Friday, May 04, 2007

Kathleen Parker Covers The GOP Debate

...and, as she often does, pretty much says it all in 300 words or less:

The clear winner was Ronald Reagan, bless his optimistic heart. And those eyes! When evildoers looked into Reagan’s eyes, they handed over all their hostages and their spare change.Or something like that, according to Rudy Giuliani, who did not rise to his poll numbers tonight. In fact, he lost the debate, beginning with the first question when he seemed nervous and disorganized. At no time did he manage to convey the strength and confidence of America’s mayor.

Clearly, Rudy doesn’t do panels well. Worst two answers of the night: He fumbled badly on the difference between Sunni and Shia. Then, when asked whether the increased influence of Christians is good for the U.S., he deflected, saying something like: “Sure, the influence of large numbers of people is always good for the U.S. . . but we have to reach out to others. We need to bring in Democrats.” And, you know, whatever.

McCain made me want to spirit valium to Simi Valley before he followed Osama bin Laden to the Gates of Hell. His answers and delivery seemed canned and cartoonish. But the man gets credit for steely resolve and the most impressive segue of the night: When asked about public funding for stem cell research, he thanked Nancy Reagan for her kindness when he was a POW. No way. McCain was a POW?

And the winner is: Mitt the Good, the Perfect, the Gosh-Darned Smartest of Them All. He was substantive, concise, and humorous, if somewhat over-educated for those who haven’t yet read the Cliff Notes on altered nuclear stem cells. His answer on stem-cell research showed that he has delved deeply into the issue while shedding light on his apparent flip-flop on abortion. Best answer of the night: When asked (ridiculously) about government intervening when Catholic bishops withhold communion from certain pols, Romney blasted the idea with humor, saying that Roman Catholic bishops “can do whatever the heck they want,” while simultaneously defusing the Mormon issue and shifting focus to radical Islamists.

“This is a nation after all that wants a leader who is a person of faith, but we don’t choose our leader based on what church they go to.” Mormon issue, check. And, “This a nation which also comes together over faith . . . the people we’re fighting, they’re the ones who divide over faith and who decide matters of this nature in the public forum.”

That was a twofer.

Runner-up goes to Mike Huckabee. Smart, pleasant, knowledgeable, and straightforward, he was the surprise in the Cracker Jack box. “Live Carb-Free: Vote Romney/Huckabee.”