The Spectacle Blog

Something is Rubbing Me Wrong in Tonight’s Debate

By on 9.22.11 | 9:48PM

I've seen way too much sloganeering and far too little substance tonight. For a while I thought Romney was coming across well while not actually saying anything, but now he is somehow a little too "in our faces." He's talking too fast and is too hyped up. Perry, meanwhile, seems too intent on attacking Romney, without having much of substance to say for himself. Both of them are now sounding like boys in a silly schoolyard tussle.

Bachmann has said a number of silly things (for a while she even sounded like she was saying that people should be able to keep EVERY single dime they earn, which is of course ridiculously pie in the sky; she later clarified, but not very effectively).

Gingrich has been solid on substance, as usual. Too bad he is not termperamentally or intellectually suited to being president (he's too mercurial).

Herman Cain is great, as usual.He  smiles and is engaging and constantly interesting on substance.

Huntsman, Paul (Mr. We're At Fault for 9/11) and Johnson are irrelevant.

Santorum's first answer (on unions) was okay substantively (he hit public employee unions), but it didn't answer the question, which was about whether he would support a federal right-to-work law. It also came across as a bit muddled. Not good overall. His next two chances to talk, though, he was superb. So says my wife. He was right on target on education being the job of parents, not government, and he drew blood, BIG TIME, against Perry on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. As Karl Rove (never known particularly as a Santorum guy) wrote in today's WSJ column, Santorum is the only one who has been solid in all of the previous three debates. He's smart and good on his feet. He just needs to avoid sounding peevish, and he needs to know when to back off just a tad and smile a bit more.

More later.... we're an hour into this right now.

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