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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

GOP/CNN Jacksonville Debate: Open Thread

In an hour or so the GOP candidates still standing will square off in the last debate before the Florida primary.  With poll position changing hands between Newt and Mitt this week expect to see some strong performances.  If Newt delivers anything like this, as he did yesterday, it will definitely be worth watching live:

“We are not going to beat Barack Obama with some guy who has Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Island accounts, owns shares of Goldman Sachs who have foreclosed on Florida and is himself a stock holder in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while he tries to think the rest of us are too stupid to put the dots together and understand what this is all about,” Gingrich declared in a preamble to a decidedly angry stump speech.

“In 1992, he gave money to Democrats for Congress,” he added at another point. “He voted in the Democratic primary for Paul Tsongas, the most liberal candidate. This is the man who stood up the other night and questioned my credentials as a Reaganite? This is the kind of gall they have, to think we are so stupid and we are so timid that we will let someone who voted for Paul Tsongas — in 1994 he is running for the U.S. Senate to the left of Teddy Kennedy. Do you know how hard it is to run to the left of Teddy Kennedy? And he says, ‘You know, I don’t want to go back to the Reagan-Bush years, I was an independent then.'”

“He won’t tell you that now, because he is counting on us not having YouTube,” Gingrich said. “That’s how much he thinks we are stupid. And we are not stupid. The message we should give Mitt Romney is: we aren’t that stupid and you aren’t that clever.”

Sam Stein – Mitt Romney ‘Is Counting On Us Not Having YouTube’ Huffington Post 25 Jan 12

Heh, grab some popcorn and join the fun.


  1. Shaun Appleby

    Apparently Romney should have had a peek inside his blind trusts before pulling the pin out of the Freddie Mac grenade:

    “There is something so grotesquely hypocritical about the Romney campaign,” he said. “I am angry and every American should be angry.”

    The former House speaker went onto to assail Romney for harping on Gingrich’s work for mortgage lender for Freddie Mac when Romney himself owns Freddie Mac stock.

    “He owns a Goldman Sachs subsidiary that forecloses on Floridians. He is surrounded by lobbyists who are paid by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to stop reform,” said Gingrich following an enthusiastic Tea Party rally in Mt. Dora, Fla. “And on that front, he decides to lie about my career?”

    Lois Romano – Newt Gingrich Gets Angry Again in Florida Daily Beast 26 Jan 12

    Whereas Newt’s hypocrisy is so immense there is nowhere on Earth it can all be viewed at once.  To infinity and beyond!

  2. bubbanomics

    I feel like i’m transported back to age six, in the rear-facing, barf-inducing wayback seat of that 65 belair station wagon, driving non stop from Nashville to Miami, whining “when are we going to be there?”  Or better yet, like Alex DeLarge…  

    gadzooks this is irritating.

    Newt, we know you’re grandiose and dishonest.

    Mitt, we know you’re wealthy and dishonest.

    Rick, we know you’re christian and flaky.

    Ron, we know you’re insane and anti-gov’t.

    What else do we really need to know?  Go the hell home and let Obama try to get this thing back on course.

  3. Shaun Appleby

    Didn’t realise Newt had this going for him:

    Romney has an edge in establishment organization and a big bankroll to blanket the Sunshine State with television ads. But Newt Gingrich has a secret weapon. And his name is Jose Mallea.

    Mallea, now 34, was the young campaign manager for Marco Rubio’s successful insurgent primary campaign against incumbent former governor Charlie Crist in 2010. This year, he is the Florida state director for Gingrich-where he’s again charged with organizing a conservative activist uprising against the once seemingly inevitable establishment candidate.

    John Avlon – Newt’s Secret Florida Weapon: Marco Rubio’s 2010 Campaign Manager Daily Beast 26 Jan 12

    Upending the establishment seems to be the theme of the Gingrich candidacy; hard to say what his mileage will be but I think he’s picked the right strategy for an insurgent campaign in the party he’s running in.

  4. Shaun Appleby

    Advantage Romney…  He’s really in good form and taking it to Newt with serious combinations.  He’s lying, to be sure, but he’s doing it persuasively and getting right in Newt’s face.

  5. Strummerson

    I’ll just follow your comments.  Dr. Ms. Strum and I will be watching some Downton Abbey and eating salad.  Besides, I’ve watched them all up until now, and I’ve come to a decision…

    …I’ve decided to support the guy we’ve got in there now.  Skinny kid, big ears, funny name and unshakable dignity.

    The contest for who can be the biggest, hypocritical, fear-mongering, intellectually dishonest, hateful challenger has lost its entertainment value for me.

  6. Shaun Appleby

    The Freddie Mac thing just blew up in both there faces.  And…  Both contenders fall to the canvas…

    Imagine Republicans duking it out over the propriety of their extensive investment incomes.  So much has changed.

    And Ron Paul has a slam dunk, “It doesn’t really interest me…”  Then Santorum crawls out of the wreckage of this debate towards the high ground of “The really important issues…”

    What’s with Gnigrich tonight?  He’s using a foam bat.

  7. Shaun Appleby

    Gingrich is softballing his style, so far, in this nationally televised debate, yet has been barnburning in his stump speeches and attacking Romney at every turn.  I wonder if the conventional wisdom that Gingrich needs these debates to gain earned media is proving unfounded, his fireworks probably are more effective in print, which he seems to be getting plenty of anyhow.  He seems like he’s now trying to pitch the “presidential” Newt in these live forums.

  8. Shaun Appleby

    “I don’t think we should return to the Moon, though I think we should send some politicians there.”

  9. Shaun Appleby

    Unloads on Newt’s “balanced budget” claim from the Nineties; seems he read the fine print.  Newt seems to be losing ground on several fronts in this debate.

  10. HappyinVT

    pre-debate to win FL to 5.9 at the moment.

    Romney did hire Bachmann’s debate coach.  Might help him in the primary but it seems stuff is going to kill him in the GE.

  11. Shaun Appleby

    Is ripping into Romney and Gingrich over health care hypocrisy.  He sounds pretty persuasive, if you are a wilfully misinformed Republican, I guess.

  12. HappyinVT

    Darren Elmore @darrenelmore

    Oh crap…that new hit American tv show, Cleaned-up Bum Fights, is on again. #CNNDebate

    Retweeted by Patton Oswalt

  13. Shaun Appleby

    Putting my Republican voter hat on (it doesn’t fit very well, admittedly) I am scoring this one for Santorum so far.  He comes across as authentic, engaged and just angry enough to make his points stick without having an ego as big and inflammable as the Hindenburg.

  14. Shaun Appleby

    On blind trusts?:

    The Boston Globe reported in September, however, that Romney owned between $250,001 and $500,000 in a mutual fund called the Government Obligation Fund that invests in debt notes of various government entities, including mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and made between $15,001 and $50,000 in interest from those investments. The Globe further reported that these investments were not, in fact, held in a blind trust, but known to Romney, and made in late 2007, as the depth of the housing crisis was just beginning to surface.

    Naureen Khan – Gingrich Attacks Romney on Housing Profits National Journal 26 Jan 12

    Sigh.  Unravelling the many falsehoods of slippery Mitt is a full-time job, it seems.  When he calls himself a “job creator” he must be talking about his tax consultants and spin doctors.

  15. Shaun Appleby

    Researchers have identified the Tea Party trifecta in recent research; low IQ, socially conservative ideology and racism:

    The research finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults. These findings point to a vicious cycle, according to lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario. Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice…

    …there is reason to believe that strict right-wing ideology might appeal to those who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world.

    “Socially conservative ideologies tend to offer structure and order,” Hodson said, explaining why these beliefs might draw those with low intelligence. “Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice.”

    In another study, this one in the United States, Hodson and Busseri compared 254 people with the same amount of education but different levels of ability in abstract reasoning. They found that what applies to racism may also apply to homophobia. People who were poorer at abstract reasoning were more likely to exhibit prejudice against gays.

    Stephanie Pappas – Low IQ and Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice Yahoo News 26 Jan 12

    Not bright yet they instinctively know that science is not their friend; got to admire the subtleties of evolution and natural selection.

  16. Shaun Appleby

    I listened the other night to Romney’s criticism that the “US Navy is the smallest since 1917” and honestly it didn’t really seem a big deal given his otherwise constant stream or misstatements and outright falsehoods.  But it got me thinking.  I happen to be doing some pretty detailed research at the moment which touches on this point and it makes me realise just how irrelevant such remarks are, and for that matter the bulk of subsequent fact-checking and responses of Romney’s allies and opponents on the subject.

    By 1917 the Navy was involved in a conflict for which they were arguably unprepared and largely ill-equipped.  The battleship fleet, on which most of the nation’s naval resources had been expended, was more at risk than helpful in fighting the German U-boat campaign and their production was immediately halted in favour of the scores of destroyers urgently needed for convoy escort duty; at a minimum to insure safe passage of US troopships destined for Europe.  A fleet half the size, in displacement, but with the appropriate composition would have been an immediate relief at the time.

    American cruisers, also much in demand for such work, were few and largely obsolescent, some of them veterans of the Spanish-American War, and were also impressed into convoy escort rather than the fleet actions for which they were designed.  One could go on to point out that the post-war Navy, facing an imminent threat in the Pacific, continued to build battleships while remaining under-equipped with cruisers and the few provided being too lightly built.  Post-war US cruisers had roughly 6% of their displaced weight in armour protection while a new generation of comparable Japanese vessels doubled or tripled this ratio.  This goes a long way toward explaining the high rate of attrition and the unexpected naval defeats the US Navy suffered in surface fleet actions in the first year of the war; especially in the narrow yet vital waters around Guadalcanal.

    Naval architecture and doctrine is a complex and engaging subject and to merely count hulls as Romney has done is reductio ad absurdum as should be evident on first principles.  That Romney would expect Americans to accept his misleading comments at face value speaks to a disqualifying lack of understanding on his part of the subject he himself raised as well as demonstrating an inartful arrogance that makes one wonder if he could ever relinquish the simplistic bean-counter mentality of a marketing manager or CEO and rise to the more complex challenges of Commander-in-Chief.  Methinks not.

  17. HappyinVT

    Someone, might have been Mark Knoller of CBS, included a link to some conversations that were recorded after Kennedy’s assassination to and from AF1.  I’ve been listening for the last half and hour or so and, man, it is really something.

    Here’s the link for anyone interested …

    I’m not sure how much these tapes were enhanced but they are quite clear.

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