ronald reagan is still dead

The only Reagan I saw in that debate hall Thursday night was Nancy Reagan…and she’s probably a moderate on social issues. But seriously folks…

Chris Matthews adds an interesting dynamic to the normal cookie-cutter type debate, where the moderator generally tries to stay above the fray and just asks the questions. Matthews should have been watching how Brian Williams handled the Democrats in their debate.  I can’t be objective about this overbearing jerk, and I can’t believe that I actually watched him badger the candidates when I could have been watching good stuff on network TV. Just as Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich were the distraction in the Dem debate, Chris Matthews filled the same role for this Republican debate. Grrr…I just wanted to slap him half the time.

Candidates who looked pretty good in my view:  Romney, Giuliani, and Huckabee.  Romney needs a better answer to those abortion questions. He needs to explain his conversion/evolution on that issue by being honest about his past. He won’t ever be that 100% conservative, but he might be able to change minds if he can just get his story straight on who he really is. Giuliani deserves credit, I guess, for telling us how he really feels about overturning Roe, but the answer that he gave could be a sticking point against him for SoCons who might have found other reasons to support him.  Huckabee performed better than I expected.  As others have said, there’s nothing to distinguish him as a leader or someone who one could see as the President of the United States.  He deserves a second look, but I don’t know about a second debate.

There’s no doubt in my mind that McCain would scare the heck out of terrorists, his views on torture aside.  But I didn’t see anything from him that convinced me that he should be the Republican nominee. His performance was disappointing.  It’s still early, so he has time to recover from this.

I liked listening to what  Ron Paul had to say.  Even though he had different views than most of of the other candidates, he still was able to articulate those views without sounding like Mike Gravel or Dennis Kucinich.    Unfortunately for him, only his die-hard fans believe that Dr. Paul actually won the debate.  (I really can’t say what exactly they saw that I missed…)

The rest of the field just faded out. We gave those second and third-tier candidates a chance to blow us away with their performance in this debate, and they did not.  I’m not sure whether this is a good idea to have all these candidates with minimal support as a part of debates. It limits the time for every candidate involved, and we need to hear more from Romney, Giuliani, and McCain than every other candidate.  I know that we are dissatisfied with those choices, but I didn’t see any of the other candidates step up Thursday night and show that they should be right there with the top three.

There’s also no guarantee that Fred Thompson will be the right guy for the Republicans to nominate.  Sure his record looks good, but do we really know that he could be a good President?  Being popular and photogenic only seems to work for Democrats. He’s the anti-”Rudy McRomney” and that seems to be enough for Republican conservatives.  Is this really the guy we want to run the country?  Maybe I’m the only one still skeptical of all the Fred hype.  We should nominate the best guy for the job, not necessarily someone who gets the most publicity.  I’m still undecided after this debate.  There’s still time for the top three (or Fred) to get my attention.
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