Tuesday, June 14, 2011

AFTER PARTY. I didn't watch last night debate, and have instead relied on the transcript. This insulates me from the participants' legendary charisma, so I can't say how their performances might influence whatever people actually saw it.

On that head, though, some of the responses were interesting. I credit the much-mocked Tim Pawlenty with a fine piece of traditional political sloganeering in his answer to a question about fixing the American mess with tax cuts. He wouldn't just cut taxes, said Pawlenty -- "We're proposing to cut taxes, reduce regulation, speed up this pace of government, and to make sure that we have a pro-growth agenda." Someone over there should be negotiating for the rights to "Harder Better Faster Stronger" as a campaign song.

It is generally accepted that Pawlenty had a bad answer on "Obamneycare," but probably really lost the crowd by admitting he had once been in a union, though he recovered somewhat by supporting right-to-work laws. The good reviews for Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann are understandable even from the transcript. Everyone of course shook their fists at Obamacare, but Romney actually said something coherent about the difference between his state plan and the national one; this may protect him from Tea Party wrath, as it has that federalist angle that's popular with GOP activists these days. Bachmann avoided saying the kind of egregiously crazy things that have made her a national punchline (grading, that is, on the GOP curve for crazy), and benefited from the discussion of TARP, as she's one of the few candidates with any credibility on what has become of late the default Republican position.

All of the candidates were serious -- at least in their pronouncements; when and if one of them is elected, all bets are off -- about defunding the government, from Social Security on down. They worked to outdo one another in denouncing the outrageous regulations and expenditures of the Obama Administration, the EPA, the National Labor Relations Board, and NASA. Romney's answer about denying disaster aid to ravaged communities is considered bizarre by sane people, but these were Republicans he was talking to, and they probably accepted his general premise: "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better."

The odd thing is that this year Ron Paul, despite his persistence at these events, has been marginalized, not because his ideas are extreme, but because in the current Republican Party they are mainstream (except on defense issues, where he is still treated as the crazy uncle). The only question is which of the others will be put forward as the blow-dried avatar of the new feudalism.

UPDATE. I can tell you now, down here where it's too late, that if you had one roundup to read it should be that of Gin and Tacos:
Anyone else enjoy the surreal sequence in which Pawlenty, Romney, and Bachmann tried to out-tax-cut one another? Romney proposed taking the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. T-Paw one-upped him with 15% last week. Tonight, Bachmann threw down to the tune of 9% (with no capital gains tax, estate tax, or AMT…and a tax increase on the lowest bracket). It was like watching three children fight over who loves mommy more.
He also dumps cold water on the notion that Rick Perry will fly in to save them all, as the actual candidates have been working for years to get nominated and Perry starts from zero. Good point, though there is another undeclared savior figure who has been pursuing her own non-traditional campaign since Election Day 2008.

No comments:

Post a Comment