I believe the CNN hosted youtube debate was a remarkable success. I thoroughly enjoyed the debate. The voter-fueled forum, and the absence of that pompous ass Wolf Blitzer, made for a night that was watchable and intriguing.
In the post-debate analysis, there are a few things we, as American citizens and voters, should have noticed:
1. Fred Thompson is a joke. Senator Thompson's answers were every bit as memorable as the Tancredo and Hunter forgettables. He should drop out right now.
2. Mitt Romney eloquently side-stepped every question, and avoided committal sound-bites if he could. He only directly answered the question about the abortion bill. He is the textbook definition of a politician, and is not presidential in the least. Romney: The Republican John Kerry.
3. Ron Paul's momentum is remarkable. Whether you agree with his ideals or not, you have an opinion on him, and that's the first key to being a serious candidate. Dr. Paul garnered strong reaction from his answers, and was able to smack McCain around on his ridiculous comparison of Iraq to pre-war Nazi Germany.
A note of interest, dear friends: Ron's war chest and poll numbers are screaming relevancy in this election.
4. Rudy Giuliani is hemorrhaging points, but his lead is growing. Every question Rudy answers begins with, "What I did in New York....," thus alienating every non-New Yorker with every one of his answers. I have some bad news for the Giuliani communications director: New York City is not a fair model metropolis for the rest of America.
It is pure New York arrogance that is crafting Rudy's message, and it will ultimately lose him the primary. He also took a hard torpedo in the side yesterday after a story was released alleging inappropriate billing of expenses for trips that were likely made while carrying on one of his extra-marital affairs.
4. Why is the aforementioned lead widening for Rudy while losing points? Because of the surging Huckabee and Paul campaigns' push into the scrum for the loose votes of the declining Romney, McCain, and Thompson candidacies. After Iowa, Giuliani is going to have his hands full in New Hampshire (where the free state model will swing surprisingly for a legitimate Paul candidacy) and South Carolina (A state ripe for Huckabee's picking) will have Rudy in an all out fist fight for the nomination having lost two of the first three primaries.
Who is your new front runner? Mike Huckabee.
If you weren't impressed with ole' Mike's direct responses and charm, you weren't paying attention, or your bias for another candidate is blinding you to Huckabee's success in last night's debate.
The communication director for the Huckabee campaign must be having the former Arkansas Governor watching old films of Ronald Reagan. Mike's delivery, timing, and zingers are as Reaganesque as we have seen from a candidate since Ronnie himself was campaigning in 1979.
I don't like many of Huckabee's neo-conervative stances on the issues, but his charm and message are making him legitimate enough for the Republican base to buy-in to. Mike's viability will get the GOP base whipped-up into a Bible-bangin', door-knockin' freenzy that will end up propelling Huckabee to the nomination.
I didn't say I was voting for him, but if you think I'm wrong about my predictions, I'd like to know why. Just in case you didn't know, he's got Churck Norris' endorsement. That internet video is seriously garnering more attention than you'd think.