Republican Debate: McCain v. the Mitt
Posted by Ryan on January 31, 2008
Last night the four remaining Republicans vying for the nomination debated at the Reagan Presidential Library. I’ll be honest, I was rooting for Mitt and really believed that he won on the substance, issues, and aura.
One of the first things I noticed was that while Mitt was answering the first question Anderson Cooper asked him about he economy, McCain gave a silent yawn (that would have crushed Bush 41 (remember the watch fiasco?) or even Reagan (with the age-thing in 1984) in the MSM). When McCain responded Mitt’s take on the question, he seemed like a grumpy old man who wanted to wrap this up and go to bed, not lead the free world. With all the big RINO endorsements lined up, McCain’s sense of inevitability was on display and it was irksome to watch. I’m not alone in feeling that way. Since McCain has little money, the MSM needs to give him all sorts of positive press in the meantime. I also blame Fox News for shilling for McCain, just watch Special Report with Brit Hume anytime this week to see for yourself.
Ron Paul related everything to the issue in which he’s absolutely wrong: our role in the world and national security. Huckleberry Mike didn’t mess up, but his quips made him seem like comic relief between the substance one really wanted to hear: how were McCain and Romney going to tangle on the next issue.
I thought Mitt sounded better, looked better, and demonstrated that given who we have left, he’s the best chance to let conservatism have a voice in our party in the Fall. Frank Luntz’s Republican focus group on Fox thought that Romney won the debate by a significant plurality, with McCain getting two or three hands. Yet, this dynamic has not played out with the electorate, which could make Super Tuesday, Super Disappointing to conservatives who are feeling increasingly marginalized.