Losing bet

There have been too many debates among the Republican candidates. There will be too many such silly events to come. Why silly? Last Saturday’s debate had Mitt Romney’s $10,000 “bet” with Rick Perry. And it was this, rather than the substantive responses by all six candidates that made the headlines.

According to many people on the left and on the right, this was the highlight of the debate. See for instance, this ABC story: “Romney’s $10,000 Wager Dominates Post-Debate Buzz.” And, since Gov. Romney is likely the man most likely to defeat Obama next November, the mainstream media (joined by not a few tea partiers) pile on.

Romney is, pick your poison: out of touch; aloof; too wealthy. Rick Perry, by the way, would have lost the bet (concerning what exactly Romney’s book had to say about requiring people to purchase health insurance). Didn’t stop him from joining the dog pile on Romney.

Romney simply used a ridiculous amount as a challenge. The way we used to as kids on the playground: “I’ll betcha a million bucks.” The problem is that Romney could afford to bet $10,000, and he at the least had a tin ear when he made his challenge to Perry.

Rick Perry, by the way, had this typically Texan thing to say: “A vow before God is even stronger than a handshake in Texas.” I’m not a Texan, but I honor this way of looking at the world. Rick is right. On this and much else. He’s a man I could support wholeheartedly. He could drum up some much-needed excitement on my side of the political divide. Unfortunately, although it’s a trivial thing in the real world of governance, his debate performances have been poor.

Heck of a way to choose our next commander-in-chief, I think.

All of this is unhelpful to Mitt’s campaign and doesn’t much help Rick Perry. It mostly helps Newt Gingrich, who packs as much baggage as the Queen of England when she goes on vacation.

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