I finally got a chance to watch the latest GOP debate. I have to say I don't necessarily agree with everyone's belief that Perry was horrible. Yeah, he lost his place near the end when he was trying to attack Romney for flip flopping, but that was after nearly two hours of debating. I don't see how that was a big deal. I also think he handled the immigration issue as well as he could have without going back on his record. He did make the point that granting in-state tuition to illegals was overwhelmingly popular in Texas and doesn't the idea of states' rights mean that states get to try out things that the citizens of that state want? Huntsman got a lot of applause for saying that healthcare policy should be solved by letting the 50 different states experiment with solutions, doesn't that apply to immigration as well? Anyway, here are some more thoughts on the candidates:
Romney: Like always, the Dorian Gray of the GOP won the debate as he was the one that seemed most Presidential and was the most polished. However, it is so incredibly clear based on Romneycare, his answers on Social Security (that we have to fix the program not replace it with anything market based), and his comments on Race to the Top, that he is a big government Republican. He doesn't believe in small government, he believes that he can make government work "efficiently", as if that is even possible. Once in office, he won't look to scrap Obamacare, he will probably set up commissions to study ways to make it work better. So if we elect him, we will probably be stuck with Obamacare until we are completely bankrupt as a nation. Also, he gave a very weak pro-Israel answer to the question about Israel. All he said was that he won't criticize them in public. I'm sure the Obama people will be able to point to all the times Obama was supportive of Israel in public. At one point, Obama even said he didn't think Jerusalem should be divided. So I'm not as worried about what our President says in public as what he really says in private and what he threatens the Jewish state with if they don't make peace with terrorists. I know a lot of people after the debate seemed to say "you know, Romney isn't so bad, I just want to beat Obama", even people who previously supported Bachmann. Well, if we elect Romney, I don't think we will get the change that we need, the change that will help save this country, we will probably just get Obama-lite. Just remember, his father was a liberal Republican and a major rival of Reagan's back in the 1960's. I don't think the apple fell far from the tree.
Perry: As I mentioned above, I don't think he did that poorly in the debate. Also, his off-hand badminton comment about sparring with Romney made him seem relatively jovial and good-natured. That said, he definitely didn't win the debate. I'm also not sure how much spending he would actually cut, especially after the "have a heart" comment with regards to the DREAM act. He like W, seemed conservative because he was from Texas, but it's easy to do that in a very conservative state (I don't have the same reservations about someone like Santorum who was very conservative in a much more centrist state). Just like W., there is a good chance he will disappoint us small government types when in office.
Santorum: He really did quite well. It was refreshing to hear someone talk about actually winning the war on terror. It seems so many simply act like "well, we're in it and I guess I'll continue it". Also, his question to Perry on how his Texas border protection plan was working was a good one. Perry had no answer to that one. If he can only surprise in Iowa, he could go far.
Bachmann: Her red outfit didn't really keep her from fading into the background. She has very clearly lost momentum and seems to be unsure of how to get it back.
Huntsman: I really like a lot of his answers with regards to the economy. Unfortunately, he has some major fatal flaws e.g. his support of cap and trade and his desire for us to turn tail and run out of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Gingrich: Plays the elder statesman role in the debate awfully well. He doesn't really seem to be trying to win, he just seems to like having people listen to what he says. He also is getting people to forget all the batsh*t crazy things he said in the past.
Cain: In earlier debates, I was often fast forwarding through his answers. He was so clearly not ready for prime time, but he definitely got better with some practice. His comment on how he would be dead under Obamacare really rang true.
Paul: Same as he ever was. Luckily he got to stay away from foreign policy in this debate and stick with his strengths which is anything else. I also liked his criticism of the e-verify system. Do we really want all our information stored in some government controlled system? That seems awfully close to a national ID system which I remember many conservatives being against in the past.
Johnson: Seemed awfully nervous in the debate but I did like his joke about how the dogs next door were more shovel ready than Obama's stimulus. He was definitely a good Governor for New Mexico but that is probably all he will ever be.
In conclusion, this debate didn't really solve anything. As usual, Romney was the best debater, Perry needed help and everyone else was a sideshow. I just wish I felt I could trust Romney and then all could just be decided already. Unfortunately, neither I nor anyone can do that.