I know Erick will be coming up with his analysis of the Republican debate in Michigan. It’ll be interesting to see how mine matches up with his.
Rick Santorum: You know, I kinda feel sorry for Rick. He was pretty much ignored during the last part of the debate. Which is a shame since he’s a pretty strong conservative, like most of the rest of the field. He gave good answers when he was asked questions, but they were so few and far between. I agree that he probably won’t be the Republican nominee.
Michelle Bachmann: She had a good night tonight. Not great, but good. But for me, I’m still upset about her attacks on Gardasil (yeah, she attacked Perry, but she went over the top regarding Gardasil). That’s a deal breaker for me.
Newt Gingrich: Smartest guy in the room. Again. However, I thought Newt was a bit too adversarial with the moderators at one point (having to do with the time limit on how to fix health care; he’s right, but he should have kept his point more succinct), although he made a great point about how the media deals with the nature of business. I’ve said before that I support Newt and haven’t changed my mind. Newt would chew up Obama in any debate, especially the kind he’s calling for.
Mitt Romney: I voted for him in the Illinois primary over John McCain in 2008. I think Mitt had a good debate tonight; but, and it’s a big but, he seemed to do a lot of sloganeering that I didn’t appreciate. Others did too, but it just doesn’t sit well with me when Mitt did it. He gave some good answers; I don’t think I’d have a problem voting for him. Remember who he’d be up against; Barack Obama is to the left of George McGovern, which is saying something.
Herman Cain: He had a strong debate. No doubt. Much of his economic policy is based on his 9-9-9 tax reform proposal; so in a debate about the U.S. economy, he’s going to mention it. Near the end, it was amusing seeing Jim Cramer try to keep Herman from mentioning 9-9-9; yet, Herman managed to get it in there within the context of Cramer’s question. A camera shot of Cramer after Herman spoke shows that Herman got the better of Cramer, and Cramer knew it as he was shaking his head. Great bit. But as with Ron Paul, Herman really has a very weak grasp of other policies (as was shown in his debate with Newt Gingrich over the weekend), and he seems to have a really hard time articulating straight-forward answers on issues important to conservatives. His answer from several weeks ago regarding abortion should have been simple, something akin to “I will appoint Justices and judges who will follow what’s in the Constitution”; Newt would not have made such a mistake. I think Herman is trying to do too much in the way of nuance for his answers. That is the exact wrong approach since nuance is about the only thing Obama does well.
Rick Perry: Oh. My. God. I don’t know how he’s going to recover. He mentions he’s going to get rid of three agencies, even though they were actually Cabinet-level departments, and he can only remember two of them (he did remember later; oy!!!). At the same time he’s trying to remember the third, he looks at Ron Paul, who says it was five. That reminded me of the bit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. Rick may be a great governor of Texas, but that’s all he’s going to be.
Ron Paul: Economics is his strong suit, so Ron did pretty well tonight. At one point, he went off on a rant and I just had to tune him out. Ron makes some good points on economics; he’s scary as hell on foreign policy. He won’t be the nominee.
Jon Huntsman: I don’t know why he’s still in the race (I have the same feeling about Santorum, Bachmann, and Paul). He isn’t bad. But to be honest, Jon seems to have too much of that “compassionate conservatism” in him. We don’t need another George W. Bush.
What do you think?