So are Capt. Ed, and crew, at Heading Right. "Paul . . . Sounded good on isolationism. But he just looks like crud on TV."
And here's a live debate thread at the Power Line forum. Plus, Karol Sheinin at Alarming News. "I can't help but feel that people are going to be beyond sick of all these candidates by the time election-time actually comes around. I'm already sort of sick of them. " But she thinks one of them is really good-looking!
And from a somewhat different perspective, more liveblogging from Dave Weigel. "Huckabee says we are a great nation because 'We are a culture of life.' By that reasoning, if we got into a shooting war with the Vatican, would we lose?"
Plus, from her very own perspective, Ann Althouse. "Halfway into this, I'd say the person making the most headway is Romney."
Stephen Green, meanwhile, is engaging in that "drunkblogging" that he does so well: "Imagine you're watching Hardball, only Matthews has ten guests instead of one or two. That's what tonight's debate has already devolved into. Now imagine that instead of candidates, we had ten knife-wielding spider monkeys jacked up on Mini Thins. That's where I hope this thing is going."
More at The Corner. "If you're mad as hell and won't take it anymore, McCain is your guy tonight. . . . Thompson is winning—Fred Thompson."
UPDATE: More from Spacetropic: "None of these guys is drawing a contrast to the Democrats. This seems like a huge mistake. What they are saying about these issues would be so much more persuasive if they explained the Left's take on the same (for example security, religion, abortion)."
And GraniteGrok is on the case: "FAIRTAX mentioned!!!! I wish I knew who talked about it. Guess I'll find out from the Neal Boortz site in the morning."
Jonah Goldberg: "I hope Democrats, feminists and others are taking note that Chris Matthews' question about whether it would be good if Bill Clinton was back in the White House basically makes Hillary — the wife and actual candidate — the bit player."
John Hawkins was pleasantly surprised: "Overall, I thought it was much more substance filled and interesting debate than the one the Democrats had last week. Also, I have to give MSNBC credit -- they did a good job overall and if anything, they may have been too soft on the candidates."
Roger Simon: “The big winner of the first Republican presidential debate was the man who wasn’t there: Fred Thompson. Although I admire Giuliani and agree with him on most issues, the presidential look and feel of the absent Fred loomed over this boring event with only Ron Paul for comic relief.”
Further thoughts here: "Of the three front runners, Romney was by far the best, as much as it pains me to say it. Rudy was bland. McCain looked old. Brownback and Tancredo both came across as very strong. . . . Ron Paul was really eccentric. As much as I admire the man’s many votes against bigger government, he came across as pretty nuts. Tommy Thompson was really dull. Jim Gilmore was ok, but nothing special. Duncan Hunter was well-spoken, but did little to distinguish himself. Mike Huckabee was ok, but like Hunter he seemed to blend into the crowd."
Mark Coffey: "The winner, I guess, is McCain by default, but we’re going to have to do much, much better than this at articulating a vision that will get us elected in 2008. Dogmatic references to a pro-life culture and endless evocations of Ronald Reagan are not going to get the job done in the current climate."
Mark Daniels comments: "I was struck by virtually the entire field's willingness to disagree with some aspects of the current administration's policies. That no doubt has something to do with the President's current low-approval ratings. But I also think that these candidates were signaling their comfort with being their own persons."
STILL MORE: SurveyUSA has an Insta-Poll of California watchers out. "Who Won CA Republican Presidential Debate? Former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani convincingly won tonight's California debate among Republican candidates for President of the United States, according to a SurveyUSA poll of 317 state of California debate watchers. Giuliani was picked as the winner by 30% of those in CA who watched. Former MA Governor Mitt Romney, who was picked as the winner by 12%, and AZ Senator John McCain, who was picked as the winner by 11%, tied for 2nd place, far back from Giuliani. All other candidates were in single digits. . . . 51% of debate viewers were white. 28% of debate viewers were Hispanic. 15% of debate viewers were Asian. 45% of debate viewers were Republican. 30% of debate viewers were Democrats. 22% of debate viewers were Independent. 43% of debate viewers were Pro-Life. 53% of debate viewers were Pro-Choice."
And some post-debate analysis from Ryan Sager, who comments: "I hate these 10-candidate debates." Plus this:
The alternate "winner" of tonight's debate, of course, was Fred Thompson. By not showing up, he managed to stay out of the muck and to preserve his status as magical "savior" candidate for another night. I'm not sure that's good for the nomination process, but it's good for Mr. Thompson.
I think that's right. But I think that starting so soon isn't good for the nomination process, either.
FINALLY: Some reactions to the debate blogged by Bill Frist.