Tonight's debate should have been labeled a tribute to Andy Rooney, the cranky 60 Minutes editorialist who died last Friday at age 92. The CNBC econo-journalists were Rooneyesque, with Jim Cramer and Maria Bartiromo almost lunging at candidates' throats.
Rooney was cute cranky, but most of the candidates were obnoxious cranky. Newt Gingrich should be elected not president but captain of the all-sneer team, seeming to take offense at question after question and turning most of them into an attack on the press.
How far can Rick Perry fall? His worst moment-I'm gonna abolish three departments, Commerce, Education, and … what's the third? Help me out, Ron Paul-may be played almost as often as Bill Buckner's error.
Herman Cain: 9-9-9. How many frat kids are doing shots every time he mentions it?
I sympathize greatly with Rick Santorum, who deserves his three-week surge now that Michele Bachmann, Perry, and Herman Cain have had theirs. Too bad he didn't get more questions, but he didn't help himself by sounding like Young Rooney.
Four years ago I thought that, whatever his policy views and theology, Romney was too stiff to win: Robospeak would kill him no matter how many robocalls his money would buy. This debate made me say wow: That dog has learned new tricks.
Romney won the night by exhibiting competence and coming across as good-natured. Maybe we need to acknowledge that, while it's great to have an evangelical in the Oval Office, it's not a cruciform office.