The EFM Feature

I think I’m beginning to see a pattern emerging in these debates: Rudy is a strong debater, McCain can be either great or infuriating depending on the topic, Mike Huckabee really connects when he moves into the “morals questions,” and our guy is strong across all topics but doesn’t tend to have those memorable dramatic moments like Rudy has through guile (jumping on the hapless Ron Paul last debate) or by luck (a comical lightning interruption right as Rudy launches into his abortion rationalizations).
I’m going to ignore most of the candidates (who really should drop out of the race) to focus on the Big Three plus a shout-out to Mike Huckabee.
Rudy: The guy just has great answers on national security. There’s no question that if he wins, he wins on national security. Honestly, after three debates, I know two things about Rudy: (1) he’s pro-choice but–gosh darn it–he really does hate abortion; and (2) he would absolutely kick the crap out of the jihadists. I don’t sense any real passion about economic questions, about immigration, about health care or anything else in the race. But he will absolutely waste our enemies.
McCain: First, let me give credit where credit is due. As I’ve said many, many times, the man is an American hero, and there is nothing that he does in the immigration debate, nothing he does in the debates over social policy, and nothing he does against Governor Romney that changes that fact. When he speaks from the heart on the war, there is just no one like him. But that same passion brought to bear on the wrong side of an issue can be as irritating as his passion for our troops and for victory in Iraq can be satisfying and inspiring. He’s just wrong on too much stuff.
Huckabee: The man shouldn’t be president (he’s just too much of a tax and spend big government guy with no real heft on national security), but when he spoke about creation, I literally came up out of my chair. He gave the single-best expression of the God-centered view of creation that I have heard in any political context, ever. He was moving, sincere, and he spoke real Truth. Thank you, Governor Huckabee, it was a privilege to listen to you tonight. Thank you for being such a tremendous ambassador for the Name of Christ.
Romney: Look, I know I’m biased. I grant that freely. But I’m biased for a reason: The Governor is impressive. Was there anyone else up on that stage that had such consistently good answers across the entire spectrum of issues? I thought he hit one question out of the park (when he said “enforce existing law” about immigration), did a marvelous job addressing health care (why should Democrats own that issue?), and his answers on Iraq and the War on Terror were thoughtful and convincing. Though Nancy disagrees with me, I actually loved his final answer about Ronald Reagan and the three legs of Reagan Republicanism (a strong military, a strong economy, and strong families). Also, it was refreshingly humble to see a politician say “I was wrong” when Governor Romney said that about his position in 1994 on “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
I do think he could have done better in his answer about Spanish language commercials. After all, why wouldn’t a candidate want to communicate with all Americans? It’s perfectly consistent to communicate your values and ideas in a language that people (currently) understand even as you urge them to learn English.
Finally, I truly appreciated his answer about his faith. He stated what he believed simply and clearly, and his final declaration that he would not sell out his faith to win the Oval Office should resonate with evangelicals. We should respect a man who refuses to (almost literally) gain the world at the expense of his soul. That declaration made me proud to support him. Well done, Governor.
CHARLES adds: I wasn’t able to see the debate. But I feel compelled to point out that it seems to me that “enforce existing law” is just about the most conservative answer imaginable, in the true sense of the term. It’s also common sense, and it can win politically–just ask the NRA, which uses the same mantra on the gun issue. (Or ask the many unsuccessful politicians the NRA has left in its wake.)
Oh, and I have no doubt that Governor Huckabee is a great ambassador for Christ. I just wish he’d use that talent elsewhere, either in a pulpit or, if he insists on a continued political career, the Senate!
And finally…”kicking crap” sounds good, David, but the idea of the GOP voluntarily abdicating its status as America’s pro-life party, which is what it would do by nominating Mayor Giuliani, just makes me sick inside. That has only come through decades of dedicated activism, and why we would throw something so important away when there is at least one extremely viable alternative is absolutely beyond me.

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