Eight GOP presidential candidates debated Thursday night in Iowa. I couldn’t catch the debate live, so I recorded it and watched it last night. As I usually do, I take notes throughout a debate to help me compare candidates. The notes I take usually result in blog posts after a bit of research and consideration. But I’m doing something different this time. Instead of doing a bit more research and looking into their answers deeper, I’m going to just show you my raw notes and that’s it. No further comment or explanation on them.
Michelle Bachmann – I like her; I like her positions and ideas; very down to earth; good traditional American/Republican values; might be too hard on sticking to her beliefs and not compromising to get things done
Herman Cain – great position on illegal immigration: “we have a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, it’s call legal immigration”; practical businessman; not a good overall understanding of what it takes to be president; not electable
New Gingrich – true patriot; very intelligent; too intelligent for the campaign process; some of his positions and explanations go over the heads of many Americans (including me); not electable
Jon Huntsman – can’t get a read on this guy; no substance; seems like he’s always looking for the right thing to say rather than talking from the heart about what he truly believes; not electable
Ron Paul – the most consistent Republican presidential/congressional candidate over the years; very refreshing to hear his thoughts and his unending passion for the U.S. Constitution; firm believer in states’ rights; not electable
Tim Pawlenty – I don’t like him; doesn’t give straight answers; I don’t like his petty criticisms of other candidates; criticizes Pres. Obama for taking vacation, petty, there are more important fish to fry
Mitt Romney – tough nut to crack; I like him though; seems to have a good business understanding; could be good at gaining consensus and making things happen with a split congress; not many candidates have his business experience
Rick Santorum – very tough, almost too tough; sticks to his guns to a fault; knowledgeable about the Middle East but doesn’t seem to have wide range of knowledge on presidential issues
Before you start commenting here about these notes, let me just say that when I say a candidate is “not electable”, it’s just a gut feel. It’s not necessarily based on any criteria or litmus test. I simply compare the candidate to other folks who have won presidential elections, to what Americans say during presidential campaigns, and I get a feeling about whether Americans would elect the person.
Lastly, I have to comment in the debate itself and the moderators. This was one of the worst moderated debates I’ve ever seen. The rules stated that candidates would have 60 seconds to answer the questions posed to them. Bret Baier consistently stacked 2 or 3 issues into a single question in a way that guaranteed the candidates could not possible give a good thorough answer. If you’re going to have a 1 minute response rule, then you have to ask questions that can be answered in 1 minute.
Byron York, one of the questioners and a conservative columnist from the Washington Examiner, asked one of the worst debate questions I’ve ever heard. He asked Michelle Bachmann, “as president, would you be submissive to your husband?” It was based on a comment Bachmann had made 5 years ago. I recall someone asking a similar question of Hillary Clinton. At the very least, it was a sexist question. These debates are not very long. There are eight candidates in this one, and I don’t need a moderator wasting my time with such stupid issues. Surely there are other topics much more worthy of a national stage. I did like Bachmann’s response though.