Romney’s reponse to his Spanish ads is the first wretched answer of the night and a bewildering error. Especially when Tancredo follows him up. Surely a coherent position between the Party of the Future and We Need That Thing to Hold Us Together can be drawn? Even McCain starts with Muchas Gracias: “Hispanics is what we’re talkin’ about.” He’s right about immigrant soldiers. But isn’t the point being lost in the vastness of generality now?
Back to specificity: how, comes the question, can the GOP avoid further failure by not doing things Bush has done? McCain: no spending. Ruxpin recasts question as “Bush’s biggest mistake.” Rudy fails to bring out a serious, focused, clear answer. Romney actually seems to be blaming Bush for being small bore? Says “the Party of the Future” again. Brownback wants to cure cancer — a great idea — but Bush’s greatest mistake? Tommy T. gives us an accurate but meandering laundry list. Tancredo hits it square-on — a THIRD time. Ron Paul finishes it off. Wait — sorry, Gilmore. “Principle is the difference.” Yes, but this is an abstract version of what Tancredo and Paul said, and he now has to resort to a laundry list that rushes to an attack on Hillary.
It would appear that Tancredo and Paul will not die this time, showing new life, more intense focus, and much better delivery; that Huckabee dances along the edge of the abyss; and that all the other lower-tier guys are toast. Romney had an odd debate, vanishing at midpoint and choosing strangely to go for the Rhetoric of the Future. McCain’s Grim Determination is as amenable to nitpicking as a slab of granite, and just about as inspiring. Rudy continues to seem to fall somehow short of the goal. He seems to think that the litmus test for being an American is the person who thinks the most or the best of Freedom. Surely this is a caricature, and an incomplete one at that. McCain’s one shot at inspiration is here, and no surprise that he gets all lyrical and moving where Rudy sounds clipped and merely adequate.