Open Thread: How Far Does the 11th Commandment Go?

As the GOP presidential primary continues to heat up with another debate tonight at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, it is worth considering Reagan's famous "11th Commandment" in the context of this campaign. With such a large and diverse field of candidates, though, it is proving to be difficult to stand out from the crowd in any other way. Do you think any of the candidates will be successful if they continue to fight among themselves? Or do you think infighting is the only way to make it to the top? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

While not all the candidates have specifically evoked Reagan in their political wars of words, most candidates have at least crossed into Reagan's 11th Amendment territory. From the Washington Times:


...Mr. Huntsman, for instance, is casting Mr. Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota as too “extreme” to win a general election.

Mr. Romney is taking swipes at Mr. Perry’s decades-long tenure in elected office by blaming “career politicians” for the nation’s financial woes.

Mr. Perry, meanwhile, is hammering Mr. Romney’s record on jobs, saying that as governor of Massachusetts, he failed to create a job-producing environment.


Craig Shirley, author of “Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All,” explained that Reagan would have actually supported the sometimes contentious arguments within the GOP field. He said, “Reagan believed it was all fair game to talk about voting records, but getting into gratuitous personal attacks wasn’t.”

Steven F. Hayward, author of “The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counter-Revolution, 1980-1989,” offered a different perspective, asking, “At what point does a personal attack and policy attack overlap?”

Tonight marks Perry's first time on stage with the other GOP candidates since his entry into the race last month. While currently leading in national polls, he is also now more in the spotlight than ever for criticism from his GOP rivals. Do you think attacking the other GOP candidates should be fair game at tonight's debate?

NB Staff
NB Staff