Opinion: Why Last Night Was the First Debate that Matters

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 02:01 PM

"Perry, Romney Head Into Decisive Third Debate" reads the Fox News story headline on the FOX News/Google debate GOP primary debate happening tonight.  It does seem that this debate is the first debate to actually, well, matter.  The other debates were important, just ask Tim Pawlenty, but this one is the first that will really count.

For one thing, it's now mid-September. It's no longer summer. People aren't grilling or drinking or beaching. They're home on their couches flipping channels under a blanket. Autumn is here and these candidates now have our attention.

For another, the headline makes no mention of Michelle Bachmann or Jon Huntsman or the rest of the longshots.  The time for fantasy candidates, both of conservatives and of the media, is officially over. At this point the only purpose for the other candidates on the stage is to position themselves for possible administration posts. Ron Paul, don't hold your breath.

This has quickly become a two-man race and, short of Sarah Palin making the worst decision of her life and jumping into the contest, that's the way it will stay.

So who needs to do well tonight, Rick Perry or Mitt Romney?  I'm going to go out on a limb and say: both of them. When I said above that this is the time when people will start to really pay attention, I meant that this will be the first time Republican voters will really consider their two options -- and only these two options. No longer distracted by also-rans, almost-rans and not-going-to-run-thanks-very-much, two men will verbally duke it out for our support. My own bias is that I lean Perry right now, or, more accurately, I lean away from Romney, but that could certainly change and I'm not wed to any of these candidates beyond that I want them to defeat President Obama. That, ultimately, is what we'll all really be watching for: who can win next November? All the details of each candidate will start to fade away as Republican voters look at the big picture of who can send Barack Obama back to writing autobiographies Illinois. The one who seems most capable of this will win.

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.


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Comments [5]

Charie from Florida

I was a supporter of Romney in a past election and I'm still leaning towards Romney as of late. Obama's time in the big house is up. We need someone who will keep the promises he makes to our country. Romney is the trustworthy man we are looking for and his views on the economy ect. will help us, not hurt us.

Sep. 26 2011 05:06 PM

Dear Ms. Markowicz;

I humbly suggest that the only debate that matters will be the one the undecideds have with themselves in the few days prior to casting their votes.

All else is material for the 24/7/365 din of the media.

Sep. 26 2011 10:28 AM
Karol from NYC

@skleinsmith I think it's always been about making the best possible choice between imperfect candidates. There's a line oft repeated among conservatives: Reagan was no Reagan. There is no perfect.

What do you mean by gap between the parties grows?

Sep. 23 2011 02:13 PM

Enjoying that both sides are using lesser evil language for their own candidates. The gap between the parties grows.

Sep. 23 2011 12:44 PM

In order to earn my vote any candidate would need to start with an honest assessment of how we got here. How a balanced budget was unbalanced. How we got into a war for non-existent WMD. How securitization and leveraging of debt built our financial house with rotten wood.
I didn't watch much of the debate last night but during the few snippets that I did tune on in to Mr. Perry's hand-fumbling during his responses makes him hard for me to trust.

Sep. 23 2011 09:21 AM

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