CNN Western GOP Debate – Yippie Kai Yai Yay!

CNN’s title of the debate made me chuckle. The ‘Western’ debate. What, since it took place in Las Vegas we have to have to qualify the location with a theme? Maybe it’s petty of me to pick on that but I think it was more petty of them to give it that title.

Ok, a quick rundown of the shoot out at the O.K. Corral last night. In a word – snippy! It wasn’t really the candidates fault so much as the way CNN ran the questioning and the entire lack of moderation. Anderson Cooper, being the chicken he is, just let them ramble on over each other. I hate to be this crass, but Cooper’s a pansy of epic proportions only matched by his level of smarminess. The crowd did Cooper’s job for him by booing when things got out of hand or low blows were struck. I dare say snowflake Anderson might have very well been afraid of Rick Santorum.

If I had to rank the candidates now it would look like this:

  1. Romney
  2. Cain
  3. Gingrich
  4. Perry
  5. Santorum
  6. Bachmann
  7. Paul

I left off Hunstman and Johnson. They both boycotted last night’s debate and frankly they need to drop out anyway.

Romney successfully fought off attacks on Romneycare. He also took a hit from Perry charging hypocrisy on illegal immigration. Perry accused Romney of being part of the problem by hiring illegal aliens. Romney shot back pretty quick that the illegals Perry was insinuating about were lawn care workers and when it was realized they were illegal, he fired the group doing his lawn. Frankly, I buy that since I’ve had a similar encounter. I was impressed with Romney and he rarely impresses me. He stayed focused, civil and deconstructed everything thrown at him. They’re little war up there got boring fast though. Romney needs to do more positive selling and is not getting that chance in the debates.

Cain stuck to his guns, which is exactly what he needed to do. His confidence level in the debates has increased with every appearance and this one had him looking very poised. He’s still playing the ‘nice guy’ up there with few attacks on other candidates. He is subtle when he does attack and that is winning him favorability points with the audience. His 9-9-9 plan was of course under attack, but he handled it and again showed the other candidates don’t understand the complexity of it beyond the veneer. All except Gingrich, who had very complimentary things to say about the plan and Cain. I like Cain but he would need some serious debate training before taking on Obama. By that I mean he needs to learn to go for the jugular and not let up. Mr. Nice Guy isn’t going to win against Mr. Chicago Thug.

Gingrich had an epic debate. His answers were swift, concise and dead right. If there was one person I would love to see debate Obama, it would be Gingrich. I have little doubt that Newt would eviscerate Obama in a debate.

Perry has a debate problem. The first debate I can understand stumbling, but this is well beyond the starting line now. He came out and double barrel fired on Romney over and over. He was desperately trying to land blows but very little of them stuck. If Perry spent more time selling himself than attacking, he would have done much better. As it stands now, he’s dropped below Gingrich — at least for me. I’ve seen footage of Perry at smaller events and in front of other crowds where he has just dazzled, but on the debate stage that Perry doesn’t show up. He was the best he’s been so far last night, but it might be too late. If this is how he is doing against other GOP candidates, I tense up thinking about the opponent.

Santorum was his usual angry self. Again. This guy has two modes: silent and angry. His tactics of interrupting the other candidate when they are rebutting really got on my nerves this time. Of course, Anderson Cooper didn’t try to stop it at all.  Santorum had good points to make if you could get past his tirading delivery. I want to like him but I can’t warm up to someone who seemingly flies off the handle at least once a question.  I think they keep putting him next to Ron Paul on purpose so they two of them can spar on foreign policy.

Bachmann. Baaaaaachman. Oh honey, I like you but you need to drop out. Last night was just awful. What in the world was that whole diatribe about moms? (see the last video I have posted here around the 4 minute mark for the ‘mom’ bit.) What was that bit about Africa? Also, the stale mini-jokes you keep using literally made me wince.  You’re looking more and more like a cabinet member than a President.

Ron Paul got the fewest questions last night and he didn’t waste them by making sense.

Hunstman and Johnson did not attend. They were not missed. At. All.

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About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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