So Fred Thompson says that ordinary Americans don't watch debates. Count me as not ordinary, I found the debate on Fox two nights ago rather lively. (Also, I did not catch Fred on Leno.) However, the post event spin puzzled me. Frank Luntz, pollster and spinologist gave the nod to John McCain. By the way, his focus group literally had little hand dials they spun to record their impressions, giving newer meaning to that much abused word. I found McCain to be vague, but the audience liked his style. His best answer was on why he didn't sign the "no tax increase" pledge, where he said he stood on his record. Rudy Giuliani took the toughest questions, and though I have a tough time forgiving him for the Michael Milken prosecution, he gave thoughtful, direct answers. On the pledge question, he said it better than McCain, standing both on his record and then saying as a matter of principal, a future President should not start signing pledges everywhere to appease interest groups.
I had been thinking I would be boosting Mitt Romney. I like him on the basis of being the tallest, having good hair and a sense of humor. But he seemed very flat. He made a pretty lame joke about the Democrat tax cut plan of $250 per person not even paying for a John Edwards hair cut. It didn't work for me when Mitt clearly spends some green on his own personal appearance. That John Edwards gets fancy haircuts never bothers me anyway, if the wealthy want to spend their money that way, thanks for keeping people employed. But to then get hypocritical and go after the rest of us who are trying to earn a living and shield a little of our money from Uncle; and blame our selfishness for the poverty in America galls me. But I digress. Mitt looked bad and for the life of me, I can't remember any distinguishing position he took.
Ron Paul got the most applause and the most boos. I thought he looked like a jackass. A case can be made for his positions, but he did little to persuade people and he sounds irresponsible. Also, he was the winner of the text messaging poll, go figure. (Mysteriously, the next day he was listed as second.)
Overall, it was a good debate except for the stupidity on immigration. All the candidates, except Paul, of course, talking tough and building walls; no one addressing the root causes of the problem. Perhaps more on that later.