A somewhat longer assessment of the debate:
- Bachmann. Her candidacy is now effectively over. Her soft anyone-but-Romney support went elsewhere once Perry got into the race; her soft anyone-but-Perry support is now possibly lining up behind Romney; and her hard we-like-Bachmann core will not put her over the top.
- Cain. Did very well. Had the best crowd response of the night (his cancer story). Still not going to be the nominee.
- Gingrich. Also did very well. Still not going to be the nominee.
- Huntsman. Apparently people have been telling him to lay off of the Democratic party thing. Also not going to be the nominee.
- Johnson. Crazy eyes in the beginning, best line at the end. Need I say it?
- Paul. …Well, he didn’t make me yell at the computer screen. This time.
- Perry. It’s fair to say that he lost the debate last night. Perry needs to learn how to debate*, and he needs to nap before these things. Lots of people are wincing at last night’s performance; luckily for him, Perry can give a speech and he’s good at working a crowd. His immigration stance is going to hurt him in the primaries, though.
- Romney. It’s fair to say that he won the debate last night. The problem is that people in the grassroots just don’t really like him all that much.
- Santorum. When a serving member of the US military asks you a question, Mister Santorum, you will in the future preface your response with sincere thanks for that man’s service. Particularly if he happens to be fighting in a war that you support. And I do not care if you have a problem with that man’s choice in adult sexual partners. Are we absolutely, perfectly, completely clear about that, Mister Santorum?
As for the debate itself: it was… well, if it had stopped after the first hour it would have been a great debate. Insert my usual complaints about too many people on the stage; add one about the time. This dragged by the end.
PS: On the bright side, at least we don’t have to run Barack Obama as a candidate next year.
*Believe me, I’d be happy to help with that.