A Note on Perry

January 19th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I try to be careful not to get into the horse race aspects of things around here, but I thought Gov Perry’s rise and fall was notable in the following sense.

It takes a lot to run an effective primary campaign these days, with money and organization and name recognition often at the top of the list.  But you also need to be a good debater.  Gov Perry wasn’t, and his high scores on those other assets failed to offset that by a Texas mile.

Newt, on the other hand, is a sharp debater.  And his lack of those other attributes, e.g., organization, has, at least for now, been largely offset by his debating prowess.

But here’s the thing: does being a good debater make you a good president?  I can’t see that it does.


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13 comments in reply to "A Note on Perry"

  1. Linkmeister says:

    I keep hearing from Republican pundits that one of the things the party desperately wants in a candidate is someone who can “beat Obama” in debates. This makes no sense to me. Yeah, maybe it scores points, but how does it show an ability to govern?

    • Michael says:

      It makes more sense if you understand that President Obama, by virtue of being African-American violates the Republican social contract by existing. Literally any white man is better to them. Governing quality is irrelevant, especially since they hate the country and its citizens.

  2. Chigliakus says:

    Being a good debater at least means you’re passably intelligent and able to think on your feet. Having a hojillion dollars behind your campaign has even less to do with your suitability to hold office, but is absolutely required to even stand a remote chance these days. We really need some serious campaign finance reform, and in the opposite direction of the SC’s Citizens United decision.

  3. Tom Shire says:

    Good point, Jared. Among Gingrich’s flaws, hubris has to rank near the top (right after pure nastiness). Being a good debater can actually exacerbate such a character defect if the debater too easily vanquishes or dismisses new or contrary ideas.

  4. Dausuul says:

    It seems fairly clear that the goal of the Republicans is to get Obama out of office, no matter the cost. They also have this idea that Obama is a bumbling idiot who is lost without his teleprompter, and that a skilled debater will take him apart onstage. (They’re in for a nasty surprise this fall, but never mind.) So, being a good debater is an absolute requirement for them.

  5. Nhon Tran says:

    Thank you.
    Money, organisation and name recognition often at the top of the list for an effective campaign. Sad that ideas is not!

  6. James Edwards says:

    I see debates the same as whiteboard tests for hiring programmers. I always tell the candidate that getting the answer right is not as important as showing me how you think. The problem is everyone gets locked into stupid statements about Turkey that they can’t later say, it was in the heat of a debate and I misspoke. If a programmer in a whiteboard test forgets to delete memory, I would fire him if he refused to delete memory in the future because he doesn’t want to flip flop.

  7. Ron E. says:

    No being a good debater doesn’t by itself make you a good President. But it does indicate you have certain qualities that can be important in being a good President:

    – general intelligence
    – understanding of public policy issues
    – ability to communicate effectively in English
    – willingness to put in the time and effort to master an activity that, for better or worse, is a requirement of a Presidential candidate and therefore of a President

    Given the choice between a good debater and a poor debater, I’d take the good debater all else being equal. See also too: Sarah Palin.

  8. Tyler says:

    Have we had a great president that wasn’t a great debater? I can’t think of one.

  9. the buckaroo says:

    …now, if he had said:

    Not within my recollection has there been a President who has taken the advanced ground which Obama had taken to free the common man from the domination of monopoly and human greed…err, sorry wrong party, never mind.

  10. Bumpa says:

    Rick Perry is the Peter Principle in action

  11. PeonInChief says:

    I can’t help it. I don’t notice Newt’s debating skills. Every time I see him, I think of the Pillsbury Dough Boy and wonder if he would giggle on being poked in the stomach.

  12. PeonInChief says:

    I must apologize. My husband, who is much smarter than I am, says thatNewt more resembles the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man than the Pillsbury Doughboy. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stay_Puft_Marshmallow_Man