Thursday, September 08, 2011

Perry & Thrust: Quick Takes on the Republican Debate

Not surprisingly, the mainstream press is touting Mitt Romney as the winner of last night's Republican debate. After all, he is the "moderate" with the Brylcreem hair that they want to win the nomination. And they'll dutifully carry his water up until then. After that, forget about it. They'll go back to savaging him in order to assure Barack Obama's re-election.

But according to conservatives and, more important, the responses of independents who watched the debate, the clear winner was Rick Perry.

Smart, confident, affable and unapologetic -- Perry scored a big win, almost immediately banishing the others to the "Who Might Make a Good VP" list. Well, Romney won't make that list. Or Ron Paul. Or Herman Cain. Or John Huntsman. My guess is that the list is only two: Michelle Bachman and Rick Santorum. With room for a few more who weren't there last night. Like Sarah Palin, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan or, as a baseball managers would put it, a player to be named later.

Anyhow, don't waste too much time reading the pundits' overworked analysis of the debate. They mostly saw what they wanted to see and made up the rest. Go instead for the short and sweet approach, such as looking at the best of Andrew Malcolm's (LA Times) "quick take-aways" from last night's debate:

BIGGEST WINNERS: Rick Perry, who did much better than not bomb, and Mitt Romney, who looked presidential again and magnanimous.

BIGGEST LOSER: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who wasn't there, but will learn this morning that he'll be joining the 14 million unemployed if virtually any of these Republicans get to the White House.

MOST ELOQUENT: Newt Gingrich warning moderators probing for differences among the eight Republicans that any minor distinctions pale in comparison to their unity over defeating Barack Obama.

LOUDEST APPLAUSE: See Most Eloquent.

WARMEST FAMILY MENTION: Michele Bachmann, as message-disciplined as ever on Obama killing jobs, also recalling raising five biological and 23 foster children.

BEST FINANCIAL TIP IF THE GOP WINS NEXT YEAR: Buy stock in border fence companies.

MOST UNEXPECTED APPLAUSE-GETTER: NBC's Brian Williams asking Perry about Texas executing 234 convicted murderers.

BEST FIVE-WORD ANSWER: Perry asked to explain that applause: "I think Americans understand justice."

WEIRDEST SUGGESTED ECONOMY MOVE: Ron Paul's idea to save billions by bringing home air conditioners cooling troop tents in Afghanistan.