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Most Brutal Debate Video and Tweets Ever

Most Brutal Debate Video and Tweets Ever

Full report on CNBC debate here.  The only part that will be remembered is Rick Perry’s freeze on stage.  He was having a reasonable debate until that point.  I feel sorry for him.  One freeze on stage should not end a campaign, but the reaction will be brutal because it fits into a narrative of prior debate failures.

Speaks for itself. It is what it is.

Here is the video clip and the simultaneous reaction by three people on Twitter:

And now the Tweets:

Update:  Drudge headline:

Via HotAir, this reaction as to whether fundraisers will lose faith:


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I’ve only been following presidential elections since 1960, so maybe I’ve missed something crucial. I do not find candidate lapses in speaking critical. I don’t judge people in my private life that way either. As a college teacher, I never found it helpful in evaluating students either. Some do better in oral exams, some in written.

I’m not a Perry supporter. Just an old hand conservative who supported Goldwater and Reagan in their dark days.

    spartan in reply to T D. | November 9, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I have also been around politics for quite some time. Before anyone gets their panties in a wad over this, I recommend they find the YouTube clip of Gerald Ford’s 1976 debate with Carter where he claimed Eastern Europe was not under the sphere of the Soviet Union. That still has to be the most bizarre moment in presidential politics.

    Yet, Ford who was down 33 to Carter after the Democratic convention lost the election by 2 percentage points.

It was rough, but not the end of the world. Everyone has brain farts. As much as we political junkies pay attention to all of this, fact is, 85% of our voters won’t pay attention until mid-December.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Cowboy Curtis. | November 10, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Boy, it must suck to be you and retire05 this morning, eh? So now you’re trying to distance yourself from Perry with talk about being a “political junkie.” Whatever rocks your world.

    Say what you want about Gov. Palin, she never freezes and she’s always got a good policy response at her finger tips. Enjoy it Perriacs. Y’all asked for it; y’all got it. I wonder what the Cainites got to say to y’all?

      So this is your idea of cogent and informed commentary?


      scooby509 in reply to Juba Doobai!. | November 10, 2011 at 7:04 am

      The Perriacs have one thing over the Palinuts: at least Rick Perry is actually running.

      Cowboy Curtis in reply to Juba Doobai!. | November 10, 2011 at 8:43 am

      Per Juba: “Boy, it must suck to be you and retire05 this morning, eh?”
      Nonsense, its awesome to be me every morning. Every night, too, for that matter. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I don’t have to spend my days fuming that my preferred candidate led me on for three years only to decide not to even get in contest. Nor blaming everyone else, and every other candidate, for her letting me down. ‘Cause that would kind of suck.

      As for distance, I didn’t say anything that would indicate any such thing. I still think Perry is a bad debater, and the best candidate we’ve got. I think Newt is brilliant, but with serious electability problems. I could live with Romney, except I don’t believe a word he says. I think he would govern as a conservative, simply because he wouldn’t have any other choice. And I don’t think he’d have a problem doing so, because he has no core values for it to conflict with. Cain is certainly inspirational at times, but the man simply does not know, nor seem to care, about policy details. Much like our current president, he says a whole lot of words that when you add them up, really don’t say anything at all. Further, as I keep saying, the man is a terrible politician, with a unique ability to turn molehill controversies into mountain range scandals. Bachmann, Santorum, et al aren’t going anywhere.

      So yeah, I’m still in Perry’s camp. With the very qualified exception of Newt, I don’t see a better option. Should one arise, I’ll be happy to join Team Whatever.

        Is Juba a Palinista? Who knew? Oh well, if so, she’s quite forgiving.

        I’m a huge Palin booster myself — have been since 2007.

        But as you observe, she’s not running.

I’d add, every time Newt speaks, all I hear is “Under My Thumb” in the background.

So Professor Jacobson continues to excuse every mental and verbal lapse coming from the Cain campaign – admonishes us all not to join the MSM smear job brigade and tar and feather our candidates, yet he happily joins the pile on when Perry has a mental fart during the debate.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to Paul Zummo. | November 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I haven’t excused anything from the Cain campaign, I’ve simply demanded facts with which I could evaluate whether he is guilty. Rick Perry’s performance is a fact which we can evaluate. I realize this incident is painful for Perry supporters, but how can we ignore what took place on national television? Reporting it is not piling on.

      Except that the Politico has reported facts – nothing more than the facts that people have filed harassment lawsuits against Cain. They didn’t claim he was guilty or do anything beyond report that which is already part of the public record.

      I’m sorry, you’ve proven to be nothing more than a Cain stooge for a week, and this is the capper. Well, one less blog to read.

        William A. Jacobson in reply to Paul Zummo. | November 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm

        Cain stooge? Then you haven’t been reading the blog. I thought you were going to call me a Newt stooge. I have never supported Cain, I’ve only tried to be fair to him.

          It might not be your intent but I do agree it comes off that way from time to time.

          MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to William A. Jacobson. | November 9, 2011 at 10:43 pm

          Paul Zummo:

          Everybody saw Perry soil himself on national TV. And there’s absolutely no chance the evil liberal media trapped him. He did it to himself. It was sad to watch.

          In terms of the substance of Professor Jacobson’s post, there’s nothing to suggest he has it out for Perry.

          I just don’t get where you and retire05 come from.

          Do you have another blog? I must have missed some posts…

          I’m usually the first one to criticize the professor when something he writes appears biased, particularly if it were to favor Cain (I’m not his biggest fan), but everything I’ve seen here has been fair.

          Perhaps it’s just because we both view things from a legal lens (the professor more than I, I’m still new at this), but the way the media and Politico particularly have handled the accusations against Cain appears to have simply been abhorrent. At least with what happened with Perry, the facts are clear, and everyone can see it up front.

          Awing1: Yes, the Prof is generally been fair and he has been spot on about the treatment of Cain. The comment above is not entirely warrented.

          But he does often make the same mistake — he did in the comments here and you just echoed it.

          The issue is not the “facts” about Perry performance — the issue is whether they are relevant. The Prof continually acts as though thay are, while offering limp statements that well, maybe they should not be.

          This a particularly invidious form of character assassination: pick something irrevelant and say things like “well, anybody could do that” or “it shouldn’t matter that much but” and harp on it again and again.

          The game here is to try to create the appearance of fairness while trying elevate an irrelevant characterist to the level of a major, disqualifying flaw; in effect, saying: “Jeez isn’t it shame these proles pay attention to trivialites that I continually bring up.”

          I’m not saying that the goof Prof is deliberately trying to engage in this form of character assassination — I suspect he’s just not very good at political commentary.

          I suspect that being a law prof, his world view focuses heavily of argument and debate, and when this is combined with the “laws of successful blogging” which inform his writing style he is lead to post things — like the inaccurate and inflamatory headline to this post — that create the feeling he attacking people on specious grounds, which the people who feel attacked will naturally object to.

          Of course, it very usual that those objecting will not take the time to figure out ehat they are actually objecting to, and will level emotional unsupported accusations in turn, which of course can be turned aside, but which also serve to discredit the responder, not just his response.

          I should add here that this is also a key part of this form of attack — to provoke one’s critics into such a response, so that by making a reasoned defense to a misdirected charge they are made to look foolish.

          Again, I do not think Prof. Jacobson is doing this intentionally — I mean that seriously. I believe he is fair-minded. But it is easy to see how and why this impression is created, and if he cares about it, he would do well to pay more attention to how he words things, especially his titles, and how he constructs his posts.

        WarEagle82 in reply to Paul Zummo. | November 9, 2011 at 10:43 pm

        You must be reading a different blog. The good professor is hardly a Cain stooge.

        The Underground Conservative in reply to Paul Zummo. | November 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm

        Politico hasn’t reported any facts. And the trailer trash that came forward accompanied by Gloria Allred is a $oro$ financed stooge. She already has her pay day in an offshore bank account plus her book deals and whatever else she’s getting in payola. She has zero credibility. Maybe she can use her millions to pay back the people she’s stiffed through BK in her life.

        What’s black and brown and looks good on Gloria Allred? A Doberman.

      I’m sorry but the observation has merit. While we have argued ad nauseum about whether the allegations and settlements were/were not meritorious, you have (as well as the Cain supporters here) ignore the multiple gaffes and problems of the candidate and his campaign. From right of return to abortion to campaign finance improprieties to 9-9-9/9-0-9(and several other issues) Cain has been to put it kindly, less than stellar. Yet, when the accusations were put forth, you passionately lead the fight to resurrect a moribund campaign.

      Now, when the another GOP candidate has a bad night you lead the charge that it “fits into a narrative of prior debate failures”. Yes, you defended Perry on the ‘rock’ issue but I don’t recall it being 1/10 of the effort you have put towards Cain and the ‘allegations/settlements’.
      You should compare this gaffe with the one Gerry Ford made at the 1976 debate with Carter. If you think Perry’s gaffe is still worse than Ford’s, then we all have our answer.

      Perhaps, the Conservative Movement like the Greeks have finally lost their Marbles.

    This is not a fair comment — he has not been making excuses for Cain, he has been demanding actual data as opposed to handwaving and vague accusations. Where Cain has misspoken, he has pointed it out.

    What is fair to say, is that he has an unhealthy obession with these so-call “debates” and he shows little skill at distiguishing style from substance in judging political matters, a fault he attributes to the electorate as a whole.

    Time will tell how correct he is on the latter point — which is why we have elections BTW, and not merely “debates”.

      boone in reply to Owen J. | November 10, 2011 at 1:22 am

      I don’t think it is fair to call the Professor a Cain shill. I do think it is fair to point out that for all of the grief the Professor has raised regarding what Politico reported, and whose initial story (that the NRA settled two sexual harassment claims involving Cain) turned out to be true, he showed a remarkable lack of interest in Cain turning around and starting to lob grenades inside the tent, especially regarding his accusation of Perry (and others). I assume that the Professor would do the same with any candidate, but I would disagree with that for any candidate. I look at running for President more as a job interview than a court, so the candidate has to convince me that he is right for the job.

      My guess would be that is where the “Cain shill” image is coming from.

        Owen J in reply to boone. | November 10, 2011 at 1:39 am

        I tend to agree. I think it is pretty clear where his sentiments lie — he had a post to that affect sometime ago — and that along with a couple of other factors leads him into error (occassioning my probably over-long reply to the comment above).

It’s unfortunate that one mental error can sink a campaign, but coupled with his previous performances and high expectations, Perry is almost certainly done. And it truly is a shame. He has the ideas and record, which is what the deciding factors should ideally be, not electing a debate team captain. But, this general election above all, debating skill is going to be a key factor. Who benefits most from a presumed Perry implosion, Newt?

    William A. Jacobson in reply to Since1776. | November 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    I agree that Perry has dramatically underperformed in the campaign in comparison to his record. He had a record to run on, but he didn’t bring it to the national stage. I can’t say it’s over, but the damage is deep.

      Perry has “underperformed” as a candidate like Obama has “underperformed” as a president…

      That is an assumption. Prove it.

        WarEagle82 in reply to Owen J. | November 10, 2011 at 8:42 am

        I would think poll numbers of 5% to 15% pretty well prove Perry has “underperformed” from any objective viewpoint…

          Thank you!

          80%+ of those polled state they are either undecided or have not yet firmly decided who they will eventually support.

          By more than 4 to 1 the voters have not made up their minds.

          Polls right now prove nothing more than they did when Cain and Newt were running in low single digits.

          Point 2: The claim is he “dramatically underperformed” but no criteria are offered, nor any basis for evaluating said criteria. Without an objective criteria and sound basis for evaluating it, no “objective” conclusion is possible.

          So how do we prove, objectively, how well his campaign is doing?

          We vote!

    “…debating skill is going to be a key factor.”

    Says who? Present a compelling argument. Offer concrete proof.

    StephenMonteith in reply to Since1776. | November 10, 2011 at 3:21 am

    “One mental error” wouldn’t; if it didn’t follow a nearly unbroken line of disappointing debate performances, some rating in the “terrible” level. Rick Perry could have shrugged this off as a simple brain fart (he Was able to remember it at the next question he was given, after all), if he wasn’t such a bad debater in general. Voters in general elections decide based, to a certain extent, on debate performances; and, to the extent they do, they will categorically refuse to vote for Rick Perry if he continues at his current “terrible” level while debating Barack Obama.

Politico did far more than simply report the facts. They went on an all out assault against Cain. Cain is innocent until proven guilty. Perry’s recent flub was another in a long line of debate missteps, and as I said above, it should not sink a campaign, especially one as promising idea wise as Perry’s, but in this election debate skill is essential. This was more the straw that broke the camel’s back than an isolated incident for Perry.

    Why is debate skill essential?

    Do you believe it should be essential?

    If not, what do you intend to do about that?

      StephenMonteith in reply to Owen J. | November 10, 2011 at 3:24 am

      Debating skill may not be “essential” to the task of being president of the United States. But, with three hundred million Americans from which to choose, it wouldn’t hurt to have a president with both solutions AND the ability to articulate them. Hell, there were seven other people on that very stage who fit both criteria.

        Two points:

        Articulate them? Or articulate them in that particular format? Does that particular format have virtues other modes of articulation lack?

        Why are we only talking about one part of that consideration, and arguably the less important part? And are all the candidates really equal in regards to the other more important considerations? If so, support that. If not, why not talk about that?

          JayDick in reply to Owen J. | November 10, 2011 at 9:42 am

          “Does that particular format have virtues other modes of articulation lack?”

          Yes, it does. It is similar to cross-examination in a court trial. The back and forth flushes out the details and examines whether the speaker has really thought through his/her proposals or analyses.

          Speeches and advertising are helpful for some voters, but I prefer a good debate. Unfortunately, 60 seconds is not adequate for responding to some questions.

          Owen J in reply to Owen J. | November 10, 2011 at 9:55 am

          Would you seriously characterize what has been going on as “good debate”? From your comment about the 1-minute, I gather not.

          Debate can indeed be useful — Newt and Cain had a fine one — but these so-called “debates” are most emphatically not that. They are a circus and they are intended to do several things and is not one of them.

          Serious debate can be treated seriously. A circus cannot.

        theduchessofkitty in reply to StephenMonteith. | November 10, 2011 at 9:47 am

        “But, with three hundred million Americans from which to choose, it wouldn’t hurt to have a president with both solutions AND the ability to articulate them.”

        Three words: George W. Bush.

Perry may be the greatest candidate who never was. He hit the ground running; with his face…

I have a great deal of respect for Perry, but unfortunately in the general election in the debates he will not do well, this is just not one of his strong points.

I still consider him a great gov from TX, but I cannot vote for him, in the primaries.

    Owen J in reply to alex. | November 10, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Would you care to develop why you think being a “great gov” is an inconsequencial qualification for office?

Which government agency would you cut? Just pick one! You can’t be wrong!

he happens..too bad though that he wasn’t able to turn it into a joke by saying something like “on second thought, there are TWO agencies i want to get rid of..”

If only he had said something like “Hell, close your eyes and pick a department, that could be the third one. We’ll keep the Departments of Defense and State, probably need to keep the Justice and Treasury Departments. Lots of stuff the Federal Government does just duplicates things the states do better anyway. The Constitution requires the Post Office. We’ll just start eliminating departments until we the that one I’m thinking of. We might go through a bunch, but we’ll get there.”

Oh well. Perry never really gave me a sense that his heart was in this business of running for President. I think he was motivated by perceiving his nation needed his services. We should thank all of the candidates for the sacrifice they are willing to make for us.

And Professor: I think you run a pretty even-keeled ship here. Thanks.

Remember when not only his opponents but Nixon wrote himself off and said it was time for him to go home in 1962? Funny thing about 1968 and 1972.

More recently, remember when everyone including Newt’s entire campaign senior staff, said it was time for Newt to go home? (“With his campaign in tatters Thursday following a mass exodus of his entire national and early-state staff, Gingrich appears to have proved his critics right.” Another bit of brilliant analysis by Politico. Heh.)

Maybe Perry’s fundraiser can join Ed Rollins, Nicolle Wallace, Newt’s campaign staff, and Politico, who have all proven good at telling people to go home, but not so good at identifying real leadership.

After already seeing a number of funny things in 2011, I’m enjoying waiting for the funny thing about 2012.

    spartan in reply to T D. | November 10, 2011 at 8:44 am

    More recently … how many times did the smartest folks in the room declare the candidacy of John McCain dead in 2007?

Once again, the Political Junkies cannot help themselves.

Two things remain unanswered: To present a compelling reason argument that anyone but Political Junkies cares about this, and;

Why Political Junkies are against having an actual vote? Are Political Junkies inherently undemocratic? Or are they merely childishly impatient and/or stupid?

I apply this to the comments about both Cain and Perry. The rush to judgment, the obession with trivialities — complete the disingenuous gloss of “Well, I know it’s trivial and of course I don’t feel this way, but everyone else does, so I’m just going to point that out again and agaun and again…” — is disgusting.

Get a grip, people…

I find it interesting that Perriacs can’t seem to distinguish between fact and opinion. To claim that Politico posted facts signifies a lamentable want of a dictionary.

PS: Those are not “three people” — they are three commentators with their own specific agendas.

To imply otherwise — which this post does — is either naive or disingenuous. This type of “reporting” (or whatever one may call it) does not rise much above the level of “useful idiocy.”

The one benefit to Perry is that we are 3 days from the next debate. He was having a solid debate up until the flub, if he can do the same, or a little better, he should be able to put it behind him.

Well, at least we have Owen J to set us all straight.

And because anything worth doing is worth overdoing:

“Sloppy move by the Cain campaign, another misstep among many the past 10 days. Much like the unsupported blame-game (Perry, Rahm, the Democratic Machine) it makes Cain look amateurish. But did it really warrant the hyper-reaction?
Posted by William A. Jacobson Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 4:45pm

“The self-immolation of Rick Perry”
“Rick Perry. Jeez. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez. JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZ.”
“That was the greatest flame-out I’ve ever witnessed … Ever. And that’s including Ford saying there was ‘no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.’ Whew”
“There went Perry.”
“Most Brutal Debate Video and Tweets Ever”

Well — did it?

This Is The Moment Rick Perry’s Presidential Chances Flash Crashed

And because I cannot resist saying: The Plot thickens…

“Aaron Blake, a reporter who blogs at the Washington Post’s political blog, tweets:

Top Perry fundraiser to me: “Perry campaign is over. Time for him to go home and refocus on being Gov of TX.”

This comes on the heels of an earlier report by Politico blogger Ben Smith who was sent this email from a prominent Perry supporter:

Subject: i’m sad

stuck a fork in himself

can’t decide which is worse Dean scream or Perry oops

bourbon for me, i think”
[from HotAir and the Weekly Standard]

Lessee… “[Unnamed] Top Perry fundraiser” from WaPo.
“[Unnamed] prominent Perry supporter: from Politico.

Yep, with sources like that, gotta be true…

And I have to say, nice to see a prominent Perry supporter being so gracious to Howard Dean, poor fella. And the generous rehabilitation of Gerald Ford just warms the cockles of my heart.

    spartan in reply to Owen J. | November 10, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Lessee… “[Unnamed] Top Perry fundraiser” from WaPo.
    “[Unnamed] prominent Perry supporter: from Politico.

    Yep, with sources like that, gotta be true…

    Don’t worry the good professor will be leading the passionate charge in due time. In the meantime, we will have to endure the mindless rants of jubee doobee while Rome burns.

DINORightMarie | November 10, 2011 at 4:44 am

The only think I can add to this conversation is…..debate is essential to defeat Barack Obama. Newt is a master. Like him or hate him, he has the debater’s gift, and the sharp intellect, the deep knowledge, and experience to use it to great advantage.

Obama is a trained community organizer, who knows how to stifle, obfuscate, spin, and just generally tell people what they want to hear; he can do that IN HIS SLEEP. That is what he studied all his life. That is all he has done all his life. His U Chi teaching stint was teaching Alinsky community organizing to students. And, if you go back and watch him, he has the ability to use those skills well.

He has no need of a teleprompter after debate prepping for hours every day; which is a guarantee, since he has such a busy schedule lately.

And he won’t do much else, come debate time. Not like the world isn’t falling apart: European economy crashing, our economy is in the deepest hole since the Great Depression, unemployment is over 9% (real unemployment – not the massaged MSM number), or anything really serious. Not to mention the anarchists in the streets, rioting and getting a pass from leftists. Or Iran going nuclear in the near future. By then, there might be much worse – but he will train and drill on debating the Republican candidate. He will sharpen his knives well.

Priorities! Gotta focus on those debate skills. Memorize all those zingers cleverly created to give the MSM sound bites to repeat ad nauseam.

That is why debate skills and performance matter. Perry has to have a FANTASTIC next debate, or he will fade; his message will not be heard, due to weak communication skills – as illustrated in these debates.

    scooby509 in reply to DINORightMarie. | November 10, 2011 at 7:13 am

    “Priorities! Gotta focus on those debate skills. Memorize all those zingers cleverly created to give the MSM sound bites to repeat ad nauseam.”

    And that’s the problem. I think Perry supporters are, not unreasonably, looking for their candidate to be judged on fair, impartial grounds, when the reality is that in modern politics, they won’t be.

    I am sorry but that is utter nonsense. There was nothing special about Obama’s debate performances in 2008 and I doubt it will matter what Obama says in his debates in 2012.
    In politics, perceptions and projecting (seeing the candidate as ourselves) play a greater part than in years past. There was nothing special Carter said in 1976 that earned him the Presidency. The perception was he was an outsider going to clean up Washington after the Watergate debacle. Being a ‘good’ Christian man, he also played into the projections of many voters. Carter lacked substance but the voters took the flyer.
    In 2008, American homeowners were taking a financial beating (which really began in 2006). They made the GOP pay the price in 2006, losing the House and Senate. In 2008, there was open hostility towards DC (which still exists today-which is why Newt and Herman don’t play up their roles as DC lobbyists). McCain and Hillary were seen as DC insiders while Obama was seen as an outsider. The voters bought the pablum Obama was selling and took another flyer.
    It will not be an easy ride for Obama in 2012 as he has to run on his record.

    We used to put a premium on political executive experience and leadership. Not anymore. Once again, we put our political blind faith in folks who have to meander through the minefields of debates. It has become a cross between American Idol and your average reality TV show. Throw in the need for instant gratification and we lose sight of what is important.

    We do not need to make Obama to be larger than life. He is a mean, petty, and small man. All this sturm und drang over the GOP debates is nothing more than isolated ‘gotcha’. If this is what loses a candidate support, then it says more about the supporters than the candidate.

    Don’t think I’m picking on you — I’m not. But what you just said is a perfect example of the problem we face.

    I’ve read quite few comments here & there to the effect of: “I think Perry would be the best president but I can’t support him because … ”

    This what you people need to get through your heads: This is NOT American Idol. We don’t have or want a bench of self-appointed judges telling us who gets run and who should go home. We must not have that.

    Politics in America is not a spectator sport!

    And yet, here you are, treating it as exactly that. A bunch of people who despise you and everything you think is good and right come up with a media-circus-cum-game-show and you fall right into line!

    You get behind these people and you say; “Yup, them’s the rules. Priorities! Gotta focus on those debate skills, yessir. That’s the ticket!”

    What the hell is the matter with you? Do you really seriously think that a game show is the way to pick our next president? You lay out the crises we all face and then you decide to endorse the American Idol model for deciding who should run and who shouldn’t?

    You are not watching American Idol. You are not a spectator sitting at home, being entertained and buying into their rules.

    You are voter. Sovereignty is vested in you — not the game show hosts.

    Do your job, dammit.

      Cowboy Curtis in reply to Owen J. | November 10, 2011 at 10:12 am

      I tend to agree. While the ability to get elected has to be our first consideration (it doesn’t matter what a candidate will do in office if he never gets into office), the ability to effectively govern has to be a close second. Do we really want to put ourselves in the situation Democrats are now in- nominating someone who can win but can’t do the job he just won (as the SCOAMF is)?

      Debates are nice, but of limited value. If they were determinative, W would never have won an election. They don’t much evidence the ability to run an effective campaign, nor how one will govern or deal with all the assorted controversies the media will manufacture. I’ll go ahead and clue everyone in, unless Newt wins the nomination, Obama will be declared the winner of each and every debate, regardless of what is said or done. And even if Newt destroys him each time, the press will find a way to portray each victory as a stinging loss. They are all in, and will be long after election day.

      The ability to handle press-manufactured scandals (such as the current Cain debacle) is going to be far more critical to our eventual nominee’s success than any debate. That’s because the media and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) will pummel him weekly with them. They can’t make him take a position or piss off his base, but they can slap him with the stink brush every single day. And our guy is going to have to be adept, hell, he’ll have to be downright heroically gifted, at dealing with this stuff.

      We’ve got one guy in the race right now who has shown he is utterly not up to the task.

        Not to disagree — because I don’t. But my issue the “ability to get elected” being our first consideration is that people are treating it passively. They are sitting around acting like they are not in this game, trying to guess what everybody else thinks.

        And based on their conclusions about that, they are deciding who is “electable” and who isn’t.

        The problem with this approach is 1) that is hard thing to figure out reliably, 2) they really suck at it, and 3) it’s misguided.

        “Electibility” is not something voters devine — it’s something voters produce. It is an output, not an input.

        So pick the person you feel will do the best job and explain rentlessly why they are the best person, and explain why the media manipulations, the blood-and-circuses, the phoney debates are not proper ways to evaluate candidates.

        Start with what we can assess (with some reasonable accuracy) and use that to push electability. Don’t sit there passively, listening to a lot of nonsense, saying — as no small number explicity — the so-&-so is really the best person for the job but “they aren’t electable” because the enemy has told you repeatedly they are not electable.

        The enemy want us to think no one on our side is electable. And we read exactly that again and again: “Weak field — everyone sucks — no real [….] — not electable” for no other reson than they they have been told that over and over again.

        If we are going to get out of this mess we need people, not parrots. So people need to get off their butts and act like they in this game, because they are.

        To quote a wise man: “Agitate! Agitate!”

[…] when he froze up on the agencies question. Up until that point, he was have a very decent debate. Yikes, this might be the end for him. I was really pleased with Gingrich. His knowledge base is unmatched. Newt owned the moderators […]

Let’s all face facts here. The next President of the United States is not among the current Republican line up. None of them have the capability of beating the moron that currently resides in the White House. It is a weak group. Cain, has been Clarenced, successfully. Newt….more skeletons. Romney more like the current occupant. Perry, toast. Paging Paul Ryan, please report to the RNC immediately!

[…] Professor Jacobsen wrote: He was having a reasonable debate until that point. I feel sorry for him. One freeze on stage should not end a campaign, but the reaction will be brutal because it fits into a narrative of prior debate failures. […]

I think Perry thought that because he is the biggest big shot in a big state, we could just swagger his way onto the national stage and voters would thank their lucky stars to have him. It’s not just a couple of debate “performances” excused by Perry because he’s not a “good debater.”

What used to be called — quaintly — public speaking is arguably the most important skill a political leader in a democracy must have. And essential to speaking — in debates or any other context — is command of the subjects as well as the language. This is not to say that a leader needs to be an expert on everything, which is impossible, or even an expert on anythjng. But he or she must be able to discuss any important topic with reasonable facility. Equally important, he or she must have the qualities of self-possession and control to steer a way out of any thorny thicket.

Why? In this case, because every word the President of the United States speaks or does not speak can be critically important. He can crash markets, alienate allies, screw up longstanding national policies by a misstatement or a failure to know or recall something a good deal less significant than what Perry could not recall in public about his own plan.

Liberal critics used to complain about Eisenhower’s habit of vague circumlocution on some subjects especially in press conferences. But Ike understood from years of experience at the height of power that there could be no do-overs of a Presidential mistake, particularly at the peak of cold war danger.

Perry’s “brain freeze” is not just a minor “gaffe.” This is the big time, and however much he may be an excellent governor, he has proven that he is not ready for it.

    Owen J in reply to JEBurke. | November 10, 2011 at 11:49 am

    The argument sounds good but you need better historical support for it. Arguably the last President who meets that standard is Lincoln, the greatest political genius and the only truly eloquent President this nation has ever produced.

    I think you also misunderstand what it is that a president actually does and how he does it. Too many people live in the Reality TV World, thinking that what they see is what makes things happen. This is not the case.

    The fact of the matter is that public address is a fairly minor part of a President’s job. We do not expect President to be eloquent anymore — which is why we have professional speech writers. Obama’s failure is not due to some inability to speak in public — it is due to the fact that he holds wrong opinions and pursues dangerous harmful policies.

    Reagan success was not due to the fact that as an actor he could deliver lines well, it was because he know what he wanted to do and how to set about doing it, and because it was (by & large) and proper thing to do. He was not known a “great communicator” because he spoke well but because he had something of value to communicate.

    Having good policies, well-thought out, and viable plan to implement them is what matters. Explaining them to people afterwards are what speech writers and spokemen are for, and I see no evidence in Perry’s record that he is terribly deficient in this regard.

    That is not to say the President’s words are not important, in public or in private. Leaving aside Eisenhower’s habit of using “vague circumlocutions” (which would seem to undermine the point being made above) and taking that further point about the potentially disasterous affects of a “failure to know or recall something a good deal less significant than what Perry could not recall in public about his own plan”, I assert that history does not quite bear that out.

    For the sake of brevity, I will cite but one example (paraphasing as I cannot find the exact quote). In the Greek crisis that occured during the Johnson adminstration, Johnson was told that the Greek PM (as I recall) had been detained — effectively kidnapped — by the opposition and threats were being made.

    Johnson was not pleased and he called (or summoned) some official from the State Dept, and told them: “You get on the phone with that sonofbitch and you tell him that if anything happens to that other sonofabitch, we’re gonna go over there and shoot all them sonsabitches!”

    The PM was duly released unharmed and the crisis was de-escalated.

    Now Perry — for example — may not be very good in the sound-bite “debate” format people have been sucking up. How he would do in the format Cain and Newt used, I don’t know, but I suspect he would do better, based on his record. I would never expect him to rise to level of eloquence of Lincoln under any circumstances.

    But I can easily hear him saying what Johnson said in a similar crisis. And I do believe it would carry equal conviction and credibility with the bad guys.

    And that matters much more than the fact that he does not play the trained monkey as well as some others in the opposition’s latest dog-&-pony show.

      JEBurke in reply to Owen J. | November 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      Good lord, what a lengthy non sequitur. Nothing I wrote supposes that speaking in public is the most important task of a President. Nor did I say anything remotely suggesting that a President must be “eloquent.” It’s a very long way from “oops” to eloquence.

      I’m saying something that should be obvious — indeed IS obvious to all those voters who stopped telling pollsters they prefer Perry before last night — namely, that the ability to communicate effectively and persuasively is an essential skill, one of many but still essential, to a President.

      Citing Ike’s deliberare vague circumlocution hardly undermines the point (but it does reveal an element of ignorance in your reply). Smart statesmen know it is sometimes better to be vague than to make a mistake. And skilled political leaders can always manage to talk their way out of a tight spot, which takes brains not eloquence.

        Owen J in reply to JEBurke. | November 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm

        I quote: “What used to be called — quaintly — public speaking is arguably the most important skill a political leader in a democracy must have…”

        I quote again: “Nothing I wrote supposes that speaking in public is the most important task of a President.”

        Now what was your point again?

You know who I feel sorry for (sort of). Dave Carney and the other Gingrich staffers who jumped ship on Gingrich less than five months ago, seeking to publicly humiliate their candidate in the process, in order to join Perry’s campaign.

They gotta feel like a___oles today!