Friday, August 12, 2011

Republicans Go Beyond Obama-Bashing

For entertainment value, last night’s Iowa debate was irresistible as GOP wannabes finally realized that pounding the President is not enough to make any one of them stand out.

So they finally took out after one another (Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul vs. Rick Santorum) and that ever-reliable villain, the media (Newt Gingrich belaboring Chris Wallace for gotcha questions to avoid talking about his campaign disasters).

In the course of all this, they filled the screen with amusing but, according to The Caucus, “misleading, incomplete or simply false claims” about the debt-ceiling debate and the S & P downgrade, among other subjects.

The Washington Post lists lies about everything almost too numerous to count.

Yet, it was stimulating to see Bachmann and the seven suits waking up from the delusion that one of them will breeze to the nomination by being more anti-Obama than the rest.

After Pawlenty took a practice swing at the President, he was prodded into going after Bachmann, and the two Minnesotans squared off with accusations that actually resembled what used to go on in a primary fight, both of them drawing blood on the other’s rewriting of his or history—-Bachmann’s inflating her four undistinguished House years into Joan of Arc heroics, Pawlenty trying to smooth over his governorship by denying any straying from Tea Party orthodoxy.

Gingrich, with no persuasive answer about the dismal history of his campaign, lit into Wallace and Fox News for being more interested in his trivial mismanagement than grand ideas.

For an observer from another political planet, Jon Huntsman was quietly impressive in denying that he was in “the wrong party” by making what used to be orthodox Republican points before candidates became subject to Tea Party litmus tests, but he elicited no wild applause from the crowd.

But the gloves are off in the GOP pre-primary season and, with the imminent addition of Rick Perry and possibly Sarah Palin in the fall, there will be no lack of color and conflict in the contest.

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