Friday, January 11, 2008

South Carolina Republican Debate

The candidates spent less time attacking each other tonight and focused more on their ideas. It was a pretty good debate given the limited time the candidates had to answer the questions.

Ron Paul is always interesting and I find myself agreeing with him in areas. We split dramatically when he brings everyone home and closes up shop. We can't ignore the rest of the world. It's not an ideal world, we're not going to stop people from hating us just because we leave them alone. Especially if we take our money when we walk away. I've gotten into an area that deserves a full rant and my drooping eyes won't stay open long enough for two topics, thus I'll move back to the debate and my thoughts.

If Fred Thompson had performed in other debates like he did tonight he'd probably be the front runner. Unfortunately, he's been a bit too laid back, unfocused sounding and definitely uninspiring. Tonight I swore he'd been reading my blogs and gotten the message. He was on point, his quips were timed perfectly and he came across strong and knowledgeable. This is the first time I've liked him.

Mitt Romney didn't lose any points with me, but he didn't gain any either. His performance wasn't as good as in the past. I had the feeling the weight of all the constant attacks was getting to him. Just a personal thought, not one based on anything he said. He just seemed a bit flat and there was a tightness to his expressions that I haven't noted before. Could be just the stress of campaigning.

John McCain tied with Thompson as a winner in my estimation. He was sharp, gave good answers, was strong in areas he needed to be and showcased his depth of commitment to cutting spending, lowering taxes, protecting the country and closing the borders.

Mike Huckabee had one of the best lines of the night when talking about the incident the other day with the five small boats menacing our ship. You're going to hear the quote a hundred times over the next few days if you listen to the news. Although he had some good responses overall I would make Huckabee my personal loser. He was definitely the one in everyone's sites. I think everyone lobbed an attack or two in his direction. He didn't defend himself very well. He left some of the barbs unanswered. Fred Thompson in particular targeted Huckabee, rather successfully overall.

Who's left? Ah, I almost forgot Rudy Giuliani. I wanted to like Giuliani tonight and I wanted him to perform well. In the past I've felt that he might be the best candidate to face Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. I'm losing faith in that premise and tonight didn't help his cause. I haven't had a chance to look at the tax plan he's proposing, but I'm glad to see he's presenting some ideas rather than simply talking about his past.

I'll be glad when we can whittle the field down a bit. I'd like to have debates that allow the contenders to flesh out ideas rather than have to squeeze as many words as possible into a short minute or two at most.

Aside from Ron Paul, I'll say again that I'd be happy with any of these guys leading our country. There is so much strength of character and passion on that stage!

By the way, I don't know the criteria for choosing the candidates to include in the debate, but I did not like it that Duncan Hunter was excluded. He at least has won a delegate. I'm sure we'll be losing him as a candidate sometime in the near future. When the media ignores you it's just a matter of time.

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