When a year from now either Mitt Romney or Rick Perry is standing opposite the president in a debate over the future of the country, and the president begins one of his patented filibusters, or interrupts an answer that is pummeling him with a “Wait a minute,” or just generally tries to use the office (and the friendly MSM) to change the rules or corner or talk over the GOP nominee, what will that nominee do?
Ross Douthat seems to think Romney was too hot Tuesday night. Others blast Perry for being too aggressive.
I called a former senior aide to Bill Clinton from the ’92 campaign and asked about this question of tactics in a primary debate.
“You have to show your base that you have what it takes to go after the president of the United States when it is one-on-one. You cannot sit back and take it.”
A year from now the specifics of these debates will be forgotten, and the attacks now will be old and cold, and all focus will be on the economy and perhaps a foreign crisis or three. The GOP nominee will have to wade in and get into the president’s kitchen, and be prepared for feigned anger and manufactured outrage.
More of Tuesday night’s rhetorical brawls will only increase the abilities of the nominee. It would be good to have some of these debates moderated by conservatives asking questions that foreshadow those that will define next fall’s campaign, but there is no downside in mixing it up and watching the tapes. None at all, and when MSMers tut-tut, ask yourself who you think they are going to vote for. The president accused the GOP of wanting dirtier air and water this week, and less health insurance. Slow Joe is accusing the GOP of being the pro-rape-and-murder party. It is good to spar now in order to be prepared to fight to win in a year against rhetorical charges that will simply be made without regard to facts or decency, and which will go as unrebuked by MSM as the Veep’s absurdities have been this week.
Speaking of off-the-wall charges and rhetoric, don’t miss Powerline’s John Hinderaker’s recounting of Harry Reid’s brilliant exposition of the problem with the economy today.
It is hard enought to imagine what America’s economy would look like after another four years of President Obama, but just imagine what it would be if the election of 2010 hadn’t denied Harry and Nancy Pelosi the control they enjoyed through from 2009 to their defeat.