Post-GOP debate open thread
Some random thoughts:
* Michele Bachmann was woefully under-used. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I was hoping — nay, praying — that tonight would be the taking-off point for Bachmentum 2012. No matter; the revolution moves forward, slow and steady.
* Gingrich’s presence was oddly anti-climactic. While I thoroughly enjoyed his making sure everyone knew he was a “fan” of going into space, he was otherwise kind of drab — if not characteristically vapid and thin on details. His emphatic declaration that he would not have anyone in his Administration who was not loyal to the United States represents a stunning break with America’s long history of electing candidates openly hostile to the electorate and the nation itself. A risky move.
* I understand why people like Herman Cain. He seems to be turning down the crazy ever so slightly, and the man is undeniably skilled at communicating on a straight-forward, relatable, no-BS level. I was surprised he went Deep Dish — Illinois isn’t really going to be worth his time, come 2012.
* Although I felt King went to Paul far too often, considering the Texas congressman’s minuscule chance of winning the nomination, it’s great to have the plucky gadfly in the debates. His defense of immigration and the Catholic Church was admirable, and his views on foreign policy are a welcome reprieve from the largely rote neo-imperial, forever-war rhetoric of the other candidates.
* Pawlenty was terrible. There’s nothing about the man that seems top-tier, substantive or in any way Presidential. His piggy-back pandering to the Navy vet. was, even for a politician, especially hollow and transparent. I did enjoy his constant upping of the number of Americans that al Qaeda would have killed if possible. He stopped at 30 million, but I had even-odds on him going the full 3 bills.
* Romney was excellent. He is much improved from 2008. While he often still exudes a Troy McClure-like air of calculated phoniness, he far more often manages to sound serious, and reasonable — even when mouthing some of the sillier GOP shibboleths. His answer on Afghanistan was skillfully done; those who favor withdrawal will think he agrees with them, while those who want to “stay the course” will similarly imagine him to be sympathetic. I’m really starting to come around to the idea that he’s going to win the nomination. And I still believe that, if he does, he will be a real problem for the President.
* And Santorum? Well…