The GOP Debate

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

Ed60d1b6ed464c87ad69389536383cadI didn’t (nor wouldn’t) watch it, but I was curious as to what the right blogosphere and right punditry thought.  The consensus seems to be this, as expressed by the New York Sun:

But, now, to name the winners and losers. Off the bat, let me stipulate that I don’t consider any of the seven dwarves to necessitate much analysis. Ron Paul is a pure libertarian, so I always enjoy hearing from him. But I’ll stick mostly here to the Big Three. Winner: Mitt Romney. Loser, by a mile: Rudy Giuliani. Treading water: John McCain.

Mr. Romney: If anyone stood out from the other candidates, in terms of looking polished and poised, it was clearly Mr. Romney. He got off some of the best lines of the night, partially because Chris Matthews gave him some oddball questions (I particularly liked: "I don’t say anything to Roman Catholic bishops. They can do whatever the heck they want." [see: 8:38]). He, more than any of the others, managed to sound reasonable and assured no matter what he was saying. He’s still got a major flip-flopping problem, and basically lied about it during his answers on abortion. But any casual observer of the debate (were there any non-junkies watching?) would probably have to view him as head-and-shoulders above the others.

Mr. Giuliani: At this point, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the Giuliani campaign is in a full meltdown. The former mayor simply wasn’t himself on that stage, trying to contort himself into something the religious right can accept, while at the same time refusing to pander to them in any way that would actually help him win the nomination. Basically, he was offending them while seeming terrified of offending them. His answer on abortion [see: 8:29] will go down as one of the worst moments of either debate so far this season — just painful to watch. His inability to say more than five seconds worth of positive things about Christian conservatives [see: 8:44] was also truly awful. He was thrown a softball and chose to bash himself over the head with the bat instead. The campaign is still salvageable for Mr. Giuliani, but if tonight wasn’t his operation’s wake-up call, nothing will be.

Mr. McCain: Maybe it’s because I’ve seen too much of him recently, but Mr. McCain was really relying on a lot of canned lines at this debate, and it was grating. He didn’t embarrass himself like Mr. Giuliani, but he didn’t distinguish himself either. He may be the tortoise in this race. But it’s no fun watching him plod.

But almost everyone agrees — when Fred Thompson enters the race, all bets are off.

AmericaBlog notes that the name of the current President was only mentioned once by the GOP candidates (except for the last question, where they were specifically asked what they would do differently then Bush).  Clear proof that the man has no coattails.

UPDATE from The American Street:

Most Republican bloggers say Romney won. Andrew Sullivan said McCain won. What did post-debate polling of the American public say?

Giuliani won.

According to an instant SurveyUSA poll, Rudy Giuliani convincingly won tonight’s Republican presidential debate. Giuliani was picked as the winner by 30% of those in California who watched, followed by Mitt Romney at 12% and Sen. John McCain at 11%. All other candidates were in single digits.

That’s the GOP dillemma in a nutshell. The guy most Americans agree with, who outpolled the combined percentages of #2 and #3 by 30% to 23%, met with sharp disapproval of Republican activists (those most likely to vote in GOP primaries).

More observations from the Anonymous Liberal