Perry: Holyyyyyy shit, did he suck. Stumbling, on the defensive, looked completely over his head. His comments on job creation were overshadowed by Huntsman's record and he couldn't defend his book saying "That's just philosophy". Erm, shouldn't we care about your governing philosophy? His responses to the unfavorable points of the Texas system (lowest graduation rates, high low-wage employment) were pretty weak. He should be pissed at Boehner for getting tonight's speech moved and letting more people watch his performance. His social security Ponzi scheme remarks are probably a campaign killer anyway.
Romney: Ok, first off... he has a hard time that there's people who feel like they're not supporting our troops because they're not paying federal income tax? What? I had to listen to that twice. Anyway, he was easily the winner of the debate being able to win the verbal fencing matches between himself and Perry and come across as poised versus Perry's stammering and sinking into his shirt collar. He still has no convincing answer for his health care in Mass., and one of his few stumbling moments was his half-defense, half-attack over Perry's vaccination executive order.
Bachmann: Irrelevant. Perry has her conservative rhetoric and does it better. She looked like she has effectively given up and acted timid throughout the debate. The most defining things about her last night was that she raised 27 kids and promises $2/gal gas which everyone else saw as a joke anyway even if they wouldn't openly admit it. Also, her rhinestone flag pin was distracting as hell and she needs to fire her hairdresser. Go ahead and cry sexism that I'd mention this -- no one else had some atrocious straw hair blowout.
Santorum: Why is he even here? He looks and acts about as convincing as a youth minister.
Caine: It must be frustrating to be him. He's sure he has the answers and tries to drop hints that he's learned stuff (Chilean model! Nine-Nine-Nine plan!) but no one takes him seriously. He suffers from the Ron Paul issue where his solutions are out of the mainstream and peppers them with witticisms that don't really help.
Gingrich: Eh. I honestly have trouble even really remembering him, he made so little of an impact. He didn't really seem interested in promoting himself with his most memorable moment being a complaint that the media was trying to pit Republicans against one another. You know... at a debate. Where you.. erm... debate one another rather than just answering questions in a vacuum.
Paul: I felt a little bad that almost every one of his questions was "How about THIS government program? Would you kill that?" but I suppose when you make this the core of your campaign, that's what you get asked. He really didn't resonate with the crowd who apparently didn't agree with dismantling every program under the sun. Or legalizing drugs. Or forcing troops to return from Iraq by taking away their air conditioning.
Huntsman: He probably had the second best performance (after Romney) but it's too bad for him that it won't mean anything. Out of everyone there, he came across as the best qualified in both experience and philosophy but Romney's campaign apparatus will be a hurdle too high for him. Well, that and appealing for far-right voters with his more temperate views on some issues. His "I'll speak to the Chinese in Chinese!" remark struck me as a bit of a flub and reminiscent of Obama's speeches to the Middle East. Is that really the association he's going for?
Everyone sucked on the immigration question. Paul sounded like a kook ("They could use that border fence to keep us in!"), everyone else punted the question of what to do with the existing illegal immigrants. Hey, candidates, building a fence is easy; dealing with 11 million people is hard. How about trying to answer the hard part instead of hooting "Fence!" over and over? Huntsman had one of the (relatively) best answers, actually addressing our broken legal immigration system and how that's holding us back.
I don't have much to say about policy because, really, they didn't have much to say about policy except boilerplate rhetoric ("We needs jobs and I'll make jobs!"). Romney tried to hype his plan by throwing out a few tax levels and Caine wished someone cared about his ideas but the night was more about personality and poise than giving any real solutions.
Person (with a chance of getting the nomination) who'd do the best against Obama: Romney
Person who should be the GOP nominee: Huntsman
Edited, Sep 8th 2011 8:43am by Jophiel