A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

May 17, 2007

GOP Debate was not about Education – A Rejoinder

Maggie’s Notebook and MoreWhat.com crossposted about the GOP debate and the Federal role in education. I will offer commentary and a Rejoinder.

It is impractical to expect the federal government to solve the education problem in this country. The press release authors could only be addressing NCLB or federal funding, grants and other money related issues as well as any regulations that affect education. And money at the federal level is not what will solve the education problems in this country. At least not the ones about how well educated are children become.

While there is merit into this statement, a countering view would be that the problem is so large, so pervasive, and so institutionally driven by other factors, particularly by forces of race and wealth, that there is “de facto” segregation in our public school system that is not in the interests of local schools to address. This “de facto” segreation offers a two tiered level of opportunity and the only agency that can bring equity to this failed system are the Feds.

Money alone does not educate children. With the exception of disasters or districts that have been poorly managed or somehow deprived of money for infrastructure, money is not what will solve the problem. Education is the process of teaching children how to function successfully throughout their lives. That requires teachers who can teach. Students who can learn. And a support group including but not limited to, a school district, school board, schools with the necessary amenities as well as parents and/or other adults to guide them successfully through the process.

While there is also truth in these statements, they are not at all the full truth, and in fact are much more effective as lies by mixing in a grain of truth. To say that money does not matter is folly. The truth is that funds available, and 75% of funds available to a public school are generated by the local tax base, provide the districts with the ability to support budgets which may include more equipment, better pay for staff members, the ability to attract higher quality teachers and retain them, the ability to have facilities which offer signficant advantages to the students of a particular school. When a person is shopping for a house, one of the first questions that are likely to be asked are the quality of the schools. Schools which have reputations of high academic achievement, typically have a history of offering more services to students who may be designated “at risk”, enjoy bases of commercial and industrial wealth which lower the effective tax rate for the residents of such communities. In 2004 the amount of dollars spent by the United States toward education was less than 1% of the money spent by the Nintendo Game Company on research and development. Is there any wonder why there have been revolutions in the gaming industry, and lackluster change in the environmental and hygeine factors concerning public education? In reality, while money alone doesn’t educate children, try doing so without it.

If the systems, groups and individuals at the state and local level are functioning properly, the federal government has little to do but provide funding and assist in defining universal goals and standards that enhance scholastic achievement and its benefits.

This statement is totally true. However, the state and local systems do not function favorably. It was found by the courts recently that in New York State, the schools of New York City, are funded in an inequitable manner, and the State of New York was ordered to redress this situation.

The success or failure of education in this nation lies squarely on the shoulders of the people at the local level. This fact is born out by the uncanny success of home schooled children. The simple fact is some children achieve a good education and others don’t. Educational spending continues to rise and student performance overall continues to fall or remain level. To say that students are unprepared for college is only part of the story. The same Mr Gates who supports this PR maintains American corporations need to import their talent from other countries. This would indicate his analysis changes depending on who he’s talking to or students are also unprepared when leaving institutions of higher learning. The same institutions graduating students from abroad where Mr Gates seeks employees and are claimed to be too expensive for American students.

The success of “home schooled children” may also be linked to other factors. It is wholly conceiveable that those parents who have the means to school their children in a home environment have the financial means to be able to afford to have a parent who is a stay at home parent. Is it more likely that both of these parents are better educated than the parents who can not afford the luxury of schooling their children at home. Also, if a child is being schooled at home, the adult to child ratio is probably 1:1 to 6:1, although there may be some cases where one parent is teaching more than six children, I am not aware of any scientific studies that have documented this phenomena. In a typical public school classroom the adult to child ratio in a non-inclusion environment is often 25:1 or 30:1. To compare the two is a patently unfair.

There is a great deal more evidence which I will offer shortly, but this post has gone too long already. The followup is coming.

Parents, teachers, students, local and state governments have primary responsibility for our children’s educational success and no amount of meddling by the federal government will change that. The federal government can assist and enhance the education function but the primary responsibility remains at home. The place where home schooled children find success.

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May 16, 2007

The GOP SC Debate Who Won – Who Lost

First off – This debate was multitudes better than  MSNBC.  Chris Matthews, whom I don’t hate, made the debate too much about him, and the format and questions were significantly better.  One thing that was still wrong is that there are about four or five too many in the pack.  However, the law of natural selection will weed out the field, it’s just taking too much time!

Here are some comments and the grades on the debate in no particular order.

Sen. McCain –  Strong on Iraq – “They’ll follow us home”.  The taxcuts – which he opposed – need to be permanent.  He is strongly opposed to “enhanced interrogation”.  He got a good laugh on his drunken sailor line.  He also showed a good deal of faith in the bipartisan working together of Congress – which has been lacking for awhile in Washington.  All in all, he seemed much less caffeinated than the last debate, and offered some answers.  Some of them just won’t sell to the base.  He and Romney got into a nice little tiff, which was encouraged by FOX.  Overall I’d say a solid B.

Gov. Thompson – Boy, you can tell this guy was a former health and human service guy, I mean his answer on stem cell research was thorough.  He would “require” Iraq to take certain steps with regard to forming provinces and a federation – but I’m not sure that the President of the US is able to write the system of government for another country, but it’s not a terrible idea.  The guy just doesn’t have pizzazz.  I think he’s hit his arc as a Secretary in the Cabinet, but at least he didn’t put his foot in his mouth as he did last time.  Grade of C and time to go home.

Gov. Romney – Didn’t get to hog the mike as he was allowed to on the MSNBC debate, but did well.  He is being painted as a lib and some of the base will likley remember this – and it may hurt him.  Sen. McCain’s comment about changing positions by year or office is meant for him and was a pretty good zinger.  He wants to put benchmarks on the economy and that idea sounds fairly good.  Not as good as last time and he took a few hit.  B+

Sen. Brownback – I have to say that I really “hated” his answer on abortion with a rape victim.  I know some may like his view, but I find it rather offensive.  I liked some of his remarks concerning energy have merit.  He would like to see more consensus with Iraq between Republicans and Democrats, which I would like too, as well as having a million dollars in my account.  He didn’t hit any out of the park, and his numbers won’t go up.  I just don’t see him as the next President.  Grade of C and time to go home.

Rep. Tancredo  – He was a good deal less nervous tonight, but still seems a bit on the squirrely side.  He would like to see some real cuts in Medicare and shelve NCLB.  He gets a good yuck on the conversions with Road to Des Moines when compared to Road to Damascus.  Much better than the first night, but still has no chance to win.  His campaign will die out from lack of oxygen.  Time to go home with your C+.

Mayor Giuliani – He was much better on the abortion issue with articulation of a clear policy – which we all knew.  He talks about his differences with Sen. Clinton on economic issues.  When it came to terrorism and defense he hit the ball out of the park and spanked Rep. Paul pretty soundly.  The crowd livened up and you can tell he was pretty angry at the remarks of Rep. Paul.  This will be the headline and the soundbite when he stepped in – not polite, but showing leadership.  He also had to love it when Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney were sniping at each other.  A very good night for Rudy, and he’ll get a bump after a few tough weeks.  B+/A-.

Rep. Paul  – Well the Fox snap phone poll has him winning, which shows you how unreliable those phone in polls are.  He is very different and very libertarian with regard to Iraq.  He may score points with some by saying US policies are part of the 9/11 equation, but that will not sell with the base.  At this time he is just serving comedic value. He may be toast with the base, but his non-GOP views may help him as a maverick, but he has no chance at all, not that he ever did.  Grade D and probably a note to go home.

Rep. Hunter –  A lot of the NAFTA and Free trade gang will hate this guy because he doesn’t want to tank our economoy to prop up Communist China.  I like this guy!  I like that his son was in Fallujah – speaks volumes about him.  He feels that Iraqis are starting to bear more of the burden of the war and this will increase.  I think he’s bucking for Sec Defense job. B+

Gov. Huckabee – The guy has a way of working the audience; I guess it comes with the preacher territory.  He scores the yuck of the night with the John Edwards haircut joke,  and makes a few pointed barbs with abortion and Giuliani’s position.  Overall he does well, he relates to the people well and may stay around after this debate.  Grade B+

Gov. Gilmore – Don’t send us to a website unless it is mine!  Gov. Gilmore takes the attack mode, going after the front runners labeling them as “Rudy McRomney”.  All this does is allow the front runners to have the opportunity to defend their positions.  He doesn’t really answer the questions too directly, and for that he may have hurt himself.  Grade D+ and a note to not come back to class.

Who helped themselves   Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter

Who got hurt Rep Paul, Gov. Gilmore, Gov. Thompson, Sen. Brownback, Rep. Tancredo

Who stayed pat – Sen. McCain, Gov. Romney

Hopefully, the field will be seven with four going out, and a presumed entrace of Sen. Thompson for the next round.  We’ll see.

May 15, 2007

Round Two of the GOP Debate Tonight!

Tonight will be the second round of the GOP debate.  This one will be hosted by FOX, with Brit Hume serving as moderator.  I would expect to see a bit more organized debate than Chris Matthews’ efforts two weeks ago.  I am also looking forward to not being treated to the insipid “online” questions from Politico.com.

With a field of ten there are still too many, but hopefully tonight the herd will be thinned out.  There are simply some candidates who may have a right to run, but are merely diversions.

Notably, the two who aren’t there may draw more attention than the ten who are there.  Fred Thompson and Newt Gringrich will not be in the fray as they have not yet announced.   We’ll be following the debate with interest and hope to find some snap polls – scientific ones – about who did the best.  Heck, that post I had from Survey USA was GOOD for traffic!

May 11, 2007

Rudy in Texas: “I support a woman’s right to choose”

From Newsday.com

HOUSTON — After a week of criticism over his ambiguous views on abortion, Republican presidential contender Rudolph Giuliani Friday directly addressed his views on abortion, gay rights and gun control, and forthrightly supported a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

Okay, are you all ready for the drum roll? Are any surprises about to come forth?

Giuliani, a New York Catholic who once considered becoming a priest, chose to make his stand before a conservative, anti-abortion audience at Houston Baptist University here, in an address that was arranged just last Wednesday.

Giuliani told the audience that the two most important issues in the presidential campaign were fighting terrorism and preserving the tax cuts, deregulation and privatization of the economy, and that the social issues were secondary.

Amen, though I guess my Evangelical upbringing is coming forth, as that is not typical interaction with Catholics, then again, he was speaking to Baptists, so perhaps I am covered.

He also downplayed his differences with conservatives on gay rights — saying marriage should be only between a man and a woman — and guns — saying the Constitution protects an individual’s right to having a gun.

But I want a bazooka! I NEED a gun capable of throwing 600 rds/minute downrange for “personal security”. Sheesh, I hope that this quiets up two of the nervous Nellies of the right of the GOP.

But he acknowledged many conservatives might disagree with his stand on abortion, which he described as supporting a woman’s right to have one, but also allows restrictions such as the late-term abortion ban upheld by the high court recently and restrictions on federal funding of abortions.

Don’t worry, because most Conservatives these days can’t even agree on what a Conservative is anymore. The
current ilk of Conservatives wouldn’t like Barry Goldwater’s (AKA the Founder of Modern Conservativism) views.

Seeking to clearly define his views on abortion after blurring them a week ago in a Republican debate, Giuliani described what he called “two pillars” of core belief.

“One, I believe abortion is wrong,” he said, adding he would counsel a pregnant woman to keep the child and put him or her up for adoption rather than abort.

And secondly, he said abortion supporters, especially women, are “equally moral, equally decent, and equally religious” and fervent in their beliefs as abortion foes, yet have come to a different conclusion.

“So therefore,” Giuliani said, “I would grant to women the right to make that choice.”

But he also stressed that he, like most thinking people, also had an evolving view of abortion, and proceeded to lay out a more nuanced position.

What heresy! You mean you dare to be conflicted about a moral issue and government’s involvement in a moral issue. Why, we “want” government snooping into ALL areas of our private life and choices, isn’t that what “Conservativism” is all about?!?! Furthermore, the heresy that YOUR beliefs shouldn’t always be translated into Federal law, why Mr. Giuliani, don’t you support the idea of ruling by caveat and the fiat of your will (to borrow a quote from John Calvin about – GOD). That people could actually see “shades of grey” in an ethical decision, why that’s just plain out too reasonable!

His belief in those two principles will guide his decision-making on abortion, he said.

“It means I am open to considering ways to limit abortion,” he said. “It means I’m open to seeking ways to reduce the number of abortions.

Afterward, some members of the audience conceded they admired his principled stand, even if they disagreed with it.

Robert Sloan, president of Houston Baptist University, afterward agreed that Giuliani’s appearance was a little bit like entering the lion’s den, both because he is Catholic and because of his views on social issues.

The last quote highlighted says it all, it’s called principaled LEADERSHIP. Now, I happen to share similar views to Mr. Giuliani, although they also have shifted, as once I was rabidly anti-abortion. While I still don’t like the practice, I realize that my likes and dislikes often are not best translated into national policy. I am more likely than ever to vote for Mr. Giuliani because of his reasonable position on a complex issue, and the guts he has to speak out about it.

That he is likely the only GOP contender who can win nationally, is just a bonus.

May 8, 2007

Newsweek Poll – Bush Approval at 28% – Dem Candidates Trounce GOP

Results from the Newsweek Poll:

May 5, 2007 – It’s hard to say which is worse news for Republicans: that George W. Bush now has the worst approval rating of an American president in a generation, or that he seems to be dragging every ’08 Republican presidential candidate down with him. But According to the new NEWSWEEK Poll, the public’s approval of Bush has sunk to 28 percent, an all-time low for this president in our poll, and a point lower than Gallup recorded for his father at Bush Sr.’s nadir. The last president to be this unpopular was Jimmy Carter who also scored a 28 percent approval in 1979.

The poll goes on to show all Democratic candidates with fairly good leads over all combinations of GOP candidates, which is quite contradictory to all of the other polls being let out over the past few weeks. Another startling number was 71% of those polled felt the country was going down the wrong track. If all of these things are true, it would seem that the blue tide that came over the country in November was just a bit of undertow compared to a tsunami brewing in ’08. That may not be the case.

The mystery of polling is never to be discerned in the raw numbers, the factors that make up a poll are the way questions are framed, and who was asked the questions. The latter is always the most important, and this poll, registered Democrats composed nearly 50% more of the field than registered Republicans. While the Democrats do enjoy a slightly higher registration than Republicans, it is not a 50% majority.

Democrats were 36%
Republicans were 24%
Independents were 37%
Others/not interested were 3%

The polls sample was horrifically skewed. The poll also failed to expose demographics by age, gender or racial affiliation.

I’m not saying this poll is good news for the GOP, and anyone who has eyes which are open knows this, but this poll, is one of the worst constructed polls I have ever seen, and I’ve seen more than a few.

Rasmussen has been conducting tracking polls for years on daily approval, and Bush’s approval comes in between 37-40% the past week, which is a signficant difference. By the way, Rasmussen was very close on ’00 and hit ’04 and even the midterms dead on. He’s simply the best pollster out there, and his numbers show GOP candidates much closer than Newsweek’s poll.

This poll seems made for the MSM, particularly MSNBC. Now, I try not to complain too much about MSNBC’s bias, but remember Chris Matthews (former Carter Speechwriter, former Tip O’Neil aide, former Muskie and Moss aide) and Tim Russert (former aide to Mario Cuomo, and Sen. Moynihan – whom I happen to admire) bring a wee bit bias into their presentations. Newsweek’s editor, Howard Fineman is a regular contributor to their shows, as well as Kieth Olberman.

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d say that MSNBC is doing all the can to act as the Democratic Press Release Committee – but I guess that they would say the same thing about Fox.

🙂

May 7, 2007

Why Fred Thompson is Just NOT What the GOP Needs

This was an article that I found on American Thinker, but it is something that had been brewing in my own mind for more than a little while.

Prior to last Thursday’s debate, and in some areas even more afterwards, Republicans are looking towards Fred Thompson as if he is the savior of the GOP, sans white horse, but with a very good voice. Fred Thompson is in many ways a solid candidate, and this may be the best chance for him to run, if he ever will run as Father Time is creeping up on him as he does on us all.

Right now, Thompson is netting between 10% and 17% of the polls, and his support for now seems to be draining off the front runner, Rudy Giuliani. One would think that it would come off of Romney’s share, since he is probably the most Conservative of the three front runners, but two recent polls show that Thompson is taking between 4% and 6% from Rudy Giuliani, and McCain and Romney’s losses are only marginal. Whether or not this trend continues is hard to say, but the possibility is that if Thompson does enter the race he could seriously challenge Giuliani or end up splitting the Conservative elements of the Party’s vote, and propel Giuliani to an easy win.

The only problem is that this may not be the year for a Southern Conservative to be running. I’m not the only one. Richard Baeher writes,

I think Thompson is by far the least likely of the 4 major GOP candidates to be elected if nominated, assuming he decides to run. This is due to one principal factor; his Southern roots. This may not be fair, but it is the reality of the 2008 race.

The GOP has done very well with the South, and cobbled narrow electoral victories in ’00 and ’04 by a “Solid South”, Western, Mountain and some Plains’ States. However, in 2006 the Democrats made large inroads into all of these areas, and even some Southern seats. This trend bodes badly for the GOP.

By the end of this year, I think either McCain or Giuliani will emerge as the centrist alternative to Thompson or Romney, and Giuliani is the more likely of the two. In a head to head race, a conservative, such as Thompson, or Romney, for that matter, could beat Giuliani for the nomination. But Rudy is a far better candidate than Thompson for the general election.

And there is a reason why.

The GOP needs to move beyond the South to win in 2008. A candidate who can run well in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and suburban America, is better than one who will pad the victory margin by 5% in Texas..It is how many states you win, not how much you win them by that counts

At the current time, Rudy is doing rather well in the following states, which means he is either ahead or only slightly behind, the Democratic frontrunners (Clinton and Obama) NY, NJ, PA, OH, CA, OH, MI and MD. There are a good number of electoral votes in these states, and despite protests of “liberalism” due to being where the bulk of the country is on abortion, the GOP can’t afford to put up a no contest sign over both coasts and the rust belt. The country is ready for a Centrist position, and not another Southern Conservative. No matter how good his voice sounds, or how orthodox his positioning is to the base of the GOP.

May 4, 2007

GOP Debate: Internals of Survey USA Poll Strengthen Giuliani’s Hand

I had posted about this poll last night, now with the internals the decision is clear, the first “scientific” poll has Thursday night as a big win for Rudy Giuliani. Here are how the internals bolster this support.

I have highlighted the demographics considered signficant in GOP elections.

Who won the debate:

All Giuliani 30% Next was Romney at 16%

18-34 Giuliani 21% (1) McCain 15%

35-54 Giuliani 34% Hunter 12%

55 + Giuliani 31% Romney 19%

White Giuliani 31% McCain 15%

Black Giuliani 32% Hunter 15%

Hispanic Giuliani 39% Romney 13%

Asian Gilmore 16% Hunter 11%

Conservative Giuliani 32% Romney 16%

Moderate Giuliani 32% Romney 13%

Liberals 24% Gilmore 11%

Republican 33% McCain 17%

Democrat 34% Romney 12%

Independent Giuliani 19% Romney 13%

Pro Life Giuliani 26% Romney 16%

Pro Choice Giuliani 33% Romney 11%

Vote GOP in Primary Giuliani 30% McCain 17%

Vote DEM in Primary Giuliani 33% Romney 10%

May Vote in Primary Giuliani 25% Romney 15%

By any stretch last night was a knockout win for Rudy, at least with the voters.

Pro Life, Pro Choice: Symbol Over Substance

One of the more controversial instances in a rather ho hum “debate”, which was really trying to squeeze talking points between questions that sometimes lacked great meaning, may have been former NYC Mayor and front runner, Rudy Giuliani hedging a pro-choice political position in a very pro-life atmosphere. Did the former mayor handle the matter deftly, the consensus seems to be probably not, but was his answer the wrong answer is another issue entirely.

The GOP has made it a point to put a pro-life face on the party since Ronald Reagan’s stance in 1976. This was used to contrast against GOP apparatus candidate the then unelected, President Ford. Reagan’s bold campaign, which did benefit slightly from the pro-life movement’s involvement in his campaign. By 1980, the pro-life movement was a force in the GOP and played a role in Ronald Reagan, who had governed California with policies which were anything but “pro-life”, but publicly stated the lingo that the movement wanted to hear, and propelled the issue to prominence within the party. Pitted against this, oh Lord forgive me for invoking this with the name of Reagan with this term, flip-flop, George Bush who was not as ardently pro-life, but had never cast a pro-abortion rights vote or signed pro-abortion rights legislation, was seen as “soft” on the issue, simply because he didn’t run it up a flagpole, and inferred there was room for reasonable disagreement.

Now while I don’t doubt that President Reagan may indeed have had a turning moment in his life, and I would argue that Mit Romney deserves the same benefit of the doubt, the actual impact of his support of the pro-life agenda – and that is not inherently a perjurative, since “everyone” has an agenda – was little of substance and a lot on symbol. You have to hand it to President Reagan, he knew how to get mileage on an issue, and nobody expected him to come out of California, home of the most progressive abortion rights laws, many signed by him, and overturn Roe v Wade. Talking the talk was enough, and has remained so for the past 27 years. This is not to say that the sincerity of GOP candidate’s opposition to abortion on demand is disingenuous, it is to say that despite their sincerity and placing it as a bona fides to be a “true Republican”, very little has been accomplished towards ending this practice despite it being a rallying cry for the political party that has held the executive office for nearly 20 of the past 28 years, and has had control of Congress for approximately 12 of those years. Simply put, there appears to be a lack of political will to push the symbol into substance.

One can look to the steps that have been made towards restricting or to at least stemming the tide of abortions taking place, although they still run about one million or more a year. Although the raw numbers are going up, the percentage rates seem to be decreasing, partly because of shifts in public sentiment towards unwed mothers raising children. However, abortion remains a relatively common practice in the nation, and despite gains such as the Hyde Amendment – which is very good legislation from the pro-life vantage point, and the recent SCOTUS affirming of a ban on partial birth abortions, which is the epitome of symbol over substance when one considers the miniscule numbers of abortions performed in this admittedly disturbing manner, and even the wrapping of nine of the GOP candidates firmly in the mantle of symbolicly being pro-life there is little to hope that much substance will be reaped from this act.

Which leads us to Roe v Wade, or the decision that fires the hearts of the pro-life movement much in the same way that the number 666 makes a old fashioned tent revival preacher tone up the occilation in his voice with the mandatory appearance of veins bulging from the neck. The real point is that Roe v Wade is symbol, and not really much in substance. If the decision is overturned, and the best path for the pro-life advocates is via the judiciary making decisions pushed forward by state legislatures which will take away the reach of the law, there is no reason to believe that abortion will be outlawed in the vast majority of states, nor that the number of abortions performed in the nation will go down in a drastic manner. Just as Roe v Wade served as a symbol for the women’s movement, rather than giving much substantive relief, as abortion was readily available in most areas, its overturning will be a symbol without much substance. If this issue were cereal, it would have snap and crackle, but lack pop.

So what is the big deal about having the pro-life mantle and wearing it proudly? What is so heretical about saying, as Rudy Giuliani did last night, that this is a highly personal decision that is ultimately up to the woman? If a woman wants to end a pregnancy, she will do so. Should the state make it easy by funding her desire, well the law says no, however, should the state governments “put obstacles” in the path in the exercise of this decision, would be fully in line with Federalism. However, the role of the Federal government advancing or putting up obstacles remains the area that will likely be debated. Perhaps this is just the instance the the 9th Amendment was framed, let the states fight it out, and keep it out of the pervue of the Feds. Although it is the “dream of dreams” that abortion will be nationally outlawed by the of the pro-life movement, and conversely the “sum of all fears” of the pro-abortion rights crowd, both sides need to face reality, that like it or not, abortion is a reality and an option that whether Federally deemed as woman’s right, or given protection by the states, is likely to remain among us. It would also be the reciprocal of a bad decision that allowed Roe v Wade, and if you understand math reciprocals have the exact qualities of their counterpart. It would likely be just as bad from a Constitutional framework as the 1973 decision.

A reasonable position is that probably both poles don’t have a monopoly on the truth. To assert this position as a human right, although it is the law, is hard to imagine to be the intent of the framers of the Constitution, but rest assured, women were having abortions, lots of them in colonial days. They just didn’t get Federal funds for it, nor have Congress stopping production of whatever plant women used in a “tea” to end an unwanted child, and this disinterest is likely the best position. Funny how the middle of the road, although hated by the poles, is where the vast majority of the public, and in this case,  Constitutional ground.

GOP Debate: Forget “Who Won” – Who Lost? Answer Fred Thompson

Well, the snapshot GOP debate is over and rather than mull over who are the winners I’ll go out on a limb, and disagree with many blogs when I make this assertion, Fred Thompson is the Big Loser. You may argue, how could he lose, he wasn’t there. If you did that, you just gave the reason. His absence here was notable, and it will hurt him.

The adage of out of sight out of mind must be remembered. There will be some likely shifting in the polls from the debate. My feeling is that Romney will pick up a few points from his anemic 10%, but where will it come from is the important question. There are a few sources, but there is no bigger source than the non candidate Fred Thompson who is around 15% in most polls, and Former Speaker Newt Gingrich who has about 8%, but I don’t think Newt is a viable candidate and he’s smart enough to know that he can’t win. He’s far too polarizing a figure.

So, that makes Fred Thompson as the most likely source to lose support, and it will go to Mit Romney who spoke articulately and clearly on a number of positions. I also think that when the dust settles, it is not likely that Giuliani will lose any ground, and will probably pick up a few points. Senator McCain is also hard to figure. On the one hand he spoke his voice, but he also seemed edgy and a bit too agressive for the format. He constantly went over his time, and I have a feeling that the base, that isn’t too enamored with him as it is, and is looking for reasons to vote against him, which may be unfortunate, I see him staying pat, but Romney closing in, and possibly losing ground to Giuliani. He could find himself in third place after this debate, which would be a disaster for his campaign.

However, former Sen. Thompson’s non participation and non announcement reinforce a perception about a dispassionate person, who does not feel a fire to run. That doesn’t bode well, as people want a Chief Executive who wants to be there.

Survey USA Poll: Giuliani Beats Opponents in Debate

A poll of 317 viewers watching the debate were asked to rate the performance of the candidates:

Rudy Giuliani 30%
Mitt Romney 12%
John McCain 11%
Jim Gilmore 8%
Duncan Hunter 7%
Sam Brownback 4%
Mike Huckabee 4%
Tom Tancredo 4%
Ron Paul 2%
Tommy Thompson 2%

UPDATE: Drudge report is having an interactive poll, but it does allow for multiple voting, so pretty worthless.

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