GOP Reagan Debate: Rapid Reax

Wanted to jot down a few thoughts immediately following the Reagan Debate tonight.  I thought it was a helpful debate, and made a few things clear:

1) Newt Gingrich was the best man onstage tonight, and would likely be on any given night.  He is brilliant at getting to the heart of a political issue, and bringing it home ideologically.  He would make a great adviser for any GOP President.

2) Romney has great stage presence, and controls his emotions and redirects questions from the media perfectly in a way that he feels he can handle the issue.  I don’t necessarily like his answers, but I know what they are.

3) Jon Huntsman is incapable of winning, and I think he began to realize that tonight.  Now he just wants to be a good friend of someone there.  Maybe they’ll appoint him as Ambassador to China.

4) Michelle Bachmann held her own tonight.  Staying solidly in the middle.  I don’t think she hurt herself, nor improved her position.

5) Rick Santorum is too much of a stick-figure.  I don’t have faith that he has the ability to lead a divided country, and that he can successfully represent the American people.

6) Herman Cain had some great one liners, and comes across as a very solid candidate.  I love that he brings only experience in the private sector to the table, and I think some of his ideas are great (the 9-9-9 deal and the Chilean example).

7) Ron Paul was as I expected him to be – more conservative than everyone else.  My opinion on Paul remains the same: he helps keep the conservative base grounded, but he’s not Presidential material.  I like a lot of what he says, but I think he’s also too extreme.  He helps keep the rest of the conservatives from venturing too far into the middle.

8 ) Rick Perry didn’t hurt himself tonight, and that makes this a win for him.  He was strong on some issues, and weak on others.  He’s not the best in a debate, and I don’t expect him to improve dramatically in that category.  I think he was strong on Texas’ record of job creation, clean air, and executions.  Conservative Americans do want justice, and the death penalty is a symbol of a strong sense of justice.  As far as climate change goes, he need only mention how many times we have heard, “Scientists *now* believe…”  Climate change began as global cooling, then became global warming… he’s right that the facts have not yet been determined.

Extra thought:

– It’s obvious that Brian Williams has moderated before – I expected a decent performance from him.  However, I like Politico but thought that John Harris’ job as moderator was terrible.