GOP Debate Open Thread-Updated with Reactions

Bloomberg and The Washington Post are scheduled to start trying to smear the candidates at 8pm EDT. Whomever “wins,” the GOP has already lost by allowing their enemies in the press to vet their candidates. Will the other candidates (and the moderators, of course) try to “finish off” Rick Perry or shift their attention to the surging Herman Cain? Will Romney or Cain ever criticize each other? Will Ron Paul still look at Iran and say, “meh, live and let live”?

Check later tonight for reactions from around Breitbart-opolis.

Joel Pollak, EIC Breitbart.com:

Herman Cain won the first half of the debate because he defended well against barbs by the moderators and by the other candidates. Each of the candidates was forced to push back against misleading questions from the moderators. The worst of these were two questions casting Ronald Reagan as a Great Compromiser. It’s a standard Obama talking point, and it’s false. Flagrant media malpractice is making these debates tedious.

Cain then fumbled in the second half by suggesting that Alan Greenspan was the best Fed chair. Ron Paul pounced. The only candidate to come out of the second hour looking good was Romney, who teased Charlie Rose, and who escaped any damage from the other candidates. Overall, however, I would say that Ron Paul won, because his message had both consistency and depth. (There were no foreign policy questions.)

Another, final word about the moderators. This debate was supposed to illuminate the candidates’ views on the economy. It failed to do that (except for Cain and Paul, who stayed on message). That failure was the result of “gotcha” questions posed by a panel that treated the candidates with condescension and incredulity. I think this debate was even worse than the MSNBC debacle at the Reagan library. And that’s saying a lot.

Mike Flynn, EIC BigGovernment:

I am now officially done with these debates. What brain trust at the RNC decided, “hey, you know what we need…a forum where our ideological enemies have a platform to attack us.” Would have loved to have been in the room when another part of that brain trust said, “Brilliant! That’s exactly what we need to do. We’re not serious until the Washington Post thinks we’re acceptable.”

The 50-some+% of the electorate that is concerned about government spending, regulation and a cratering economy lost tonight, as the GOP continues to sell them down the river to curry favor with the east coast Left wing media. My entire life, I’ve heard the GOP referred to as the “Stupid Party”, but it never made sense until these last few months of debates. Providing commentary on this is like giving legal analysis to a Soviet show trial.

But, I get the game. Quick round-up: What is Huntsman doing there and why does he get so much time? Newt actually rocks. Best of the night. I’d like to spend an hour with Santorum’s mirror, because then I could feel my own awesomeness. Perry better quickly wakes up from his nap and realize that the country doesn’t all resemble Texas. Telling folks in Florida or Michigan that we’re going to unleash our energy sector rings a bit hollow. (Can the guy get any advisors from outside Texas?) Was he running for President of the US or API? Cain hasn’t yet shifted to contender status. 9-9-9 is a great marketing plan, but that isn’t the Presidency. Unless something changes very soon, Mitt “Stepford” Romney will be the nominee.

Larry O’Connor, EIC Breitbart.tv: (performed in character…not certain which character, but definitely A character)

Dahling, I just came from the dreariest Upper West Side dinner party where all we talked about was politics. There were even a few conservatives on the invite list, just for laughs. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg was our host (he dabbles in politics as a hobby, doesn’t he?). Our pal from the East Side, Charlie Rose, served the role of “Dinner Party Gadabout”, Charlie’s so good at that, isn’t he?

We of course talked about those dreary kids living on the streets downtown. They’ve been there so long they’re calling it an “occupation.” (I hear Monica’s son is down there… taking the semester off from Columbia before he finishes the law degree and joins Seth at the firm.)

There was a woman there, I think she said she worked for the Washington Post, and she asked some very passionate questions. The kinds of questions I would have asked if I cared as much as she seemed to. I swear, i think she got her questions right from that John Podesta website I keeping getting e-mails from after I attended that Clinton fundraiser. Anyway, that Washington Post woman was very assertive. She almost seemed like she was part of the debate amongst the conservatives, but, I don’t think she was supposed to do that.

There was a very friendly black man there. He seemed very nice. And, according to what I could make of Charlie’s questions, he used to make pizzas. Isn’t that nice of Michael to invite someone like that to his dinner party? He seemed so different from the black college professors Tabitha has at NYU – he wasn’t angry at all. In fact, the more I listened to him.. Herman I think his name was, the more I felt good about America. Funny, isn’t it, how some people can just make you feel good that way?

There were two tall men there that kept bickering with each other. Everyone told me that they always do that when they’re invited to the same party. It seemed like the one from Texas didn’t really have the desire to argue many points. In fact, I think he left about half way through the party… at least, I don’t really remember him saying anything more if he was there.

John Nolte, EIC BigHollywood:

This was a pretty dull debate, not unlike The Charlie Rose Show, which I don’t think is a coincidence.

Cain did himself the most good tonight with an impressive and energetic defense of his 9-9-9 plan. He was confident and ready with good responses to all questions and challenges. He’s obviously studied the plan closely and relishes any opportunity to discuss and debate it. It’s also obvious that the moderator’s decision to focus so much on the plan means that it’s probably in for some intense media scrutiny in the coming days — which is a good thing.

Perry ended up debating that awful woman Karen Tumulty most of the night, who seemed to be auditioning for the role of “first wife” for Central Casting in the event the Washington Post folds. Perry was actually pretty good. He gave some solid answers and seemed much more relaxed, maybe too relaxed. The problem is the passion thing. He doesn’t seem to want it very much.

Romney was Romney. He attacked Perry less, wisely gave his opportunity to question another candidate to Michelle Bachmann, which was smart. Why give Perry or Cain the chance to land a blow? He’s slick, says a lot without saying much of anything, and is undoubtedly an impressive candidate. But when you hear he was okay with saddling 100% of MA with RomneyCare when only 8% were uninsured… Ugh. What Romney is showing us, though, is that he is a disciplined, prepared, and unflappable campaigner, which gives us confidence that he can beat Barack Obama. This is not a small thing.

The most revealing media moments were Rose using the left-wing propagandist term “revenue increases” instead of “tax increases,” Tumulty angrily debating Perry and declaring possible budget cuts “draconian,” Julianna Goldman being married to David Schuster, and the moderators abuse of Reagan’s ghost to cast him as some kind of Great Compromiser. Their questions were all leading and built on the obscene premise that your compassion can be judged by how big of a role you want the federal government to play in people’s lives.

On Twitter I’m seeing a lot of people declaring the race over in favor of or Romney. First off, there are a lot of debates coming up. Secondly, everyone is apparently waiting for Cain to stumble and fall. Well, that’s something he hasn’t done yet. There’s a lot of campaign left to go and plenty can happen between now and then.

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