What is the most obvious measure of the power we give our leaders? It is what they are willing to go through to obtain elected office. And what do they go through? It’s a vicious dog fight.

Dog fighting is a form of blood sport in which game dogs are made to fight, sometimes to the death. It is illegal in most developed countries. Dog fighting is used for entertainment and may also generate revenue from stud fees, admission fees and gambling.

At last night’s presidential debate, George Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer skillfully pitted the candidates against each other, carefully avoiding questions that might be construed as gotcha questions. Instead, they used the candidates own words (in campaign ads, for example), and they asked them to explain what they had said.

Was this dog fight a good thing? I honestly don’t know. What is more obvious is that we do not know how to avoid this blood sport. I know why Republicans let Liberal Democrats run their debates, but I still think it stupid. 

Nevertheless, even debates of this sort have two points of merit.

  • We see how our candidates handle themselves when put on the spot
  • We learn which candidates have the wisdom to avoid being induce to attack each other. Most, unfortunately, cannot resist the opportunity.

So who was the winner? That depends upon the eye of the beholder. I thought all did well. Each had a moment to shine, and each did. Gingrich, in particular, reacted calmly, and he deftly deflected many attacks. Moreover, he had the good sense not to respond in kind.

On the other hand, Romney suffered a few minor wounds, one of his own devising. When he accused Gingrich of being a career politician, Gingrich reminded him that if he had not lost a Senate race with Senator Ted Kennedy, he probably would have spent the last seventeen years in the U.S. Senate.

What was the low point in the “debate”? That came when when the moderators asked the candidates to discuss marital infidelity. Of course, the moderators graciously made certain Gingrich responded last. Fortunately for Gingrich, Ron Paul pointed out another kind of infidelity, the infidelity of our elected officials to their oath of office. He noted that most of our elected officials ignore Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Have Romney and Gingrich been entirely honest about their flip-flops? As the related material below indicates, the answer is most likely “no”, but pure intellectual consistency is not desirable. At one time or another, we all do sinful things and maintain bad beliefs. In order to become better human beings, we must change, but our egos get in the way of admitting that in our past we made mistakes and misunderstood much. Moreover, when we do admit a mistake, there are some who will gloat over the admission. Therefore, imperfect people must pick from among imperfect people for leadership. Thus, in 2008 we elected Barack Hussein Obama and a power-mad Congress.

What is important is our core values and the core values of the people we elect. We want leaders who understand why we need their leadership. They are there to protect our rights, not to give us “rights.” Then we will remember what we must do to ameloriate the worst consequences of our choices. We will limit the powers of those we elect to those powers that they must absolutely have to protect our rights. 

Other Views Of That Debate

At USA Today, Gingrich, Romney take jabs at GOP debate. It is about who ran away with the bone.

At Human Events, Gingrich Steady in Debate, Comes Out A Better and Stronger Candidate by Tony Lee provides a partisan account for Newt Gingrich.

At ABCRepublican Candidates Clash in Pivotal Iowa Debate, and CBS, Romney seeks $10,000 bet during GOP debate, they focus on the dog fight. 

At The Blaze, we have an AP Analysis: For Gingrich, No Bombast or Apologies. The focus is on Gingrich and the hotter moments of the debate.

At, Romney, Gingrich put on defense over ‘individual mandate’ notes that the minor candidates put the major candidates on defense.

Related Material

White House met with three Romney advisors to draft Obamacare at the Dailey Caller.

White House Consulted With Romney Advisers on ObamaCare at Reason.

Gingrich (in 2007): Congress Must Impose an Individual Mandate at Mother Jones.

Gingrich was for cap-and-trade and lots of other things, a blog at the Washington Post.

Fact check: Gingrich on climate change at USA Today.

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