Conservative Political Commentary

...usually with an attempt at historical and economic context

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Some Thoughts on GOP Candidates after the Debate of November 22

Newt Gingrich at CPAC FL 2011. Photo: Dreamstime.com
In the Tuesday (November 22) GOP debate, we have been treated to a Thanksgiving feast of discussion of foreign policy, in which all the candidates did an acceptable job of making their points. There were no major gaffes. All the candidates seemed confident and competent. Any of these candidates would be greatly preferable to Mr. Obama.

Newt Gingrich has taken the lead in the polls for now among GOP presidential candidates. His debate performances have been impressive and, for his campaign, efficient, since it doesn’t cost anything (other than transportation and scheduling) for him to participate. With his campaign all but written off earlier, he has come back to score substantially improved poll numbers.

Gingrich looks like a candidate with the depth of knowledge and ability to articulate his positions that a president needs to have. He has years of experience in government and in study of the important issues. It appears that he can be trusted with presidential responsibility. He has avoided shouting matches with his GOP opponents and saved his strong criticism for Barack Obama and the Democrats. He correctly foresaw the failure of the super committee and early and rightly pointed out the foolishness of that process.



(It’s a campaign video, but his assessment of the super committee is quite correct.)

On immigration, he said that long-time residents who came to the U.S. illegally, but have become productive workers, taxpayers, and contributors to the community, should not have their families broken up through deportation. This would represent a minority of illegal immigrants. Gingrich’s “humane” approach sounds mainly like common sense. 


If Newt is the nominee, he will be under intense scrutiny and will be attacked for his personal moral failures. If he succeeds in getting elected, it will be because the voters see him as such a great improvement over Obama that his past sins can be overlooked, or at least left in the past. Presumably, he has overcome the personal mistakes of past years.

I’m sure I wouldn’t agree with him on every issue, but I don’t agree with anyone on all the issues. I think he would make a fine president, and that he would get America on track back to normalcy. He understands the threat of radical Islam and the threat represented by our soaring budget deficits and incessant borrowing.

Brit Hume of Fox News commented on Newt’s poll numbers improvement (Daily Caller via Yahoo! News):


Another candidate showing depth of understanding is the much-unfairly-maligned Rep. Michele Bachmann. She demonstrated an impressive knowledge of complex foreign affairs issues, such as Pakistan policy. Given this and her previous debates, she has shown a good grasp of economic and social issues. I think she is thoroughly qualified to serve as president. She is hampered mainly by liberal smears against her that too many people unthinkingly accept, as with Sarah Palin. Generally, whom liberals fear, they smear.

Speaking of smears, Herman Cain was given the treatment by the Democrats, being accused by a woman who (just coincidentally – not!) lives in the same building as David Axelrod, and another woman who happens to work for the Obama Administration. These charges didn’t stick because voters have better access these days to sources other than the toadying Mainstream Media, and could find no substance to them. Cain’s defenders appear far more reliable than his accusers.

Probably none of the candidates can really be written off now, but, in my view, the race is going to get down to Romney vs. an anti-Romney in the person of Gingrich, Bachmann, or Cain. Possibly Rick Perry, if he can continue his improved debating. Ron Paul is still a factor. As for Santorum and Huntsman, their numbers remain very low, but it’s a year until the election and a lot can happen. There’s also a vice-presidential slot to fill.

As for “electability,” if Republicans can get together on a nominee, and run a reasonably competent campaign, they should be able to defeat Obama very decisively. America’s hopes for prosperity, military strength, freedom, and constitutional government increasingly depend on that.
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