Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Quick hits on the debate...

1. Analysis: This was the most boring piece of crap yet. For a good chunk of the candidates, their positions could be explained as: Free trade is the cornerstone of our economy...free trade means subsidies and tariffs, right?

Romney gave his least automoton-ish performance yet (a low bar, admittedly), and actually scored some points with me on health care- but otherwise, he continued to show that he is willing to support whatever is most politically convenient; he also had one of the only amusing lines of the debate (the "Law and Order" bit).

Of the "top-tier" candidates, only McCain showed both economic literacy and a willingness to respect his economic literacy- too bad most Republicans have an irrational hatred of him second only to their irrational hatred of a certain congressman from Texas.

Ron Paul had his weakest performance to date, though he was still obviously the most economically literate man on the stage; he also seemed rattled by the decision of the moderators to give him less time than just about anyone; the question about support for the ultimate nominee was outright demeaning, especially after the Q3 fundraising.

Thompson...ugh.....Well, he's an honest enough guy, and he has a modicum of economic literacy, but he just looks like a deer in the headlights half the time (he may have been the only person Nixon was ever right about). His "me too" on Huck's defense of ethanol subsidies was mind-numbingly stupid.

Tancredo actually sounded coherent about issues other than immigration for once, and even though I think he's dead wrong on immigration, you have to give the guy points for intellectual honesty.

Duncan Hunter....this guy passes for a conservative these days....how, exactly? Every word that came out of his mouth was the antithesis of limited government.

Giuliani probably came off as the most likable candidate today. Unfortunately, this may have obscured the complete lack of consistency in any of his positions.

Huckabee showed even more economic illiteracy than Hunter, although his talk about the FAIR tax always gives me a fleeting hope that maybe he has a clue.

Brownback put me to sleep as usual, though he clearly has a clue when it comes to economic issues- too bad he's running on a "family values" platform. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that he's been working with Biden on the Three State Solution, which means that somewhere in that orthodoxy-filled head of his there is some capacity for intellectual rigor.