My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Thoughts on the Republican Debate 

I actually sat through almost all of the debate tonight. I guess that's quite a testimony to (or an indictment of) the value of Thursday night television.

Overall, I thought it was pretty weak. Nobody really made any great points, nobody made any major blunders. The dominant performance of the night was put in by NBC, as its questioning was mind-numbingly inane. Nobody had a chance to really find their stride in the debate because they we constantly trying to re-frame the breathtakingly stupid questions.

Which leads me to my one frustration of the night: nobody took on the media and challenged the premises of the questions. For instance, Tim Russert recited a litany of statistics that makes it look like the economy is in the tank right now compared to seven years ago, and the only thing I could think of was "Well, Tim, there were a few intervening events between 2001 and today. For one thing, the economy in January 2001 was already headed downward, and by July 2001 none of those statistics you started from were valid any more. For another thing, this country absorbed a massive economic shock September 11 and I don't think anybody could have possibly foreseen that after that event, the economy quickly rebounded . . . " and so on. But NOOO none of these guys could muster the stomach to refute the underlying premise. And so the spin from the media continues . . .

Mike Huckabee continues to impress in these debates. He's not very substantive, but he speaks extremely well, and communicates in a way that no prominent Republican in the last 8 years has been able to. Too bad he's wrong on so much, but he certainly could have a lot of value in a Republican administration.

Other than that, I don't think this debate could change very much. McCain certainly didn't dent Romney's momentum, and I don't think Rudy managed to steal back the spotlight. Ron Paul was his usual wacky self, and Huck provided little levity. Other than that, not much to report.

The Romney momentum is the surprise new development. The RCP average has him down by just one now, and four of the last seven polls published have him in the lead--quite a change from a few weeks ago when McCain was at the top of every poll. Watch this space over the next few days to see if Romney can consolidate that lead.

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