I watched the CNN debate between the 2008 Republican candidates for US President, and here’s my assessment:

Winners

  • Giuliani – he gave consistently confident and well articulated answers, and his record on crime in NYC is still a considerable selling point – real results.  His supposed intent to appoint strict Constitutionalist judges to the supreme court, however, is still counterbalanced by his support for abortion rights – he’s a little flaky on social conservatism.
  • Romney – he is possibly the only serious contender with Giuliani.  I liked his answers, though he stumbled on the "do you believe the bible literally" question, as well as the "is water boarding torture" question, which McCain nailed him on.
  • Huckabee – Huckabee is still a longshot, but he’s now tied with Romney leading the Iowa polls, and he gave really strong answers, peppered with really well-placed humor.  Now, if he can just shed the hick-factor.  He may now be considered a top tier candidate.

Losers

  • McCain – I like McCain, he bucks the Republican establishment in all the right places.  But he seems old and tired, sorry to say.  I don’t think he has a chance.
  • Thompson – he doesn’t make eye contact very well, and is always looking down like he’s oppressed or something.  While he is a strong "Reagan conservative," I don’t think that he has a chance anymore, and his "attack" video didn’t help him.  His real life performance is inferior to his TV performances, where he seems a lot stronger. 
  • Paul – Ron Paul is basically the Lieberman of the Republican party – no one wants him around, he’s really too centrist or too liberal to be a Republican, but there he is.  He hasn’t a snowball’s chance to win the nomination, but he might influence the platform somewhat on the war in Iraq.
  • Hunter – OK, this guy creeps me out.  At first I thought he looked like a Vulcan with his slanted eyebrows, but then it hit me – he reminds me of Jack Nicholson in The Shining – heeeere’s Duncan!  Seriously, this guy has establishment written all over him – if his suit, skin, or smile were any tighter he would burst or crack – he looks like a military shill – more of the same of what we’ve got, definitely not "a change."
  • Tancredo – to tell you the truth, I’d never even heard of this guy before the debate.  Seems nice enough, obviously has Christian sentiments.  Unremarkable.

At this point, I think perhaps a Giuliani/Romney ticket would be the best thing for the Republicans.  Even though Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost is going down to support Huckabee, I don’t think Huckabee will make it much past Iowa.