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Minimum required debating smoothness

Minimum required debating smoothness

Rick Perry is pushing back against criticism of his debate performances, particularly the Florida debate, by arguing that we should not elect the smoothest debater:

“As conservatives we know that values and vision matter. It’s not who is the slickest candidate or the smoothest debater that we need to elect. We need to elect the candidate with the best record and the best vision for this country,” he said at a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida. “The current occupant of the White House can sure talk a good game, but he doesn’t deliver.”

That’s true but only to a point.  We don’t need the smoothest debater, but we do need someone with the minimum required debating smoothness.

Like it or not, in September and October 2012 there are going to be debates which will be watched by an enormous percentage of the electorate, and the mainstream media will be unforgiving of mistakes by the Republican nominee.  A miserable performance, on par with the one Perry had Thursday night, would be a disaster.

By contrast, strong debate performances against Obama, holding Obama accountable in front of tens of millions of people, exposing his failures for what they are, could seal the deal.  The mainstream media will not perform that task for us, so our nominee needs to do it.  Perry has not shown so far that he is capable of that; it’s not smoothness, its preparation and execution.

Also, the criticism of Perry was not only his smoothness, but the words he used.  His “I don’t think you have a heart” comment was, in many ways, our worst nightmare; it’s the old “compassionate conservative” argument, as if the modifier was needed.

I still have an open mind about Perry.  I hope he can show us that there is a there there.  But the “smoothness” argument is just a dodge.


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I was thinking the very same thing myself. Recall the Bush-Gore debates, in which Gore was so awful that it inspired an SNL parody. A wretched debate performance during the general election season can turn the tide from victory to defeat easily.

    You leave out the part that niether man was president. Bush had his record as a gov of TX to run on, Gore had what was left of Clinton’s popularity.

    Obama is running against his record. Are you suggesting that you will forgive Obama just because he might come across as slick in a debate?

      No, she is not suggesting that as a Conservative. However, we Conservatives didn’t vote for Obama, the moderates and independents did. Having suckered the moderates and independents the first time in 2008, Obama will do his best at doing it again in 2012, just look at his latest chutzpah, claiming the GOP is going to destroy the economy! I would call that Projection, wouldn’t you? Who would believe this nonsense other than the usual liberals and some gullible moderates and independents? Obama doesn’t spout this stuff because he himself believes it, he does so because he knows there are potentially enough gullible rubes to be suckered a second time around. He will play on “giving him the benefit of the doubt”.

Just because we think that anybody can beat Obama, the reality is that we must present somebody who can–on all fronts. I’m not convinced that Perry is the guy.

Of course, you are correct.

There are two Perry defenses that surfaced yesterday:

(1) Texas is different
(2) Debates are all flash and no substance

(1) Texas is different –

This argument is intended to counter the Perry record on immigration, the Texas Dream Act, cross border health insurance, and the like.

But is Texas so different?

Is Texas different than other border states like New Mexico, Arizona, and California? Is Texas the only one doing things right while the other states are not? How about the northern states that border Canada?

Debates all flash and no substance.

I agree with the above argument. Reviewing the Hillary v. Obama and McCain v. Obama debates, it is clear that Obama is no slouch. At minimum, Obama is well practiced a debater.

Perry’s performances make Romney look impressive, which is a relatively low threshold. Considering Romney has been running for president over two consecutive president election cycles, this gives him the leg up. Moreover, if Perry can’t coherently take Romney to task (Romney lied four times when contrasting RomneyCare with ObamaCare according to the Examiner), he stands no chance of challenging Obama on the myriad of issues where Obama has lost faith with the American people.

Prof Jacobson, we couldn’t disagree more on this. And I say the following as someone who was not at all keen on Perry before the debates, but who has warmed up to him a great deal since watching these debates.

I didn’t get the impression that Perry had lost the fight in these debates until I started reading all this on the Internet. My own impression was that he was uneven, good in some parts, not so good in other parts.

In terms of pure skill, and having some experience debating, yes, Perry is not a good debater. But so what? If you want a great debater, go with Newt (no thanks). How often will a president engage in debate?

Are you afraid Perry will ask Obama “where’s your heart?” Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with that.

Obama has so disastrous, the Republicans could run Ron Paul with a Unicorn as his VP and still beat Obama. Obama isn’t going to win anyone during the upcoming presidential debates. There is a segment of voters that are Obama/Democrat zombies, and that is it. No debate is going to persuade people to vote for Obama, or against whoever is running against Obama.

As far as how important an ability to debate is to becoming president, take George W Bush. He was a horrible debater, and yet he still managed to win two elections, each of which were far harder than what this coming election will be for the Republican.

Sending a smooth-talker up against another smooth-talker isn’t going to create the contrast we need. I’ll take a plain-spoken, blunt speaker any day to go up against Obama. We need the kind of candidate who will come out and call SS a ponzi scheme, rather than “I came out with a very similar healthcare plan to Obama’s, with a slight nuance of difference…”

Being able to run a great campaign is more important to getting elected than debate ability. And at this point, Perry has done the best in that department – his President Zero is far superior to anything else I’ve seen coming from Republicans.

How many people actually watch these debates vs. see/remember simple campaign commercials/slogans?

    mdw9661 in reply to Astroman. | September 24, 2011 at 11:37 am


    This is the same argument that Gov. Perry made yesterday, to minimize the damage caused by his successively weak debate performances. In Texas slang “that dog won’t hunt.”

    The other belief, that Obama has so many holes he would be easy pickings for any eventual nominee is disingenuous. At minimum, Obama is a seasoned debater (v. Hillary v. McCain) and very familiar with performing on the big stage of the general.

    The Examiner pointed out four distortions made by Mitt Romney in the last debate in his attempt to contrast RomneyCare with ObamaCare. If Gov. Perry is incapable of calling out Mitt on those distortions, how could he possible wage an effective offensive against the Obama distortions?

      Astroman in reply to mdw9661. | September 24, 2011 at 11:47 am

      Actually, that dog hunted well enough in 2000 and 2004 to win far more difficult elections. Yes, what Perry did was put out political spin on this, but it isn’t just political spin, it’s real. Al Gore could run circles around George W Bush, and had a favorable climate to boot, and still lost to Bush.

      The only ones who put such an importance on debates are the political class stuck in the echo chamber. Obama can’t win the “election debate” when the voter is out of a job with a depleted bank account.

      Just as it didn’t matter whether it was Obama or Hillary, the Democrats would have won all the same in 2008. Even more so, anyone who is not Obama will win 2012.

      I think Romney, Perry, Palin, any of those will easily beat Obama, but when it comes to maximizing effectiveness, give me Perry or Palin.

      The other day, I saw the Democrats saying how they feared a Romney candidacy the most. Uh huh. Just like they feared a McCain candidacy the most in 2008. I (reluctantly) supported Romney in 2008 (who was I supposed to support, McCain or the Huckster? PLEASE), but if there were any further doubt, the endorsement of Democrats should tell you all you need to know.

        mdw9661 in reply to Astroman. | September 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm


        So what impressed you about Al Gore’s debating skils? Was it the “lock box,” the sweat, the staring at GWB went he mysterious approached him? Maybe it was the dripping sanctimony and condescension?

        I get the need to lift up Al Gore and diminish GWB in an attempt to win an argument, but it doesn’t approach reality.

        Gov. Perry debate performance has been the worst this side of Admiral Stockdale, and we all know where that led:

          Astroman in reply to mdw9661. | September 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

          You’re right, George W is a great speaker and debater.

          /sarcasm off

          I watched every Bush presidential debate in 2000 and 2004. He stunk. He won. Not the debates, the elections.

      Owen J in reply to mdw9661. | September 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm

      If you really believe that Obama’s debating skills — does he get to use a teleprompter? — are so great as to outweigh his record or that the electorate is really so stupid as to be swayed by his debate performance, you should just admit that all is lost, no matter who wins.

Solid argument Astroman. I think “No thanks Newt” could actually beat the “One”.

Prof Jacobson I cannot thank you enough for constantly reminding the readers of this blog of how solid the MSM is in the tank for this administration. Crack cocaine dealers on the WH lawn would just bring a ho hum reaction from 95% of the MSM journalists. That is sad, sad, sad.

The Professor’s post is absolutely correct.

A man who is passionate about his beliefs and well-spoken will persuade the crowd every time. Like it or not, well-delivered, emotional appeals more than often carry the day.

Historical examples abound. Do I have to mention Churchill and the maniacal, German corporal?

Why do Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley and Sarah Palin draw the nation’s attention. They rise quickly based on their ability to express themselves. It’s not just knowing what to say, it’s knowing how to say it.

Look at Mario Cuomo, Hubert Humphrey and Bill Clinton, run-of-the-mill liberals all. What set them apart, made them so popular?

And, of course, let’s not forget the best example of all: Ronald Reagan!

    Two flaws in this line of argument: Only 2 of those people were presidents – 2 are not even Americans.

    Only Clinton and Reagan ran in national elections (Reagan losing once). Clinton won his first election becuase of Ross P. He won his second because the Republicans had to make an 11th hour choice to run Dole. It was long assumed int he run up to 1996 that Powel would seek the nomination and when he did not, Dole was the weak afterthought.

    Also what you fail to consider is all the great debaters and speakers who have lost – hisory show they outnmber the winners by a large margin.

I read somewhere that Perry has never won a debate, but never lost an election. If that’s true, then we are castigating him needlessly.

I think some of us are underestimating the magnitude of Perry’s debate revelations about his “attitude” towards “illegal” immigration. I loved Perry when he first announced his candidacy. Then in an earlier debate he actually said in reference to this issue of in-state tuition for children of illegals, “I don’t care how they got here”. How can you be a conservative and be on the wrong side of this issue? This is about U.S. sovereignty, the “rule of law” and the need to amend the Constitution to preclude citizenship to those born to someone that has no legal right to be here to begin with. The reality of “anchor babies” is the fundamental driving force of illegal immigration. The need to update the 14th amendment will never be visited by someone who obviously has capitulated to the Hispanic advocacy groups of Texas. I have a “heart” and truly love all people–just don’t come here illegally.

    retire05 in reply to garfman. | September 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    You fail to acknowledge that Perry was talking about children. CHILDREN. Do you not get that?

    I have been reading the blogs and articles on Perry stance on the in-state tuition and some of the things I have read, as a Texan, made me sick to my stomach. People, who claim to be conservatives, advocating shooting people who cross our borders illegally. How does that help the GOP win in 2012 when others can point to these kinds of remarks and lay them right in the lap of self proclaimed conservatives?

    The legislation that allows for the children of illegal immigrants to attend a state university was passed with only 4 dissenting votes. No, not every Texan approved of that legislation, but for the most part, it was not important enough to vote in Tony Sanchez, Carol Keeton Rylander Strayhorn (or whatever name she is using today) or Kay Bailey Hutchison who had George and Barbara Bush, Karen Hughes and Karl Rove all backing her against Perry. The children of illegals are treated like any other child who has met the residency requirements, graduated from a Texas high school, and if they are going to get automatic entry to a state university, they have to be in the top 10% of their class, not an easy thing when you have graduation classes that reach into the thousands in major cities.

    Those students (approximately 16,000 our of a student population of over 5 million) do not get any subsidities as the other GOP candidates have tried to claim. They simply get in-state tuition, yet they are NOT eligible for student aid, or student loans, in the State of Texas as all other students are. Also, perhaps you would like to give me the percentage of these student that, while their parents are illegal, are actually by current law considered U.S. citizens since they are “anchor” babies. And your desire to redefine the 14th Amendment is not going to happen anytime soon so that argument, at this point, is moot.

    These kids are not going to be deported when they apply for U.S. citizenship, which is one of the requirements for in-state tuition. Now, maybe you think they should be (after all, they are now 18) but it ain’t happening. Not under any president up to Obama. So which is better: having them educated to become teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, businessmen or force them into menial jobs and increase the money lure of the drug running business? It’s your call.

    You, and the rest of the nation, are making a big mistake. Like it or not, Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of our nation. Their main concern is not fancy houses or BMWs. It is education for their children. And they vote. In groves. All this handwringing over Texas having in-state tuition, along with Washington state, Utah, Oklahoma and New Mexico is not going to do the GOP candidate who does take the nomination any good. History with the Irish and the Italians should have shown us that. Hispanics, in Texas, are religious, anti-abortion, pro-life, place strong values on family and usually want border control. They have more in common with conservative values than they do with the Democrats. But like all ethnic groups, they are tight knit. And they are not going to view this debate for what it is, pro-law, but as an attack on them and anti-immigration. And that is a lose/lose senario for the GOP.

    Obama will now hit every barrio in every major city claiming that the Republicans are anti-immigrant. And even though that is not true, it will stick. Rick Perry has done a great job in recruiting Hispanics to the Republican ranks, but you don’t cure a national ailment by cutting off the head of the patient.

    Romney made two claims during the last debate: a) that in-state tuition is a draw for illegal immigrants. Bull. The Pew Hispanic Research Center says that most illegals are male, young (under 30) and unmarried. Am I now to believe that a young man from Guatamala who is not married is worried about getting in-state tuiton for a kid he has not had yet? Also, if that premise holds, then explain why California and Arizona, two states that do not give in-state tuition, has a greater number of illegals that the states of Utah, Washington and Oklahoma. b

    b) Romney defends Romneycare as a 10th Amendment issue, yet he does not agree that Texas has the same 10th Amendment rights to do what it considers best for its citizens.

    Now, to the debate itself; yes, Perry faltered. But he is passionate about what he believes and he is not going to feed you a bunch of bull denying it like Romney. How is Romney going to debate that Obamacare should be ended when it was his plan, Romneycare, that was the original model for Obamacare? That should be really interesting. Obama will take Romney to the woodshed on that one.

    But hey, if you want a glib debater, who has been saying the same thing for the last five years and who tried to certify his conservative cred by running away from his own gubernatorial record and appear to the right of McCain, have at it. You won’t get the truth from Romney, but you will enjoy the debates. And in the end, you will wind up with four more years of Obama.

    Owen J in reply to garfman. | September 24, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I sure you do have a heart, but I also suspect you don’t have to grapple with this particular reality. Perry does. Romney does not. Bachmann does not.

    It probably feels great to leave simplistic, ignorant, ideological comments in blogs about issues you do not have to deal with and bear no responsibility for, but it really does not advance the cause much.

    In the end, you have one of two questions to ask yourself:

    1) Do I want to elect a person who has actually faced and dealt with real problems and taken responsibility for them, or do I want to elect someone who is just good at telling me what I want to hear?

    2) Do I feel lucky today? (To the sound of the hammer being cocked.)

I watched Hillary smoothly and quietly clobber Barack Obama in debate, and then read all about his magnificent performance afterward, probably from people who never saw the debate in the first place.

Perry does not need to be smooth in debate: he just needs people to say he is.

Never under-estimate Obama under any circumstances, he is the master of disguised disengenuity, employing any number of straw-men to persuade. He is a master politician, yet a miserable, ideologically-bound executive.

I’m baffled by the Perry flame-out so far. He’s my guy, unless he fumbles the next debate as well. I already find myself trying on Romney for size (a passable fit, in a pinch), because whoever debates Obama must be a finisher. A conservative acquaintance who just moved from Texas said Perry is dumb. Is that the problem? Are effects from his recent back surgery inhibiting his debate performance?

Or maybe just not ready for primetime nationally.

What a disappointment.

    W Bush is dumb. Palin is dumb. Perry is dumb. If you are a conservative, you are dumb as well. Obama is the smartest person evah.

    I don’t understand why conservatives buy what the Lame Stream Media is selling.

    The problem I have detected in Perry is that he does excel at telling people what they would like to hear.

    Some people resent this – they are of course the people who got Obama elected.

Perry can’t win the Republican nomination, nor the presidency, sounding like a Democrat.

I have had some conflicting thoughts on this. With the rise of television, then internet, the need for facile debating skill sometimes has become more important than knowledge, character and competence.

    beloved2 in reply to janitor. | September 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Knowledge, character, and competence is what Rick Perry offers just like Ronald Reagan did in 1980. I think his performance was just fine, he needs John Bolton on his foreign policy staff. Perfection is not what we get when we elect people but “Are you better off today than before 2008?” Governor Perry is plain spoken, decisive, and secure enough to admit that the Gardasil mandate was a mistake. Romney won’t admit that Romneycare in Mass. was a mistake. How do you measure the quality of the character of a man?

    What the U.S. presidency does NOT need is another Ivy League Juris Doctorate and Mitt Romney would be more of the same that we have in the WH presently. He LIES just like the current occupant, Romneycare is just as bad as obamacare, and how did he accumulate his wealth?

    Owen J in reply to janitor. | September 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    So you are saying we are doomed, absolutely and hopelessly.

    What do you recommend?

[quote]His “I don’t think you have a heart” comment was, in many ways, our worst nightmare; it’s the old “compassionate conservative” argument, as if the modifier was needed.[/quote]


You’re much more open-minded about him than I am. I am absolutely opposed to Rick Perry. I wasn’t loving the executive order, even with the opt-out (that he thinks parents are too stupid to understand), and I definitely wasn’t loving the crony capitalism (last thing we need right now is another corruptocrat). But this “heartless” thing is indicative of a pettiness and nastiness that I have, frankly, had more than enough of these past three years. I cannot stand Perry and think that we’d be better off with Romney, whom I also cannot stand, but who would never stand there and insult the American people in a petty attempt to glorify himself by belittling anyone who disagrees with him.

    jeannebodine in reply to Fuzzy. | September 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    This is what worries me also. Why was his inclination to accuse others of being heartless? And during the last debate he went for the “last name sounds different” card.

    I wanted to like him but it seems that when he is bad he is very, very bad. And his mistakes may be giving us a glimpse of what lies beneath.

      Knowing instantly how to distill an explanation or argument in a few words from out of a relative volume of information and thought that may be underlying one’s opinion, decision or conclusion is a skill. Ditto knowing what focus or angle to take. Those of us who have been in the situation might be a bit more understanding when someone’s words come out somewhat wrong, and not be too quick to seize literally on soundbite shorthand that doesn’t necessarily convey the point that was intended. Some people are good at extemporaneous talking; others need more time to compose their thoughts and choose the right words or best way to say something, and still others aren’t real good at it at all, but that’s not necessarily a reflection on their intelligence or ability. Some of the deepest thinkers I’ve known, some of the smartest people, have trouble answering a question succinctly.

        And if it were only his mumbling, bumbling inadequacies, that would be a decent argument. However, this was not that, it was a clear indictment of anyone who doesn’t agree with him: you’re heartless. Period.

      Exactly, to me it’s a matter of temperament and character. He’ flipped out that “heartless” card so fast and with such dripping condescension that he reminded me strongly and unequivocally of BO. I will not vote for Perry. If I want to be insulted and belittled and condescended to, I’ll ask a leftist.

    retire05 in reply to Fuzzy. | September 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Why do you think that no article about the Perry EO ever includes the actual wording of that document? Could it be because opting out was so easy that the form was to be put on line so lazy parents didn’t even have to get out of their recliners?

    And how do you feel about Bachmann, who was a state representative, that never offered one piece of legislation in her state that would end the mandatory requirement for Hepititus B, which is also transmitted sexually? Or why, when the city council of D.C. passed B.17-0030, which required the Gardasil vaccination for all girls in D.C. schools, and was passed by Congressional resolution, didn’t Bachmann speak up and take to the steps of the Capitol demanding that it not be passed? And yeah, she was a Congresswoman then, and had been for four months.

    You may not like what Perry says, or how he says it, but one thing is sure, he will be honest with you and with Romney you are going to get the answers he thinks you want to hear. Honesty or pandering, it is your choice.

      [quote]Why do you think that no article about the Perry EO ever includes the actual wording of that document? Could it be because opting out was so easy that the form was to be put on line so lazy parents didn’t even have to get out of their recliners?

      And how do you feel about Bachmann, who was a state representative, that never offered one piece of legislation in her state that would end the mandatory requirement for Hepititus B, which is also transmitted sexually? Or why, when the city council of D.C. passed B.17-0030, which required the Gardasil vaccination for all girls in D.C. schools, and was passed by Congressional resolution, didn’t Bachmann speak up and take to the steps of the Capitol demanding that it not be passed? And yeah, she was a Congresswoman then, and had been for four months.

      You may not like what Perry says, or how he says it, but one thing is sure, he will be honest with you and with Romney you are going to get the answers he thinks you want to hear. Honesty or pandering, it is your choice.

      There are so many things wrong with this that I almost don’t know where to begin. So I’ll begin at that beginning.

      Yes, opting out of a state requirement was so easy a caveman could do it. You do realize, I hope but doubt, that “opt-out” is a proven means of ensuring that the majority are compelled to do something?

      How do I feel about Bachmann? What is this, Progressive Loon Theatre 2.0? What does she have to do with anything? She didn’t tell me I was a heartless idiot. Perry did. And he meant you, too. Unless you agree with him on this issue, but I’m sure you won’t agree with him on something else. Then I’ll put up my Welcome To Heartless Idiot Club banner for you.

      Oh, I definitely don’t like Perry, no “mays” about it. And no “buts” either. And one thing I damn sure know is there is nothing honest about Rick Perry. An honest man does not sink to the level of emotional blackmail, sneering taunts, and arguments riddled with logical fallacies. If that’s what “honesty” is to you, then you have your candidate: he’s sitting in the White House right now.

        Owen J in reply to Fuzzy. | September 25, 2011 at 2:23 am

        I’m sorry, but this sounds all rather nonsensical.

        You accuse Perry of doing all sorts of things and saying all sorts of things that you interpret in highly subjective ways and then go on about his being “dishonest”. You make a big deal about his “heartless” comment, but appear to have no idea of what he’s actually talking about. You appear to have no grasp of the key elements of the Gardasil issue (including the fact it was not implemented), yet you go on about it. You say all sorts of things are “wrong!” but not what or why.

        Based on your criteque, I cannot think of single elected official, or a single person for that matter, about which everything you say could not be said, if a person had a mind to. And if snark stands in for evidence, then all such arguements are equally legitimate. You makes snide comments about being “insulted and belittled and condescended to” saying if that’s what you wanted you would “ask a leftist” while borrowing the standard Leftist trope for attacking someone you think disagrees with you, unencumbered with facts or arguments.

        I understand that you really really don’t like Perry. But I also conclude that you have no idea why you don’t Perry — your commentary amounts to throwing a lot of random invective at the wall – gardasil! illegals! cronyism! – and seeing if any seems to stick.

        If something appears to stick, you latch on to that and flog it until it falls off the fall and then you throw something else. Facts don’t matter; contradicting yourself does not matter; being ignorant does not matter. You attack people’s “logic” but present no clear evidence you are aquainted with the concept or could apply it properly if you had to.

        All you are really doing — and you are by no means the only one, if that makes you feel better — is reading lots and lots of invective on blog comments and regurgitating it, rather like illiterate peasants repeating a Latin prayer: they had no idea what it meant, but if they said it with enough conviction, maybe it would make the baddies go away.

        I’ve noticed that almost all of the anti-Perry crowd and and the anti-Palin crowd do this a lot. Romney and Bachmann both do it.

        Is the legitimacy of a tactic or an opinion solely dependant on how it emotionally resonates?

        How exactly do you make decisions about who to support? Do you have criteria? Does critical thinking enter into it at all?

        Am I just showing my age here?

          Milhouse in reply to Owen J. | September 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm

          Your comment about peasants is well put. I see a lot of superstitious nonsense being flung around on this issue. Not only Bachmann’s insane rant about “how could you do this to poor innocent defenseless little girls”, as if protecting them from cancer is somehow a bad thing, and her gullible acceptance of that nonsense story about a 12-year-old girl becoming mentally retarded from a gardasil injection, but also about executive orders. The significance people attach to these demonstrates that they have no idea what they are.

          Let me ask those who criticise Perry for making this decision on his own rather than referring it to the legislature: what percentage of decisions on the internal rules of the public school system are made by legislation? Of the whole list of inoculations that public schools require, how many were decided by the legislature, and how many by the executive? What is the executive for if not to made decisions like this? Should the legislature also be asked to set the menu for school lunch rooms, the pay rate for school janitors, and the rules for playground behavior? These are inherently executive decisions; when the legislature disagrees with a particular one it can pass legislation to override it, but that is not the normal way things run.

          The trouble is that a lot of people seem to think executive orders are laws that the president or governor makes on his own authority. And that they are somehow illegitimate (as they would be if they did purport to be laws). I wonder how many people criticising this decision even know that it (of course) applied only to public schools.

          I see the same thing in the criticism of presidential “czars”, as if they were somehow unconstitutional or illegitimate. I don’t know what people are thinking about them, but it doesn’t seem to have any relation to reality.

          SmokeVanThorn in reply to Owen J. | September 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

          This comment embodies the sneering condescension that you and Perry share.

          Owen J in reply to Owen J. | September 26, 2011 at 1:22 am

          Smoke – are you channeling Treacher, or are you Treacher?

          Note to commenters: Invective is a lot more effective – not to say more fun! – when you actually know what the words mean!

          Try it! You’ll like it!

        Milhouse in reply to Fuzzy. | September 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm

        Yes, opting out of a state requirement was so easy a caveman could do it. You do realize, I hope but doubt, that “opt-out” is a proven means of ensuring that the majority are compelled to do something?

        So prove it. How exactly did it compel anybody to do anything?

Letting the likes Mitt Romney get to your right on issues like immigration is plain bad politics.

And the vision thing is only valid if you actually have a vision that the people will accept. That’s the real problem – Perry is getting hit in places where he’s hollow.

    Owen J in reply to ThomasD. | September 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Let Romney get to your right? Who knows where Romnery actually stands on this? Romney will say whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear.

    The version of politics you describe amounts to: “Jeez, my opponent is misreprenting his views (if he actually has any) so, gosh, I should misrepresent mine more agressively than he is!”

    Didn’t the 2008 election teach you anything at all?

      retire05 in reply to Owen J. | September 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      Prospective voter: Mr. Romney, how do you feel on (name the issue)?

      Romney: What day is it?

      Things I’ve never forgotten (as a MA resident) about Mitten McRomney: He didn’t become a Republican until the Gingrich revolution when he thought, on the tide of the conservative/GOP revival, he could win (he did not, Kennedy held his seat until he died, of course). Romney supported both abortion and amnesty. He did nothing about either in MA, and in fact, bragged on the record that he was pleased that RomneyCare reduced the number of tax-payer funded abortions for illegal immigrants. I watched that, live, on television and almost vomited.

      Anyone who thinks what they’re seeing now is anything more than a stick-a-finger-in-the-wind to see which way the wind’s blowing pol is not aware of Romney’s past. Geesh, just Google his early campaign for MA Senate (1993) or any of his campaigns for president. He was bragging about RomneyCare last time around as a wonderful thing for the entire country. Remember? Times and the political climate changed, so Romney changed. But he didn’t. He’s a big government, corruptocrat progressive at heart. No doubt about that at all.

    Milhouse in reply to ThomasD. | September 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    It’s not a matter of right or left, it’s a matter of right or wrong. And Perry is in the right.

    What exactly is so “right wing” about hostility to productive people who help our economy grow, just because they were born on the “wrong” side of an arbitrary line? That sounds very left-wing to me. It’s the left who are usually obsessed by questions of status, and imposing forcible restrictions on people. The right is usually about leaving people free to be productive in the way they know best, leading inevitably to prosperity for all. Julian Simon proved that people are an economy’s greatest resource, and the higher and denser a population the more productive and prosperous its economy can be. Who would dare call him a “leftist”? The ur-issue, the issue on which liberalism (which we today in the USA call “conservatism”) was founded, was free trade. The main issue on which the USA was founded was also free trade. It’s the left that is protectionist, because only with closed borders can it control people and try to achieve its results. So Romney isn’t to Perry’s right, he’s to Perry’s wrong.

As was cogently pointed out recently (to paraphrase) America can survive Obama, but it cannot survive the stupidity that resulted in him being elected.

If the voters are (collectively) as stupid now as they were in 2008, you have a point – if they have learned their lesson, you do not.

If the voters remain so stupid that they pay attention to debates or continue to put faith in the MSM, we are doomed – we will deserve Obama.

If you want to make positive contribution to the country, try to educate people better, instead of hoping that the candidate opposing Obama will be a sufficiently good con artist to convince a hopelessly stupid electorate to vote him into office.

Sorry R05, Texas Good Ol’ Boy “shuckin’ and jivin” simply does not play in Peoria – especially when the actor cannot remember his lines.

    retire05 in reply to gad-fly. | September 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    “Shuckin and jiving” is not a Texas thing. It is a BLACK thing. And we all know the contribution that the state, where Peoria is, gave to us.

    If not playing in Peoria, assuming that Peorians are not worried about jobs, is the answer to curing our economic woes, I am not really concerned too much about Peoria.

    And I guess you support one of the other candidates who could remember their lines (talking points is what we call them in a debate here in Texas, don’t know about Peoria)?

    But hey, you go ahead and support one of the candidates that are running from their own record in order to beat up Rick Perry. If you want someone who is trying to run on their own merits, you have three choices; Gingrich, Cain and Perry.

    Owen J in reply to gad-fly. | September 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Sounds like Peoria deserves Obama then.

      retire05 in reply to Owen J. | September 24, 2011 at 6:32 pm

      Just a little research (the internet is a wonderful thing) shows that what played well in Peoria in 2008 was Obama, 56% to McCain’s 42%.

      Also seems Peoria has a fondness for candidates from the Green Party.

      No GOP candidate should worry what plays well in Peoria. They are going to vote Obama anyway.

The problem Perry has is lack of preparation. By that I don’t mean learning lines and parroting them, but acquiring a deep understanding of the issues and forming passionate opinions about them. Palin is no genius, but she speaks from the heart — something one can’t fake. If you have passionate opinions, you don’t stumble… you are bursting with the desire to get them across, and don’t waste time on canned put-downs. Hopefully Perry has learned his lesson, and will practice, practice, practice. If not, another four years of Obama looms large.

    You may be right about the preparation thing, but you miss the point by bringing up Palin.

    Palin is not in the debates and she’s not debating when she speaks passionately. She picks her topics and speaks on them. Not the same thing at all.

    Perry has a different problem: he has to explain how and why he addressed real-world problems the way he has. These problems do not fit well into the narrow-minded and generally ignorant templates of political junkies (the only people who are paying attention right now).

    So the polijunkies freak out at what they think they hear. They want to preached to, not educated, they think they have a good bead on things and can pass judgments thereby, they are often single-issue types who have little or no real experience with the single issue that concerns them. They are always bad analysts.

    At worst, they become a combination of Shakespeare’s Fool, Lenin’s Useful Idiot, and Pohl’s Marching Moron. At best, they are entertaining and allow for a quiet afternoon wasted refuting them.

    We have plenty of time to review Perry’s record – at least he has one – and the folks who are not polijunkies will in time decide how it stacks up to the others who also have records.

    In 6 months, no one will well remember these debates – even the polijunkies who will off obsessing over something else.

    Whether the right choice will eventually be made, I have no idea – P.T Barnum was a very astute man. But I do know that “problems” of todday are not predictive of the problems of next year or the outcomes.

    I would welcome sober and informed reflection on the candidate’s records as they relate to their ability to confront and solve current and future problems, their strategic grasp, and their overall leadership abilities.

    I know that is too much to ask, but I’ve always been a charitable optimist.

Prof: “I hope he can show us that there is a there there.”

He’s been Gov. of TX for how long? What “there” are you looking for? If he had been Mayor of Oakland (as the nitwit Brown was), I’d admit you had a point.

    retire05 in reply to Owen J. | September 24, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Owen J, for weeks I have been hearing the establishment Republicans lament how Perry was the front runner. When he was in the second debate, they opined how he was not prepared, seemed tired, yada, yada, yada. But not once did anyone talk about how the very day of the debate, Perry was in the air at dawn, flying over his state that had suffered severe fires, and in just my area, had lost 1,557 homes. Or how he had spent time that day with the 5,000 who are now homeless, trying to get Obama to sign a FEMA declaration (which took two more days).

    Instead, they (the talking heads) talked about how well Romney was prepared and how Romney had won the debate. Gee, I guess operating on little sleep, having to fly to the debate city the same day, had nothing to do with Perry’s performance.

    Then yesterday, Bill Kriston and Charles Krauthammer (who have been in the tank for RINO Romney from the git-go) proclaimed Perry dead in the water. They pretty much were advising Perry to just go ahead and get out of the race now, since he has no chance.

    I have been to this rodeo before. Having McCain, another RINO, shoved down my throat in 2008 by those self proclaimed conservative talking heads turned my stomach. Yeah, I pulled that lever for McCain, but only because I had taken the time to do what the press would not do, research Obama’s background.

    Last night I asked, on this very blog, how many now bashing Perry voted for McCain. No one responded. You see, many who are now bashing Perry over a state issue, voted for McCain in the primaries knowing full well that he was responsible, along with Ted Kennedy, for the Shamnesty Bill. Did they think that if McCain became president that he would not push amnesty for ALL illegals?

    The media is once again trying to pick our candidate, and it ain’t Perry. He is not an establishment Republican, doesn’t play that game in Texas, and people like Karl Rove understand that their influence with Perry is nil.

    I have researched the candidates. Romney is a gecko, a politician who governed to the left (hard left) but changed his tune when he was trying to be to the right of McCain. Santorum, he is angry, and ignores his own legislation (S.3564) that is basically Perry’s position on the border and illegal immigration. Bachmann, she is a hypcocrite who did nothing to block Hep B vaccinations in her own state. Huntsman, Johnson and Paul are off my radar and not worth mentioning. Cain, good man, but needs to serve as a Senator or Congressman first to learn the ropes of government. We already have someone who is showing us that on-job training doesn’t work in the real world of government.

    As to Palin; you are correct. She has been speaking on the issues in a controlled environment. She has not had anyone to beat up on her, in debate format, except once against Joe Biden and that is not exactly debating a rocket scientist. Once she throws her hat in the ring, every piece of legislation she ever signed will be scrutinized with a huge magnifying glass.

      Well, Charles Krauthammer lost me a long time ago, and then lost me again when he kept insisting Obama is “smart” – or maybe he felt he had to say that or maybe he means something different by “smart” than I do.

      But I agree with you on the candidates and I cannot for the life of me see what the pundits see in Romney. Personally I don’t give a damn about the RINO thing, but he has few accomplishments and one huge screw-up he fails to acknowledge and refuses to say how he would fix, given a second chance. I cannot take seriously anyone who takes him seriously especially because I have yet to see any of his supporters articulate in a cojent manner why they think he should be president.

      Perry has done some of the right things, but more importantly has acknowledged where he didn’t do right thing and explained why and what he was thinking when he did. But most importantly, he hasn’t screwed things up. Perry at very least has the sense not to make a botch of things when they are working.

      No one else currently running has the minimal qualifications for office: Bachmann is a shrew with no experience and executive talent; Newt is a gifted gadfly with no executive talent; Cain has run a business but has no other relevant experience and is not a national leader; Santorum tends to be an ass. Paul is a dangerous nut.

      Of undeclared candidtes, only Palin has meaningful qualifications. The other people of presidential timber are far from running.

      The only question that remains is: how many adults are left in this country?

How many adults are left in this country?

I am beginning to wonder. I just spent the last hour reading articles about Rick Perry’s position on in-state tuition. What where the responses? How about some of these:

illegals should be shot the minute they try to cross the border

illegals should all be rounded up and shipped to the furthest corner of South America (I guess that means the Asians that come in illegally as well)

illegals are law breakers and so are their kids. When a illegal kid applies for admission to a university they should be immediately arrested and deported.

It only goes downhill from there.

Now, I live in Texas, have lost friends who have been murdered by an illegal, but I don’t want to round them up and put them on cattle cars or shoot them as they swim the Rio Grand. I want our laws enforced and that means against the employers, as well.

This vitriol against illegals (most mean Hispanics) is not going to win the Oval Office in 2012. And the debate just handed Obama fodder for his coming ads that will be run in Hispanic communities all across the nation.

And on the campaign trail, next stops for Obama will be every barrio in every major city in American telling Hispanics how the Republicans want them all deported, no matter legality and all he has to do is pull the comments so called conservatives are making. We will be lucky to pull 30% of the Hispanic vote in 2012. Romney, Bachmann and Santorum just assured that.

    Owen J in reply to retire05. | September 25, 2011 at 2:27 am

    “How many adults are left in this country?”

    I can’t say. But I do have an excellent grasp of how many post comments in blogs.

    SmokeVanThorn in reply to retire05. | September 25, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Keep playing that “anyone who questions Perry is stupid, heartless, and/or racist” card. It worked wonders this weekend in Florida.

      No, not everyone who questions Perry is any of those things, but a good many who foam at the mouth over the prospect of Mexicans and Guatemalans daring to aspire for a better life for their families, as our parents and grandparents did for us, are all three. Unlike Perry, I’m for building a border wall, and shooting anyone who tries to sneak across the border; but only because they might be terrorists or dangerous criminals, or even infiltrators for an invasion. People who want nothing more than to go to work and produce wealth should be welcomed with open arms, and if there were some way to make the border porous to them while impervious to the dangerous people who want to kill us or steal from us, then I’d support doing that.

      Thank you for supporting my research.

      Would you consent to answering a few simple questions to round out my data set?

I’ve noticed the many posters on this blog are passionate about their candidate and very good at trashing their competitors. It’s a real put off when people go overboard. None of the candidates deserve the ill will that is going their way. Posters are trying to influence voters toward their candidates and use over the top language to do so. We need to keep our eyes on the ball…obama is the enemy. Having said all that, I will give my views.

Romney…Why people say he is electable surprises me. I really think the base would react to him the same way they reacted to McCain. They would either hold their noses or not vote.

Perry…Perry is a conservative and I don’t think voters are too interested in slick speakers like the present occupant of the WH. All these negatives are too silly for words. If this is the worst the media can come up with, Perry would be a shoo in.

Palin..I really, really want her to run. She is the only candidate or possible candidate who has actualy accomplished reform of government and goodness knows we need that. She is the only one who I would trust to shake up DC and make mega changes. Everyone else would be status quo.

Bachmann..why she is running is beyond me. She has zero chance of winning. She has no experience in much of anything. Waste of time, money and effort.

Cain..Good guy and and excellent speaker..Has no experience of the national scene..has never held office.

All the rest are in this for some kind of office or other kudos. They must know they can’t win.

So…I want Palin first and always. I will take Perry as second choice regardless of how well or bad he does in debates. I do not want a president who is good at debates, I want one who will do his best for this country. I will hold my nose for any of the rest of them.

Some may be missing the good professor’s point perhaps. When we project ahead to the fall TV debates, if the GOP nominee comes across like, say, Kim Delaney at the National Constitution Center awards ceremony on Thursday, he or she is a sure loser regardless of the merits or substance of the issues and regardless of whether the readers of this blog feel(perhaps rightly so) that is too superficial. The broader, non-ideological electorate does not read political blogs or watch the cable news shows–it generally prefers Dancing with the Stars, Storage Wars, and other fare. In the fall debates, the winning candidate must be able to articulate effectively. The voters have also proven at least three times in recent election cycles that they will vote for a smooth-talking con man for president. That is the environment that currently exists. We know that Obama doesn’t like to work too hard (preferring White House parties, golf, fundraisers, etc.), but you can be sure that he will be uber-prepared for the debates. As I pointed out on my blog, he seems like a number of my law school colleagues who avoided most of the reading and seldom showed up for class but had an amazing skill for cramming for the final exam and getting As in their coursework. As a practical matter, the eventual GOP nominee must have both substance and communication skills.