The striking thing about last night’s Republican Party debate was just how bad the
leading GOP candidates are. Rick Perry, the new favourite, isn’t terribly bright.
("Perry is like Will Ferrell doing Bush, but on half-speed," is how David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, put
it.) Mitt Romney is an oily cheese merchant who keeps contradicting himself. And Bachmann is bonkers.
With the USA in such a poor state, you might think President Obama would be in danger of losing the White House. But the Republican party is incapable of offering a coherent and sensible
The most interesting candidates are Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul, but they don’t seem to stand a chance. Huntsman is too popular among liberals and Paul is too radical a libertarian. Last night, when
Perry tried to out him as a Reagan critic – sacrilege! – he stood by his argument that Reagan’s economic policy was not as conservative as some conservatives might think. This was in
the Reagan library. He also talked about abolishing airport security as he stood under the wingspan of Air Force One. Lots of Americans won’t like that. Yet if Paul can carry on exposing Perry as a
fraud – he keeps pointing out that Perry endorsed Al Gore for president in 1988 – his campaign will not have been wasted.
The weirdest moment of the evening, as others have noted, was the whooping and hollering when one of the questioners pointed out that the state of Texas, under Perry’s governorship, had executed
234 people. Bit disgusting, that.