After Perry exit, anger at GOP debates
Perry entered the race — here in Charleston — amid great fanfare in August. To some Republicans, he seemed the perfect GOP candidate: an experienced southern governor with an impressive economic record. After a passable performance in the first debate, Perry turned in a number of poor debate performances that led to a rapid fall in the polls. It all culminated in a debate last November in Michigan in which Perry stumbled while trying to name the three cabinet departments he would eliminate as president. The way he ended what seemed to be an interminable period of trying to remember — simply declaring “Oops” — seemed the effective end of his campaign.
Perry’s supporters argued that his candidacy should be measured by more than debates, and that his record as governor made him a strong contender. But Perry never recovered from the debates, and on Thursday morning Dawson lashed out at the debate-centered process that has arisen in this Republican campaign.
“There’s no question that the debates…that’s where people gathered their information, and it’s changed modern campaigning,” Dawson said. “I would contend that regardless of the outcome, the Democrats will never let this happen. They will never let 19 debates — the Democrats will never let this happen. And the Republicans did, and I don’t know how you stop it. It has become a reality show of 30-second soundbites, it’s gotcha politics…This has become the political version of ‘American Idol.'”
How do we best evaluate candidates?
Barack Obama is living proof that any moron can be trained to recite words off a teleprompter. Published policy papers are meaningless if the candidate didn’t write them. A candidate’s “record” can be misleading because many factors were out of their control. Campaign ads are about as reliable as a $5 Rolex.
Fair or not, the only time we get to see candidates perform without a net is during debates.
But debates don’t always matter. Al Gore kicked George Bush’s ass almost as bad as Hillary kicked Barack’s.
The formula for what makes a winning candidate is a strange combination of factors that is unique for every wannabe office-holder. On paper Rick Perry looked like a contender. In reality he had a glass jaw.
So who was right, the “experts” or the voters?