Saturday, January 05, 2008

Some thoughts on the Republican Debate

I liked the format, though I wasn't too thrilled with some of the questions and how long they stuck with the questions. The first two were really good but the one on healthcare was a waste of time except for this exchange:

Romney: "I like mandates."
Thompson: "I didn't think you were going to admit that."
Thompson also had the best response on illegal immigration: “attrition through enforcement.” That makes the most sense, if illegals can't get jobs, they'll leave. We don't have to round up anyone, they'll leave on their own. We also should make it easier to get into this country legally -- that would also help.

I liked the format, I liked that they could respond to each other. I thought Thompson came across as wise, an elder statesman who knew what he was talking about. Romney came across as thin-skinned and a politician making a stump speech. McCain came across as snippy and a smart aleck and he reminded me again why I don't want him to win. He still doesn't get why everyone but him realizes that he's talking about amnesty. Huckabee came across as subdued and uninspired. He stumbled in his response to the bunker mentality question and he didn't seem to say anything substantive the rest of the debate. No little quips or good humor. Did someone tell him that he couldn't use metaphors during his responses and that he had to be serious and humorless? Rudy almost made me want to vote for him -- he's a very persuasive politician. I can see why he's doing so well. But policy trumps persuasion as far as I'm concerned, that's why I support Thompson. He's good on policy as anyone who was paying attention could see.

And I really did like the end of the debate when Charlie Gibbson brought everyone on stage. It reminds you want is so great about this country, that we will be able to change government without blood shed. That we can be civil to each other. We have our differences but in the end we can still shake hands and let the best man win (hehe). But this is pretty funny.

I'll put up video when I find it.

Marc Ambinder on the debate:

On points, Fred Thompson won the debate.

Every answer was thoughtful and well-crafted; his tone matched the tone of the question; he wisely refrained from interjecting in the back and forth squabbling. He very deftly reminded viewers that he served on key Senate national security panels and is bringing his experience to bear. Even his insults were subtly and gently constructed In some ways, Thompson did McCain’s bidding. You skeptical readers can tell me that if Thompson had finished a solid fourth in Iowa, I might not be writing about Thompson at all, that said, he's still a candidate, and his performance tonight tells me his mind is not elsewhere.

I agree but I could be biased :-)

He also said this:
He and McCain sound like the adults on stage. Thompson is excelling on policy and style... McCain is even and cool-tempered... both doing what they need to do.
A whole bunch of people did a better job than I did liveblogging the debate. (How do they do it? I was trying to listen to everyone, when did they find time to type? :-) Here are some of them:

Sean Hackbarth at Fred Thompson's campaign blog.
Michelle Malkin
Political Radar which appears to be more process than content.
Jim Geraghty