Quick Thoughts on the Drake Debate

-I’ll start with a personal note: as a Drake alumnus, it was a little bit eerie for me to watch the Republicans debate on the very stage where my wife performed in numerous orchestra concerts.

-I cannot believe the media is making so much of the fact that Romney offered Perry a $10,000 bet.  First of all, no, Romney is not a hypocrite for gambling even though his Mormon religion forbids gambling.  The whole point was that Perry was lying about Romney’s record and Mitt was making that fact clear.  Making a bet on something when you are 100% sure you are correct is no gamble at all.  Secondly, many are in a tizzy over the amount of the proposed bet.  So let me get this straight:  Obama wastes trillions of tax-payer money, but we are going to throw a fit over Romney “wagering” $10,000 of his own money.  If we are really that vacuous of a people, then there is no hope for us, regardless of who becomes our next president.

-It was really pathetic that ABC didn’t ask anything about foreign policy aside from asking about Gingrich’s comments on Palestine.

-Regarding Gingrich/Romney on Palestine, Dick Morris hit the nail on the head… that exchange told you everything you need to know about the difference between Newt and Mitt.  If you want brutal honesty, even to the point of being a bit of a flame-thrower, vote for Newt.  If you want intelligent and orderly, even to the point of being a bit stiff, vote for Romney.  (To my conservative friends, I’ll give you a hint:  the latter is going to play a lot better with the independents we need to woo to get Obama out of office.)

-Michelle Bachmann’s pandering to Herman Cain supporters was about as transparent as glass.  Will be interesting to see if it works.

-Really, there isn’t a candidate on the stage who couldn’t win the Iowa caucus.  Only Newt and Mitt can win the nomination, but it would not be shocking if any one of Santorum, Bachmann, or Perry surged at the last minute to win Iowa.  And I could also see the vote splitting so many different ways that Ron Paul’s 20-25% of hardcore followers is enough to win the caucus.  It promises to be an interesting 3 weeks.


  1. 1. I think the issue most took with Romney’s $10,000 bet was not the fact that he was a hypocrite for proposing it, but because he sounded so unbelievably out-of-touch with middle America for suggesting a $10,000 bet. Even Fox News called him on it (see my blog post for a link to the video). The median wage in Iowa is $52,000, so a $10,000 bet represents a substantial sum for the average Iowan.

    2. Palestine / Palestinians have been around for some time. I’d be happy to share links to maps from the 1800s with an area described as “Palestine” and to historical references to the region known as “Palestine” dating back to ancient Greece.

    The first clear use of the term Palestine to refer to the region synonymous with that defined in modern times was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece. Herodotus wrote of a ‘district of Syria, called Palaistinê” in The Histories, the first historical work clearly defining the region, which included the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley.

    Newt may be good at fanning the fires, but he looks like an idiot while doing it.

    3. If through some electoral miracle Newt does win the nomination, do you think there will be a brokered convention? Nate Silver over at the NY Times seems to think so and I can’t say I disagree with him. It certainly would be interesting to watch.

    4. WRT getting “Obama out of office,” as of today, the polling does not look good for the GOP, though to be fair, it’s way too early to call the race. But as of now, none of the GOP candidates are resonating with the non-base voters.

    Should be a good show, nonetheless.

  2. I always read your analysis with a grain of salt, knowing you’ve got a pony in this race. Your loyalties to Romney have never shown more than here!

  3. Ryan Morgan says:

    Yeah, I’m pretty much done with veiling my biases and just calling ’em like I see ’em.

    The whole “brutal honesty” thing seems to be working for Gingrich, so why not?

  4. Randy in Richmond says:

    This thing about the perfect candidate is a strawman somewhat pushed by the MSM because it fits their agenda. Bottom line– there is no perfect candidate and many people are going to vote as I am–ABO. If someone uses the Romney bet issue or any single statement to say , well, “he lost my vote” than they weren’t going to vote that way anyhow.

    My personal opinion is Newt’s going to implode over the next few months–don’t know how or why, but he will.

  5. Ryan Morgan says:

    Yeah, that’s a good perspective. The only thing I disagree with is when you say “the next few months”. I don’t think we have that long to wait. There’s 4 events in January. In any candidate wins 3 of the 4, that candidate will be very hard to beat. In 6-7 weeks time, Newt might have the nomination all but won.

  6. Ryan Morgan says:

    Here’s my updated prediction:

    Iowa: Newt wins a close vote, with Paul in 2nd and Romney 3rd. Santorum drops out and endorses Newt. Bachmann drops out and endorses Romney. Perry stays in.

    New Hampshire: Romney wins with Huntsman 2nd and Newt 3rd

    SC: Newt wins with Romney 2nd. Perry drops out and endorses Newt.

    FL: ??? Too close to call. Whoever does win it, will go on to win the nomination.

  7. I’m beginning to think I might be having a steak dinner soon.

    Not a Newt “Deep-Thinker-in-Chief-Wanna-Be” Gingrich fan either.

  8. That’s why I called it my “prediction” rather than my “assume that current polls will reflect what will happen in 7 weeks”. 🙂

    Also, the Bachmann, Perry, and Cain bubbles all popped. I don’t think Newt is going away, but I do think he may have peaked too soon.

  9. Phil: I am not denying that both the left and the right are both attacking Romney on making a bet. I’m just saying to focus on that point (regardless of who does it) shows a glaring lack of perspective.

    A sane culture/media would care about the truth of the matter: Was Rick Perry’s allegation true or a lie? (See link in original post for an honest answer to that question). Our culture seems to not care much about truth and to be almost entirely more concerned with the optimal amount Romney should have wagered to connect with the greatest swath of the middle class.

    The amount was not the story. The fact that Rick Perry keeps knowingly spouting a lie is the story.

  10. Ryan: I guess I don’t agree that one point obviates the other. Both points are valid: Perry’s disingenuous assertion about Romney’s plan (which was ably recorded by Factcheck.org and blogged by yours truly here) as well as Romney’s startlingly out-of-the-mainstream “bet” (serious or not).

    Andrew Sullivan reported last week on an interesting piece of e-mail he got from a reader with one possible explanation of why Gingrich is getting some traction.

    “Can you imagine,” my sister said, her eyes as lit-up as a child’s on Christmas morning. “When Obama starts that smartest-guy-in-the-room shit, Newt’ll shut him up.” No one talked about policy or even politics. This is a mob storming the Bastille, cheering the guillotine, and Gingrich is their most likely Robespierre.

    While I don’t necessarily agree with the hyperbole (Robespierre??? Sheesh…), the sentiments are directionally correct. The meme since he was elected is that Obama is somehow faking it. The whole teleprompter thing, the hints at affirmative action in his educational achievements, etc. all point to some kind of disbelief that he is as smart as he seems. So Newt is an obvious counter to that. It’s an interesting theory that seems to fit the facts reasonably well.

  11. Phil: I buy that theory about the reason for Newt to a point. But if the goal is to put up someone who will expose Obama on an intelligence front, why is Gingrich clearly the best option? Perhaps the guy with an MBA and JD from Harvard would be an okay choice too?

  12. Ryan: I wonder if there aren’t a couple of things working against Romney.

    1. He’s perceived as aloof. It’s unclear how well he would do getting his hands dirty battling Obama on a variety of topics.
    2. Right or wrong, his time at Bain Capital will be held against him as a “job destroyer.” Gingrich called him out on it today.
    3. There is a belief that Romney will bring a knife to a gunfight at the debates. Doesn’t he remind you of Kerry just a little bit? Or, heaven forbid, Dukakis? Stiff, inarticulate, overpolished, arrogant? His performance on Saturday, his inability to handle Newt, does not bode well for him being able to handle Obama.
    4. IMVHO, Romney lacks gravitas.

    The worst thing that can happen for the GOP is to underestimate Obama’s debate skills. It will not be a cakewalk for the GOP nominee. That’s why the Sullivan reader comment is so telling. The “base” want someone who can out-smart the smarty-pants Obama. “The Professor” is believed to be that person.

    Personally, and take this with a grain of salt since you’re arguing with a progressive here, I don’t see either Romney or Gingrich standing much of a chance against Obama in a debate. But of the two, Gingrich would be able to land the most body blows. YMMV. 🙂