The Republican debate leading up to this weekend’s Iowa straw poll was the first real opportunity for all the candidates to earn their first semester grades. The LaughatLiberals.com report card is below. Please blog-in with your feedback.
My overall view of the debate was positive. It was my first real opportunity to see all the Republican candidates side-by-side, in full campaign mode and I was pleased with what I saw. There is quite a diversity of thought among these candidates and throughout the Republican family in general. From libertarian to interventionist conservatism, the GOP is THE party of ideas that can save our country from this economic mess we are in.
Rick Santorum – Grade B-
In the debate, Santorum didn’t get a lot of face time. On paper, he looks good and he does well in these types of forums. He is a sound conservative but there is a certain aspect of his personality that is just unappealing. He lacks “likeability” and will need to make up for that if he wants to be a serious contender for President.
Herman Cain Grade: C-
Very likeable, but very shallow as a potential leader of the free world. Herman Cain has done much to focus peoples attention on business and the economy and he is a great assett to the Republican party. BUT, his lack of government and political experience, in spite of his feelings, is a liability, not an assett. In business you can fire people who don’t follow your plan. In government you can’t. He cannot and should not be the GOP’s candidate for president.
John Huntsman Grade: D
Huntsman didn’t seem at all presidential and didin’t offer a lot of substance with any of his answers. He appeared nervous and halting during most of his answers. He had no defense whatsoever of his record as govenor other than to say that was his record. I get the feeling we’d be trading one non-leader for another with Huntsman.
Ron Paul Grade: C +
Ron Paul gets a very small number of people extremely excited. He can never, ever be president but he performs a valuable service to the the Republican pary and conservatism in general. The purest form of conservatism is libertarianism. Paul reminds us all the the real problem is government, on any level and if we always hold true to taking power away from government on any policy decision, we’ll be better off.
Newt Gingrich Grade A-
Best actual performance of the debate and Newt once again proved that he is a candidate of real ideas. I think he would make a good president, but I don’t think he has the capacity to beat Barak Obama. Newt’s character has been assasinated by media attacks and his own self-inflicted wounds. He his one of the great policy thinkers of our time and makes the Republican party better. But winning will be very difficult for him.
Tim Pawlenty Grade: B
I liked Pawlenty’s performance. His exchanges with Bachman were neccesary and, I thought, effective. Pawlenty’s biggest hurdle is personality. He doesn’t exudue presidentiality and authoritative leadership. I told a friend of mine he needs to gain about 30 pounds, get a new personality and a chin. I feel better about him as a candidate after watching him in the debate, but I don’t think he can beat Obama in a general election.
Michelel Bachman Grade D-
After seeing her performance last night I have decided that Michelle Bachman does not possess the gravitas to be president. I thought she performed terribly and I was troubled by some of her answers. I understand standing on principle and fighting for what you believe in but there is a time and a season for everyting. In America, you sometimes have to compromise and maybe even retreat from a battle in order to win the war. She is not ready to lead our country and Pawlenty was right to point it out.
Mit Romney Grade-B
Mitt didn’t have to do much and didn’t in the debate. He looked and sounded presidential and as every pundit has already said, nobody really laid a glove on him. Romney doesn’t really inspire me but of all the candidates I think he is the most presidential, the most prepared to fight and beat Barak Obama.
Rick Perry Grade-Incomplete
Even though he wasn’t in the debate, Rick Perry still had a presence. If he gets in, Romney will finally get some much needed competition.
I though Newt Gingrich was the best performance of the night, punctuated by his closing statement that excluded the final shot at self-promotion and patriotically called on Obama and Congress to get back to work for America.