Tag Archives: Newt Gingrich

What happens when Gingrich gets his mojo on? The CNN/Tea Party Debate.

They say that you can’t win a debate, but you sure can lose one. Tonight, despite walking in at the front of the pack, Perry sure did his best to prove that true. He’ll stay on top of the polls, for now, but he didn’t do himself any favors tonight. Like any front-runner, he took a beating for his record, and he managed, semi-successfully, to avoid saying anything too damning.

That said, he didn’t sound too articulate, either.

And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Now on to the rest of the pack. Left to right:

1. Huntsman: For a guy who started his campaign calling for civility, he sure has come a long ways. I wonder if it has anything to do with his lead consultant, one John Weaver.

2. Cain: Tonight was his best debate, yet, but I don’t think it will move him much. He still brings a breath of fresh air to the campaign, though, and I like that.

3. Bachmann: She’s an insurgent by nature, and she does best on the attack, which she did, taking on Perry on his 2007 executive order by-passing the Texas legislature to inoculate 12-year old girls against human papillomavirus. She’d make a better VP than a President.

4. Romney: After a sharp back and forth on Perry’s social security comments comparing it to a Ponzi scheme, Romney found a chance to lay out his seven point plan to rebuild the economy. He’ll stay in second place, but he took a few blows. He’s no Tea Party darling.

5. Perry: See above.

6. Paul: With Blitzer in control, Paul was noticeably less vocal than usual. And while he may understand motives for anti-Americanism abroad, he struck the wrong cord with his audience when Rick Santorum took him to task.

7. Gingrich: If a debate could be won, then the trophy would go to Gingrich. Deftly dodging Blitzer’s bait, he took Obama to task, focused on the economy, and slipped in critiques of czars and subsidies to GE. Kudos to Newt.

8. Santorum: Good showing tonight, even if I wish he’d go home. Strong at points, petulant at others.

I’ve been told that debates were not a good indication of who would be a good president. That may be, but they sure show a lot about who shouldn’t sit in that seat.

If nothing else, they are great political theater.

GOP Raw: An unabashed review of the Iowa Republican Debate

Tonight was the GOP Debate in Ames, Iowa. Hosted by Fox News, it was pure entertainment.

Minnesotans Bachmann and Pawlenty returned tit for tat, Ron Paul waxed on about getting out of foreign wars, Gingrich whined about the press, Cain was questioned on his knowledge base, Huntsman distinguished himself as the moderate, and Romney walked away unscathed and still the front runner. Oh, and does anyone take Santorum seriously?  While the last debate was relatively blase, tonight the candidates took off the gloves and went at it with all the grace and subtlety of a grade school food fight.

Ok, they weren’t that messy. But they were none too kind to each other. If you missed it, you missed a good piece of cheap entertainment. I tried to offer some live commentary on Twitter and Facebook, but here are my thoughts on each candidate, in seven words or less, after a few minutes of effortless reflection.

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A graphical look at the 2012 GOP nomination

FiveThirtyEight, a New York Times blog run by Nate Silver, has an interesting graphic up describing the 2o12 race for the Republican nomination for President. (Don’t forget to vote in the poll at the left )

His data is based on how well the candidates are trading on Intrade. It’s an interesting graphic, and the analysis is interesting, as well:

With that said, it is exceptionally important to consider how the candidates are positioned relative to one another. Too often, I see analyses of candidates that operate through what I’d call a checkbox paradigm, tallying up individual candidates’ strengths and weaknesses but not thinking deeply about how they will compete with one another for votes. If you like, you can think of the circles on my chart as stars or planets that exert gravitational forces on one another, seeking to clear their own safe space in the galaxy while at the same time stealing matter (voters) from their opponents.

There are two more kinds of information embedded in the chart. First, the area of each candidate’s circle is proportional to their perceived likelihood of winning the nomination, according to the Intrade betting market. Mitt Romney’s circle is drawn many times the size of the one for the relatively obscure talk-radio host Herman Cain because Intrade rates Mr. Romney many times as likely to be nominated.

Finally, the color of each circle reflects the region the candidate is from: blue for the Northeast, red for the South, green for the Midwest, and yellow for the West.

What do you think? Is it an accurate look at the field as it currently stands, or are there other considerations that have not been included?

Be sure to check out Nate’s analysis at his blog before you weigh in. Among other things, he thinks that:

  • Senator John Thune‘s chances are “overrated.”
  • If Sarah Palin gets in, she’ll compete with conservative outsiders like Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Jim DeMint for votes.
  • Mitt’s got Jon Huntsman competing with him for votes, not to mention T-Paw and Mitch Daniels
  • and speaking of Tim Pawlenty, his positions are conservative, but his reputation is as a moderate…which makes him hard to peg. Oh, and his personality is “not terribly dynamic.”

Thoughts? Who’s your candidate in 2012?

APROPOS: If you’re pulling for President Obama, one of FiveThirtyEight’s readers left a comment for you on his blog:

I was thinking the same thing. We might, for example, normalize the graph by including President Obama. His circle could be, oh, down the street a few blocks?

(h/t FiveThirtyEight)

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