Politicians are breaking out all over this week as the 2012 Presidential Election is officially on. First, there was the Republican Presidential Debate hosted by Brian Williams at the Ronald Reagan Library. Then Obama’s pitch to Congress to pass his more than 400 billion dollar job creation package NOW. You can go deep on both by following the links below and in the Daily Dose but just to get your attention – did anyone else notice that Michelle Bachmann wore the same blouse in Simi Valley that she wore for the debates in New Hampshire? (A nod to austerity or a suspicion her campaign was about to be short lived?) Or that Ron Paul’s stylist needs to tell him to pull the seat of his jacket down so the gap between the back of his neck and the collar of his jacket isn’t an even wider gulf than the US debt? I admit we have far bigger problems to worry about but on a totally superficial note, there seemed to be a “too worried to pay a tailor or stylist” air to the whole line of ’em..
So, who won the Republican debate? I think it was Mitt Romney – and not by a little but by a lot. Romney is fighting … and finally cutting through. He looked positively presidential next to a slightly goofy Rick Perry who was beaming and giving the thumbs up, a little like an 11 year old being praised by his teacher, when Romney mentioned his book, “Fed Up.” Perry is telegenic and came out slugging but never seemed as cerebral or convincing as Mitt Romney. His arguments about job creation in Texas did fall flat when you consider his state also has among the largest populations without health insurance and that no other state has as many workers making at or below minimum wage. And if Americans already thought Republicans were mean, I don’t think it helped when Rick Perry told Brian Williams he hasn’t lost any sleep over the 234 criminals executed under his watch as governor of Texas… and the crowd broke out in cheers! The exchange that everybody loved was when Perry told Romney Michael Dukakis created jobs 3 times faster than he did and Romney shot right back, “Well, George Bush created them a lot faster in Texas than you did.” That’s the Romney people have been waiting to see. Just for fun, I went back and watched the New Hampshire debates and Romney was practically mute that night compared to this debate’s “Mitt This” approach.
The “not wild enough to be a wild card” Jon Huntsman continues to be a favorite if for no other reason, because he is so earnest. I loved when he beefed up his internationalism by saying he would like to address the Chinese people with a speech he would give in China IN CHINESE. He also gets kudos for being a Republican who takes global warming seriously – something his rival Romney doesn’t. And Huntsman gets points for chiding Romney about his aggressive stance on renegotiating trade deals by saying, “It might not be a good idea to start a trade war in the middle of a recession.”
As far as Pawlenty and Santorum, I’m afraid they are morphing into the same candidate for me. The whole time Gingrich was talking, I couldn’t get the song, “I’m still Standing” out of my head! He has a sort of pasty, days of old look on his face but if you get past his likeability factor, he is saying some really smart things, like that this campaign has to be about more than the Presidency, it has to be about electing legislators who will support the President’s agenda to address our economic woes. And that NASA needs to get out of the way and let private industry innovate and execute the future of space. And you can mock Herman Cain’s candidacy but you have to appreciate his one liners. I’m still laughing at “the Stimulus Plan didn’t stimulate diddly.” But I loved last night’s 9-9-9 tax plan (9% income tax, 9 % corporate tax, 9% sales tax) because if 10% is good enough for God, 9 percent should be good enough for the Federal Government.