Candidates take Gloves off in Sweet Tea GOP Debate

In the old news business it was very important to have a lead that was catchy. Those days of alliteration and shocking headlines have gone by the way side because on the internet word titles must be “keyword Rich” so that search engines can categorize and list your stories in the appropriate manner. There are no more children holding up a headline yelling, “Extra read all about it”. And a compelling headline positioned above the fold so you have to buy the paper to see what the EXTRA is all about.

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Our title is a fine example of what not to do in internet journalism or blogging. But honestly, we couldn’t resist. We went back to the good old days of journalistic trickery to emphasize what I thought the Greenville debate may have conveyed more than any potential debate on the 2012 schedule.

It is almost paradoxical for a quaint upstate South Carolina town, like Greenville, with all of its southern charm to host a gloves off debate from five Republican candidates with little or no name recognition thrust in to the national spot-light. It could be compared to having a no holds barred, cage fight cage wrestling match at Vatican Square. I mean, in Greenville one can get Sweet Tea with nearly every meal option, including Sushi. It’s Strange, but very nice.

Since this debate was announced and the potential players were identified, the net was ablaze with how potentially boring the entire event as going to be. Why would anyone have a debate with minor characters anyway? Additionally folks wondered why South Carolina, as they are the third primary state after Iowa and New Hampshire. South Carolina usually presents the “First in the South” not the “First in the Nation” debate It all seemed a bit displaced from the correct order of things. Lao Tse would not approve.

I concurred with other writers on the timing and the participation as every candidate invited was polling under ten percentage points and the top four candidates, Huckabee, Romney, Gingrich, and Trump where not going to attend. But in the end the debate, the venue, and all the players were interesting story to cover.

From where I was sitting, the most intriguing was not the candidates but watching the liberal northern journalists who came to cover the debate standing in bewilderment of the news that a focus group held by “Word Doctor” Frank Luntz came on line with only one person supporting, Godfather’s Pizza CEO, Herman Cain but came away with nearly half of the participants supporting him following the debate.

For the northern liberal journalist, a Black Conservative in the South, just doesn’t jive. After all, people in the south are all racist bigots, right? But Cain calls him self an ABC: American, Black, and Conservative, That’s it no more conversation needed. Interviewers who wanted to harp on the issue, where abruptly let down with a return to the issues rather than questions regarding race.

As this writer moved about the press file room, the chatter went this way, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson were side shows, Rick Santorum was too socially conservative and couldn’t possibly win a general election, and Herman Cain had no elected experience. The only candidate on the stage that could win would be Tim Pawlenty. No matter what the polls were showing and the focus groups revealing, the writers couldn’t get away from those set of premises. Some journalists even turned their focus to who was hurt most by skipping the debate rather than those who actually participated. It was like considering how the New York Yankees were hurt by not being in the latest world Series.

From our view, Pawlenty is really the only candidate that make any since to a liberal northern journalist. But journalists seem to not be hearing the American electorate, who are tired of polished elected beltway types who spend time in front of media consultants and political strategists with a list of talking points and methodology to transfer any question to the message of the day. But that is what liberal journalists know, bless their little hearts! They don’t get it!

It is still problematic to the left leaning media that the only two conservative black representatives’ comes from the south, one of those, Congressman Tim Scott, comes from South Carolina. It is also bothersome to them that the South Carolina Governor has Indian heritage.

So all in all, maybe this early debate, with a diverse candidate selection, in a Southern town may have educated some in the media who still think we all live in different sides of town and couldn’t possibly elect someone other than a White person for elected office.

Time to wake up and look at the data. The ten most segregated cities in America are mostly in the North overseen by liberal politicians. People of color are moving back to the south in droves as the standard of living and conditions are better than most other places in America, and diverse candidates are being recruited and elected by the conservatives in the south faster than any other part of the country.

So we say, welcome to the south, have some sweet tea, relax in the sun, take in a Debate…  but call us racist from what you read in a history book we will point at your contemporary major cities which are still  segregated into your China Towns,  Little Italy’s, The Village, and your upper east sides.  We will than point you to the best Ribs, Comfort, Soul,  Italian, Chinese, Japanese food on Main Street!

Here is what others are saying:

Pollsters: Debate Makes Herman Cain Overnight ‘Star’

Only one of the 29-member focus group initially was a Cain supporter. By evening’s end, however, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, who also served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, had won an overwhelming majority among those on Luntz’s focus group.

“I have never had this kind of reaction until tonight,” said Luntz. “Something very special happened this evening.”

University of Virginia Center for Politics Director Dr. Larry J. Sabato cautioned, however, that focus groups aren’t representative of the larger electorate.

“Cain’s performance was fine, but most of the others did reasonably well, too,” Sabato tells Newsmax. “A debate cannot change the fundamentals. Most of the people on that stage were exotic, boutique candidates. Their chances of being elected president are almost nil.”

Other Republicans competing in the Fox News debate telecast were former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul, and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

Via Byron York

Here in South Carolina, Republican pols are trying to make the best of the fact that tonight’s debate — the first of the presidential primary season — is going forward without some of the best-known Republican candidates and possible candidates.

“It would be nice if they were all here,” says Curtis Loftis, the popular Republican state treasurer.  “But I am hopeful tonight — because it is a smaller field, and it’s a hungrier field, a field that needs to prove itself — that things will happen tonight.”

Many observers point to two candidates to watch. “It’s Pawlenty,” says one experienced state GOP pol, referring to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.  “He’s got a chance to move up into the first tier or stay in the second tier.”  With Mitt Romney’s decision to skip the debate, many observers see Pawlenty as the only potentially major candidate in the field, which also includes Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Gary Johnson.

The other name being tossed around is Cain. “A guy like Herman Cain, who is not so well known but is very capable — a couple of good policy statements, he proves himself that way, and then a one-liner or two, and all of a sudden he’s out in front of this crowd,” Loftis says.

The final name being heard around Greenville is the guy who isn’t here: Mitt Romney.  South Carolina political insiders do not express anger at Romney’s decision to skip the debate.  Instead, they shake their heads and say he’s making a mistake by shortchanging South Carolina.  Maybe he’s got some grand plan for winning the nomination without paying sufficient attention to South Carolina, they say, but they don’t know what it is.

The Romney camp is trying to keep him in the conversation in South Carolina without the candidate actually being here.  Curtis Loftis says he received a call from top Romney aide Matt Rhoades this morning to say that Romney will be visiting South Carolina later this month.  Governor Nikki Haley also mentioned Romney’s upcoming visit today.  Still, the debate is now, and Romney is not here.

Read more at the  Washington Examiner.

The nations first GOP debate of the election cycle is tonight in downtown Greenville.

South Carolina Republicans are fielding five candidates.

First to arrive was Rep. Ron Paul of TX. He spoke with our Jonathan Carlson outside the peace center earlier this evening.

Carlson: “What is the biggest issue on voters minds?”

Paul: “Freedom! Freedom and get the government off our backs and out of our wallets!”

The South Carolina Republican Party said Wednesday its lineup will be: former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former governors Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico; pizza magnate Herman Cain and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Better known candidates won’t be there.

Read more at  WSPA.

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