Conservatives rise from the dead in last night’s debate.

Last night, CNN, once again, put on a great debate.  Anderson Cooper wasn’t quite as good as Wolf Blitzer last time, but overall we learned more about the candidates than we knew at the beginning of the night.  Here are the fifteen greatest or most important moments from last night’s debate.

15.) Herman Cain still sounded strong and presidential when he told NYC’s Mob-for-Money that if they are poor they should work harder not to be poor. . . Instead of protesting.  We voted these politicians in.  They voted these politicians in.  This is the Obama economy.  You voted for Obama.  Obama gives a leg up to GE, Solyndra, Planned Parenthood, banks, etc.  But he does not help you.  Work hard and vote differently next time.

14.) Rick Santorum lied about his record.  He said that he was the only one that could win in a swing state.  He said that he was 3-0.  Unfortunately for Rick, he lost his last Senate race by a wide margin and that is one of the reasons he isn’t considered a serious candidate now.  When presidential frontrunner George Allen lost his senate seat, he wisely did not run for president.  We can’t run a loser for president.  Don’t lie about your record Rick.

13.) Rick Santorum did a great job talking about the importance of family, tax breaks for children and values.  This is his strength and I appreciated him dedicating time to it.  However, he needs a different swagger.  He is an attack dog rather than a president.  We need someone who seems willing and able to lead.  At this point, Santorum is just missing something you can’t put your finger on.      

 12.) Mitt Romney didn’t seem to understand what freedom of religion is about.  The First Amendment is not a restriction on voters, leaving them unable to determine who they should vote for based off of religious values.  It is a restriction on the government in telling voters how they should believe.  Mitt Romney seems to have it backwards.  He got back up from the audience of Romney supporters because no one wants to hear a candidate attacked on religious grounds.  But he needs to take a look at the freedoms that the First Amendment provides.   

11.) Mitt Romney seemed un-presidential when accusing Perry as desperate from a “tough couple of debates.”  Romney looked infantile.  Guess what Mitt, Perry wasn’t weak last night and his strength came at your expense.  Romney would do well to remember that it is his job to debate and our job to judge the candidates.  Romney is now the clear frontrunner as Cain is not a serious candidate and Romney again avoided being knocked out, but did nothing to secure the nomination.  I would be more worried about yourself.   

10.) Michelle Bachmann spoke to fellow moms about the hardships facing our country.  This is quintessential.  Many mothers tend to be caring people and often believe the democrat party to be the party that cares more than the republican party.  Often times this is how dems pick up women’s votes.  Michelle Bachmann took a good stab at trying to show that she is the leader of a party that cares.  This could have been the best moment of the night, but unfortunately, she simply told us to trust her without giving us any specifics.  Great statement Michelle, but you have to give us more! 

9.) Newt Gingrich gave us the facts.  He admitted that he didn’t believe Romneycare to be the worst of the worst of plans.  But he told Mitt straight to his face that he left Massachusetts with a huge debt and that the governor talked about how much debt Mitt left through his universal healthcare program.  Newt showed why he is the man of ideas.  He firmly rebuked Mitt Romney when Romney lied about Newt’s idea through the Heritage Foundation for an individual mandate.  He also talked appropriately about the role of faith and prayer in a leader’s life.  He has presented himself not as my favorite, but as someone I could vote, campaign and believe in.  Newt will rise in the polls slowly again after this debate.

8.) Rick Perry called Mitt Romney the “height of hypocrisy” by hiring illegals to work on his own property.  This may not have been the most logically sound attack on Romney but it goes a long way in showing that Perry is not the only one that has immigration issues.  We should let Romney continue to level attacks on Perry on immigration now.  See how it works.  Because now, Perry is prepared to strike back.  Perry got Romney to become frustrated and that is a good sign for conservatives.  Romney should be frustrated.  The Wednesday morning, Romney spin is that this issue is hurting Perry.  Next week’s polls will show differently.       

7.) Rick Perry did a fantastic job in distancing himself from Robert Jeffress’ comments about Mormonism being a cult.  He didn’t apologize for something he didn’t say.  He didn’t say he was dead wrong.  He simply said he didn’t agree with it.  What he means by that is anyone’s guess.  But who cares.  Mrs. Romney needs to stop whining like a little girl when people attack his religion.  His religion was started by a liar that married anyone woman that would marry him.  No matter how you cut it Mormonism is not the same as evangelical Christianity of Mormonism.  The rest is semantics.  Christians and Mormons would tell you there are major differences.  It is easy to attack people for questioning the tenets of Mormonism but it isn’t so easy to swallow their views concerning godhood and convenient social pivots away from racism and polygamy.  Mormons are good people that do a ton of good for people around the world.  But they are not Christians.  They are Mormons.  And that is ok, as long as we don’t confuse the two.  Lastly, Romney said that he wasn’t going to “lose sleep” over Jeffress’ comments.  But he spent a week losing oxygen over it as he demanded apologies.  Get real Mitt.

6.) Jon Huntsman thankfully skipped the debate. 

5.) Rick Santorum went after Mitt Romney hard.  He told Romney what we were all thinking, “You just don’t have credibility, Mitt, when it comes to repealing Obamacare, you have no track record on that we can trust.”  This is true.  Why would Mitt spend his political capital on overturning something that he believes is right for the country?  He won’t.  He will deliver a temporary waiver but unless he has 60 Republican Senate votes and a conservative majority (he’ll have neither) he won’t fight to make this happen.   He is untrustworthy.  Rick Santorum did a great job of showing us that and articulating a logical attack on Romney’s record. 

4.) The States got a big boost when the candidates agreed that the people of Nevada should decide if they want nuclear waste in Yucca mountain rather than D.C. dictating to them what to do.  This is good thinking and a major victory for state’s rights.  Well done Ron Paul.

3.) Herman Cain said that he would trade POW’s for one American solider?  What a terrible, terrible idea.  Herman Cain proved why he is a little too novel to become president.  Under no circumstances should we consider trading a soldier for suicide bombers.  Cain sent a message to “terrorists” that they can get their people back if they can get their hands on just one of ours.  We do not negotiate with terrorists.  Cain backtracked on this statement during the debate.  But I don’t know if it scarier that he said it or that he thought it was the “right” answer before being lambasted.  You shouldn’t have to focus group common sense answers Herman.  Soldiers know what they are signing up for.  Irresponsible “compassionate” decision making can end up hurting us in the long run. 

2.) Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax raising plan took a beating.  He did the best he could defining a bad plan.  Everyone attacked it as they should.  Bachmann was wrong and Ron Paul was right when he said that we shouldn’t be looking  to raise taxes on the poor but keep those taxes low while also lowering other people’s taxes.   Bachmann said she would raise taxes on the poor at least $1.00.  I understand the principle, but it is not a political winner and it serves no practical purpose.  It is straight ideology and we need solutions not red meat for the sake of red meat. 

1.) Rick Perry woke up.  He rose from the dead.  He had energy; he had attacks; he had points to make.  If anyone can beat Romney and Obama, the conservative hope rests alone with Rick Perry.  Perry showed that he has what it takes when he is prepared.  He still may be the worst debater on stage.  But he has the best record of job creation and business growth on the stage as well.  And that should mean something.  Looks like we have a few alternatives to Romney yet.