Let's face it: the ABC News New Hampshire debate was the worst debate of the entire election cycle. And that is saying something, considering the sheer volume of debates. How many years and election cycles will it take before Republicans learn to turn to conservatives as moderators for presidential debates, instead of washed up Democrat hacks disguised as journalists?
Now, to the extent that such a pathetic debate is worthy of any analysis, the clear winner was Mitt Romney. Watching the debate, you'd think Ron Paul was the frontrunner. All of the verbal altercations played out between Ron Paul and one of the other candidates. Romney was able to sit pretty throughout the entire debate, except for one monologue from Santorum at the end of the debate. Undoubtedly, the platform for the debate, along with the inane questions, wasn’t exactly conducive to attacking Romney's liberal record as governor. However, they all had an opportunity during the opening salvo of the debate. They failed miserably.
The candidates were given an opportunity to assail Romney's business record at Bain Capital as a job killer. Gingrich and Santorum should have parried the question and gone after Romney on his record in politics. They should have praised Romney’s record as a businessman while ticking off his liberal vices and his terrible record as Governor, most prominently, his record on healthcare. They should have decried the fact that we are on the precipice of nominating Obama's inspiration for Obamacare as his successor. Instead, they chose an awkward position – one that placed them to Romney's left on free-market entrepreneurship. Why attack his record as a CEO when you can destroy him on his liberal record as governor? This was the biggest mistake on the part of those who are seeking to derail Romney.
To be sure, it was refreshing to hear Santorum finally take Romney to task for his class system rhetoric; however, he obviated his argument by making "blue collar worker" a prominent part of his lexicon. Santorum should have also used that response as an opportunity to attack Romneycare for its inherent class warfare. Romneycare disincentivizes success and upward mobility by offering greater subsidies for lower income earners.
I still can't get over the fact that we are about to nominate the godfather of market-distorting government-run healthcare in an election against government-run healthcare. This is insane.