Get a mop! There's blood on the floor. McCain, Huckabee and Guiliani gave Romney what appeared to be a gang initiation by beating. It looked painful. It makes me think of Reagan's 11th commandment of 'thou shalt not speak ill of fellow republicans'. Perhaps they thought it was okay because Mitt is basically a liberal flip-flopper anyway? I don't know, but it didn't really make any of them look good. What you didn't see of course was Romney's attack ads which prompted this bashing as much as his polling if not more, no doubt. Blowback anyone?
As usual, Ron Paul came across as the smartest guy in the room, though personally I thought he could have done much better. Mostly in articulation but also in assertiveness. His thoughts on foriegn policy were spot on and well said and really quite irrefutable. To boil it down: They hate us because we're fucking with them. It's a pretty simple concept really and backed up by all credible intelligence experts. Somehow though, this idea that even a child can grasp, that if you poke a hornet's nest you'll get stung, was completely beyond the comprehension of all the other Republican candidates. Rudy was the most ignorant of the bunch, claiming that foriegn policy has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism, in fact he said flat out that foreign policy is 'irrelevant, totally irrelevant'. The depths of the man's ignorance is quite astonishing. Of course, he's not alone, the entire non-Paul crowd clamorred about islamofasism, jihadists and a worldwide caliphate. I suppose they also don't understand the concept of overloading the capacity to be afraid with excessive fear mongering either.
Paul also spoke well on the economy, but not so much on healthcare... he sort of blended the two together. He was correct, of course, but I think he could have done himself better with the healthcare question sepparate. Fred Thompson also used this opportunity to take a swipe at Paul (breaking Reagan's 11th just like the rest), unfortunately for him. Unfortunate because Fred didn't have such a bad night and like Paul stayed above the fray for the most part. This one swipe though sort of ruined it for him and I know a lot of paleoconservatives who like both Paul and Thompson who will take this very personally. Also, on a strictly clinical level, if Fred Thompson really didn't understand Paul's explanation of how printing money out of thin air and endless war and nation building prevents us from affording healthcare, then he's really not qualified for the big chair, is he? Back to Paul and healthcare though... This is the second time I've seen him field that question and in neither one did he state the simple fact that he's a medical doctor. Why? This is too humble in my humble opinion. The man is a world class economist, a renowned student of foriegn policy and a medical doctor... he could be called in court to testify as an expert in any of these areas, so throw it out there and let people know.
The run down...
Huckabee was coming off of a media created fake 'surge' that just gave him Iowa and while he got some good licks in on Romney, other than than that seemed like a deer in the headlights and in fact only drew attention to the fact that he's not ready to swim with the sharks or sit at the big table. Prediction: Huck's 'surge' is over, he'll be in single digits for the next two or three states and then drop out.
Romney. He's done. His Wyoming victory has been completely overshadowed and erased. He'll probably run vicious attack ads as a 'rebuttal' but it will do little good. His showing in New Hampshire will be very poor and despite throwing gobs of cash at his campaign he's already seen his high point and has nowhere to go now but down.
Guiliani. Has shown himself to be a complete imbecille on foriegn policy. People were already turning against him for his authoritarian attitude and his overuse of 9/11 scare tactics. His big hope is Florida and when that doesn't come through for him, he'll be done.
McCain. Would have done better if he had said less. He's riding a re-surge, but it won't translate to any money (ask Huckabee) and he'll continue his shoestring campaign to the bitter end. If he weren't so damn wrong on foriegn policy and Iraq, he'd be a shoe in for president. Along with Paul, he's the only Republican that can draw independent and crossover votes in any significant numbers and the math says that you can't win without that. In the end I'd say he has a fair chance of recieving the nomination.
Fred Thompson. He actually said something. In fact, other than what I pointed out above, he didn't make too much of a fool of himself. I think his fans and the media in general will make a big hoopla about this, perhaps even declare him the winner. I guess for him, he did a lot, really though even if he were energetic and charismatic, which he is neither, he would be unelectable on his record alone. It is the mere fact that he's so boring which has kept him from serious media scrutiny all this time and he's the better off for it.
Ron Paul. Could have done better. Could have done worse. Really needs to do something drastic. It seems as though his grassroots army is doing all the heavy lifting here. It's time Paul himself and his paid campaign do something amazing themselves. Give the boots on the ground something to cheer, something to magnify, something to hope. His biggest problem, strangely enough is the democrats. Hillary is losing and it'll be a much harder contest against Edwards or Obama and those two are both stealing the indies as well. Time to get crazy, perhaps offer a hand of friendship in the name of 'Change' bi-partisanly. Prediction: Paul takes 2nd in New Hapshire (though 1st isn't out of the question) and it will be seen as the real begining of something new(as well as the end of old-news punditry).
Hillary's voice is shrill and annoying. Most of what I hear is that they all want to bankrupt the country. They're planning huge and costly 'programs' and an avalanche of taxes to pay for them. Obviously they are all so out of touch with middle America that they don't realize there's a bunch of folks out there living paycheck to paycheck and hand to mouth who are barely making it under the huge tax burden they're already shouldering.
Perhaps they caught the scent of Romney's blood in the water from the previous debate. The attack is on. Hillary, Ice Queen draws first blood but Obama and Edwards circle their wagons and begin a tag-team. Richardson remains out of the fray, mostly recounting his own extensive credentials. In the end, Hillary loses big, though I'm sure her campaign machine and her friendly news outlets will somehow spin it differently. Obama came out even-steven and Edwards definitely won. Richardson seemed to be in a different debate, with only himself and neither won nor lost. The entire debate was very much lessened by the lack of Kucinich, the lone real anti-war candidate on the Democrat side. Too bad, but really he'd been marginalized all along because he serves to highlight the fact that the Dems are really just as pro-war was the Republicans and thus he was messing it up for all of them. On that note, Hillary once again took the opportunity to point out multiple times how different they 'all' were than their Republican counterparts, which would have been humorous if it weren't so sadly false. I can find very little difference between her policy and that of Bush. They are so like, that she seems to be using the same tactic philosophy of - repeat it enough and they'll believe it. "We're totally different", "There are weapons of mass destrution". When will it end?
The run down...
Hillary did terrible. She's far from done however. Her political machine is beyond enormous and reaches into both parties as well as every industry. She'll battle on to the end and will not accept (or be offered?) a vice presidential spot. Ultimately I sincerely hope she loses, but won't predict such a thing, especially since she hasn't even opened her bag of dirty tricks yet.
Obama sort of rode this one out. Not bad, not great. He seems tired. The Hillary machine will find some way to attack him over the debate and he's about to come under super scrutiny from the media anyway. Can he withstand it? Only time will tell.
Edwards wins again. He's good. He actually has a good message for the most part and I'd be backing him if he didn't set my truthiness detector off so much. Alas. He'd be smart to form a coalition now, before things get really dirty. In some way's he's in a better position than Obama because he's already run and been vetted and that could be a bit of a bargaining chip.
Richardson. Really the only remaining Democrat running who is actually qualified to be President. He still hasn't found a way to display his credentials without sounding awkward and self agrandizing. Too bad. He'll make an alliance soon, throw his support and earn a cabinet position... but with whom?
I'll make more posts as long as my connection holds. Sorry for lack of cites and poor spelling... I'm working with the equivalent of bear skins and stone knives here.