Animadversions.

The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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GOP “Debate” post-game.

May 3rd, 2007 · No Comments · Politics

This round featured even more also-rans than the Dems. Brownback, Gilmore, Hunter, Thompson and Tancredo should just drop out. They’re creepy, uncharismatic and barely coherent. Thompson especially came across as a barely-contained bigot and an overt homophobe.

Like Mike Gravel last time, Ron Paul was a dark-horse winner this time around. While admittedly flakey and somewhat unsettled in the way Libertarians can sometimes be, he came across as focused, clear and consistent. He used strict constructionism as a crutch a couple of times, but I think he really did wonders for his visibility in the campaign.

I think Huckabee is absolutely the front-runner for VP nomination (though I can imagine McCain doing something crazy like tapping Lieberman as well). He’s a measured, engaging speaker who could lend conservative weight to a ticket.

Among the Big Three, I’d say that Romney was the most impressive. He was on-message (awful though the message may be) and had more presence on stage than all of the others combined. I’d expect to see a decent bump for him in the polls in the coming week.

Giuliani wound up waffling on a number of big issues - abortion foremost amongst them. He’s not terribly confident and comes across as being deeply uncomfortable on stage. I was, however, VERY impressed when he nailed a question about the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims that came out of left-field.

McCain’s efforts to seem more animated were… awkward. I honestly don’t know how to respond to his yelling about chasing Osama bin Laden into the maw of Hell itself. His repeated joke-cracking seemed forced and weird (though, admittedly, he’s ALWAYS been that way). His extremely strong support for stem cell research was heartening, as was his statement that he believes in evolution (even if he immediately qualified the statement with some random comment about God’s hand in creating the Grand Canyon).

If I had to rank the winners amongst the four who aren’t totally clown-shoe candidates, I’d go:

Romney - I can see him potentially nudging into double digits.
Paul - He could actually wind up getting on the radar nationally.
McCain - At best, he held on to the support he’s got. A point or two of decline wouldn’t surprise me.
Giuliani - He’s been in free-fall all week. Tonight probably won’t help to break that fall.

I WANT to like McCain and - to a lesser extent - Giuliani, but I just can’t do it. Everyone else on the stage (with the exception of Paul) honestly made me fundamentally uncomfortable. I am legitimately afraid of most of them potentially attaining higher office.

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