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Post Republican Debate Thoughts

Well, 2 hours of Republican national security debate coverage…along with a few hours combined of pre and post-debate commentary. Wow! It’s impressive how so many can spend so much time saying so little – and that’s just the pundits. In general I am impressed (unimpressed really) by how little the candidates seem to know about such an important subject.

A few impressions:

* Cain isn’t very well versed on foreign policy. He hedges his answers all the time. Some argue that he would study the issues and decide. Well, what if the first day on the job something happens and he doesn’t have time to cram?

* Bachmann: I have a hard time listening to her quite honestly. She spends a fair samount of time agreeing with other candidates and occassionally makes a good point. She reminds me quite a bit of Palin in her manner of speaking, which I don’t intend to be a compliment.

* Perry is the Magellan of the presidential field, circumventing the questions he is asked, but never quite making it to the end of the journey. He seems to be getting better during the debates, which considering how bad he was may or may not be saying much. It all seems like too little too late.

* Santorum seems fairly competent but uncharismatic. Quite honestly he doesn’t hold my interest when he speaks. It may be superficial, but he doesn’t seem to have the heft (gravitas) to be president.

* Jon Huntsman: My initial impression of Hunstman, from before this debate was that he was the typical pol. In this debate, he seemed to come out of his shell some and was definitely more in his element. Don’t know that he will win, but this debate will definitely give him a bump in the polls.

* Ron Paul makes sense on many issues. Many of the positions he has advocated are now much more widely accepted among his fellow candidates and Republicans. His debating style is inconsistent. On the plus side, he is much improved in defending his positions. On the minus side, his answers are not always clear to an audience who has not followed his writings and speeches. On a great many issues he has been right, but being right doesn’t always mean winning the presidency.

* Newt Gingrich: Newt has been rising in the polls lately. He has been emphasizing the depth and breadth of his knowledge. Whether or not this is necessarily true, it does seem to have a certain appeal. He appears very firm and confident with his answers and you at least have the impression that he has studied and thought about the issues at hand.

* Mitt Romney: Mitt has a bad habit of having what appears to be a smirk on his face while watching other candidates give their answers. My natural tendency seeing this is hoping someone will wipe it off for him. It’s a pet peeve and someone ought to help him out with this. On the issues, Mitt seems very well rehearsed. He has a long-standing record of changing positions, which Gingrich has been accused of as well. He has been running for president for many years and has the money and network to sustain his candidacy.

In the end, I think the final four candidates will be (in no particular order): Huntsman, Paul, Gingrich and Romney. Soon enough we will see who emerges in the Republican field. Hopefully whoever emerges will have the courage, knowledge, and know-how to meet the challenges that face our country.

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