debt. It only means that6 we spend no more than we take from the taxpayers by force of law.

Mr. Paul has proposed elimination of some of the proven failures in the list of government agencies, but this also does not go far enough. We must eliminate all funding for all agencies that are not specifically authorised by the Constitution, and the agencies themselves. This would put our national budget into a surplus even after we restore military funding to proper levels to maintain forces as of the levels at the middle of 2011, and to bring hardware levels up to the needed levels. among the items that must be restored are the F-22 fighter and the replacement aerial tanker. The F-22 should be restored to original design levels and equipment. It needs the Infra-red search, track, and target capability that was originally included. The purchase quantity was to be 750. Yes, the F-22 costs about 20% to 25% more than the F-35, but it can do approximately 3 times as much. Without afterburner it is over 75% faster. With its vectored thrust it is much more maneuverable.

Where is the candidate who will promise to VETO any bill that is not in compliance with Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution? That is the list of powers granted to the congress. When one of these candidates promises this he/she will have my vote.

9 years ago

I keep reading these columns hoping that I will see some hint that you have even a clue about the principles of legitimate civil government. The founders got them largely from Leviticus and Deuteronomy. It is impossible to correct America’s problems as long as the people do not understand the constitutional and biblical foundations of our system.

No need to go down the list of votes to be thrown away on GOP candidates. Ron Paul is the only one even worthy of a look. The rest have already campaigned on violating the Constitution, which, if elected, they would swear before God to support and defend, and LIE!

Elections are not about voting for who can win, they are about voting for what you want; and if you don’t want government that conforms to the will of our Creator, you don’t want the government the founders wanted.

Obama is not the problem. Americans who haven’t a clue about the principles of liberty and justice are the greatest threat we face…and I see plenty of them in circles like this.

WA Conservative
9 years ago
Reply to  Jim

True. The progessive electees in both parties, who are dragging our country down, are merely a symptom of moral decline that has occured in our country.
Reagan had it right. A country not under God is a country gone under.

M.K. White
9 years ago

I am a new member. I was searching for something in your column that tells me who this organization is
supporting for the republican to go against Obama. I was dissappointed when there was no mention of this.
We definitely need a conservative who is strong enough to beat Obama. If Obama succeeds in this election,
I can’t tell you what will become of this country. I have been following the debates and have changed my
mind several times, please help us out. I’m hearing alot of bad things about Romney. I’m hearing that
Gingrich is the one who can beat Obama.

9 years ago

Well said, Jedediah. And good for Rick Perry finally.

9 years ago

Excellent observations, Jedediah. Thanks for all you do.

9 years ago

Great column and I agree 100%!

C. P. Cassidy
9 years ago

Love you Jedediah.

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