A generic Republican should be pleased to discover, at long last, that the two presumptive frontrunners of the race have just turned in the most coherent, inarguable, and commanding performances on the stage. Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Rudy Giuliani all made valid points -- particularly Paul on the risks and costs of empire, Huck on the folly of stimulating China's economy, and Giuliani on...well...
Giuliani's part of the scenery. Still. Not bad, but not bad's not good enough now. When you're in distant third place and you're telling a state point blank that you're going to win, either you know something no one else does or you secretly know what everyone else has already long publicly concluded: it's over.
Of the available nitpicks, Daniel's on hand to call Mitt an idiot for warning that we should prevent al Qaeda from becoming “a superpower, if you will." Obviously any political scientist would roll their eyes at this choice of words, but Romney did bother to add "in the region" to that remark. I can handle that, because, finally, I think Romney would make a much better President than candidate. When he runs -- and when he's run -- in the mode he was in tonight, he does great. When he runs as he did during the late Iowa-early NH phase, he's a magnet for calumny, mockery, and contempt. Such a wild swing is rather alarming to see in a candidate, but let's not forget this is a heavily contested and very confused primary campaign for the nomination of a party whose President seriously damaged its brand, tradition, trust, and track record. Romney's great advantage from the beginning was as a sober, alert, sharp fellow capable of turning around a party that had lost its way. When trying to run for the base that still loves Bush just cuz, he's a disaster, ineffective and unconvincing. But how could he avoid posturing in that way given the early dynamics of the primary season? Let's all hope those days are over: neither Romney nor his party has any use for the contorted Mitt, and Republicans all have something to appreciate in what seems so obviously to be the Real Romney.
Maybe tomorrow I'll say a few words about McCain. Bottom line: My Sly Stallone beats your Chuck Norris. As definitive an answer as could be to bring a much-needed end to the lame pomp of Huckabee's shtick-based initiative.