Thursday, September 6, 2007

Personal Asides: How the GOP Candidates Did on Last Night’s Fox-TV Debate…McCain’s Response to High School Kid’s Callow Question—Perfect…Fred Thompson Trivializes the Presidency by Announcing on Leno.


GOP Candidates.

The Fox-TV debate last night featuring all the Republican candidates but Fred Thompson was revelatory…and in fact some of my earlier impressions about candidates’ standings have been revised.

The Overall Winner: John McCain. He seems to have come back from the precipice by becoming the white-haired, most mature and seasoned hand as we face a highly dangerous time. McCain has to have picked up significantly by his performance. (Earlier I had downgraded him).

Most Sympathetic: Rudy Giuliani. He still has an edge since he is the only candidate of whom we have personal knowledge on how he handles himself in a crisis. He won a tad on the question about his personal life which he deftly handled—saying that his personal life did not enter into his ability to handle public crises. The crowd winced when the question came, relaxed when he handled it effortlessly, winning sympathetic approval. Best line was when he said he was in real life the prosecutor Fred Thompson played on “Law and Order”. (Earlier I thought—and still do—that all things considered, he’s the best bet to win if nominated in a race the GOP is almost sure, by fate, to lose).

Most Helped by the Debate: Ron Paul. To understand how, you have to calculate that Paul is the darkest of dark horses. What he had to do last night was to separate himself from the second-tier pack so that with the help of a heavy crossover of liberals against the war he can place second somewhere on February 5…most likely in the liberal northeast. If he places second to, say, Giuliani, he will have the chance of debating the front-runner with the outside chance of really making himself the anti-GOP establishment hero. His performance last night with the help of Mike Huckabee (who also wanted to attract attention to move up from the second-tier)…even though Paul’s answer on the crisis scenario tossed him by Brit Hume was simplistic and faulty…was excellent, judged from the standpoint of what he had to do. Do you reckon he bears a little resemblance to Jack Roeser? (Earlier I had given him no chance unless he moved to stand out from the crowd and debate one of the competitors: this he did ably last night).

Most Helped for Possible Veep: Mike Huckabee. It is clear he is not going to survive the cut so he has to make a movement toward the vice presidential nomination. Notice how he did so by dovetailing his views to Giuliani’s and McCain’s on national security. (Earlier I had all but discounted him in either top or second billing).

Most Helped for Possible Cabinet Post: Duncan Hunter. He never had a chance for the presidency anyhow—but his encyclopedic handling of the military on the crisis hypothetical question demonstrated that he knows all the levers to push and would be an excellent choice for secretary of defense due to his vast knowledge of the defense establishment from his earlier chairmanship of House Armed Services. (Earlier I said he is the best bet for secretary of defense: it still holds).

Most Disappointing: Mitt Romney. Always graceful and competent he didn’t do badly but failed to outshine either Giuliani or McCain. (Earlier I had given him first place all-round).

Most Outclassed: Tom Tancredo. A one-trick pony (immigration) he had nowhere to go but up but he stayed rooted where he had always been. (Earlier I felt the same way; no change).


Sen. John McCain, campaigning at a high school in New Hampshire, gave a response to a stupid little snot who asked him a question about his age, was perfect. The idea that a candidate has to take all the guff that a mental dwarf hands out in order to show fairness is ridiculous anyhow. That a highly decorated ex-POW who showed his mettle during five years of horrendous captivity has to tolerate insults from a prepubescent is ridiculous and McCain won my heart when he answered the question. It dealt with the fact that if elected, McCain will be the oldest president.

The insulting question comes from a kid who undoubtedly has been jaded by intemperate questioning of candidates by mass media Big Hair “reporters”—starting with Sam Donaldson twenty years ago--confusing them with media persona, rather than serious rivals for the presidency.

McCain went on to give a reflective answer, noting that his own kids have jested that he is coming to the age when he can hide his own Easter eggs…adding that he is proud to have the genes his mother has who is 95. Then in conclusion, he said:

“Thanks for the question, you little jerk.”

That kind of guts may well win my heart for his candidacy after all.

Insulting questions like this kid’s are by no means “tough” or “penetrating.” In contrast, a penetrating question—for an example—came from Bernard Shaw who asked Mike Dukakis whether he would favor the death penalty were an assailant to rape Kitty Dukakis. Dukakis’ bland comment was a ten-strike—telling the nation that Dukakis was an antiseptic, dyed-in-the-Massachusetts blue liberal with little human juices. But asking if McCain feared Alzheimer’s was tossed out for effect and deserved the response it got. To McCain’s credit he answered the question thoroughly, reviewing the facts and then dispatched the little snot with a verbal upper-cut which put him in the 10th row.


Fred Thompson has trivialized the presidency he seeks by deciding to announce on Jay Leno, the comedian who drags his big jaw on TV every night, ridiculing everything in sight and concentrating on scatological humor. At the time Thompson announced, to the guffaws Leno coughed up from the immature late-night audience, the former senator’s colleagues were debating serious issues on Fox—something Thompson…who riding on his TV prosecutor image has gotten away with media murder, dealing with glittering generalities. Thompson is by far not the only presidential candidate to eschew bona-fide appearances in order to hit a bigger audience (McCain came close to announcing but teased a little that his formal announcement would be later), but the continuance of this thing cheapens the electoral process.


  1. When the race starts 2 years early it is the overwhelming number of candidates that trivialize the presidency. It makes a mockery of the debate system to have candidates who have no chance like Gravel, and Ron Paul.
    It does nobody any good to have 8 candidates on the Democratic side and 9 on the GOP side.
    If GOP primary voters were happy with the 8 who were in the race Thompson couldn't come in so late. The fact he went on the Tonight Show to be seen by 19 million more people than the debate's 2 million is just a smart way to kick off his campaign. If there wasn't a debate, would it have been trivializing the process? No
    Thompson got the headlines and took the spotlight so it was the right thing to do in this case.

  2. See, Fred is interested in winning the Presidency, not winning a Pubbie Beauty Contest.

  3. Oh MY, oh My, oh MY! the sky is falling so the Neo-Con agenda loving candidates claim! It is time to put these nattering nabobs of negativism back into their BOX, Mr. Roeser! If you, Mr. Roeser, want to worry day in and day out about middle eastern problems then why don't you move there an take the neo-con liberty stealing Patriot Act with you? And when you go you can bring a stick and keep poking it into the eyes of the radical muslims just to stir up trouble! Make it your hobby..... it sure isn't MINE or that of the rest of the American Public!

    You can hug your endless war loving McCain, Thompson, etc. all day long! And read your Weekly Standard to your heart's content while you ignore the economic plight of the shrinking economies of the Mid-west states thanks to your love affair with low wage globaliztion that hugs Wall Street bonuses over Main Street success.

    Instead of calling America the "shining city on the hill" like Reagan did, these people, your buddies, want us to worry worry worry all the day about Islamofascists while they outsource all our economic might to other countries and flood us with costly unskilled masses from ungrateful third world countries! They all in grand neo-con style ignore the threat of communist China while they drain our nation's fortune on their Middle Eastern hobbies!

    These are YOUR friends, Tom Roeser, they are not really republicans in the classic sense. If fact they are the ones taking everything that Republicans have built up over the last 27 years and are RUINING it because of their mindless and dangerous blind love affair with neo-con ideals!

    In the end Neo-Con kissup candidates, the ones YOU like RUIN Republican chances!!!!!!