If you have followed the Republican primary race thus far, Thursday night's debate offered little of note. As they have in the past, each of the four candidates reaffirmed their views and lambasted President Obama for his radical agenda. The only difference was that they did so on Thursday with extra references to the blessings of capitalism.
Since none of the candidates, excluding Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), actually maintain a consistently conservative platform, watching the contenders go after each other's contradictory views was the best part of the evening.
Rick Santorum attacked Mitt Romney for his role in establishing state-run health care in Massachusetts ("Romneycare"); Paul attacked Santorum for endorsing the prescription drug benefit plan while George W. Bush was in office; Santorum questioned Paul's record on abortion; and Gingrich defended his career as a "Washington insider" against accusations of corruption from Romney and Santorum. There are more examples, but that sums up the evening: each candidate is more conservative than the others, and that's why you should vote for him.
Despite trying ad nauseum to prove their conservative street cred, all of the candidates deserve some praise for diving a little deeper into the issues during Thursday's debate. Gingrich in particular deserves a round of applause for steamrolling CNN moderator John King for asking about Gingrich's maritial problems, which Gingrich rightly noted have nothing to do with the election. Too much media coverage is expended on the cadidates' personalities, who they sleep with, and how much money they make. Gingrich's sharp response to King's opening question highlighted the problem in a brilliant way.
Otherwise, the debate was standard fare. Nobody in South Carolina is likely to change their choice in the upcoming primary, and if you liked one of the candidates before Thursday, you probably feel the same way today.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore