Well, I watched the debate last night. It was less than inspiring, but part of that was in the questions that were being asked by the Democrat/SEIU proxy questioners (what else would you expect from the most distorted leftist network on cable?).
First let me say, that I don't think debates are any indicator of the quality of the candidates. It's like watching a game show to decide who is most qualified to run the country.
I'm not certain, but I don't believe that "being good in a debate" is one of the responsibilities of the President. How about focusing on each candidates qualifications, experience, knowledge, you know old fashioned things that might actually indicate who would be a good President?
I curse the day we fell into this trap of putting on a beauty contest to decide who is most qualified to lead this nation. I suspect George Washington would have been eliminated in the first round or two.
Now to the debate. I wish that the candidates would all take a page from Newt Gingrich's playbook and STOP THE INFIGHTING. Stop taking the bait and instead of leaping to the attack against their fellow Republicans, stay focused on the real target, President Barack Obama. I suppose it goes against human nature to expect adults to behave like adults, but one can always hope--after all, Newt managed to do so throughout the entire debate.
So, here's my take away. First, anyone on the dais would be far better, more capable, more competent, and better for America than the narcissistic, sociopathic, man-child currently in the Oval Office. I'm talking light years here, not even a close thing.
Second, too bad Newt is "damaged goods." He really did , once more, demonstrate that he is the smartest man in the room. His answers are concise, intelligent, and just plain good. I liked him for the 2008 election, but didn't really believe he would get in and he had the same problems back then that he has today--poor choices. For a brilliant man, sometimes he can make the dumbest mistakes--like backing Dede Scozzafava over conservative Doug Hoffman or his comment that he didn't realize that Obama would be as liberal as he turned out to be--I mean really Newt all you had to do is look at his record of voting.
Third, Rick Perry, though he was rough around the edges and needs a good deal more preparation, managed to survive. He made some good points and though he sometimes looked as though he was struggling to remember his lines, he acquitted himself reasonably well--especially considering it was his first debate and it is a format with which he is not as comfortable--but he did not look as relaxed as the others. To his credit, he was the target of most of the attacks by other candidates and from the moderators. He was strong on principle and refused to back away on the Texas record on the death penalty--for which he received strong applause, or his factually correct statement that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and that today's youths who are paying into is will not have it if something isn't done to correct it's fundamentally flawed system.
Lastly, Mitt Romney really did give the best performance. He was at ease, humorous, quick with the comeback when attacked, in full possession of the facts--in short, he looked and acted "Presidential." I fear we may, once again, be forced to settle for "the most electable conservative in the field" (not that Mitt is very conservative). I'm not a big fan of Mitt, but I could live with him as President.
The fact is, that--in spite of the good qualities of the rest of the field--this really is a two man race, Perry vs. Romney. Everyone else in the race can now be categorized as "also rans." That being said:
Herman Cain really is an outstanding man. He shines in those areas in which his expertise lies--economics and jobs. He has polished himself and his performance skills are greatly improved from his first couple of debates. He would be an excellent candidate, but for some reason he just hasn't been able to gain traction with the voters. Too bad, I'm a big fan.
Michele Bachmann acquitted herself reasonably well, but her appeal is limited by her shrillness and she, quite simply, is not a very appealing person. She also lacks any real management experience so her bona fides are lacking. She will continue to fade over the next few months.
Rick Santorum is a nice guy, a strong moral conservative, smart, articulate, and unelectable. He, like Bachmann, comes across as a member of Congress, not a leader. He has reasonably good ideas, but lacks the experience to take the reins of a monstrous bureaucracy like our federal government. Sorry Rick, time to head for the old hacienda.
Jon Huntsman is probably the most qualified non-starter I've seen. Let's begin with his sad attachment to the myth of man-made global warming. Contrary to the claims of adherents to that tired old dying theory, the science (as Rick Perry pointed out) is less settled now than it was ten years ago. Huntsman's attachment to AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) disqualifies him from consideration.
Outside of the AGW business, Huntsman is just another career "inside the Beltway" politician. He's a moderate's moderate. I am absolutely certain that establishment politicians from both parties would be more comfortable with Huntsman than with any other candidate in the debate.
Ron Paul just simply is nuts! He's wacko, gone around the bend, extreme looney tunes crazy and he never looked more like it than last night. I'm certain he will remain in the race to the bitter end, because his followers are just as out of touch with reality as Paul is, but he isn't a serious contender and he needs to be excluded from any further debates as he simply detracts from the Republican message and consumes time that would be better allocated to the serious contenders (that would be any of them but Paul).
If I had my "druthers," I would have Newt be our nominee. His knowledge is comprehensive, his experience as Speaker of the House and his agile intellect all make him the best choice, but he has so damaged himself with his poor choices and some questionable decisions that he cannot be elected. He would make an outstanding Secretary of State under a Romney or Perry Presidency.
I still have high hopes for Perry. After all, being President is not about how well you debate, it is about how you perform and Perry's record here in Texas is superb. He has a proven record of building the economy by removing barriers to industry. He has made some questionable decisions, "Gardasil" and in state tuition for the children of illegals, but the record of job building and prosperity in Texas has been superb. Our education system, after languishing at the bottom of the heap, has made great strides in improving, he has championed "loser pays" on law suit reform and pushed for tort reform to lessen the legal burden on those who seek to do business in Texas.
It will be interesting to see how this debate, as well as later debates play out as candidates jockey for position and voters continue to increasingly focus on the upcoming election. Remember we are still over a year away from November 2012 and most folks don't really focus on the race until a couple of months before.
Lots of time for gaffs and greatness.
Above all, remember ABO. ANYBODY BUT OBAMA 2012.
Long Live Our American Republic!!!!