The Republican Presidential Debate that was held last night at the Reagan Library was mediocre at best. There were no new ideas or programs presented, and the format of the questions was terrible.
Rather than asking the Candidates their view on an issue or asking them to explain their positions or statements the moderators asked them to comment on someone else's positions or statements. This was obviously done in an attempt to cause the Candidates to attack each other. Unfortunately, several of the Candidates rose to the bait. Suprisingly, the two biggest culprits were the front-runners, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. I would have expected them to stay above the fray and provide points differentiating themselves from President Obama. I was waiting for a response like: "If you want _______(insert Candidate's name here) opinion, you should ask him/her. My position on this matter is .....". But instead they sniped at each other.
Also, eight people is an extremely large number to attempt to have a debate in which everyone has a chance to have significant time to express their views. While I don't have the exact times for each Candidate, it certainly appeared that Rick Perry and Mitt Romney had the largest portion of time. They were followed by Michelle Bachman then Rick Santorum. Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and John Huntsman were present but did not seem to really get much of a chance.
One of the topics was RomneyCare. There were questions asked about this but I don't recall any questions about ObamaCare. This was an interesting situation. (Does this say something about the positions of the Moderators?) It was the perfect opportunity for Romney to declare that it "seemed like a good idea at the time" but wished he hadn't done it. Unfortunately, he maintained his support of the program.
Rick Perry also whiffed when he was confronted with the fact Massachusetts has a very high insurance coverage rate whereas Texas has much less. Mr. Perry did not simply point out the cost of the Massachusetts coverage and that it was pushing the State into bankruptcy.
With little of new substance on issues the only separating feature I saw was the way the Candidates comported themselves. That is, did they look and act Presidential. I found the Perry/Romney bickering to be annoying and not very Presidential. The calmest, and most Presidential in this debate was Michelle Bachman. She came off well, spoke calmly, and left the slogans at home.
Hopefully the next debate on September 12 in Tampa will be more enlightening. This debate is sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express which is a very interesting combination.