Rudy said during the second debate that "Rudy McRomney" would be a good candidate. But Mitt is the only one of the three without a big flaw
Presidential debates seal hopefuls' fates.
This year's first Democrat presidential debate helped Hillary Clinton secure her stranglehold on the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination. Her Far Left "primary" competitors--a rookie United States Senator who would do better running for rock star (Barack Obama) and a one-term Senator whose home state went Republican when he was his party's vice presidential candidate in 2004--allow her to position herself for the general election by seeming mature and moderate.
This year's first Republican presidential debate allowed Mitt Romney to be presidential while his chief rivals--John McCain and Rudy Giuliani--were trying too hard, respectively, to be young and energetic enough for the job and to be content whether Roe v. Wade is overruled or reaffirmed.
In the second debate, Mitt remained presidential, John was a bit older (but calmer) and Rudy was much bolder (and luckier).
Rudy said during the second debate that "Rudy McRomney" would be a good candidate. But Mitt is the only one of the three without a big flaw.
What is especially noteworthy is that viewers called the debate for Mitt, while knowledgeable observers tended to put too much emphasize on Rudy's moment (courtesy of Congressman Ron Paul) and too little of Mitt's thoughtful responses and consistent (and reassuring) presidential demeanor.
Fox News, which hosted the second debate, invited viewers to text message who they thought won and the plurality winner was...Mitt Romney, with 29% of more than 40,000 votes.
The margin would have been even greater but for Congressman Paul, who shared his view that United States policy had invited the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and set up Rudy to be indignant and to remind people that he was Mayor of New York City then.
But the Republican Party will not abandon its core values because Rudy realizes that the terrorists are evil and the Terror War must be won.
On the abortion issue (thousands have died as a result of terror, tens of millions have been killed in abortions), Rudy foolishly tried in the first debate not to offend either pro-life or pro-abortion voters and offended both by looking unprincipled, uninterested and unprepared to lead.
On the Blame America issue raised by Congressman Paul, Rudy was principled, passionate and prepared. Rudy hit a home run, but it was a show-pitch softball just where he wanted it and Congressman Paul is the only one of the ten Republican presidential aspirants who actually disagreed with Rudy that the terrorists are to blame. In addition, Congressman Tom Tancredo's substantive comment on the issue--the terrorists are motivated by their religious fanaticism--was more informative than Rudy's (genuine) indignation.
Congressman Paul came in second in the Fox poll with 25%, suggesting that Democrats watched and voted for him. (Sanjaya had a better chance of winning "American Idol" that Congressman Paul does of becoming a Republican presidential candidate."
Rudy was third, with 19%, and fading as the details of his positions become more widely known and polls reflect more than name recognition.
John McCain, once the Republican frontrunner, came in sixth, with 4%, and never will win his party's presidential nomination.
The debate highlighted John's position that water boarding is an Inquisition tactic that must not be used as an interrogation technique to prevent terrorist attacks (suggesting that John belonged near the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy). Ironically, North Vietnamese torture of John left him so concerned about "enhanced interrogation techniques" that he prefers to handicap America in the Terror War. Obviously the North Vietnamese did not follow the Geneva Conventions, but John wants terrorist treated as though they are parties in good standing to the Geneva Conventions. John should acknowledge that water boarding has saved American (and other) lives, terrorists who behead Americans to make a more chilling video as a tactic to undermine America's resolve will not hesitate for an instance to do whatever they think will promote their cause and America handicapping itself in the Terror War is foolish. But he won't do that and he won;t be entrusted with the Presidency.
Fox News Poll Results— 29% Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
— 25% Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas
— 19% Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
— 8% Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
— 5% Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. Hunter
— 4% Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
— 3% Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.
— 1% Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
— 0% Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore
— 0% Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson
The poll was conducted between 9 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, May 15, 2007, and 12:30 a.m. EDT, Wednesday, May 16, 2007. The poll reflects the opinions of those who choose to participate and may not reflect a scientific sampling of the population.
National Review Online's symposium on the second debate included insightful expert commentary.
Mona Charen, nationally syndicated columnist and author:
"...McCain got in a few good one liners, one at Romney’s expense...but he did himself harm by the torture position. His argument fell flat in many ways. He urges that people under torture will tell interrogators what they want to hear. Yes. But that includes the truth. He argued that our people will be subject to torture if we use it against terrorists. But in what conflict over the past 50 years have our enemies refrained from torture?
"McCain was fine on spending of course. But he did not do himself any favors in the discussion of campaign finance, nor in his invocation of bipartisanship on immigration. This is the Republican primary. Republicans do not want to hear about how well you work with Democrats. The point is to defeat them.
"Romney was smart and smooth as usual...."
"Giuliani had an 'I’m paying for this microphone' moment: By responding with fury to Ron Paul’s basically blame-America explanation for 9/11, he seized the moment. What he said wasn’t especially insightful or original, but the emotional content was pitch perfect."
Yuval Levin, fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center:
"It was Giuliani’s night. Romney and McCain made almost no errors, and said what they needed to say, but Giuliani did more than that. He took command on several occasions, and whenever he was called on he had something sharp to say. His abortion answer (while surely still expressing a view I disagree with) finally sounded like he had actually given it thought, and on a whole range of issues he was able to project the image that made him popular in the first place. Giuliani still confronts a monumental task: persuading the base of the party to overlook his disagreement with them on an enormous range of domestic issues. But he certainly helped himself in this debate."
My Note: Rudy was better in the second debate than the first debate, thanks to Congressman Paul, but Rudy did not surmount his insurmountable abortion problem. In the 1990's Rudy was asked by Planned Parenthood whether he supported any abortion restrictions, including a ban on partial-birth abortion, and he answered no. In 2003, with the Republican presidential candidacy perceived as a possibility in his future, Rudy switched on partial-birth abortion. Democrat United States Senator from New York Daniel Patrick Moynahan had opposed it long before. Rudy has been singing the "abortion-is-hateful" song as a presidential hopeful, but he never told popular radio host Laura Ingraham what was hateful about it to him when she asked why and he didn't explain that during the second debate either. Instead he reaffirmed his desire to be the pro-choice presidential candidate of the pro-life party and to be trusted to appoint justices and judges. With Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards praising Rudy and "encourag[ed] to see that the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president supports the right to make personal private health care decisions free from government intrusion," however, the Republican Party should not and will not nominate Rudy.
Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online editor:
"Rudy Giuliani did so much better Tuesday night than he did last time — for one thing, this time I had the sense he actually is in it to win it. After watching the Reagan-library debate, I thought: 'Well, we have two really plausible presidents here.' After the South Carolina debate, a third jumped on my list. The GOP frontrunners look like serious guys — when it comes to presidential-level gravitas, there seems to be some there there. There are kinks here and there — and some pretty fundamental ones at that in one case or another — but I think Republican-primary voters can feel confident they are going to have some competency and leadership to choose from next year. And if Fred Thompson gets into this mix, it is not going to be because the GOP is desperate.
"A few sidebars:
To cite the other big contest of the night, Romney might be the Melinda Doolittle of the Republican primary field. He set the bar high for himself that first time out, at the Reagan library, and he won. So if he’s anything less than he was that first night, he’ll be a tad disappointing, even if he was relatively fine. But, hey, welcome to prime-time presidential politics, Guv. Melinda’s sticking with it to the end; Romney 2008 certainly goes on.
I found Tom Tancredo’s Damascus-Des Moines conversion joke insulting. We want converts."
Kate O’Beirne, National Review's Washington editor:
"A round robin of one-minute answers invites platitudes, but I thought Tuesday evening’s candidates’ forum...had some revealing moments, if not clear winners and losers. The Republican audience was obviously eager for their contenders to go on offense against the other team. Although Governor Huckabee’s crack about John Edwards was a big crowd-pleaser, Rudy Giuliani was most in tune with the audience’s desire. He criticized Democrats in general and Hillary in particular. His quick, indignant response to Ron Paul on 9/11 was the night’s soundbite that made him America’s Mayor again. He had a good night, but so too did Mitt Romney.
"As a talented overachiever, Romney’s fate is to be judged on a tough curve. He can be expected to be thoroughly prepared and he’s a natural salesman. So again he was confident and sure-footed. Inexplicably, John McCain emphasized his commitment to bipartisanship and Romney reminded the audience that McCain-Kennedy and McCain-Feingold were regrettable collaborations.
"John McCain too is a pro. I thought his most uncomfortable moment was during the introductions when the sidebar bios reminded us that he is only a year younger than Ron Paul, who is old enough to remember that Republicans used to want to eliminate Cabinet agencies — now that’s old!"
Kathleen Parker, South Carolina-based syndicated columnist:
"The top three are still the top three in the following order:
Giuliani played daddy tonight and spanked Ron Paul for blaming the U.S. for 9/11. Big points for calling on Paul to withdraw his absurd statement. Message: Don’t mess with Rudy.
McCain was calm and measured, no more hyper-ventilating about the Gates of Hell or displaying his virility for those who think he might be too old. He was characteristically steadfast on the war (pro) and torture (con). Message: Heroes don’t have to prove their manliness.
Romney, though substantive and polished — and more comfortable with the flip-flop issue despite McCain’s taunt — wasn’t the shiniest penny this time. You get the feeling Romney isn’t inclined to get his mitts dirty, while Giuliani and McCain are ready to rumble. Whatever Romney’s executive skills — and they are significant — Giuliani and McCain seem more comfortable in the mean streets and trenches where, respectively, they’ve earned their bona fides. Message: Let the big dogs eat."
Pat Toomey, president of the Club for Growth:
"All Around Winner: Rudy Giuliani for acknowledging the Club for Growth as the arbiter of economic conservatism.
"All Around Loser: John McCain. McCain did not give conservatives any reason to get behind his campaign, and gave then more than enough reasons not to. One of the most striking was his response to the question on the Bush tax cuts. He refused to admit that his 2001 and 2003 votes against the tax cuts were a mistake, and continues to peddle a lame explanation for why he supports making the Bush tax cuts permanent — because otherwise it would constitute a tax increase. His answer is a negative one instead of a positive response about the crucial role tax cuts play in growing our economy. McCain was asked “how can you convince Republican voters you will push a Democratic Congress hard enough to make those tax cuts permanent?” McCain clearly demonstrated that he can’t.
"Status Quo Award: Romney’s responses were reasonable, articulate, and conservative, but a little short on inspiration — kind of like his campaign so far.
T. J. Walker, author of Presentation Training A-Z.
"John McCain is back! Feisty McCain ripped into Romney for being a political flip-flopper and took jabs at the guys who had never served in the military for being the only ones who were pro-torture. This was a marked improvement for McCain over his first debate performance.
"Giuliani is back too. If Giuliani didn’t pay Ron Paul to say America deserved to be attacked by terrorists, Giuliani should have. In a spirited exchange, Giuliani finally had the opportunity to do what he does best: beat up on bad guys — in this case, those weak on terrorism. Giuliani drastically improved his handling of tough abortion questions. Unfortunately for Giuliani, his greatest strength, his toughness, is also his greatest weakness — he seems mean. This comes to light when he dismissed his fellow candidate Ron Paul as 'absurd.'
"Mitt Romney is too slick. Of course by 'too slick' what I really mean is that I can’t think of a single way to fault Romney’s style, intelligence, grammar, emotion, or ability to connect with an audience. ('Too slick' is the last refuge of a scoundrel political/media critic who can’t think of any other way to attack someone who has communication gifts beyond mere mortals) Romney is too slick in the same way Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Tony Blair were all accused of being too slick throughout their careers. Comparatively, Romney didn’t dominate this debate the way he did in the first one, but that is because many of his colleagues had a good night in Columbia, not because Romney turned in a subpar performance."
Charmaine Yoest, a vice president of Family Research Council Action:
"There’s no doubt that analysis of this debate will focus on the Rudy Giuliani-Ron Paul dust-up. When Giuliani, challenged Ron Paul on his assertion that we brought 9/11 on ourselves, it was a remarkable moment in a night of otherwise mostly rote political theater. I say 'mostly' because Giuliani featured in another significant moment which will be much less remarked upon, but deserves equal attention. Have we ever previously witnessed a presidential candidate who supports abortion questioned by an African-American reporter about the parallel between abortion and slavery? Kudos to Wendell Goler. The candidate who got the biggest laugh of the night, Mike Huckabee, also played a supporting role in this vignette: his follow-up to Giuliani’s illogical answer to the abortion-slavery question neatly underscored that Giuliani’s abortion stance isn’t morally coherent. Very artfully done...This could be fun.. . if the Supreme Court weren’t on the line."
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.