Last night, the Republican presidential candidates debated in Florida. Finally, the debates are starting to heat up a little bit with candidates sniping at each other.
I am still completely undecided as to which candidate I’ll support. By the time the Wisconsin primary rolls around, it’ll probably be decided for me, anyway. From my perspective, the debate between the candidates is over. The only debate that matters now is the argument each GOP voter will have within themselves to decide how much they can tolerate in each candidate.
That being said, here are my thoughts on the candidates last night:
Mitt Romney: Mitt Romney wants to be president, and he’s willing to say the words “Ronald Reagan” as many times as it takes to make that happen. Watching Romney’s calculated and rehearsed schtick actually makes my skin crawl – I’m 100% convinced that if I vote for him, I’ll get a free set of steak knives in the mail.
Obviously, his big downside is his consistent support for Democratic positions while running for office in Massachusetts. Now he claims he has had an epiphany and recants all of his previous positions. During the debate, he consistently blames all of his lefty positions on having a Democratic legislature. Fortunately, if elected president, he will still be able to blame Ted Kennedy when he signs a bunch of crappy lefty bills.
Fred Thompson’s Skeleton: Thompson is asked whether he’s too lazy to be president. The problem is, he has to be woken up to hear the question. He ticks off a list of his accomplishments, to prove that he’s not lazy. He then collapses from fatigue after going through the whole list. I figure this will be a good strategy the next time my wife accuses me of being lazy – I’ll list all of my lifetime accomplishments starting with the ribbon I received in 3rd grade soccer.
John McCain: It really is a shame McCain has become such a retread. He has a sharp mind and a quick wit, and he is clearly an American military hero. He wins the “line of the night” contest with several pre-rehearsed zingers. Unfortunately, his positions on campaign finance reform and other measures have euthanized his appeal with Republicans. Nobody trusts him – plus, I think a lot of people secretly think he’s too old and in too ill health to serve out a term.
Ron Paul: Time to go make a sandwich.
Duncan Hunter: Answers a question about terrorism in Turkey with an explanation of lasers and missiles in Alaska – which I am 90% sure is the plot of an old “Battlestar Galactica” episode.
Mike Huckabee: Everyone’s favorite Vice Presidential candidate. I really like him – he looks relaxed and confident, and throws in the occasional joke to lighten things up. I would LOVE to support him if he can establish himself as a first-tier candidate, which is a terrible thing to say. It would be like a girl in high school saying she would want to date me if only I were just a little more popular. But I only get one vote.
Tom Tancredo: Ironically, during one of his anti-immigration rants, four Mexicans slipped into the country hiding under his toupee.
Rudy Giuliani: Here’s the tough one for me. How much of his lefty positions am I willing to put up with in order to have someone who can clearly beat Hillary Clinton? (Incidentally, I’m a little uncomfortable with all the GOP derisively referring to her as “Hillary” during the debates – she is, after all, a U.S. Senator, and deserves a modicum of respect, as hard as that may be.)
Abortion is a big one with me. Gay rights, not a big deal. But is Giuliani’s perceived strength in law enforcement and terrorism enough to counterbalance his positions with which I disagree? I think he has great answers about the importance of school choice. He clearly believes strongly in fiscal responsibility and free markets. But am I willing to sacrifice the balance of the Supreme Court for these other principles? I tend to think the Bush presidency has been successful solely because of the Roberts and Alito nominations. I really am torn.
I don’t necessarily buy that Giuliani is the only candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton, but I think he has the best shot. Of course, my opinion and $1.25 will get you a bus ride downtown.