This will be a short blog—I promise.  The last blog was far too long.  Last night I watched, with popcorn in hand, but no Kool-Aid, (Jim Jones reference intended).  Half-way between I had to leave to go to a very important ministry team meeting at church with some great guys so I DVR’d the thing and finished it when I got home.  Tonight I will do the same, DVR’ing President Obama’s speech because I have a dinner party to attend.  But, for now, here are some things I noticed.

1.  Michele Bachmann did poorly.  Someone has advised her poorly and encouraged her to be ‘on message’ a little too much.  In a debate people like to see, and expect to see, a crisp, flexible, in-the-moment quality of their leadership.  Bachmann may have that, but she didn’t show it last night.

2.  Mitt Romney won the debate, by far.  He seemed together, collected, and very presidential—whatever that means.  The contrast between him and Perry was quite astounding.  Perry seemed confident but unprepared.

3.  Poor Ron Paul.  I don’t think I could ever vote for him, but I find him fascinating and interesting—and I agree with a great deal of what he says and proposes.  The “poor Ron Paul” bit is that the media just ignores him.  Did anyone else notice how he seemed to only get ‘left-over’ questions designed to make him look irrelevant?

4.  The others in the debate did very little to highlight themselves.  Santorum looked confused every time he was asked a question, Cain feels too inexperienced and naive, Gingrich was amusing but predictably belligerent, and Huntsman is boring.

5.  Brian Williams is affable enough; but the other guy from Politico was a jerk.  He seemed bent on trying to argue policy with the candidates instead of giving the candidates opportunity to differentiate their polices from their opponents President Obama.

6.  What was with the surprise questioner from Telemundo?  If you want him asking questions, then let him be on the panel—not walking on in a ‘Aha’ moment.  That seemed very forced and awkward.  Can only Spanish speakers ask questions about immigration?  If that is so, only doctors or insurers can ask about health care, only soldiers can ask about foreign policy, and only business people can ask about the economy.

7.  All the candidates and MSNBC were upstaged by the setting.  It was a real mistake to have the debate at the Reagan Library with that gorgeous Air Force One hanging over the room and Nancy Reagan right there.  It reminded everyone of two things.  One, none of those people are Ronald Reagan.  Two, we don’t need to duplicate Reagan’s policies of the 1980’s, we need someone who had Reagan’s clarity on what needs to be done.  Those are not the same qualities.

8.  Did MSNBC know this was a Republican debate?

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