Union University

Union University Department of Political Science

Department of Political Science


Baker analyzes Google Debate for NR

Sep 23, 2011

Hunter Baker analyzed last night's Google/Fox News GOP presidential Debate again for National Review on-line. You can find all the comments from NR's experts here but Dr. Baker's are below:

Rick Perry achieved his frontrunner status because he is the governor of Texas. Today, that position resembles what being governor of California was for Republicans decades ago.

He has now had three debates to show us whether he deserves to be the lead dog. While he showed improvement in his second effort, this third attempt made little or no progress. He does not demonstrate the ease necessary for public engagement with Barack Obama.  


Mitt Romney has the primary virtue of potentially being inoffensive enough to keep the focus on the failures of Barack Obama. He is smooth and comfortable. If he can survive the nominating process, he could win the general. But his inspiration level for the base is low.

Newt Gingrich breaks your heart because he comes off as very intelligent, witty, and creative. But you just know he can’t get over the demonization he has endured (some of it deserved).  

Jon Huntsman has everything going for him but wisdom. He can’t avoid the bait dangled by the Left on issues such as evolution and global warming. But he has the ideas, the brains, and the experience.  

Michele Bachmann has receded into full-time Perry-attack mode.  

Rick Santorum has wisely decoupled from her and is establishing himself. You wonder what he might have been able to do when he was still a senator and more viable as a politician.

Herman Cain has the intangible qualities of a good candidate. I don’t know whether he is ready for prime time on foreign policy, but he engenders incredible good will and natural affection. He also has ideas. He is especially good on Social Security.

Ron Paul is Ron Paul. A libertarian cannot win. But he is paving the way for a bigger future for his son, Rand. In a low-consensus society, libertarianism is not a terrible bet.

We could say something similar of Gary Johnson, who one-upped Paul with his hilarious line about the next-door neighbor’s dog and shovel-ready jobs.