Unlike Ed, I thought the Republicans in Wednesday’s debate on the economy did a much better job of repeating their best applause lines, attacking President Obama and the media.
They also did a good job of presenting their economic orthodoxy: cut taxes and regulations to grow the economy. In that sense, this debate could have been held in any presidential cycle since 1980, a period in which Republicans have controlled the White House 20 out of 31 years. Perhaps this is why I found the debate boring and enervating. Are we really going to restore our economy with supply-side measures?
Only Jon Huntsman broke from same old. Twice he called for dismantling financial institutions that are “too big to fail”, a position that might give him a constituency among OWS.
The winner? Mitt Romney. He handled the flip-flop charge with some flustered indignity but spoke with passionate certainty about growing the economy.
Weirdest line of the night: Newt Gingrich attacked the media’s coverage of the economy because it doesn’t ask the Wall Street protestors how they would even have a park to protest in, if it weren’t for the capitalist system. Hmm.
Worst performance: Rick Perry. Hunters may have recognized his look through much of the evening — deer in the headlights.
And Herman Cain? He played the media foil very well. But there’s an old expression in politics: “don’t get into a [expletive] contest with someone who buys printer’s ink by the barrel.” Cain may have won a round last night, but the media has a lot of resources left. Stay tuned.