The election campaign process is one seemingly designed to separate the men from the boys, or rather the men from the woman (Palin). There could have been no better indication of the excellent winnowing out process in action than the appearance of two declared candidates for the GOP nomination on Fox this Thursday-Pawlenty and Cain.
Herman Cain appeared, for the first time with Bill O'Reilly. This could be a daunting interview for some,perhaps most as a first up but Cain, as might be expected from a seasoned media person handled himself well in respect of the basics. he presented a pleasing image, had camera skills and projected well voice wise.
In the matter of substance he fell well short and showed his lack of experience. On the economy O'Reilly challenged Cain, rightly, on how he would have a balanced budget given the formula Cain espoused of cutting taxes and especially cutting out the capital gains tax. Cain got into a robust argument with O'Reilly who could not accept Cain's premise that such a massive tax reduction,especially the capital gains tax, could see the governments budget balanced due to a rapid increase in revenues from the stimulus to the economy of the tax reforms. the time gap premise being too large for O'Reilly.
On foreign affairs, Cain was exposed, yet again, as having little knowledge or answers, especially in relation to the, now four, wars the Obama administration is apparently pursuing, apart from the nebulous "surrounding myself with experts" which O'Reilly instantly dismissed.
Cain has done himself no favors elsewhere with his "I won't sign any bill longer than three pages" statement which he, embarrassingly had to retreat from as "an exaggeration." And his views on Homosexuality which, whether one agrees with them or not, would be savaged, an unnecessary distraction, in a presidential campaing proper by the entire leftist media when concentrating on the economy would be more rewarding.
Tim Pawlenty on Greta's program has obviously had coaching in presenting a more assertive persona which came across as a bit hard nosed but this led him to make a crucial error of judgement which Greta exposed mercilessly.
Van Susteren brought up the subject of Michelle Bachman's campaign manager Ed Rollins attack on Sarah Palin a violation she said of Reagan's "eleventh commandment" you shall not attack fellow Republicans.
She asked "if Rollins was on your campaign would you issue a no tolerance or some other statement"
Pawlenty answered well that he would first caution and if the remarks were really bad tell the advisor to look for another job.
Greta then returned to the subject,which showed she considered it important, and asked bluntly "would you get rid of Ed Rollins?" To which Pawlenty replied " I'm not going into the details of what other peoples staffing arrangements should be.We've got a country that sinking,we've got millions of people unemployed..." at which point Van Susteren interrupted him.
She sounded challenging, and appeared to present a strongly held and important point of view "Well that's the point, we've got to change the way politics gets done in this country and see what positions people take. Whether there's going to be smearing and trashing-politics as usual- or whether were going to try something new and do it just on the issues and pound people on the issues but leave the other out."
At this point if Pawlenty had responded with something like "yes, that is absolutely right Greta, it IS time to move on from the old, personal attack, trashing everything and everybody outdated politics, and just campaign on the issues for the betterment of the American people who are hurting and fed up with the old style campaign methods. And yes, I assure you that if any of my staff acted in the manner which Mr. Rollins did I would immediately dismiss them" Then he might have won many converts-perhaps Van Susteren herself who was clearly looking for that sort of reply.
Instead Pawlenty replied " Yeah, I'm running for president of the United States, a country that I love. I've got the skills and abilities to get the thing fixed. What somebody elses consultants or employees are doing, that's their business-they should deal with it. But that's not the issue in front of us. the issue in front of us is how we doing to get this country fixed." and blah blah blah
The answer was that of a politician, like any other, sadly, and not of a statesman and deeply disappointing. Both Cain and Pawlenty showed themselves as, variously, lacking experience and tact on the broader stage. It is hard to imagine either of them competing in a debate with the likes of Sarah Palin who is a seasoned campaigner now.