Below is a review of each candidate from last night’s debate as seen by the VOR:
1. Mitt Romney was clearly the adult in the room. He answered most of the questions he was asked directly (most others seemed to answer a question we never heard asked), his responses were the most content-rich and reasonable, and he was gracious to his opponents at times, and tough on them at others. Presidential temperament. In addition, I agreed with most of his views which also helped me like him.
2. If the Rick Perry we saw last night is the true Rick Perry, I hope he doesn’t win the nomination. He often avoided questions, several of his answers were full of non-sequitors, his points of view seemed odd, and he didn’t present compelling plans for the economy, national defense, or American leadership. He seemed stiff, and a bit cocky too, but cocky without grounds to be. Often he was asked a question where the compelling answer was easy and obvious, and he fumbled through several of these. Last night anyway, he seemed like an empty suit.
3. Newt Gingrich offered his usual intellectual insight that makes one think “yes, that’s right, I never thought of that but that’s right”, but something in his personality and lack of presidential charisma says we are better off with him as an advisor, perhaps a cabinet member or consultant. A smart, maybe brilliant man who is too quickly dissed by the left and the media as a lunatic. Listen to him with an open mind, and learn.
4. Michele Bachmann is compelling in so many ways, but listening to her and then Mitt in sequence shows the huge divide in their experience and maturity. Most of Bachmann’s principles, however, are conservative ones that Republicans can rally around, and several of them should be adopted and espoused more clearly by the top-tier candidates.
5. Herman Cain is just plain fun, and much smarter and more accomplished than most people think. If you watched the debate last night you could see this. The best thing about Herman Cain is that he focuses on solutions, he talks about solving problems, he appears to be a man of action. Again, leading candidates would serve themselves well by adopting some of his characteristics and perspective.
6. Ron Paul is entertaining but last night he confirmed once again that hidden in a few good ideas and compelling libertarian philosophies is too much craziness for America.
7. Jon Huntsman simply did not belong. A likeable man who obviously has some talents and intellectual capacity who was a square peg in a round hole last night.