I agree with David Frum: Fox News won the debate. It was infinitely better than the others (Republican or Democrat).
Governor Romney put in a good performance. I actually liked his black/blue suit comment, but maybe that’s because I’m colorblind. He also seemed to get a few more tough questions than the other guys, but he handled them well. Most commentators are echoing that, notably Mark Levin, who’s no pushover. I appreciated–though I haven’t seen mention of this elsewhere–the way he turned the tide on the Iraq “benchmark” discussion. He said–aptly, I think–that while the folks here in Washington are clamoring for benchmarks on the performance of the Iraqi government, there really aren’t any for how the federal government is spending its money. Good way to emphasize his CEO credentials.
Also, something has to be said about Senator McCain. His campaign is awfully proud of this clip:
But I’m not sure they should be. As Pat Toomey reminds us, the Senator opposed President Bush’s tax cuts–which have done so much economic good–and his rationale for (gasp!) changing his mind isn’t too convincing, nor would it lend itself well to convincing a hostile Congress to renew them. He has also wavered on Roe v. Wade since his last run, just to pick one other example. Of course, I’m not condemning changing one’s mind–but I am questioning the wisdom of throwing stones when you live in a glass house.
Finally, as you already know, Mayor Giuliani won the Soundbite of the Night Award when he put Congressman Paul in his place. But I have to admit I found his answers on abortion to be deeply disturbing. Yes, they were better than the first debate, as he looked like he’d actually, well, thought about the issue. But he essentially read from Hillary Clinton’s playbook. Unfortunately, I can’t find a transcript, but he talked about how we have to respect a woman’s “choice” to do something immoral (his words–a more accurate summation would be “to take an innocent life,” as Senator Brownback pointed out) and how we have to find ways to reduce abortions. I know the man has other advantages, but I find the prospect of having each party’s nominee mouthing those illogical and unhelpful platitudes in November utterly appalling, and I can’t see how it’d be anything other than a huge setback for the pro-life movement. If he were the only candidate who would fight the war we’re in, maybe it’d be a bitter pill worth swallowing, but he’s not, as Governor Romney showed last night.