Lite Observations on the First Presidential Debate

The presidential election season kicked off Thursday night with the Republican debate in South Carolina last night. Many including the media labeled these new and old participating GOP presidential candidates, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson as second string. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich who have not formally declared themselves presidential candidates, and being viewed as first string did not participate. Mitt Romney who is a declared presidential candidate and considered first string was also not there.

These second stringers where quite engaging. Among them, Tim Pawlenty, is most likely to get my vote so far. But Herman Cain came out ahead of the pack last night with a focus group set up and interviewed by political consultant and pollster Frank Luntz after the debate on Hannity. Pundits on the TV news programs the next day saw Tim Pawlenty as the winner over Herman Cain.

Herman Cain was so good that he even impressed my Democrat voting mother, who kept the debate on, because she was curious about Mr. Cain. She asked, “Who is this black Republican?” She had  no clue as to anything about Herman Cain. Being a lifelong Democrat, she was not crazy about his conservative answers especially on government; nevertheless, he left a very good first impression with her.

I have to take pause with Mr. Cain, because he has never been elected to public office. Even though the one President in my lifetime, Dwight D. Eisenhower was never elected to a public office before becoming President,  I still feel that one should have some kind of elected public office experience before venturing into the presidency. I could change on that feeling sometime in the future, but nothing yet has provoked me to do so.

Mr. Luntz’s focus group thought Rick Santorum was second to Herman Cain. My mother and I both wondered how he can get elected since he lost as a senatorial incumbent in 2006. I felt it was slightly possible since Richard Nixon reaped presidential election victory in 1968 after losing a presidential and governor’s bid since being Vice President in the 1950s. Times are different now and maybe something like that cannot happen today.  Well, Mr. Santorum did give strong conservative Republican answers, but I don’t see him going too far in the Republican Primaries.

All the Republicans who declared themselves as presidential candidates should have been at this first Republican Presidential Primary. The second stringers where fantastic. They had to be, to keep my elderly Democratic mother’s interest! She did not show that level of interest during any of the pre-primary Democratic presidential debates in 2007 with Barack Obama!

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