Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer

Debate Analysis

Before I offer thoughts on last night's GOP debate, I want to reiterate that I am not endorsing any candidate at this time. I am only offering my analysis, based on my 40 years of experience in the political arena, including my own participation in eight presidential debates in 2000.

The de facto "winner" of last night's debate was probably Gov. Mitt Romney. Romney handled himself well, he deflected attacks and none of his challengers successfully landed a punch on him. Romney won because he made no mistakes. He went in as the front-runner and left as the front-runner. It is amazing to me that none of his rivals seized on yesterday's breaking story that former Romney healthcare advisers went to the White House and gave advice on ObamaCare!

Yet Romney has not sealed the deal. His poll numbers remain stubbornly static. He is not exciting the conservative base, and the race is still wide open.

Herman Cain's tax plan is generating some buzz among conservatives, and his 9-9-9 plan was the center of attention last night. Many analysts question whether the plan as currently formulated will raise sufficient revenue. Cain, of course, disputes that, insisting that most reviews of his plan do not account for the economic growth that would take place. There is much to admire about the 9-9-9 plan in theory. But it has political risks.

Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann both pointed out the most obvious problem with Cain's plan: It gives the government another way to pick your pocket. While many conservatives like the idea of a national sales tax, they want it to replace the income tax. While Cain is calling for a radically reduced tax structure (a good thing), it is undeniable that he is also calling for a new tax on top of the income tax.

And that's why Democrat strategists love it. It gives them a chance to portray Republicans as tax hikers. In past campaigns, they have run ads accusing Republican candidates of wanting to impose a massive national sales tax. Of course, those ads don't tell you the whole truth, but they are very effective at swaying undecided voters who tune in at the last minute. Moreover, seniors and retirees on fixed incomes are not too keen about paying a new tax on food and medicine either.

But questions about Cain's tax plan could be the least of his problems. Politico reports today that he has not been to Iowa in nearly two months. The story notes that Cain has been having "staff troubles" and "all but disappeared from the campaign trail while touring the country to promote his new book."

Nevertheless, Herman Cain defended his plan well. His call for bold action and new ideas in these challenging times resonates with many Americans. I suspect Cain solidified his position in the polls last night as a top tier contender.

And Cain's gains have come at the expense of Texas Governor Rick Perry. Like many people, I have been disappointed with Perry's past debate performances. Last night, the governor avoided making any gaffes, but in my view, he also failed to gain any ground.

After last night's event, Governor Perry reportedly said, "Debates are not my strong suit. But you know we get up and do 'em and we just try to let people see our passion." Okay, friends. It's time for a reality check.

I like Rick Perry a lot. But we have to win this election!

We cannot go into this campaign prematurely surrendering the debates to Barack Obama. One thing we know for certain is that Obama will outspend our nominee. Our best opportunity to level the playing field, by getting free airtime to make the conservative case to the country -- IS IN THE DEBATES!

If Governor Perry is not capable of outdebating competitors in the GOP race, is he really up to the task of taking on Barack Obama? As I wrote previously, I am not counting Gov. Perry out yet. His fundraising is impressive and he has a strong base of support. He is pro-life and pro-family. But he has to be able to articulate his views.

Kudos to Senator Rick Santorum, who interjected some discussion of values into last night's debate about the economy. As Senator Santorum noted, the root of the Greek word for economy is home. While Americans are rightly worried about our budget deficit, millions of Americans are deeply concerned about our growing virtue deficit. And there is no government program capable of making up for the breakdown of the family.

Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann also turned in solid performances. At various points, the liberal moderators tried to engage the candidates with flawed premises or tried to goad them into attacking one another. Bachmann and Gingrich brilliantly redirected the focus of the debate back where it belonged -- on the failed policies of Barack Obama.

By the way, if you want a bit of encouragement today, check out this picture on the Drudge Report.

An Inconvenient Moment

Yesterday's news about the Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States and to bomb Israel's Washington embassy has created an inconvenient moment for the Obama Administration. Manssor Arbabsiar of Corpus Christi, Texas, says he was "directed by high-ranking members of the Iranian government," including a relative who is believed to be a member of Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. This is a stunning development that shows just how little Tehran fears America right now.

Our president spent the entire 2008 campaign bashing George W. Bush for having bad relations with the Islamic world and for refusing to talk to Iran. In a major speech not long after taking office, Obama said to the Iranians, "If you will unclench your fist, I will extend a hand of friendship." He sent the Iranian government greetings on Ramadan and the Persian new year.

The Iranian government responded by killing U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan through the use of roadside bombs. Now it has plotted to bomb Washington, D.C. Tapes in our possession reportedly indicate that these thugs had no concern about "collateral damage" from the bombings, i.e., dead Americans.

This administration argues that conservatives are dead wrong when we insist that the enemy is radical Islamists. When a Muslim involved with terrorism is arrested, the official line is that he doesn't understand his own religion. Obama's top counterterrorism official at the White House says jihad means self-improvement. President Obama goes out of his way to sing the praises of Islam's contributions to America. (What are they?)

Are they seriously trying to tell us that Iran under a secular government would be acting no differently than the Islamic Republic is currently behaving under the radical Shiite mullahs? Of course it would be different! The mullahs believe they are paving the way for the Mahdi, an Islamic "messiah" that will cleanse the world of infidels. The Islamic Republic's behavior has everything to do with its religion.

What is the administration going to do in response? Next to nothing. ABC News reports that "Senior Obama administration officials said the U.S. …will pursue a path of response that would not include the possibility of an armed conflict with Iran." [Emphasis added.] Already we have taken our most potent option off the table.

Instead, administration officials tell us they are going to rally the world to toughen sanctions against Iran. I've got news for President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton: The world won't rally. Russia and China just vetoed resolutions against Syria for slaughtering its own citizens. Only 30 countries walked out in protest of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's offensive rant at the U.N. Sadly, many in the world are disappointed that Iran failed to pull off this attack in Washington.

But this is an inconvenient moment not only for the left-wing establishment that blames America for every evil in the world. It is also an inconvenient moment for isolationists like Ron Paul, who say that if we would just ignore the thugs of the world everything would be okay. Isolationism and passivism didn't keep us out of World War I or World War II, and it won't save us from Islamofascism either.


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