Republican debate was lackluster


by Zach James

Donn Stanley has seen his fair share of debates.

Dating back to his days winning Big Ten titles while competing, Stanley knows how to dissect how a person debates, especially a politician.

“Politicians want to grab the next morning’s headline,” Stanley said to a crowd gathered in Pioneer Hall to watch the Southern Republican Debate last week.

Going into the debate while watching it with someone who knows how to present a fair but strong argument, I assumed there were going to be plenty of boisterous comments reacting to what the four presidential hopefuls said.

Instead, as the night went along, Stanley had two bottles of water, a small notepad, other pieces of notes and he just sat and watched.

However, he had something to say before the debate about Iowa being so quiet and cold after the candidates left us to pursue the votes in other states.

“All the hot air left Iowa when the candidates left.”

Instead of him analyzing the debate, he let the students talk about what was happening up on the big screen in Pioneer. Most were appalled over the beginning of the debate, and who can blame them?

Prior to the debate, ABCNews released a report saying Newt Gingrich asked his second wife for an open marriage. It may have been a bit personal, but still, what happens in a politician’s life does not stay private.

So off went Newt like Steve Spurrier during a Gamecocks game. While Newt was spewing off ruthless comments to CNN’s John King, the crowd in Pioneer had confused and appalled looks as if they witnessed something disgusting.

As they should have.

Stanley believed he handled himself as best as he could in that situation. Why start the debate with that question?

What does that have to do with politics?

Whenever someone becomes part of the public domain, it’s a basis of society that their privacy and everything behind the curtain becomes private no more. Everything becomes fair game.

Let them get their beliefs and values on the forefront before we start to dig beneath the surface.

Also, to add to the drama, it was reported that the 25 votes left uncounted on caucus night here in Iowa were indeed put into play, thus, Rick Santorum won the Iowa Caucus.

In the first few minutes, I thought Santorum was still in Des Moines and not in Charleston. He kept mentioning Iowa and winning in Iowa like it was going to make a meaningful difference.

Congrats, Santorum. You won the first round of the playoffs, but not the championship yet.

Romney is to the New England Patriots as Santorum is to the New York Giants (maybe Romney doesn’t want that analogy to work out in that way).

At the end of the day, students and Stanley alike took notice of how Santorum distinguished himself from the rest of the candidates.

“I think that story will run side-by-side with his caucus win,” Stanley said.

At the end of the day, Stanley believes no one lost ground, but no one really gained any either.

“Romney still has the real advantage,” Stanley said. “He won’t really be challenged unless if it’s one-on-one against Gingrich or Santorum.”

The crowd, in Pioneer anyway, was engaged like it was a cozy classroom setting. To Stanley, he appreciated the turnout.

“I thought it was a really good turnout,” he said with a booming smile. “It was great to see many people that went to the caucus, and they had been following this for a long time. It’s encouraging to see.”

Zach James is a junior at Simpson College majoring in multimedia journalism. He is a staff writer for The Simpsonian and the Sports Director for KSTM radio.