Debate post mortem
Some general thoughts in the aftermath of Monday evening's CNN/Tea Party Presidential debate from Tampa, FL.
-As expected, Texas governor (and solid leader in the polls) Rick Perry was targeted by several of the GOP candidates over such issues as his executive order for mandatory Gardasil vaccinations for young girls to the Texas DREAM Act to his referring to Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme."
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, whose standing among Republicans has slipped dramatically since Perry entered the race, said she was "offended" by Perry's executive order, which included an opt-out provision for parents who did not want the vaccine.
"To have innocent little 12 year old girls to be forced to have government injections through an executive order is just flat-out wrong," Bachmann said.
Good point by Bachmann, but I felt she overreached when she implied Perry's motivations for specifically using Gardasil was because he received campaign contributions from the drug's manufacturer Merck Co. Of the $30 million Perry has raised in campaigning for Governor, a mere $5,000 came from Merck.
Perry was also attacked by his opponents for signing the Texas DREAM Act in 2001, which granted in-state tuition to some children of illegal immigrants.
And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney chided Perry for referring to Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme" and vowed to protect the program. Romney called such language "over the top" and said that Perry wrote in his book "Fed Up!" that the entitlement program is unconstitutional.
Perry said Romney is trying to "scare" seniors who rely on the federal program.
When Romney persisted on the constitutionality question, Perry said the nation needed to have a serious conversation on the issue, which prompted Romney to cut him off by saying "we're having that conversation right now, governor."
And it's a good thing we're having this conversation. Nevertheless, I felt it was futile for the other GOP candidates to attack Perry on this issue since he's lost no traction in the polls once more of the electorate became aware of the "Ponzi scheme" statement. And for folks my age, it's hardly a revelation that the money we're currently contributing to Social Security will not be there for us in 30+ years.
-If Ron Paul were a legitimate candidate, last night's performance would have effectively ended his candidacy. Essentially saying America invited the the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks a mere one day after the event's 10th anniversary ensured that Paul will fade into oblivion within the next 4-5 months. It's a shame, since he seems to have excellent insights on the domestic issues, but they get overshadowed by his loony foreign policy stance. Ann Coulter had a great line via Twitter when she said Paul "is so good when he's not talking about legalizing drugs or unilateral surrender." Also via Twitter, Michelle Malkin topped it off by saying "Just when you think no one could out-assclown Paul Krugman, Ron Paul comes through."
-The evening ended on a lighter note with moderator Wolf Blitzer (who was great leading the festivities, as was CNN as a whole) asking "What would you add to the White House if you were to move in?" Upon that question being posed, GOProud co-founder Jimmy LaSalvia stated "OK now I know it's a gay in charge of this debate."
But seriously, some of the answers included the following:
Rick Santorum: He'd bring his seven children and "add a big room."
Newt Gingrich would "kick out all the White House czars" and bring music, ballet, chess and his grandkids to the White House.
Paul: "A bushel basket full of common sense."
Perry: "The most beautiful, most thoughtful first lady," his wife, Anita.
Romney: A bust of Winston Churchill.
Bachmann: The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Herman Cain: "A sense of humor ... America is too uptight."
Jon Huntsman: "My Harley-Davidson motorcycle" and his moto-cross bike.
According to the calendar, Summer is coming to an end. But as we ease closer to primary season, it's very evident by the tone in Monday's debate that the GOP race is heating up.