The Republican primary took a turn for the surreal this week as it appears almost every major candidate made a serious campaign error.
- Hermain Cain produced a painful gaff on Libya that resembled Perry’s debate foible from the previous week. Mr. Cain seemed unable to recall anything about Libya, why The President’s policy stance was important, or exactly what question he was asked. To his credit the man seems more confused (or tired) in general than about a specific policy. Unfortunately, Cain looked like the kid that gets called on in class because he was texting. The Cain campaign followed up on this media faux pas by snubbing conservative media in a critical primary state.
- Rick Perry challenged house minority leader Nancy Pelosi to a debate in a maneuver that has many onlookers puzzled. The challenge came as part of a letter sent to the representative arguing that Congress needs to be reformatted into a part-time citizen’s cabal. The letter simultaneously accuses the house leader of obstructionism while requesting a debate. Pelosi responded by mocking the candidate’s debate performance. Wait until his vasectomy becomes topical.
- Newt Gingrich received $1.6 million from Freddie Mac over an extended period of time before the financial crisis. During the same period it turns out that Freddie Mac was involved in a money scandal with members of the House Financial Services Committee, which can vette legislation that impacts financial institutions. This has pundits asking two questions: A.) Was Newt Gingrich aware of the political payouts happening while he was a payed consultant? And B.) Did Mr. Gingrich have any impact on the policies that lead to our financial crisis?
- Michelle Bachmann’s error was far more mild. Mrs. Bachmann argued that waterboarding is an essential part of maintaining national security while also saying that it would be absurd for the president (her) to be waterboarded. This is a curious argument given that it implies the president ought not to be subjected to the same punishments we are willing to visit upon others.
Looks like Mitt Romney just needs to play the waiting game.
In Other News
The New York Times makes the case that President Obama’s contradictory environmental agenda is the result of campaign necessities. The White House, which earlier this month postponed a ruling on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, has decided against a new EPA rule that would increase emission standards to the Clean Air Act. This comes in the wake of new automotive fuel and emissions guidelines that serve a similar purpose.
Congress managed to pass another spending measure without a debt ceiling crisis. Legislators extended the November 18th deadline to fund our government as part of a larger spending bill and received a total of 151 votes against (121 representatives, 30 senators). This is a complete reversal from the debt ceiling crisis that occurred in late autumn. It does make me wonder why 151 people would vote against it when it’s not a major news item. Now the Super Committee has just six days to propose $1.2 trillion in savings.