I really don't know who won tonight's, except maybe Romney who just owns the camera so completely.
Guililani is so smart, quick-on-his-feet, aggressive, able to seize an opportunity, but after 7 months of hearing the recitation of his achievements as Mayor, it is starting to wear thin. McCain's got an impish charm and a sharp wit and excellent National Security credentials, but the bulge on the side of his head has got to go. Tancredo is great as far as rhetoric goes, but with the ski slope nose and the almost gay diction; he's not much more than the leader of the sideshow and I'm sorry to say that, 'cause I kind of like him.
Huckabee really made a nice point about not being the source for hate, very lovely but not what we're looking for in a commander-in-chief, maybe we should elect him Pope, the first Southern Baptist Pope, that would be a hoot. But even then it wouldn't be until the fifteenth ballot. Brownback doesn't strike me as either: 1) intelligent, 2) sophisticated, 3) creative, or certainly not 4) electable. I wish he would just go away, today. Duncan Hunter is a HAWK, all caps. I like him, you've got to like him. But it's as if he's posing as Ronald Reagan, wearing a RR clown suit that looks uncomfortable. He doesn't have natural charisma, or what he does have is masked by this false face he thinks he has to put on. We learned with Gore that if you can't be yourself at that age, you can't get elected, thankfully. Ron Paul is just f---ing annoying, he's like the crazy aunt everyone wishes would drink her sherry and go to bed. He's got as much business being President as my Jack Russell terrier.
(That said, I'd vote for my other dog, Buster, before any Democrat.)
Then comes Fred. I like what he had to say, he's serious, he's smart. He's not afraid to tell it like it is. On Leno, he stood up to the crowd and basically parroted Bush's words about the cost of defeat in Iraq. Got a great applause line when quizzed, why are we so hated? (He basically said and should have said: don't believe the hype.) He had a great line on shedding more blood to liberate more people than any country in the history of the earth. Even the French, who we thought hated us, now elected a president that wants to emulate us.
He said all the right stuff and then some in his fifteen minute podcast. And, he seems willing to take on big challenges and he's a big guy, maybe he can do it. All our great presidents were big men in stature or personality: Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, Reagan, the Roosevelts.
But, what's converted me are the weaknesses of the current field of candidates.
Giuliani has got way too much baggage, including 3 wives and a current wife who looks like she shops at Penney's. And, despite the success he had managing NY, he was a polarizing figure. After a while, the Dems hated him (because he was so successful and he was vilified in the press, sound familiar?). The good thing about him, he can go toe-to-toe with Hillary and giver her a run in NY, NJ, CT, PA and Michigan. States which have been totally out of play for Republicans in recent years. But, for me it's Judith Nathan. I haven't met her, she could be great, but she just doesn't exude the dignity of a First Lady and the First Lady, while ceremonial is very important to the health of the country. Look at those lovely PSAs Laura Bush did after 9-11, spot on, pitch perfect, just being herself.
Romney is so slick, handsome, intelligent, witty, he's like a tube of Pepsodent, so full of promise. He's direct from central casting. I can see him fly fishing with Sarkozy and Putin, all shirtless. It would be Conservative Brokeback Mountain. His wife, Ann, is fantastic. But, he's a little weak on the war, I see him managing a "process" more than assembling an armada. Maybe I'm wrong.
But his biggest weakness: he's got like 5 enormously talented and telegenic sons, all successful in their own right, so what's wrong with that? Well none of them have served or are serving in the military. How is that going to look when Hillary asks him: "well if you Republicans are so pro-war, why didn't you or any of your strapping, overachieving sons serve our military?" To which his reply will be promptly forgotten. It may not be fair, since all Democrats deride the military as being for poor people, but Romney proves the point, considering all his sons have gone to Harvard.
And, since we're at it, where's Giuliani's son? On the golf course, I think. The only two who have children serving are Duncan Hunter and John McCain. Don't think the Dems won't bring back the chickenhawk slur, to plenty of effect.
So to sum up: Giuliani - many weaknesses; Romney - so damn perfect, except for military service; McCain - melanoma in waiting (I swear, his head reminds me of Otto Preminger, think Dr. Evil with elegance); the rest: a sideshow. So, that leaves Fred.
Fred against Hillary might be a tough fight. But against Obama, Barry would look like a fifteen year old with floppy ears.
What do you think?