A quick recap of last night's Iowa Republican Presidential Debate. I actually watched it a second time to make sure I hadn't missed anything, because I was live blogging and tweeting at the same time during the first run, so sometimes I miss an important fact or two. (Thank God for DVRs)
Overall, the debate was the best one yet, because Fox was running the show. Instead of some hair-brained liberal moderators, the audience got intelligent questions that gave valuable insight and answered specific things that voters wanted to know. There were no "Coke or Pepsi" questions in Iowa last night.
Let's start with the leaders....
The former Speaker of the House was, as usual, far ahead of the pack when it came to quickly processing information and superior knowledge of political issues. You just can't beat Newt in this area. His brain is like a supercomputer and he can instantly retrieve small bits of data or old, forgotten information from the 1980s or 90s.
Newt took a few punches last night, but came away without any major damage. Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney landed some blows, but the extremely clever Gingrich managed to spin his way out of trouble on several occasions. He tried to excuse his way out of taking money from Fannie/Freddie, but didn't come away convincing many in the audience that he was righteous there. Bachmann punched him again on abortion, but Newt declared his bona fide pro-life history. Overall, Newt did reasonably well. He got the crowd pumped up when he bashed Obama and the power of the unaccountable judges of the Ninth Circuit Court.
Newt is still one of the favorites, but due to his mercurial nature, he could also be one big blow-up away from torpedoing his way out of the race completely.
Mitt Romney has been running for President for about 20 years now, and it shows. Romney was by far the smoothest and most polished candidate last night. He didn't make any major errors, and like Gingrich, tried to spin his way out of troubling issues from his past. I especially liked his preview of his attack on Obama for running GM and firing people and cutting dealerships.
Romney didn't do anything to help himself...he just stayed where he is...which is pretty good position being in the top 2 candidates just three weeks before Iowa votes in their caucuses.
I still consider Romney a horrible RINO and a soul-less flip-flopper, but I accept that he might actually be our candidate in 2012. He has always been near the top for over one year, so he has some staying power. Also, the establishment seems to be getting behind Romney because Newt Gingrich scares a lot of GOP voters with his wild and erratic behavior.
Rick Perry was charming and folksy. He didn't get a lot of questions, but he was a lot better prepared for them this time around. If only he had been willing to do some debate practice a few months ago... (sigh)
Ron Paul is supported by legions of activists who are known by the derogatory nicknames "Paulistas", or "Paulbots" or "Paultards" -- depending on who you are talking to. Ron Paul veered off the path of Conservatism and into his own little world of naive Libertarianism when he talked about Iran. He seemed almost happy that Iran would be getting a nuclear weapon soon. His attitude was "Why not?"
Ron Paul was attacked by Michele Bachmann, who called his attitude "dangerous"... and most of the audience seemed to agree. Despite this collateral damage, I think Paul still has an outside chance to win Iowa. His supporters are quite fanatical and will come running from several states to support him in Iowa. He will finish in the top 4 and continue his campaign. That is almost a given.
Bachmann was good last night...solidly Conservative. She spent a lot of time attacking Newt, Mitt and Ron Paul. Unfortunately, telling the voters how bad Newt is doesn't make you suddenly the best candidate. Michele has always had a "vision" problem. Nobody knows where she wants to lead the country. Yeah...she hates Obama...but who doesn't?
I fear Michele is falling behind. If she doesn't finish in the top 3 in Iowa, she will be out by Super Tuesday because her money will dry up.
I'm not really sure why Santorum is even running. He's a good Conservative, yes... but... you want to come into a Presidential race on a hot streak. You want to have won a race recently. Last time Santorum ran as the incumbent Senator in Pennsylvania, he got his ass kicked.
The polls are not wrong. Santorum has little to no support, and he will not win Iowa.
Any guy who goes to work for Obama is not a Conservative. Huntsman sucks and his whiny, snotty attitude has always rubbed me the wrong way. He is clearly perceived the same way by GOP voters. He has little to no support, and he'll be long gone by Super Tuesday.
One of the funniest people in the debate is former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. He wasn't at the debate, but he was tweeting about it all night like a kid in detention.
He kept tweeting things like "I'm the only pro-choice candidate!"
And "I'm the only pro-gay-marriage candidate".
Yep...those stances worked out so well that he's been denied access to most of the debates.
He is supported only by that 1% of GOP voters that hold those same opinions.