Do debate skills matter?

In the 1988 vice-president debate, Lloyd Bentsen famously zinged Dan Quayle with the famous line, "I knew Jack Kennedy and you're no Jack Kennedy." The media went wild with Bentsen's line and the fact he had towered over Dan Quayle  Ever since, Democrats and the propaganda media have attempted to carve the famous line in stone.  Despite the best attempts at debate immortality, Dukakis/Bentsen went down in a stunning electoral defeat.   Debate skills in the VP race didn't make a difference.

Eight years earlier, Republican nominee Ronald Reagan pulled of a line on the unsuspecting President Jimmy Carter, "There you go again." The media were perplexed and did everything within the power of Walter Cronkite and the NYT to bury the broadside Reagan had delivered.  Just like everybody else in America, I was watching that debate and that line changed everything.  The damage had been done before the media filters had a chance to do anything about it and Carter lost in a landslide.  I believe that one liner from Reagan made a difference.

As we look at our Republican hopefuls today and consider debate skills, where are we? Perry and Cain seem to be good candidates, but I don't see either one as inspiring in a presidential debate (I'm being kind here). Some believe Romney would be a good foil to Obama but I think he would come across as Obama-lite. Not exactly an inspiring speaker with bold new ideas. Bachmann, Santorum, Huntsman? No comment.

Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. Newt is the only figure since Reagan with the ability to go right over the head of the liberal moderators and reframe the whole discussion to his terms. As we have seen for years, the questioners always ask questions to trap Republicans and to help Democrats. Newt is the one speaker who dares to not only call them on it, but to shoot them down for doing it.

Newt has the ability, like Reagan, to go over the talking heads and their agenda's and speak directly to the American people.  Of course, the MSM fears Gingrich far more than any other candidate and are now unleashing the full force of their slime machine on Newt.  Only Gingrich would welcome their attacks, knowing how unwise they are.  He will, no doubt, turn their Freddie Mac assault back at them pointing out that he was paid for work he did for them as a private citizen, while Senator Barak Obama collected $160,000. from Fannie Mae in political donations! If the Media suddenly wants to talk Freddie and Fannie money, Newt will be glad to open the discussion.

I am sick of hearing what a brilliant speaker and communicator Obama is. The truth is, he is well spoken with a teleprompter.  Only Newt Gingrich has the communication skills to expose Obama for who he really is and to pull back the curtain of invincibility the media has shrouded him in. Is that enough to defeat Obama in the general election?  I don't know but if it's not enough, but then I wonder what is? 

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