Caesar on the Republican Debate

In Caesar's Ghost, Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

I asked Caesar’s Ghost what he thought of last night’s Republican Presidential candidates’ debate. He sent the following reply:

Caesar would not entrust the highest office in the republic to a person lacking the ambition to win. Romney displayed that ambition last night but Perry did not. Caesar adheres to the Greek ideal that a virtuous man is both a doer of deeds and a speaker of words. Last night, Romney excelled at speech but Perry did not. Perry’s record shows that he is a doer of deeds but it also raises the suspicion of corruption — and Caesar knows that public men must be above suspicion. Romney showed that he knows how to take out the enemy commander; Perry did not.

But there are problems. Romney’s record makes him a doer of deeds that ought not to be done — in a word, Romneycare. And Caesar perceives another problem in Romney: to wit, he does not inspire love. Caesar could never have weathered the storms of war unless his men loved him more than they feared death. Romney will find it hard to rally his troops in tough times – and President Obama would give him tough times.

There will be other debates, and Perry might yet dominate the rostrum. Perhaps.

As for the others, Caesar admires strong women like Bachmann but she will have to take more risks if she wants to get to the front of the pack. Cleopatra rolled herself up in a carpet to get Caesar’s attention; Bachmann should find the equivalent in words. Caesar thinks Newt as eloquent as Cicero — and as empty. Paul is loved but he should be loathed. Cain is lovable but avuncular; he gives no evidence that he could defeat the enemy. Santorum and Huntsman could sweep up the arena after the games.

Barry StraussCaesar on the Republican Debate