Republican debate – Herman Cain wins

Herman Cain at his old stomping ground in Phoenix, AZ.
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Herman Cain won on points at last night’s Republican debate in Hanover, NH. The losers: Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, and the moderators.

Republican debate – who got the attention?

The Bloomberg-Washington Post Republican Debate had a radically different format. Instead of standing at separate podiums on a stage, the candidates sat at an oval table. The setting suggested nothing so much as a lawyer’s conference room, with multiple parties to a high-stakes lawsuit.

Herman Cain needed to get attention, after previous moderators had grossly shortchanged him. The moderators gave him a crucial opportunity: they opened with a question for him. Cain took the time to discuss his “9-9-9” plan: setting rates for corporate, individual, and retail sales taxes at 9 percent each. Cain hoped to provoke the others to challenge him directly. Under the rules, any candidate whom another candidate called out by name received thirty seconds to rebut the calling-out.

The other candidates fell neatly into the trap. They railed against Cain and his plan so often that Chief Moderator Charlie Rose, in frustration, said,

If all of you are going to keep mentioning Mr. Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, I’m going to have to go back to Mr. Cain for every other question!

That was exactly what Rose did not want to do. But the rules forced him. Result: Cain got all the attention he needed, and more.

Republican debate – winners and losers

Herman Cain wins the latest Republican debate

Herman Cain addresses the Tea Party Summit in Phoenix, AZ. Photo: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic License

Herewith the prizes, and booby prizes, for last night’s Republican debate:

The Shovel Award

Goes to the speaker who can “shovel it on” with the greatest eloquence. Winner: Herman Cain. He won his chances to speak, and speak he did. Last night, Cain took the Shovel away from Mitt Romney, no small feat.

The Bucket Award

Goes to the speaker who can catch it with the greatest dexterity. Winner: again, Herman Cain. Cain and Romney took the greatest number of attacks—Cain on his 9-9-9 plan, Romney on “RomneyCare.” Romney did not handle himself well, and at one point rambled on, his message unclear. Cain handled all the attacks on him with his characteristic charm.

At another point, a moderator presented an “analysis” that suggested that Cain’s plan would raise less revenue than the present tax code. Cain swiftly said that the “analysis” assumed that the present tax code would stay in place. Cain proposes to drop it entirely.

The Poor Sportsmanship Award

This dubious honor goes to Jon Huntsman. In the second round of the Republican debate, he said,

When I first heard of [the 9-9-9 plan], I thought it was the price of a pizza!

With unflappable aplomb, Cain said that 9-9-9 was much more than that.

This is not to say that no one scored any points against Cain. Michele Bachmann observed, quite reasonably, that the Cain plan would give the federal government a revenue stream it does not yet have. The federal government does not collect a sales tax today—and many Democratic Party politicians have talked of creating a value-added tax, or a tax at wholesale and retail.

The Congeniality Award

Still goes to Herman Cain. No one can match his smile, or his sense of humor.

The Order of the Crying Towel

Goes to Charlie Rose. That he did not like any of the candidates, and wants Barack H. Obama to win re-election, was obvious. So he tried to attack the candidates himself, especially Michele Bachmann, on the question of government spending. He actually wept at one point. Neither Bachmann nor anyone else present took any apparent notice.

Or perhaps Rose, Karen Tumulty, and the other moderators were upset that they could not control the debate. The candidates seemed to have decided ahead-of-time not to allow anyone, even a moderator, to cut them off. (Or to present flawed “analyses,” based on Democratic Party talking points, at a Republican debate and expect the candidates to accept them as fact.)

Republican debate – behind the scenes

The most dramatic events of yesterday took place before the Republican debate. The Philadelphia Inquirer, among others, carried the story of Chris Christie endorsing Mitt Romney.

America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney is the man we need to lead America, and we need him now.

Nick Purpura, an activist member of the Jersey Shore Tea Party, contacted CNAV to express his outrage.

I called it, didn’t I, when I said that Chris Christie was a Trojan horse. The Republican establishment is setting up Romney and Christie as Number One and Number Two. This although no one, in his right mind, would regard either man as a true conservative.

In fact, Sean Hannity asked Christie whether he would consider accepting a Vice-Presidential nomination from Romney or anyone else. Christie denied any interest. But that denial was far less strenuous than any of his earlier denials that he was running for President.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

2 Responses to Republican debate – Herman Cain wins

  1. Funny, I heard that he answered pretty much every question with his overly simplistic and hopeful regressive 9-9-9 tax plan.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Then you didn’t watch the debate yourself, and are taking your cue from his self-serving detractors.

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