I watched the New Hampshire debate between the Republican presidential candidates.
Pawlenty is articulate; Bachman sounds like a good campaigner; Paul makes a lot of sense; Gingrich is a fountain of ideas; Santorum seems solid; Cain sounds like a good guy; Romney sounds more conservative than he has seemed.
Pawlenty opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest and the mother’s health (a huge loophole)? Santorum takes a very strong pro-life stance, as does Bachman.
Notice that the alleged extreme Republicans, the Tea Party caucus’s Bachman and the libertarian Paul, are the peace candidates, opposing America’s involvement in the multiplying number of wars we are engaged in. Peace-leaning Democrats should give the Tea Party credit for being more anti-war than their president.
On the whole, though, the candidates seem to be mostly agreeing with each other rather than distinguishing themselves from the others. That’s what voters need at this point.
But do any of them seem as if they could be president? I suspect that most American voters these days are influenced not so much about what candidates believe or what they would do as about whether they (1) like them (2) have an image that seems presidential. Yes, Americans are basically conservative, but they won’t vote for someone who comes across as angry. They will vote for a Reagan, an optimistic, cheerful conservative. Another important factor is “presence.” Reagan had it; Obama has it. I’m not sure that any of these candidates do.