First with only a few exceptions, explained below, Christopher Matthews was less a buffoon than usual.
Rudy: Winner. He was on message and when not sparring with Romney over a .6% difference in their tax cutting records, saved his sharpest jabs for the ol’ (carpet)bag most deserving of them – Shrillary. Rudy also seemed the most confident and optimistic. He can probably give Shrillary the best run.
Mitt: Smartest guy in the room award. He comes off like the guy you’d go get if your company, Olympics or state needed to be fixed. But wait, he’s already fixed all of those things. Everyone wonders, given his mental acumen, savvy business persona and success as a beep blue state governor, why he hasn’t broken away from the pack. One word. Mormon. Bigotry is alive and well. Mitt hurt himself when he referred to sitting down with the lawyers before bombing Iran. A better answer would have been, “Whatever else we do, lawyers won’t have a say in the decision.”
Fred: Good enough award. I thought he was spot on, if a bit uninspiring, in most of answers. When the Money Honey asked Fred if the government should intervene in an imminent strike at Chrysler, Thompson said, “No.” The gal followed up with, “Why?” Thompson went on to give a solid answer, after which Christopher said, “That was a rather long answer. You should have stopped at no.” Thompson having none of Matthews’s crap responded, “No one asked your opinion Christopher.” After that, there were chuckles and for Matthews a long and uncomfortable silence. By the way the Chrysler strike has come and gone in less than one day with no government interference. Even during the Christopher’s gottcha’ question about who is the PM of Canada, Thompson delivered the correct answer by naming PM Harper. A better answer might have been, after giving the correct response, follow up with a quick, “Why is that relevant Christopher? Are they building nukes to destroy us?” When Rudy begins to pound Mitt for his lawyers remark, and Rudy will hit him hard, Fred will gain in the race. And by the way, as was the case during most of the debate, Thompson got the Iran question dead right with his reference to using the congress to insure the people are on board and the War Powers Act – which ironically would require a team of 1,000 lawyers a hundred years to interpret case by case.
Note to pols: Any mention of lawyers should be immediately followed with a reference to how they drowned.
Huckabee: Most conservative. Can’t beat Shrillary. Christopher strangely only asked Huckabee about S-Chip and only then after framing the question using every Democrat talking point on subject – but he’s not in the bag for the Dems. Sure Christopher, and I have received an Internet check. Would you mind earning an unbelievably large fee for doing nothing more than cashing it for me?
Ron Paul: When you strip away his loony notion about protecting America by building a moat around it, he’s not as crazy as some think. A rousing endorsement if ever there was one. Vote for Ron Paul, he’s not as crazy as you think.
Hunter/Tancrado: Too protectionist/isolationist. We’ve been down that road. It doesn’t work. It was good though because Tancrado turned every question into an immigration question.
Brownback: Huh. Who?
And some other guy I don’t recall, the guy who thinks the First Amendment is a bad thing when it’s used to criticize sleazy pols who take money from some guy named Keating. Oh, yeah McCain.