Open thread: The “I can’t believe they’re having another debate” debate

posted at 8:34 pm on January 16, 2012 by Allahpundit

9 p.m. ET on Fox News. If you’ve been reading the site today, you already know what to expect. Santorum will attack Romney for being an Obama clone, Gingrich will attack both of them for being unelectable, and Romney, I suppose, will attack Newt for his Bain criticism — all of which will be punctuated by grumbling about how unfair the other guy’s Super PAC is. Then Ron Paul will say something about the Fed and Perry will say something self-deprecating, and we’ll rinse and repeat. For two hours.

Philip Klein dares to think a terrible, terrible thought. I’m entitling this blockquote, “What if the tea party never existed?”

Is there anything stopping [Romney] from sweeping all 50 states?

Think about it. Romney has a commanding lead in Florida, and will simply obliterate the field if he enters the Sunshine State after having won South Carolina. And if he does win South Carolina and Florida, what will become of the rest of the field? Rick Perry, who came in fifth in Iowa and bailed on New Hamphshire, already has very little justification for continuing. A distant finish in South Carolina would give him even less reason. It’s true that there are states in which Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich can theoretically beat Romney, but if they can’t beat him in South Carolina, where will they go from there? Even now, Romney has a 23-point lead nationally, according to Gallup.

Sure, perhaps Rep. Ron Paul’s fervent supporters can out-hustle Romney’s organization in a caucus here or there. But it’s also possible that Romney will run the table. Remember, as the field gets narrowed, it’ll get a lot harder for Paul to outright win a state, because he’ll have to start getting into the 40-50-plus point range.

Skim this LA Times piece for a reminder of what makes Klein’s scenario plausible. It’s not just that Romney’s national organization is so solid; it’s that, apart from Ron Paul, he’s the only candidate who even has a national organization. And since I’m beating a dead horse by making that point again, let me beat another one by reminding you that even a Romney loss in South Carolina is unlikely to put Florida in play. PPP’s new poll tonight shows Mitt leading Gingrich there 41/26, and by an even wider margin among voters who say they’ve made up their minds. His favorables are 68/24 generally — better than in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina — and 70/18 on the narrower issue of his business record. So much for the Bain attacks. In fact, I’m curious to see whether Gingrich brings up Bain tonight or whether Romney himself does. That’ll be the best evidence yet of what the campaigns’ internal polling shows on this issue. Do note that Newt conspicuously passed on a golden opportunity to hit Romney on it yesterday.

Here’s the Hot Air/Townhall livetweet widget. Fox is going to solicit Twitter feedback tonight during the debate to track whether viewers think a candidate is answering a question or dodging it, so there’s one way to kinda sorta amuse yourself as debate fatigue sets in circa 9:05. Exit question: Is it racist to give money to someone in need? It is on MSNBC, apparently.



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I’m finding this whole inevitably thing a bit disturbing. Romney expected to sweep all 50 states. Yeah, sure if the other candidates are being “disqualified” on technicalities.

mozalf on January 17, 2012 at 11:27 AM

So, you’d rather vote for a candidate that can’t figure out the rules for getting on a primary ballot? Virginia’s rules are stringent, but they aren’t new. If you’re serious about running for President, you need to do what it takes to get on the ballot.

hawksruleva on January 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Well, I better get out of here before Doc Tesla gets on and starts spamming.

[snip]

g2825m on January 17, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Dr. Tesla is not the only one of our new Gasser cohorts to come in here and take all the oxygen out of the room. At a party I could see him dominating the conversation with interesting, but self-referential, talk.

The whole Santorum/gay thing has become so tedious. It gets tiring scrolling over it.

When Dr. Tesla is good, he’s very good. When he’s bad…..

Must be related to Ron Paul

cane_loader on January 17, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Good nite all from the Hindu Kush!

PS It is good to see you Hawkdriver as I have not seen you on here in awhile.

g2825m on January 17, 2012 at 11:45 AM

It’s great that the miracle of modern technology allows you to stay part of the debate, even from the Hindu Kush :-)

cane_loader on January 17, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Here we go again. Now there’s talk about putting a “conservative” as a VP to bolster Romney’s chances. Didn’t we try this before in 2008 and that didn’t work out too well. Why don’t we put a solid conservative on top instead?! But no, I’m beginning to see more and more that the republican establishment will never work to have a strong conservative as a candidate. Reagan was a fluke and they’ve been pushing their country club candidates ever since. Why else fix the primaries so that all the candidates can’t appear on the ballots (hello Virginia, D.C., Rhode Island, Illinois, etc.). It’s disgusting seeing how the establishment are using pages from the democrat dirty campaign playbook against fellow republicans. I even see Alinsky methods being used by the Romney team. Blech!

mozalf on January 17, 2012 at 9:40 AM

IMO, the establishment GOP is no different from the Dems and for that they earn my everlasting contempt. I’ve said it before, but deep down, they are threatened by conservatism because they think it will render them powerless in whatever way their feverish little minds see it. They are echoing another of Alinsky’s tenets whenever they think that the perceived threat is worse than what might actually happen. Keeping their power is the be-all and end-all for these people and they can’t see beyond their own noses to consider that maybe there might be a place for them as well in the philosophy that is conservatism.

PatriotGal2257 on January 17, 2012 at 11:53 AM

At this point, I’ll vote for whatever flawed candidate the GOP ends up picking.

And as soon as this election is over, I’ll start begging some real conservatives to run for 2016. 4 years of Romney or Newt is better than 4 more years of Obama. But I’m not voting for Romney or Newt in 2016.

hawksruleva on January 17, 2012 at 11:55 AM

At this point, I’ll vote for whatever flawed candidate the GOP ends up picking.

And as soon as this election is over, I’ll start begging some real conservatives to run for 2016. 4 years of Romney or Newt is better than 4 more years of Obama. But I’m not voting for Romney or Newt in 2016.

hawksruleva on January 17, 2012 at 11:55 AM

The problem with your argument is that if they win in 2012 they WILL BE YOUR NOMINEE in 2016 period

Now, with that said, if they screw up, as is highly likely with Romney, when the Americans decide to kick him out of office, it could be in 2014 that they start thinking that and kick the republicans in congress out of office, and then turn over the entire government to a new Obama in 2016. Notice the ebb and flow of the electorate in the last several elections? Nothing says that sentiment will remain in Republican favor with a Republican president, particularly one that is even more progressive than Bush was.

Vote Newt.

astonerii on January 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Another reminder about the SOPA Protest starting Wed. 1/18/12.

In protest of SOPA, Wikipedia along with other internet giants Reddit, WordPress and Mozilla will participate in a 24 hour “web blackout” this Wednesday. CBS News Reports:

http://www.therightscoop.com/wikipedia-to-shut-down-for-24-hours-wednesday-in-protest-of-sopa/

I don’t know if RS has updated or not. However, this from WordPress:

http://wordpress.org/news/2012/01/help-stop-sopa-pipa/

Trying to find more current info since many websites are joining this protest.

I haven’t heard anything from HA?

bluefox on January 17, 2012 at 12:05 PM

cane_loader on January 17, 2012 at 11:52 AM

It is amazing, isn’t it?

hawkdriver on January 17, 2012 at 12:07 PM

[Comment deleted for multi-thread spamming, user banned — Ed]

LeeSeneca on January 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM

LeeSeneca on January 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Speak up, we can’t hear you!

cozmo on January 17, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Gingrich hit it out of the park last night.
Perry did very well; I was impressed and wish him well.

Best of all: Romney – even after a strong start, aided by sycophantic press – stumbled, fumbled and FAILED.

Czar of Defenestration on January 17, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Yes, big winner-Newt! Standing ovation time.

Newt Gingrich to Juan Williams: Americans Want Paychecks, Not Foodstamps

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c1-22w2G7M&feature=player_embedded

Uploaded by ngingrich on Jan 16, 2012

At the Fox News Debate in Myrtle Beach, SC, Newt gets the only standing ovation of the night for defending the work ethic and saying “only the elites despise earning money.”

IndeCon on January 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Oh yes Romney, there’ll still be MANY more debates. What a shame you might actually have to answer some more questions, rather than try to dodge them again….

jfs756 on January 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM

ALL your linking to fake poll results are not convincing anyone Romney is in the lead
Keep in mind Santorum had 8 percent in Iowa accordiing to your fake polls you pushed,

I just took part in a real poll in Florida, Romney gets his 21 percent , that is all

That was before last night SC debate where Romney was completely and utterly destroyed

Newt won with a spectacular performance,and no amount of spin is going to change that fact

LeeSeneca on January 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Isn’t it amazing how the press is spinning for Romney today, especially after his dismal display last night? It’s exactly like the Obama/media love story of 2008.

21% in Florida for Mitt sounds more realistic; thanks for that poll news.

Sure looked to me like SC was loving them some Newt last night, standing ovation and all. I think they’re contemplating consolidating the conservative vote behind Newt. They know Romney will win unless the majority votes for only one not-Romney.

IndeCon on January 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM

At the Fox News Debate in Myrtle Beach, SC, Newt gets the only standing ovation of the night for defending the work ethic and saying “only the elites despise earning money.”
IndeCon on January 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM

I’m going to reword Newt’s quote into what I think is more to the point of what he trying to say.
Feel free to criticize as I’m not perfect, either.

Newt Gingrich to Juan Williams: “Americans Want Paychecks work/jobs, Not Foodstamps.”

And

“only those the elites who inherit their wealth despise earning money.”

listens2glenn on January 17, 2012 at 1:00 PM

[Comment deleted for multi-thread spamming, user banned -- Ed]

LeeSeneca on January 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Thank you, Ed! The multi-thread spamming has gotten bad. And not just Gingrich supporters. I didn’t think the highest purpose of this place was just to be a drive-by, thumb-tack billboard for shills.

cane_loader on January 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Wow, I just watched Newt’s response to Juan Williams (missed the debate).

Newt has his flaws, but the man often genuinely inspires me.

I can’t recall whether Mitt has ever actually inspired me.

cane_loader on January 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Romney won by not losing. Same as almost every debate.

Rush has stopped giving Mitt the Mcain treatment, Drudge is framing Mitt as inevitable and HA portrays Newt as flailing and desperate.

We are not haveing a primary season this year. It’s over. Time to try and keep Mitt from going full liberal in the general.

Reducing the size of he feds and allowing the states more power is the meme dujour for Mitt(and the rest) right now. Watch in the general as he quickly pivots to Smarter more efficient government . All this 10th talk is just placating the doe eyed base.

I did like how strong Mitt was on marriage and life. No to stem cell abortion farms and he’s strongly against marriage not between a man and a woman. That was reassuring. At least the Mitt bots are pro traditional marriage and strongly anti abortion. He won’t be able to walk that back in the general so luckily we can at least have a socially conservative message going up against Obama(so sorry Mitch Daniells).

Unfortunately, ObamaCare is no longer an issue. I’ll tell my grandkids about all those valiant town hall demonstrators and they’ll roll their eyes and chalk it up to senility as some beauracrat pulls the plug on me :(

BoxHead1 on January 17, 2012 at 2:13 PM

mozalf on January 17, 2012 at 11:27 AM

So, you’d rather vote for a candidate that can’t figure out the rules for getting on a primary ballot? Virginia’s rules are stringent, but they aren’t new. If you’re serious about running for President, you need to do what it takes to get on the ballot.

hawksruleva on January 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Yes! And I won’t vote for someone who “buys” the election simply because they have the money. Sure the rules should be there to keep unqualified candidates from running in the primaries, but it’s 100% obvious that all the conservative candidates are more than qualified (more so than Mutt and Ru IMO) and they absolutely should be included. This whole primary system smells of vote tampering and the republican party needs to fix it now! Otherwise, what is Romney afraid of if he’s so unbeatable? And he should participate in all the debates. But most importantly, he should support allowing republicans to vote for all the candidates unless he’s part of some kind of agenda.

mozalf on January 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

My picks for president at this moment:

Gingrich
Romney

And that’s it.

In making my picks, I have blended policy with electability.

Romney seems more stable. Gingrich seems more gutsy. Romney seems more comforting. Gingrich seems more inspiring.

I have removed Paul, Perry and Santorum from my consideration because:

1. Paul’s foreign policy is so unrealistic as to be dangerous in the modern world.

2. Santorum, having been very outspoken on social issues, is wide open to being demonized on abortion and gays – two “third rails” as far as the Democrat establishment is concerned, and add that to his rather-thin resume, and he’s got trouble.

3. Perry is too inarticulate and drawling to be mercilessly hammered as Bush III. Unfair or not, that costs him 5-10% eight there, and that would cost the election. Not to mention the risk of self-immolation in a televised presidential debate.

I’m down to Romney and Gingrich. Romney comes across as safer and Gingrich comes across as more fiery.

cane_loader on January 17, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Badger40 on January 17, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Mitt over Perry when your main issue with Perry is in-state tuition? Mitt is for amnesty. Oh, he may say he isn’t *this* year, but he was all for it as recently as the 2007 appearance on Meet the Press with Tim Russert (his last appearance on any Sunday show on the major netowrks).

I don’t trust ONE single thing out of Mittster’s mouth. Huntsman had him pegged perfectly, “a well lubricated weathervane”.

Aslans Girl on January 17, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Romney was in the middle of the stage again, and got the most questions again, and speaking time again. The FOX controlled debate went perfectly for their candidate again. The American people lose again.

apocalypse on January 17, 2012 at 1:43 AM

Well you know what happens when Rove, Murdoch, and both Bushes get together and start brainstorming. “So Karl do you think we should move Mitt to the left side or the right side?” “Look, I like him right there in the center where he belongs.”.

Igor R. on January 17, 2012 at 1:47 AM

You got it, man. Peace.

apocalypse on January 18, 2012 at 4:12 PM

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