Santorum: Is a jerk.
Bachmann: Is washy and still comes across as a too nice, too canned, social conservative.
Romney: Is a democrat.
Perry: Is soft, establishment, and really struggled last night. The immigration issue is the one that will end his presidential race. He is done.
Johnson: Made good points but has poor presentation, and his repetition of a balanced budget meant nothing.
Huntsman: Good stage presence, believes in global warming and doesn’t believe in the free market. Not going to work. The left and the right are tired of business subsidies. Just because alternative energy is trendy doesn’t mean politicians shouldn’t continue trying to skirt the free market.
Gingrich: If Newt was as good in practice as he is in a debate he would have been president already. The guy is brilliant, but carries too much baggage.
Paul: Concise, solid points, the only one who stands firmly on the enumerated powers in the constitution.
Cain: Won the debate. His argument against Obamacare was powerful and the guy has a solid stage presence, good points, and he’s the only non-politician on the stage. People like that. The 999 plan is a genius step towards an equitable tax system.

It is my personal opinion that Herman Cain won the debate. He’s the only one who has positive vibes throughout the presentation. Santorum needs to step out, so does Johnson (as much as I like him), Huntsman has a good presence, but is like Romney in that he doesn’t appeal to the Tea Party base. The country is center-right. Romney could certainly win because hard-right republicans and libertarians simply want the current failure out of office. I don’t think any candidate on that stage is going to discourage any voter on the right.
The debate overall was disappointing. The google graphs and other nonsense was pretty shallow and useless.  There is far too much focus on topics that are of generally little value on the national polls.  I’m ready for candidates to start comparing their records with the presidents and laying out their platforms.  Platforms have yet to solidify and when they do will make for solid debates with hopefully more substance.
The don’t ask don’t tell nonsense is important, but really small fish if you ask me.  There are for more important things.  Some day when historians are rummaging through the remains of our crumpled republic they’ll find a tape recording of the debate, play it, and know exactly why the republic ended: Because presidential debates were relegated to irrelevant nonsense.

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