The spin after last night's Republican debate at the Reagan library is about a two-man race. Governors Romney and Perry are jockeying to become the front runner in this very feisty Republican pack. Noman thinks that a narrow focus on political handicapping is a mistake that will cause observers to miss the forest for the trees. What's emerging are the necessary conversations about the party's first principles and enduring themes--e.g., isolationism v. engagement; expulsion v. path to citizenship; federal v. state v. parental control--and the forging of party unity, which will be necessary to remove President Obama from the White House and spare the country any further depredations from his party and confederates.
For the second time, Noman was delighted at the mix-it-up, convincingly argued divergent opinions, and underlying agreement among the pack despite differences. Major themes surfaced last night that will help the Republican standard bearer, and party, to shake the influence of a political culture and media that overwhelmingly favor the opposition. More important than picking an electable candidate is for the Republican party to find its voice, its nerve and its resolve to stand down the big governement-media-education consensus anathema to its core beliefs in personal rather than collective protagonism.
Newt Gingrich got the biggest whoop of the night out of Noman for his call to the debators to hold together on what unites them rather than let left-leaning reporters provoke them into attacking each other. He engendered the same response when snapping back at questioners at the first debate for asking gotcha questions. Newt is so far ahead of the mouthpieces filtering events into the mainstream media in ways amenable to the socialist faith that it's worth watching as well as listening to him. He doesn't take crap from lefties. He won't be President. But, I'm glad he's there to protect the junior statesmen from traps he fell into 15 years ago. Perhaps he'll run for the Senate where he belongs, or be appointed to the federal bench where he can wax philosophic and pick apart the presumptions of liberal Lilliputians.
Michelle Bachmann has got a strong core and Noman hopes that there's a seat for her at the table. She's got the family and parental issues at heart, and she's a practical brawler. She doesn't seem to mind mixing it up with lefties. If she does, she's at least willing to put aside her distaste for the process and get on with the work that needs to be done. And, she's indefatigable, a firebrand. Her warning that executive orders won't make ObamaCare go away were a necessary wake-up call. This woman can unite anyone to her cause not ill disposed to her for her looks, or innate conservatism. Noman sees her as a Vice-president.
Rick Santorum. What can one say? He's obviously a sterling man with strong convictions about America's role as a force for good at home and abroad. He is exactly right that the the sorriest legacy of statism is the devastation of human capital attending the process of state-induced dependency, and that the best way to help the poor is to lift them up to help themselves. (Perhaps he will add in the future that they will best help themselves by learning to to help yet others.) He will make a spectacular Secretary of Health and Human Services where he can be a necessary disinfectant for the travesties and perversions fostered by Kathlene Sibelius. Noman wishes he would take off the hair shirt, however, or whatever it is causing him to wince as he speaks.
Ron Paul. There's a man who knows what he thinks, and thinks pretty clearly about things. It was great of him to defend his compassion despite approving policy choices contrary to liberal pieties and certitudes. It was necessary rejoinder to put the statist questioners back on their heels and examining their own prejudices. He strikes Noman as being whiney, simplistic and a little feeble. He's also a loose cannon, and a necessary additive to this year's policy discussions. A man like Paul would stand no chance in a national election were it not for the fact that he possesses nearly polar-opposite convictions and inclinations to President Obama's evidently destructive ones. Where could a man like him fit in the new Republican Administration? Senator Paul?
John Huntsman is not trustworthy. Anyone who thinks climate science is settled and that anyone who questions is it out of bounds doesn't deserve serious consideration as a conservative standard bearer. He might want to refer to yesterday's WSJ article on cosmic rays.
Herman Cain is refreshingly, can-do direct, an American gem. Secretary of Commerce? IRS Commissioner? Noman is willing to go for it, and would love to see Cain turned loose on some bureaucracy with free reign, a carving knife and marching orders. Then, he'd like to see it again. 9-9-9 sounds good to Noman.
Rick Perry took a questioner-engineered beating last night and he stood his ground pretty well. He's an attractive personality, even if a little too black-hat looking, like a guy who should be named Bart. He didn't flinch from Brian Williams' question regarding capital punishment, or follow-up sneer (insinuated) to the audience's cheers at William's mere mention of the practice. In Perry's view, Americans, and Texans especially, understand the notion of justice and would prefer to show mercy to victims rather than victimizers. That's fair enough for a governor to say. Williams and ilk might like to preen about the moral superiority of sparing 100 murderers to protect one man wrongly condemned. But, after 50 years of coddling the perpetrators of bestial acts and reaping a harvest of ever more and greater depravities, William's preening looks like rationalization to Americans who have borne the destabilizing, culturally deconstructive scourge of letting the guilty off lightly while socially and legally shifting the burden of evil onto victims. The audience was fed up with it, and let Williams know it with applause and cheers in defiance of liberal orthodoxy. And, if their moral sense has been eclipsed by cynicism, it is largely the fault of an anti-American left that decades ago chose chaos and destabilization as primary tactics to achieve cultural upheaval and foment practical revolution.
Mitt Romney doesn't convince Noman. It's simply not enough for the Republican standard bearer to have business experience. Whether right or wrong, he seemed bellicose when talking about turning off the magnet to illegal immigration and to building a fence. It's was the most heated emission escaping the cool of his veneer to date, and there was something revealing about it. Moreover, his type of slice-and-dice business experience has much more in common with President Obama's Wall Street pals than it does with Sarah Palin-like small businessmen and -women who actually work at something in an ownership capacity to earn a living. His view from the perch of Bain Capital was that abstract, quant-driven focus that minimizes the human stakes involved in decisions and fixates on numeric indicators. There's a place for him in the Administration. It's just not at the top. Secretary of Treasury?
Noman hopes that this pack gels in its opposition to human degradation that passes under the guise of liberal compassion, and locks arms to support one another in the face of a media that overwhelmingly (unanimously?) favors and supports the President they must unseat. So far, so good. Noman, for one, will keep watching.