by the Left Coast Rebel
LCR contributors have chimed in. An independent conservative, a libertarian, and a true conservative/tea party activist put forth their well-spoken thoughts on last night's GOP debate in South Carolina.
I watched it as well but didn't have time to blog, so here goes my take:
Pawlenty: Let's begin by setting our target square on the establishment: Tim Pawlenty or "T-Dawg", as he's lovingly referred to by those who should know better. Apologized for his his support of Cap And Tax, almost breaking into a Jimmy Swaggart, "I have sinned" moment that automatically disqualified him from serious fiscal conservative support:
Way too polished and rehearsed. An actor. A thinner less chiseled-chin-and-hair Mitt Romney.
Rick Santorum: The kind of Republican that towed the social conservative line hook line and sinker yet spent this nation into oblivion during 2000-2006. Voted for Medicare Part D. 'Nuff said. Not up to the Herculean task of righting this nation's financial ship. Could hardly watch his performance. We won't get fooled again! Santorum = Big-government Republican, Throw a Bone to Social Conservatives favorite of the night.
Herman Cain: Like the guy, I really do. Love his charisma, energy and life story. Was disappointed, however, in the substance -- or lack therof -- of many of his answers. Seemed a bit cagey and came in squarely short of his awesome performance at CPAC. Love the guy, I really do, but he needs to do better next time and stress his conservative bona fides. Herman Cain = Tea Party Member/Registered Republican That Has Nowhere to go in a Field of Has-been Big-government GOPers favorite of the night.
Ron Paul: Great performance and exactly what one would expect post-2008. No one knows the Constitution, the dangers of unlimited foreign engagements, perilously-forgotten Austrian economics theory and viable solutions to the financial disaster(s) that we face like Dr. No does. Monumentally loses the public when he decries water-boarding for Gitmo detainees. Also loses on drug legalization with the conservative base (although I agree) . The thing that makes Paul so appealing is also his worst enemy: he never, ever, ever minces words and speaks his mind. Wish he could ease into positions that clash with traditional thought, instead of unleashing full-frontal assaults. Love him or hate him, that's Ron Paul and he's the grandfather of the Tea Party Rebellion. Amazing that he excites the youth more than any candidate, bar none -- and he's 75 years old! Ron Paul = Libertarian +Tea Party + Youth favorite of the night.
Gary Johnson: My favorite going into the debate. Came out wonkish and libertarian awkward. Has the best track record of slashing spending as Governor of New Mexico but wasn't able to present. Needed less focus on marijuana, (don't know why Johnson focuses so much on pot when national bankruptcy is imminent but I respect his honesty). Needed more focus on his economic prowess and proven track record of fiscal conservativism in a Democratic-leaning state. With a little debate coaching and more focus on his strengths, can come out near the top next time. Gary Johnson = Split-Off Votes of Libertarian + Tea Party favorite of the night.