I don't have the patience to write up a minute-by-minute analysis of last week's Democrat primary debate or last night's Republican one, but here are my general impressions.

Democrats: Hillary was the clear winner. Obama stumbled several times: forgetting about Israel and denigrating the Confederate flag could lose him votes (but would anyone who cares about the Confederate flag vote for a black guy anyway?). None of the other candidates distinguished themselves except Mike Gravel, who's a loon (and therefore surging in online polls). Hillary came across as measured, confident, and polished -- no major mis-steps, which should be her main concern at this stage of the race. Obama needed to come out strong to demonstrate why he'd be a better pick than the anointed crown princess Hillary, and he didn't do it. Edwards was... mostly invisible. Richardson looked like he was about to faint from stage-fright, but of all the Democrats he had the most specific and rational policy ideas.

I was glad to hear the Dems talk tough about the GWOT, despite their constant harangues against "this administration". Socialized medicine scares me though, and they all seem to be for it... just imagine how much you hate dealing with the IRS, and extend that to the medical field. Just look at how terribly the Department of Veterans Affairs is run and imagine your health care being administered by a similar federal bureaucracy.

Republicans: The "big three" of Rudy, McCain, and Romney did the best. I like Tancredo, but I was surprised by how nervous he appeared. Ron Paul is a nut, but he's a nut that I agree with on a lot of issues (not the war, though) and I'm glad he was there. He didn't come across nearly as crazy as Mike Gravel did for the Democrats, and all the Republicans on stage could genuinely say that any one of them would make a better president than any one of the Democrats.

Romney was the most eloquent of the speakers and his take on Osama Bin Laden ("He is going to pay, and he will die") was strong and somewhat humorous.

McCain seemed solid, but his denunciation of pork-barrel spending rang hollow in my ears... he promises to veto pork-barrel bills as president, but he's in the Senate right now! He can filibuster those bills any time he wants, why is he waiting to be elected president?

Rudy came off well, and his constant reminders of the miracles he worked in New York were impressive. His stance on abortion seems rather ill-formed, and it's not clear to me what he'd do about it. Even if he vows to appoint pro-life judges, I'm not sure I'd believe him... plus, the presidential podium is a powerful platform for advocating an end to abortion, but he certainly wouldn't use it to that end.

Missing: I'm looking forward to seeing Fred Thomson in one of these debates. I like what I've read about him, and I want to see him on the stage.

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