Last night’s debate between the eight Republican presidential contenders was put on by CNN and sponsored by the Tea Party, no less. Wolf Blitzer presided, but he worked from questions from the Tea Party audience, which made them arguably more interesting to conservatives.
My impression is that Perry got beaten up pretty severely by the other candidates (to the point of getting boos from the Tea Party for his program of vaccinating little girls for sexually transmitted diseases and for promoting a Texas “dream act” giving illegal immigrants in-state tuition for state colleges. Ron Paul got in trouble for blaming America for the 9/11 attacks. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, did quite well, scoring points with conservatives and winning applause from the Tea Partiers. Newt Gingrich put in an impressive performance, as did Rick Santorum. Herman Cain acquitted himself well, getting across his intriguing “999” plan (9% individual income tax; 9% corporate income tax; 9% national sales tax). Michelle Bachmann was forceful and aggressive, but I’m not sure she inspired confidence. Jon Huntsman didn’t do too much. (Am I missing anything in my analysis?)
Anyway, how do things stand with you and this election so far? Is there any candidate you feel like supporting with great enthusiasm? Can any of these people beat President Obama? Which is more important to you, electability or ideological purity?