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Over at the Turner Report you can read press releases (here and here) from Sarah Steelman and John Brunner, claiming the laurels from the last GOP senatorial primary debate. Todd Akin, at least as far as I can determine, seems to think that squabbling about who won after the fact is beneath his dignity. Given the arguments his rivals put forward, he may be right.

It’s hard to know what Akin could add since the debate showed him and his two rivals singing in more or less perfect harmony from the same hymnal – the one favored by today’s more extreme GOP. The debate established that they all want to, what else, eliminate Obamacare, and insure that if the Bush tax cuts are extended, they are extended for millionaires too. None of them made any bones abut their preference to privatize Social Security (along with cutting some benefits). The Democratic incumbent, Claire McCaskill, reminds us in her post- GOP debate press release that their willingness to sacrifice seniors doesn’t stop with Social Security:

Akin, Steelman, and Brunner’s insistence on privatizing Social Security tonight follows earlier debates in which all three emphatically endorsed dismantling Medicare and turning it, instead, into a private voucher program.

So no big differences where it counts. Which gets us back to the GOP candidates’ press releases noted above and raises the question about what could distinguish one from the others as a winner in the debate – or in the election itself, come to that.  

Steelman wants to set herself apart from the group by claiming that she alone has “a plan.” Her release proclaims that “she was the only candidate who provided specifics and plans of action.”

If you’re inclined to believe this, check out her Website where she lists her “Show-Me Solutions for the First 60 Days.” You won’t find much that’s new – “fight” for a balanced budget amendment, get rid of the President’s “czars” (i.e.,  administrative personal essential to run the executive branch), implement an optional flat tax, put a congressional bit and briddle on the Fed, term limits, yada, yada, yada.  As clever as Steelman obviously thinks she is, we’ve heard all these ideas ad nauseum since they comprise what amounts to Fox-inspired, GOP orthodoxy these days – Todd Akin in particular likes to drone on about the putative “czars” – and they are all still very bad ideas. Nor did I notice any specifics about how she plans to achieve these goals – apart from the rather spectacular implication that Sarah will get all this destruction done in the first 60 days after she takes office. Delusions of grandeur much?

John Brunner, on the other hand, thinks that the way to distinguish himself is to point out that he has no experience doing the job he wants to take on. He somehow thinks that it doesn’t matter that most of his policy prescription are identical to those of his rivals since he isn’t, like them, a “career politician.” There is a certain class of American, I suppose, who thinks that all politics – or at least politics in Washington D.C. – are so evil that we have to continually sacrifice political virgins to the process in order to get a few months of uncorrupted leadership, but experiments with this philosophy usually only prove that folks who vote according to this belief deserve the inept politicians they send to Washington to represent them.

For his part, although he has little to say about the debate as such, Todd Akin is trying to stand out as the most popular kid in class. He is touting the results of the recent PPP poll that showed him one point ahead of Claire McCaskill. Well and good, except that he he completely ignores the Rasmussen poll that shows Steel leading McCaskill by a much larger margin. Note that I’m not saying that I endorse the findings of the notoriously inaccurate Rasmussen polls, particularly as regards Claire McCaskill – just that it’s premature to crown oneself a front runner based on one poll out of several, especially this early in the game.