Wanted to jot down a few thoughts immediately following the Reagan Debate tonight. I thought it was a helpful debate, and made a few things clear:
1) Newt Gingrich was the best man onstage tonight, and would likely be on any given night. He is brilliant at getting to the heart of a political issue, and bringing it home ideologically. He would make a great adviser for any GOP President.
2) Romney has great stage presence, and controls his emotions and redirects questions from the media perfectly in a way that he feels he can handle the issue. I don’t necessarily like his answers, but I know what they are.
3) Jon Huntsman is incapable of winning, and I think he began to realize that tonight. Now he just wants to be a good friend of someone there. Maybe they’ll appoint him as Ambassador to China.
4) Michelle Bachmann held her own tonight. Staying solidly in the middle. I don’t think she hurt herself, nor improved her position.
5) Rick Santorum is too much of a stick-figure. I don’t have faith that he has the ability to lead a divided country, and that he can successfully represent the American people.
6) Herman Cain had some great one liners, and comes across as a very solid candidate. I love that he brings only experience in the private sector to the table, and I think some of his ideas are great (the 9-9-9 deal and the Chilean example).
7) Ron Paul was as I expected him to be – more conservative than everyone else. My opinion on Paul remains the same: he helps keep the conservative base grounded, but he’s not Presidential material. I like a lot of what he says, but I think he’s also too extreme. He helps keep the rest of the conservatives from venturing too far into the middle.
8 ) Rick Perry didn’t hurt himself tonight, and that makes this a win for him. He was strong on some issues, and weak on others. He’s not the best in a debate, and I don’t expect him to improve dramatically in that category. I think he was strong on Texas’ record of job creation, clean air, and executions. Conservative Americans do want justice, and the death penalty is a symbol of a strong sense of justice. As far as climate change goes, he need only mention how many times we have heard, “Scientists *now* believe…” Climate change began as global cooling, then became global warming… he’s right that the facts have not yet been determined.
– It’s obvious that Brian Williams has moderated before – I expected a decent performance from him. However, I like Politico but thought that John Harris’ job as moderator was terrible.