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Who Won Last Night's Republican Debate?

foxdebate2.jpgWizbang Blue publisher Kevin Aylward posted a "Who won the debate poll" on Wizbang! (go vote to see the latest results).

I voted. I thought Romney was far and away the winner of the May 15 Republican debate. That's not to say that I think he should be President, or that he's even electable, but I think he won the debate on the basis of clear, concise answers which displayed integrity and honesty.

UPDATE:

Here's the roundup from earlier today:

  • Fox viewers pegged Mitt Romney the winner. Giuliani came in second and Ron Paul third. Ron Paul had the early lead, suggesting further that his supporters are strongly motivated and quick to support their candidate.
  • The "Club for Growth" PAC pegged Giuliani the winner, McCain the loser, and Romney won the "status quo" award for a solid but predictable showing. The Club for Growth was supporting Giuliani before the debate, so no surprise there.
  • Conservative blog Redstate is declaring none of the top tier candidates showed strongly, and they peg Mike Huckabee as the debate winner.
  • Conservative Ed Morrisey declares Giuliani the winner.
  • Andrew Sullivan pegs McCain and Paul as the cream that rises - and has some specific complaints against Giuliani and Romney.
  • Wizbang Politics pundit Jim Addison pegs the winner as Giuliani by a length, and suggests it's time to pare the field down to 5.

Are we seeing a pattern of no pattern?

if you missed the debate, you can watch videos online at the Fox News debate archive.

Check back for updates, We'll have more poll results later this morning, and don't forget to place your vote in the Wizbang poll.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

  • Currently 4.2/5
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Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)


Comments (19)

I think "no pattern" is a fair judgment. I thought Rudy won on the basis of his smack-down of Ron Paul. Although he was better on the abortion question than in the first debate, he still doesn't look comfortable defending his position. Instead of relying on decreasing abortions (which was a national phenomenon at the time) and increasing adoptions (which some claim is untrue) during his tenure as Mayor, he should simply state the obvious:

"Hey, I am personally pro-choice. I know many of you don't agree, and I respect that. As a former US Attorney, I have respect for the law and would appoint judges who don't legislate from the bench - and in reality that is about the extent of a President's potential influence on the issue. On the issues of security, taxes, and spending, we are all together. So, now, the real question is who could beat Hillary or Obama or Edwards in the general election, isn't it?"

The Mayor should note my brilliant advice comes cheaper than what he is currently getting.

Romney and McCain weren't bad, but weren't great, either. On balance, they reinforced their "top-tier" positions and were weak in the areas in which we already knew they were vulnerable.

Huckabee has done a creditable job in both debates, but he isn't going anywhere. Let's put all those guys running for Veep into a second-tier debate, and put Ron Paul in a straitjacket, and we'll be getting somewhere.

Same goes for Democrats, too: forget the also-rans and pare down the field so the real contenders (Hillary, Obama, Edwards, and Richardson IMO) can show us their stuff.

Heralder:

Ron Paul looked like he came close to winning...a punch in the mouth by Rudy Giuliani.

Boy did he look upset. I don't blame him.

"Boy did he look upset. I don't blame him."

Giuliani was upset, or Paul?

I thought Giuliani was off-base in his "smack-down", and showed a single-minded "density" that suggests he just doesn't get the extent to which our policies affect terrorist views and motives.

Claiming "Islamists hate us and always will" is a pretty simple explanation that plays well in South Carolina, but it lacks the nuance needed in a chief exec, ihmo.

Heralder:

Giuliani looked upset.

that suggests he just doesn't get the extent to which our policies affect terrorist views and motives.

What about apologizing for their actions...how does that affect thier views and motives?

"Of course I was raped, look how I was dressed!"


ryan a:

Ron Paul had a good point to make, but he completely fumbled it, IMO. There was a strong point in there, and he went about it all the wrong way. That's what I think.

I wish that that point could have been discussed with a little more nuance, and I wish that Giuliani and others could take the time to consider a few more complexities. We can talk about the effects of our involvement in the ME without being apologists for what occurred on 9/11, IMO.

Giuliani did make a good impression on me by asserting a clear stance on abortion, even though it isn't the usual party version. He didn't seem to be reading from party cue cards, but from his actual opinions.

Romney was overstated and not very imressive.

McCain made some decent points, but fell flat on others.

Huckabee was not impressive, since many of his arguments were full of hyperboles and emotional overstatements, IMO.

It's hard to declare a winner in many of these kinds of short debates though.

Good points all, Ryan - 'cept I disagree on Romney. I thought he came off relatively humble, and he scored points in my book for honestly facing his flaws and copping to them - and not trying to throw up more smoke and mirrors about who he was.

ryan a:

Yo Lee,

Hmmm. Maybe I'll have to reread the Romney transcripts. I watched last night, and might have missed some of what he said. Some of his national security answers seemed a bit over the top.

And what was the deal with Tommy Thompson? He seemed to be having a tough time with the whole speaking thing.

Huckabee scares me sometimes.

Watching the debates makes me wonder about people like Colin Powell, who I think could pretty much school all 10 of those guys.

Ked Shipley:

"Of course I was raped, look how I was dressed!"


Provocation does provide a measure of justification. It may not make the reaction right or legal but it does make it a bit more understandable--at least to those who are interested in trying to understand what makes the rapist rape (or the terrorist terrorize).

Ron Paul might or might not have been partly correct in suggesting that our bombing of Iraq contributed to al Qaeda's motive for attacking us (as was Guiliani with his rehash of the oversimplified "they hate our freedom" mantra). But Paul made an excellent point when when he asked us to consider how we might respond if an enemy decided to move in, occupy and disrupt our region of the world.

Americans are not very good at empathizing with the motives of our adversaries. We simply don't care. But maybe we should. I think that was the point Paul was trying to make. Apparently it was not a sentiment shared by many in the largely right-wing audience.

mr. H:

Even though I do not concur with Mr. Pauls stance on the Iraq war, It's clear that all (and I mean that literally), all of his other views are much more conservative than any of the pother candidates.
I am completely surprised that the club for growth, that claims that they are only assessing the candidates according to economic advancement criteria, would not put him first in that ranking. Pauls economic platform includes...Lower taxes substantially for all brackets, elimination of the IRS, elimination of the Fed, ending corporate and personal welfare programs, and prioritize spending according to strict constitutional guidelines. Also wants to end the false "free trade" alliances since they are anything but "free" to America., He also is the strongest on Immigration, Sovergnty and Personal liberty. Lastly, he is staunchly pro-life and regularly RETURNS money back to his state budget. So, knowing these facts, Is the club for growth actually going against their mission statement and assessing according to metrics that are not strictly economicly based, or have I just missed a major consideration point. (to reitterate, I do not agree with Mr. Pauls war stance and feel he did "setp in it" in the debate on that subject only.)

Heralder:

Ked,

To clarify your response to my analogy:

""Of course I was raped, look how I was dressed!"

Provocation does provide a measure of justification. It may not make the reaction right or legal but it does make it a bit more understandable--at least to those who are interested in trying to understand what makes the rapist rape (or the terrorist terrorize).

What does make the rapist rape Ked? Is it the tight jeans the woman was wearing, or is it an act to assert power over that woman?

What makes a terrorist terrorize? Is it the fact we enforced sanctions on a country that the left says there was no al Qaeda presence in, or is it viewed as a religious obligation?

There is a clear and concise difference between understanding why someone did something to you and blaming oneself for them doing it to you. Ron Paul's mewling explaination fails to take into account global terrorism. In his eyes we were attacked because we did something to provoke it (which like it or not, partially justifies the action) but conveniently leaves out why anyone else in the world has been attacked.

But Paul made an excellent point when when he asked us to consider how we might respond if an enemy decided to move in, occupy and disrupt our region of the world.

That wasn't a point, that was moral equivalence poorly shrouded as a point.

First, before that can become a valid argument, there must be actual and real parallels between our Republic and a Dictatorship, between the religions that dominate the regions, the political and economic landscapes as well as regional and factional history. Do you have any? I dont. Neither does he, and that's his problem.

Ron Paul used alot of words to lay out his point, it is nonetheless oversimplistic and wrong.

Rudy Giuliani is closer to correct in his explaination because he highlights the conflicting difference in our natures.

ryan a:

Heralder:

Rudy Giuliani is closer to correct in his explaination because he highlights the conflicting difference in our natures.

Whose "natures" are you talking about?

ryan a:

Heralder:

First, before that can become a valid argument, there must be actual and real parallels between our Republic and a Dictatorship, between the religions that dominate the regions, the political and economic landscapes as well as regional and factional history. Do you have any? I dont. Neither does he, and that's his problem.

I think it's a valid argument already. It's called self reflection. I am completely aware of the social, cultural, governmental, and relgious differences that exist between the United States and Iraq.

If we were invaded, by China for example, and they toppled our government, disbanded the military, and attempted to control us, I think we would all--republican, democrat, green, indenpendant--be fighting such an occupation.

Yes, Iraq was run by a dictator, and yes, there are numerous differences between Iraq and the United States. But, at base, both countries are filled with human beings who more than likely don't want their destinies rules by outsiders. From what I've read, Iraqis hated Hussein, but they also didn't want to be occupied.

I understand why you brought up moral equivalence, but I don't think it applies here. We're not talking about the underlying motives or morality of the US here, we're talking about putting ourselves in the place of the Iraqi people and trying to understand why so many of them are fighting us. That's called being self-reflective, and a little of that could be useful these days, IMO.

Heralder:

ryan,

I think it's a valid argument already. It's called self reflection. I am completely aware of the social, cultural, governmental, and relgious differences that exist between the United States and Iraq.

I know you're aware of them, but you're not taking them into account, as you demonstrate in the following paragraph:

If we were invaded, by China for example, and they toppled our government, disbanded the military, and attempted to control us, I think we would all--republican, democrat, green, indenpendant--be fighting such an occupation.
Whose "natures" are you talking about?

I'm all for the "we're all people" argument, but people are different. What does a calculator and a F-16 have in common other than they both have plastic and microchips in them?
What do you and I have in common with any of the 19 hijackers other than the extreme basis that were both human?

This is where we get into Bill Mahr "The hijackers were brave" territory that morally confuses the issue so much that it begins to free the perpetrators from responsibility.

As far as the China invasion scenario...it's not a viable comparison. I'm sorry, but it's not. China is not the U.S. and the U.S. is not Iraq. There need to be greater paralells for it to make sense other than we're both on the same planet.

I don't think self-reflective is the word you're looking for, it's "empathetic"...and there's no problem with that, it shows you care about the welfare of others.

There is real value in understanding your enemy and their motivations. However, instead of undertaking this to defeat the enemy, Ron Paul and people who think like him are using it to defeat themselves.

Heralder:

[duplicate post removed - We're working on the problem - Admin]

Heralder:

[duplicate post removed - We're working on the problem - Admin]

Heralder:

Wow, sorry about that. It was giving me a hard time, didn't know it was going to triple post.

[Our apologies, we're working on the problem - Lee]

ryan a:

Heralder:

This is where we get into Bill Mahr "The hijackers were brave" territory that morally confuses the issue so much that it begins to free the perpetrators from responsibility.

I'm not going anywhere near Mahr's argument. The actions of the 9/11 hijackers was criminal, period. I'm not trying to free ANYONE from personal responsibility.

As far as the China invasion scenario...it's not a viable comparison. I'm sorry, but it's not. China is not the U.S. and the U.S. is not Iraq. There need to be greater paralells for it to make sense other than we're both on the same planet.

I understand that there are numerous differences. My point is that I can understand why many Iraqis are fighting us, simply because we have invaded their country. I don't think we need a 1:1 correlation to talk about that. And I'm suggesting the idea that we would fight a foreign invading force--unless it was a strong ally who was liberating us and widely supported by the American people. The US has support in Iraq, but I would not say that we are widely embraced or supported, and I can understand why that could be the case.

I know you're aware of them, but you're not taking them into account, as you demonstrate in the following paragraph:[cultural, social, etc differences between Iraq and the USA]

I'm not sure where you're going with this. What social, cultural, or political differences do you think are important to be considering, specifically, when talking about Americans and Iraqis?

Why do those differences matter to you when talking about the possibility that people--Americans and Iraqis--would fight an invasion?

I'm just trying to understand your take here.

I don't think self-reflective is the word you're looking for, it's "empathetic"...and there's no problem with that, it shows you care about the welfare of others.

Ya, that's probably a better word.

There is real value in understanding your enemy and their motivations. However, instead of undertaking this to defeat the enemy, Ron Paul and people who think like him are using it to defeat themselves.

Well, here is where I see things a little differently. I don't look at Iraq, as a whole, and see it as "the enemy." I think that thousands, if not millions, of poeple have been caught in the middle. There are the terrorists, there are the Saddam loyalists, there are the Sunnis and Shiites who are fighting us...and then there are, in my opinion, probably millions of Iraqis who don't know who to support, who has their interests in mind, or what.

There are many people in between the definition of ally and enemy---and these are the complexities that I wish we didn't lose sight of in our discussions about the war.

I still think we can talk about the idea/possibility of "blowback" while still holding the 9/11 perpetrators completely responsible for the terrorist acts they commited.

Ked Shipley:

Getting back to the debate: What I was pointing out was that Guiliani's suggestion that al-Qaeda attacked us because they hate our freedom and Paul's claim that they attacked us because we were bombing Iraq are both oversimplified, but both at least partly correct. A prospective President needs to have the wisdom and insight to recognize and acknowledge that fact.

Guiliani's indignant reaction told me two things: (1) He is volatile and reactionary, and (2) He takes a very shallow-minded view of the enemy and its motives. Not attributes I would look for in a leader.

As for Ron Paul, I didn't get the sense he was blaming the U.S. for the attacks. I think he was merely pointing out that by our interventionist foreign policy we may have waved the red cape that provoked the already angry bull. In other words, the situation was already at the flashpoint; all we did was inadvertently provide a catalyst.

I hope our next President is one who has the natural ability and inclination to think these things through and try to understand why our adversaries are doing the things they are doing--prior to overthrowing governments and going after civilian hooligans with the U.S. military.

P.S. I support Joe Biden (so far), in case anyone is interested.

The thing with Paul's arguement is it's a real short (and slippery) slope into the Fallwell and Robertson style dumbassness into it being the fault of gays, the ACLU, et. all.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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