Lax Debate Reax
Given the avalanche of media analysis surrounding Monday night’s Republican presidential debate (and my own two hours of live-blogging for, I have been somewhat hesitant to run the subject into the ground with any additional commentary. But since several of you have asked for at least my summary reaction to the evening, upon further reflection, here it is:
Anytime Mitt Romney looks more presidential rather than less, it’s a good night for him. Yes, Michele Bachmann was the breakout star of the movement conservative crowd, as I thought she might be from my previous interaction with her. Yet, for all the impact that Bachmann may have on the campaign discourse in the primaries, she is still a long way from being a viable Republican nominee.
Finally, the night was a disaster for Tim Pawlenty, who only deepened the doubts some Republican political elites have about his toughness under pressure. The road to the White House in New Hampshire runs straight through Mitt Romney. Pawlenty seemed to understand this on Sunday morning with his clever ObamneyCare line, but forgot it in a big way on Monday night. You could literally feel him freeze in the spotlight, as he struggled over whether to hit Romney hard on health care. As for all the others, there was plenty to entertain, and one may now wonder whether it’s even rhetorically possible for the Republican Party’s political discourse to skew any further to the right, but it doesn’t change the reality that none of these other folks (including Newt Gingrich) will be the nominee in 2012.


Posted On: 06-16-2011 00:31:00 by Jim Splaine
Good comments, Dean. I agree that Tim Pawlenty showed his flag as a wimp. As for Mitt Romney, I think his New Hampshire support is soft, and he was actually hoping and looking for an attack (and I bet he was well-rehearsed for one) so he could look "presidential," whatever that means, and stand up to the attack. He lost that opportunity. He did fine, but unless he does better than that -- sort of like pulling a Ronald ("I paid for this microphone...") Reagan -- his support could erode to others who look like they're the go-to candidates as we get closer to December and January.

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