What Happens In Vegas

And the winner is……… Newt! We know Newt will eventually say something resulting in a collective roll of eyes, a shake of head and; ‘oh no, did he say that’. Last night, however, he was brilliant. We all know that as a Presidential candidate the inventory of Newt’s statements open to be used against him is seriously voluminous. The Republican field, however, would do well to study Newt’s answers and tone closely; his answers absent historical baggage represent a Conservative message appropriate to the political middle and easily acceptable to Conservatives. His answer to the Latino question was sheer perfection.

Romney is, once again, exceptionally well prepared, taking Newt down at one stage in the debate over individual health care mandates. Whoever is doing Romney’s opposition research is coming up with exactly what he needs to address the Romney Care issue that will not go away anytime soon. Romney may not see a bump in the numbers off this debate, but neither will he fall off.. His numbers are stable because despite his vast array of competencies there is no sense of vision about him. Perhaps that will come later but its absence at the moment is a void in his candidacy. If you’re looking forward to a debate with President Obama and the Republican candidate you have to like Romney’s preparation and his ability to fight off attacks.

Based on Rick Perry’s book tour, a concern developed over his intellectual chops; seemingly simple questions were not so simple for Gov. Perry. That concern has evolved into an opinion that Gov. Perry does not, in fact, have the chops to keep up with the likes of Romney or Newt. Rick Perry is $15 million in history waiting to happen. To take a swing at Romney’s supposed hiring of illegal aliens, get slapped down and then trying it again was, well, pathetic and cringe worthy. He looks uncomfortable. Perry looks like a kid that has not been to class all semester and is doing his best to cram to a passing grade. Sorry Rick, you’re not the guy for the times and a D+ will not get the job done. Oh, and by the way, rude is not the way to go.

Michelle Bachman is an important voice. But please, forget the commercials for your web site. Folks who watch the debates know you’re a mom and know that your foster care commitment says a lot about you, but addressing the housing crisis based on empathy with Moms is not a policy solution. It is easy to admire and respect Ms. Bachman. However, she was too cute by half; everyone loves the pretty, peppy cheerleader but that’s not Presidential timbre. Forget the commercials and get your policy chops down. Constant repetition of personal history won’t get you there, serious policy solutions capable of being communicated will.

Love Herman. Sure his 999 plan will take a hit, but kudos to him for putting out a bold idea and defending it relentlessly. He is what he is; that’s the appeal. The odds are long for Herman, but he keeps on keeping on and he is having an impact of the war of ideas. Good for you Herman, hang in there and keep your good humor; we need it! We need you to keep telling us to ‘lighten up’.

Rick Santorum is depending on social conservatives to carry his day. Oops, this is not a social issues election and it is unlikely that those issues will rise to predominance. One gets the feeling, especially after his comments about winning Pennsylvania that he’s running for Vice President.

Ron Paul is an important voice as well, but the foreign policy positions are simply not going to work in the mainstream. His economic plan is what purist Conservatives want to see. He is also likely correct regarding the economic disaster he sees coming. But he looks like an angry old man and the debate facilitators have tended to ignore him. Ron Paul should hang in there also, we need the voice. It is an unelectable voice but we need it nonetheless.