Anyone see Ron Paul tonight? How'd he do?
Anyone see Ron Paul tonight? How'd he do?
I worked late, so I had to watch the rerun.
He didn't answer any of the questions wrong, as I recall, but he
clearly didn't have the polish and presence of the other candidates.
He didn't look presidential. Not his fault, I guess. When everyone
else on the stage was 6 feet tall, with coiffed hair, an oratorical
voice, and Vaseline on their teeth, normal people can't help but look
and sound like whiny elf Dennis Kucinich.
I'm not sure if Chris Matthews was cutting him off prematurely on the
rare question that headed his way, but he didn't appear to have good
timing, even on questions where he had a slam-dunk answer like his
vote against invading Iraq.
I hate to say it, but Bob Barr would have done better in that debate.
Because it was a staged infomerical where every answer had been
memorized and rehearsed a dozen times (when a question came their way
that wasn't one of their memorized sound bites, they dodged the
question and talked about something they had memorized), it was only
the professional campaigner Romney and the former DA Giuliani who
shined. I was unimpressed with McCain's performance, but he still had
that LBJ persona that despite being terrible at a state dinner or
diplomatic meeting, he wouldn't be out of place in the Oval Office.
One of the first comments after the debate from MSNBC's talking heads
was that unlike Gravel's performance at the Democratic debate, nobody
at the Republican debate shifted "tiers" that night. The top tier
guys looked presidential, and the second tier guys didn't.
It's a shame, really. Ron Paul could have pulled a Gravel-type "these
guys scare me" and made a splash with it. But he was too interested
in looking like a mainstream Republican. His chances of winning the
nomination are so tiny, and have been so since the beginning, that
he's crazy to be following this mainstream strategy. He should use
every debate appearance to say what's wrong with all the other
(pro-Iraq-war) candidates. Instead, on Iraq, he only said that he
tried to get a declaration of war passed so it would be
Constitutional. It seemed like he was running away from the one vote
that 3/4 of Americans and a majority of Republicans agree with him and
no other candidate on.
Despite the lack of attention given to Paul's campaign, MSNBC's "Rate the
Candidates" page at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18421356/ shows Paul's
approval ratings jumped from 9% prior to the debate to 41% after the debate.
Of course, this is in no way a scientific poll, and is possibly being gamed
by the Digg effect, but it does show that he's now being taken seriously.
The clip that they use for rating Congressman Paul is one of the best
responses he gave during the night.
I thought he said several times that the war was a mistake, foreign military adventures in general are a bad idea and that he didn't support it(?)
That's not the only thing he said about the war. The link to all of the Ron
Paul responses in the debate that Phil posted earlier shows that he did say
that if we were going to go to war, the constitution mandates that only
Congress can declare war, and if the body wasn't prepared to propose such a
declaration, debate it, and pass it, then we have no business going to war.
Sounds as though he was shaming Congress for shirking its constitutional
duty, something this Administration has taken clear advantage of since the
beginning of the current century. And that's only because the Republicans
controlled both houses of congress and the executive branch. He shamed not
only the Congress, but his own party on that stage with this answer. And
that's why they are trying so hard to belittle and minimize his ridiculously
low-budget candidacy, dismissing him as insignificant and puny standing next
to McCain, Giuliani, and Romny. They saw him do this back in 1988 when he
ran for the Presidency under our party's banner and they belittled him as
well as our party.
He also brought up the war topic repeatedly during the debate, linking it to
his response to abolishing the IRS, and in other questions. I especially
liked his response to Mrs. Reagan's question about taxpayer funding of
embryonic stem cell research, which he also insisted was none of the federal
government's business. It took some amazing political balls to say that to
the widow of the beloved "Gipper" and right there on the stage of his
Memorial Library. Sounds a lot like what he did back in 1988 when he joined
the LP because he felt that Ronald Reagan had betrayed the Goldwater
conservatism on which he won the office by driving the nation deeper into
I for one, am damned proud of him for that one.