The Republican candidates took to the stage last night for the CNN/Tea Party debate. If the audience was looking was looking for fireworks the candidates did not disappoint. There was lots of red meat for the Tea Party crowd to feast on while cold hard facts were in short supply.
All sights were trained on the Tea party favorite and current front runner, Rick Perry. Once again the debate focused on the back and forth between Perry and former Governor Mitt Romney. In the end both Romney and Perry held their own with Romney holding serve among traditional conservatives and Perry whipping the Tea Part crowd into frenzy.
The most striking thing about the entire evening was the raucous applause that followed some of the most absurd statements.
Michelle Bachman was loudly cheered when she proudly proclaimed that she that she voted against raising the debt ceiling…even though it would have brought the country to default.
Rick Perry was cheered when he stuck to his comparison of social security to a Ponzi scheme and professed a desire to move control of social security to the states…states which are bankrupt and already struggling to administer Medicaid.
One of the loudest cheers erupted when Ron Paul opined that a hypothetical 30 year old coma patient without health insurance should sent home to die. Frightening!
In the end it was all about the bombastic Perry. The crowd loved him. His fellow candidates did all they could to knock him from his frontrunner perch.
From our prospective, Rick Perry’s performance was best summed up by widely acclaimed REPUBLICAN strategist Michel Murphy, who said: “Listening to Rick Perry try to put a complicated policy sentence together is like watching a chimp play with a locked suitcase.”