Open thread: Hey, who’s up for a Republican presidential debate?

posted at 8:33 pm on May 5, 2011 by Allahpundit

9 p.m. ET on Fox News, the march of a thousand miles begins with a single lame step. Only five candidates on stage tonight: Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, the libertarian wonder twins Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, and … Tim Pawlenty, whose name recognition remains sufficiently low despite his aspiring first-tier status that he couldn’t turn down 90 minutes of free airtime. This is actually a uniquely bad setting for him, I think, even though he had no choice but to accept the invite. T-Paw would fare best in a debate with higher-profile candidates whom Republicans aren’t totally comfortable with, like Romney and Huckabee. In that dynamic, he’s the viable, likable, acceptable underdog. Against these four, he’s the opposite — the bland electable establishment favorite. Everyone else onstage has a passionate following, even Santorum insofar as he’s the evening’s designated social con champion. Not T-Paw, though; his plan, I assume, is to get in a bunch of digs at Obama, a few digs at Romney, and otherwise try to look presidential to curious viewers unfamiliar with him. His willingness to go over the top when pandering can be painful, though. Look for that tonight.

The field remains wiiiiide open:

According to the survey, conducted just before the news of the death of Osama bin Laden, 16 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say they would be likely to support Mike Huckabee for the Republican presidential nomination. The former Arkansas governor ran for the White House in 2008, and while to date he hasn’t taken many steps towards launching another campaign, he has definitely not ruled out another bid for his party’s nomination.

Fourteen percent say they’d back Donald Trump. The billionaire businessman, real estate mogul and reality TV star says he will announce by June if he’s going to run for the White House.

One point back is Mitt Romney, at 13 percent. The former Massachusetts governor and 2008 GOP White House candidate has been adding to his campaign team in recent months and last month launched a presidential exploratory committee.

The poll indicates that 11 percent support Sarah Palin.

Fox News terminated the contracts of Santorum and Newt Gingrich earlier today after giving them a May 1 deadline a few months ago to decide on a presidential bid. RealClearPolitics claim that they’ve also given Huckabee an ultimatum to decide on a run by the end of the month or else his show will be dumped too. (Fox News denies it.) Still no word on Palin’s contract, possibly because she’s not as close to a decision as Huck is or possibly because she’s too big of a draw for FNC to cut loose just yet. Or … is it because Fox has an inkling that she’s not running after all?

I’m assuming the questions about the Bin Laden raid will come right up front, in which case I can’t wait to hear Paul’s and Johnson’s answers when they’re asked whether they too would have ordered the operation. Paul presumably will say no, embracing his unelectability with a big bear hug, and then segue into a lecture about how there wouldn’t be Bin Ladens anywhere in the world if America would just MYOB. (Paul actually fared best against Obama head to head in the CNN poll linked above, but that’ll change.) Johnson might surprise us, though. Like Rand Paul, I don’t think he’s as rhetorically wedded to isolationism as Ron is. He might, in fact, use the elder Paul as a foil on some of his less palatable policy positions, sort of a libertarian version of good cop/bad cop in which GJ’s willing to intervene tentatively in foreign affairs where the rEVOLution fears to tread. He needs to distinguish himself somehow. That’s his best opening.

Exit question: Why didn’t John Bolton jump in the race a few weeks ago in order to take advantage of the smaller stage tonight? The Bin Laden raid and new attention to Pakistan and Afghanistan would have played right into his hands, as would the chance to do hawkish battle with doves like Paul and Johnson. A missed opportunity.

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Where’d you get that $46 Billion number from?

Gohawgs on May 6, 2011 at 3:17 AM

damn shift key was stuck…..should be $6 billion not 46 billion the 4 should have been a $

unseen on May 6, 2011 at 7:24 AM

damn shift key was stuck…..should be $6 billion not 46 billion the 4 should have been a $

unseen on May 6, 2011 at 7:24 AM

Captain Typo strikes again!

You should really proofread more.

It doesn’t take that long, and things are much easier to understand the first time.

I know you want to be fast rather than proper, but still, it’s just my observation.

Brian1972 on May 6, 2011 at 7:28 AM

Brian1972 on May 6, 2011 at 6:47 AM

I couldn’t agree more with you. This is not politics as usual. Palin is letting the path clear itself.

Jocundus on May 6, 2011 at 7:29 AM

I couldn’t agree more with you. This is not politics as usual. Palin is letting the path clear itself.

Jocundus on May 6, 2011 at 7:29 AM

I think she made a good judgment to use her time to help others rather than this pony parade.

I understand why Cain and Santorum wanted to get going, but I think Pawlenty made an unforced error just by being there.

I like the FNC team, I just think it is too early to start the debates.

The media as a whole has a commercial interest in getting the primary going now, because they need a horse race story and ratings. It is all hype at this point.

Things will have gotten a lot more meaningful by the end of the summer, and by Halloween it will be cooking for real.

Brian1972 on May 6, 2011 at 7:36 AM

Apparently, Pawlenty needs to go back to MN permanently from the comments I’m seeing.

Kermit on May 6, 2011 at 12:39 AM

Of course T-Paw would get poor reviews from many HA readers, who typically want fire-breathing, shoot-from-the-lip, angry bomb-throwers presiding over us.
But the US, as it is now, would never vote for an angry man or woman.
The reason Obama hangs on to almost 50% support after all of his disastrous errors is because he’s perceived to be a nice guy.

itsnotaboutme on May 6, 2011 at 7:39 AM

Of course T-Paw would get poor reviews from many HA readers, who typically want fire-breathing, shoot-from-the-lip, angry bomb-throwers presiding over us.
But the US, as it is now, would never vote for an angry man or woman.
The reason Obama hangs on to almost 50% support after all of his disastrous errors is because he’s perceived to be a nice guy.

itsnotaboutme on May 6, 2011 at 7:39 AM

I’d take Alan West in a heartbeat and he seems like a nice guy. He has that whole package thing – firebreathing, bomb thrower, nice guy to have a beer with.

piglet on May 6, 2011 at 7:49 AM

The reason Obama hangs on to almost 50% support after all of his disastrous errors is because he’s perceived to be a nice guy.

itsnotaboutme on May 6, 2011 at 7:39 AM

That is not the reason Obama is supported by 50% of the people. He is supported by 50% of the people because he is promising them the other 50%’s money.

pghpat26 on May 6, 2011 at 7:51 AM

Also, I think Politico thought Pawlenty won the debate so he has that to hang his hat on.

chief on May 6, 2011 at 5:23 AM

They actually said Pawlenty and ROMNEY were co-winners. Or something.

steebo77 on May 6, 2011 at 7:52 AM

yeah Cain is very weak on foreign policy. Not liking him at all on this topic.

unseen on May 6, 2011 at 12:44 AM

Dittos.

steebo77 on May 6, 2011 at 7:52 AM

That is not the reason Obama is supported by 50% of the people. He is supported by 50% of the people because he is promising them the other 50%’s money.

pghpat26 on May 6, 2011 at 7:51 AM

Bingo.

Brian1972 on May 6, 2011 at 7:54 AM

Fire-breathing bomb thrower? No, I just want a patriot instead of a politician. Paul Ryan for President, Bolton for VP. Let Ryan take care of the economy, let Bolton take care of foreign policy. Tough love on all points – and that’s what is needed now, instead of the squishy, suck-up-to-special-interests idiots that are running the show currently.

Timothy S. Carlson on May 6, 2011 at 7:59 AM

steebo77 on May 6, 2011 at 7:52 AM

yeah, i didn’t get that either….

the lsm pushing the candidate they want dear leader to run against….

cmsinaz on May 6, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Fire-breathing bomb thrower? No, I just want a patriot instead of a politician. Paul Ryan for President, Bolton for VP. Let Ryan take care of the economy, let Bolton take care of foreign policy. Tough love on all points – and that’s what is needed now, instead of the squishy, suck-up-to-special-interests idiots that are running the show currently.

Timothy S. Carlson on May 6, 2011 at 7:59 AM

Paul Ryan is not running for President. I think he can do tremendous good as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he is now.

If John Bolton is to handle foreign policy, he should be appointed to Secretary of State. I think he is the #1 choice for that job.

Brian1972 on May 6, 2011 at 8:02 AM

Alan Keyes stole the debate.

Lock thread.

rickyricardo on May 6, 2011 at 8:05 AM

On Fox & Friends Pawlenty just cited Reagan’s 11th Commandment as the reason he will not criticize Romney on RomneyCare…but that sure didn’t stop him from going after Sarah Palin in the wake of the Tucson shootings…

steebo77 on May 6, 2011 at 8:18 AM

The reason Obama hangs on to almost 50% support after all of his disastrous errors is because he’s perceived to be a nice guy.

itsnotaboutme on May 6, 2011 at 7:39 AM
///
Yeah,the kind of NICE GUY who shakes your hand and reaches around with the other and picks your back pocket.

ohiobabe on May 6, 2011 at 8:18 AM

steebo77 on May 6, 2011 at 8:18 AM

Selective application.

kingsjester on May 6, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Cain and T-Paw performed well…
I was very happy with the debate…

mjbrooks3 on May 6, 2011 at 8:23 AM

All these guys are a joke.

wheelgun on May 6, 2011 at 8:24 AM

All these guys are a joke.

wheelgun on May 6, 2011 at 8:24 AM

The “joke” is in the White House right now.

Any one of these guys and the undeclared Republicans would be 100% better than Obama and most people know that.

Frankly, I see some things to like in all of them, but there are several I strongly would not like. Either not conservative enough, not forceful enough (in a presidential way) or hard to elect (not talking Palin – I think she is electable, but has an uphill battle.)

Joke? Please along with a good percentage of the country, I’d vote for Mickey Mouse over Obama. Heck, I’d feel more relieved with Clinton back in the White House than this narcisistic, petty and arrogant radical incompetent.

Elisa on May 6, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Right now (since my 2 favorites Jindal and Paul Ryan are not running and Barbour dropped out) I like Cain, Palin, Bachman and Daniels. Pawlenty is acceptable to me. I like Santorum, but not sure how he’d do in the general.

Elisa on May 6, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Herman Cain’s answers from last night, starting with the foreign policy question:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDG-uvE1UOM

Disregarding the questioner’s tone, what is wrong with Cain’s answer here? I liked it. It is common sense and shows confidence to me. None of these candidates knows all the details yet, but they feel they have to say something to look good.

Does anyone think this intelligent and effective man would not have a foreing policy strategy?

It’s not like he has no opinions on foreign policy. He just doesn’t want to be locked in with a specific detailed approach to a war that he would not be able to do anything about for 2 years. Things need clarity now and things change in 2 years.

Elisa on May 6, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Ya think you are having a hard time? I took the kids to school with a mild headache behind a red pickup truck with a bumper sticker I hate:

“I (heart) MY WIFE”.

What kind of man does that? And to his pickup truck?

ProudPalinFan on May 6, 2011 at 9:35 AM

FIRST!

F**k yeah!

Bishop on May 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM

TPaw’s candidacy is over after last night. That was sad.

faraway on May 6, 2011 at 10:14 AM

TPaw’s candidacy is over after last night. That was sad.

faraway on May 6, 2011 at 10:14 AM

A lot of pundit-types are trying to spin it like he was the hands-down winner. Lame.

steebo77 on May 6, 2011 at 10:22 AM

A lot of pundit-types are trying to spin it like he was the hands-down winner. Lame.

steebo77 on May 6, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Here’s one.

Pawlenty Gives Polished Performance in First GOP Debate

He was a joke, really.

faraway on May 6, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Bishop on May 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM

LOL Your enthusiasm is infectious.

Fallon on May 6, 2011 at 10:28 AM

There was a debate?

csdeven on May 6, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Does anyone think this intelligent and effective man would not have a foreing policy strategy?

It’s not like he has no opinions on foreign policy. He just doesn’t want to be locked in with a specific detailed approach to a war that he would not be able to do anything about for 2 years. Things need clarity now and things change in 2 years.

Elisa on May 6, 2011 at 8:55 AM

EXACTLY! By the time anyone gets into office, the reality will be different, plus the factors one can not possibly know until they get into office and are briefed by DOD/CIA etc. It’s not so much that Oboobi lied, so much as he sprouted off loud and often about what he would do when he gets in, only to be whacked upside his head by reality. that’s why Gitmo is still here 2.5 years after signing an EO to close it.

All anyone needs to know of a candidate are the guiding principles, not what they would do in two years based on today’s perception of reality.

On this point, only Cain & SP got it right. The others either have no comment or talking out of the hiney on things they can’t possibly know.

Daniels on the other hand probably knew that instinctively, having served in the WH before, but was so inartful as to say that he’s not focused on it and therefore not ready to debate Obambi.

AH_C on May 6, 2011 at 10:56 AM

AH_C on May 6, 2011 at 10:56 AM

I agree.

Elisa on May 6, 2011 at 11:04 AM

“I (heart) MY WIFE”.

What kind of man does that? And to his pickup truck?

ProudPalinFan on May 6, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Around my town, you’re more likely to see a “I (club) my wife” bumper sticker.

Red State State of Mind on May 6, 2011 at 7:31 PM

But the US, as it is now, would never vote for an angry man or woman.
The reason Obama hangs on to almost 50% support after all of his disastrous errors is because he’s perceived to be a nice guy.

itsnotaboutme on May 6, 2011 at 7:39 AM

As it is now, you’re right. However, a lot can happen in a year and a half…

Mary in LA on May 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM

cschande on May 6, 2011 at 1:03 AM

I think you’re playing fast and loose with the facts regarding Palin’s socon values. You KNOW that under Alaskan law that she was given 2 names from which to choose from when appointing the Judge you referenced. And, you know that she picked the lesser of two evils. Yet, you paint it as her choice to appoint a pro-choice Judge when both were…

Gohawgs on May 6, 2011 at 2:56 AM

I disagree. I posted a link to her defense of her decision, and I wrote about the fact that she blamed a flawed process. My assessment was critical, but fair:

In 2009, Palin appointed a former Planned Parenthood board member to the Alaska Supreme Court over the objections of the Alaska Family Council, initially praising her appointee, Judge Morgan Christen, claiming confidence Judge Christen had the “experience, intellect, wisdom and character to be an outstanding Supreme Court justice.” In a Facebook post her PAC later defended her choice, blaming a “flawed” election process and saying she “chose the person most qualified from the names sent to her.” Despite her proud record of fighting corruption in Alaska, this was one fight she apparently had no interest in engaging.

cschande on May 6, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Link

cschande on May 6, 2011 at 8:40 PM

I just want to see if I can get this in to catch-on….

“THE HERMINATOR”

I know it almost sounds like an STD…. but maybe it will help with name recognition!

Am4Constitution on May 6, 2011 at 9:14 PM

cschande on May 6, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Do you deny that a panel picks two nominees from a pool and that the Governor then decides from the two? If so, you really have learned to parse what the meaning of is, is…

Gohawgs on May 7, 2011 at 1:47 AM

All of the candidates at this debate are non starters.

scotash on May 8, 2011 at 3:36 AM

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