A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

November 11, 2008

Thank you Veterans

Another Veteran’s Day.

As a public employee I am off today.  This is one Federal Holiday I feel I have earned.  I am a veteran and am proud of my service to my country.  However, I realize that that sentiment should be replaced by another.  I am a veteran, and I am lucky to be one. 

I learned that sentiment from my son. 

My son is said something along these lines shorly before he left to serve you, his fellow citizens in the United States Army.  More on that later.

I am not a great family historian, but I do know that my family has served its fellow citizens by serving in our nation’s armed forces.  I could become at this moment altruistic, but I won’t.  They served for their own reasons.  I could also wax utopian and have the attitude that service in the military is not a good thing because war is evil.  Of course war is evil, and so service in the military is not a redeeming panacea that frames human character.   Serving in the military has as a goal ending the life of an enemy, so any military service is a necessity of evil.  The word necessity should be the word which catches our eyes.  In case any have unrealistic fantasies out there, it’s a rough world out there, filled with people who don’t like us – and I write this knowing that the “thems” in their own context are an “us”.

I will not at this time go too far afield and talk about patriotism.  Let me just give the short version and say that one of the most maddening phrases, songs, and attitudes I hear is the one “Proud to be an American”.  It’s not because I disagree with the policies of our country, overly lament the national errors our forebears have made, nor disagree with the concept that America on the whole has been a force of good.  I just think the statement is stupid.  One has no basis to be “proud” of something they had no control over.  I’m happy or lucky or even blessed to be an American would be a much more accurate and intellectually honest statement.  My son’s statement back this summer reminded me of that.

My relatives have served our nation from their arrival in the 1840’s.  From the Civil War, World War One and Two, Vietnam and today my family members have worn the uniform.  I am lucky that I have such people in my family who sacrificed so that our nation was torn in two was sustained.  I am lucky that today when there are many who still do not wish our nation well, my son in his words, “gets to stand up for his country”.

I also was lucky to serve, but my service pales when I consider that my Uncle Peter Smith served as a Doughboy in France in World War One.  I am shamed of my “pride” in my own service when I consider that my grandparents had four sons – my Uncles Jim, John, Frank and James – all serving in World War Two.  I can’t imagine the daily prayers, hopes put on hold, and fears that they experienced, until recently when I have begun to have maybe a concept of what they faced.  My Uncle Jim’s vessel was torpedoed three times in World War Two, my Uncle Frank was 17 years old when he was a casualty at Omaha Beach spending much of the rest of his life in pain reliving that horrible day from his adolescense, my Uncle James spent much of his 20’s island hopping while in the USMC, including involvment in Bloody Tarawa.  When faced with this level of service to their country, my “pride” is indeed pathetic, and I indeed was lucky to have served as a Paratrooper. 

My son enlisted this past summer.  In his words, he is lucky.  My son had many stumbles as an adolescent, and like many parents today, I was impotent to stop him on his own path to ruin.  Luckily for me when he was spiraling downward, he and my wife caught him.  God was also most kind to my son, and my son much to my joy recongizes the mercy that was given to him.  However, my son did not have a clear direction and needed one.  He had also done many things that while forgiven, only time could heal the wounds and the breaches of trust done to them.  This was a real family crisis.  There were little places he could turn.  At 19 he knew he didn’t want to go to college.  He also knew that he didn’t want a job working at a deli, Walmart, 7-11 etc.  He considered moving to the Midwest with his mother, but didn’t wish to do that either.  In the past he would have run from his responsibility.  I also knew I had to help him. 

I picked him up one morning and laid out the thin options he had before him.  I added one, that I don’t regret, but knew that doing so, was not without risk, and mentioned service in the armed forces.  I told him I would go with him to the recruiter and asked him to respectfully listen to what they said.  He shocked me when he said he would do so.   Even though I had been in the Army I mentioned the Coast Guard, Air Force and Navy.  I am sure that you all know why I would mention these first.  He said, No, but he would visit the Marines and Army recruiter.  I said that the Guard or Reserves would be a good option.  He was silent.

We went to one recruiter.  My son, despite his lack of belief in himself qualified for every MOS offered by the Army.  Many of these had lucrative bonuses and sounded as if they were made for my boy.  My boy who would drive me wild with his shouts of joy and anger as he played Gears of War and Ghost Recon – becoming one of the best in the gaming world at them.  He listened, respectfully and said “No”.  I broached the Reserves and the Guard, he was faster than the recruiter when he said, “No”.  In six months I’ll be in the same boat as I am today.  Even the recruiter was silent for a moment at that one.

When he asked what he wanted to do he looked at the recruiter and me and said, I want to do what m dad did.  I want to jump out of planes and be a real soldier.  I have never felt such pride and fear in my life at a statement.  You see, although I belatedly realized that I am lucky to have served in the Army, and yes as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne, I believe that my son was proud of me.  I asked him if he was sure.  I mentioned all the things that he could do with his ability scores.  My son who is as stubborn as I am replied, “If doing that was good enough for you, it’s good enough for me”.  I will admit that tears filled my eyes upon hearing that.  Tears of fears and of gratitude, that my son was indeed proud of me.

One day shortly before he departed for basic training, AIT and Jump School we spoke.  I told my son how proud I was of him for his decision to serve his country in a tough time.  He didn’t say much and then looked at me.  “Dad”, he said, “I’m lucky”.  I’ve screwed up my life a lot, but now I get to serve my country.”.  Even as I reflect upon this months later I am moved by his thoughts. 

I will echo them.

I am lucky that I was given the opportunity to serve my country in some small way.  I have been repaid richly for the minor investment I made.

I am lucky that I was born into a family who like thousands of other families in our nation demonstrated courage and a willingness to serve their country.

I am lucky that I have a son who also serves his country.  I will also be proud of him and his choices. 

Those who may come upon this post, please also reflect upon how lucky you are. 

I also ask you to join me in a daily ritual that I have as I ride to work, I pray for my son, and for thousands of other sons and daughters.  I pray that those who have wives and children will be kept emotionally close to them as they serve me.  I pray that God will be merciful to my son and the other sons and daughters who are indeed volunteering to be in harm’s way – for my safety.  I pray for my wife and my son’s mother (that one is not always an easy prayer) that they will be at peace with their child’s choice.  Then  I offer a prayer of gratitude that I amso lucky to have such people as our fellow citizens, our neighbors, our parents and grandparents, and our sons and daughters that watch over me.

Proud – not really.  Lucky – most definitely.

May 16, 2007

The GOP SC Debate Who Won – Who Lost

First off – This debate was multitudes better than  MSNBC.  Chris Matthews, whom I don’t hate, made the debate too much about him, and the format and questions were significantly better.  One thing that was still wrong is that there are about four or five too many in the pack.  However, the law of natural selection will weed out the field, it’s just taking too much time!

Here are some comments and the grades on the debate in no particular order.

Sen. McCain –  Strong on Iraq – “They’ll follow us home”.  The taxcuts – which he opposed – need to be permanent.  He is strongly opposed to “enhanced interrogation”.  He got a good laugh on his drunken sailor line.  He also showed a good deal of faith in the bipartisan working together of Congress – which has been lacking for awhile in Washington.  All in all, he seemed much less caffeinated than the last debate, and offered some answers.  Some of them just won’t sell to the base.  He and Romney got into a nice little tiff, which was encouraged by FOX.  Overall I’d say a solid B.

Gov. Thompson – Boy, you can tell this guy was a former health and human service guy, I mean his answer on stem cell research was thorough.  He would “require” Iraq to take certain steps with regard to forming provinces and a federation – but I’m not sure that the President of the US is able to write the system of government for another country, but it’s not a terrible idea.  The guy just doesn’t have pizzazz.  I think he’s hit his arc as a Secretary in the Cabinet, but at least he didn’t put his foot in his mouth as he did last time.  Grade of C and time to go home.

Gov. Romney – Didn’t get to hog the mike as he was allowed to on the MSNBC debate, but did well.  He is being painted as a lib and some of the base will likley remember this – and it may hurt him.  Sen. McCain’s comment about changing positions by year or office is meant for him and was a pretty good zinger.  He wants to put benchmarks on the economy and that idea sounds fairly good.  Not as good as last time and he took a few hit.  B+

Sen. Brownback – I have to say that I really “hated” his answer on abortion with a rape victim.  I know some may like his view, but I find it rather offensive.  I liked some of his remarks concerning energy have merit.  He would like to see more consensus with Iraq between Republicans and Democrats, which I would like too, as well as having a million dollars in my account.  He didn’t hit any out of the park, and his numbers won’t go up.  I just don’t see him as the next President.  Grade of C and time to go home.

Rep. Tancredo  – He was a good deal less nervous tonight, but still seems a bit on the squirrely side.  He would like to see some real cuts in Medicare and shelve NCLB.  He gets a good yuck on the conversions with Road to Des Moines when compared to Road to Damascus.  Much better than the first night, but still has no chance to win.  His campaign will die out from lack of oxygen.  Time to go home with your C+.

Mayor Giuliani – He was much better on the abortion issue with articulation of a clear policy – which we all knew.  He talks about his differences with Sen. Clinton on economic issues.  When it came to terrorism and defense he hit the ball out of the park and spanked Rep. Paul pretty soundly.  The crowd livened up and you can tell he was pretty angry at the remarks of Rep. Paul.  This will be the headline and the soundbite when he stepped in – not polite, but showing leadership.  He also had to love it when Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney were sniping at each other.  A very good night for Rudy, and he’ll get a bump after a few tough weeks.  B+/A-.

Rep. Paul  – Well the Fox snap phone poll has him winning, which shows you how unreliable those phone in polls are.  He is very different and very libertarian with regard to Iraq.  He may score points with some by saying US policies are part of the 9/11 equation, but that will not sell with the base.  At this time he is just serving comedic value. He may be toast with the base, but his non-GOP views may help him as a maverick, but he has no chance at all, not that he ever did.  Grade D and probably a note to go home.

Rep. Hunter –  A lot of the NAFTA and Free trade gang will hate this guy because he doesn’t want to tank our economoy to prop up Communist China.  I like this guy!  I like that his son was in Fallujah – speaks volumes about him.  He feels that Iraqis are starting to bear more of the burden of the war and this will increase.  I think he’s bucking for Sec Defense job. B+

Gov. Huckabee – The guy has a way of working the audience; I guess it comes with the preacher territory.  He scores the yuck of the night with the John Edwards haircut joke,  and makes a few pointed barbs with abortion and Giuliani’s position.  Overall he does well, he relates to the people well and may stay around after this debate.  Grade B+

Gov. Gilmore – Don’t send us to a website unless it is mine!  Gov. Gilmore takes the attack mode, going after the front runners labeling them as “Rudy McRomney”.  All this does is allow the front runners to have the opportunity to defend their positions.  He doesn’t really answer the questions too directly, and for that he may have hurt himself.  Grade D+ and a note to not come back to class.

Who helped themselves   Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter

Who got hurt Rep Paul, Gov. Gilmore, Gov. Thompson, Sen. Brownback, Rep. Tancredo

Who stayed pat – Sen. McCain, Gov. Romney

Hopefully, the field will be seven with four going out, and a presumed entrace of Sen. Thompson for the next round.  We’ll see.

May 15, 2007

Round Two of the GOP Debate Tonight!

Tonight will be the second round of the GOP debate.  This one will be hosted by FOX, with Brit Hume serving as moderator.  I would expect to see a bit more organized debate than Chris Matthews’ efforts two weeks ago.  I am also looking forward to not being treated to the insipid “online” questions from Politico.com.

With a field of ten there are still too many, but hopefully tonight the herd will be thinned out.  There are simply some candidates who may have a right to run, but are merely diversions.

Notably, the two who aren’t there may draw more attention than the ten who are there.  Fred Thompson and Newt Gringrich will not be in the fray as they have not yet announced.   We’ll be following the debate with interest and hope to find some snap polls – scientific ones – about who did the best.  Heck, that post I had from Survey USA was GOOD for traffic!

May 10, 2007

What do you Value?

As I’ve been mulling over resumes, and the course of my life, interspersed with reading about how an American icon, IBM, is on the fast track to screwing over their workers, most of whom happen to be my fellow citizens, I realize that my values may be out of sync with the rest of society.

I value my family.  I take great joy and a small sense of pride in knowing that my children are decent kids.  Yeah, they have problems, but they are overall doing well.  My eldest daughter is a tremendous source of pride.  She has taken a position as a Social Studies teacher, just like her Dad.  I can’t tell you the joy that brings me, that perhaps she saw maybe something in me, that maybe nudged her towards that.

That brings on another thing I value, community.  To me it was shown when I volunteered and enlisted in the 82nd Airborne, a decision I think was one of the best I have ever made.  In that action, I feel I made a slight downpayment in the debt that I owe those members of my family, and those who served, and often sacrificed more than I was called to do, in order that I may live in a world which they may only have dreamed of.  I am a lucky man indeed to have the knowledge that I was fortunate enough to serve my country.

I think that my desire to teach and be a leader in a public school is also a part of that value of community.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel I am underpaid, and I don’t mind that either.  I also know that I put a great deal of effort into my students, and that I take a particular joy in seeing the progress they made.  Today, when I was reading their essays about how our government used ancient Rome as a model, I took a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that my love of history, and probably a deep love – although I guess it is true that “Love Hurts” – for my country has been shared with them.  I value their learning, and I value what they teach me daily.  I learn more from them than they would ever guess.  I am lucky for that.

I value community, and I think that extends from the home to the schools and churches that so many of us enjoy.  I value the happiness of my community, and hope that my neighbors feel the same way.  I value the aspect that God plays in my life. I am not so sure as what I believe as when I was a younger man, but I think that my understanding that I need for the grace that is offered to man, as a part of my life.  I like that, and admit that I am happy to say that most times, I truly understand that God calls me friend.  I value that.

I understand money, and of course it has a value.  I guess what I don’t get are those entities that value a buck more than the people that labored to make that dollar for the company.   I know things are hard, and a business has a right and the responsibility to make profits for the shareholders.  I guess it’s not in my values however, when that company still makes money, but outsource jobs from my neighbors, and yours, and sends them over to nations which are our economic rivals, who would never give something towards us to help out our economy.

I have a feeling that most who regularly read this blog would say that they value the same things.  If that’s the case, why aren’t things different?  After all there are more of them than there are of those other bastards.  I am thinking about Governor Al Smith, of the fifth ward, a son of immigrants, who rallied the day laborer and the common person of New York City in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and forged a movement that was founded on that idea, that there are more little people than big people.  Maybe we just have to remember that.

I guess its a question about what we value.

May 8, 2007

Newsweek Poll – Bush Approval at 28% – Dem Candidates Trounce GOP

Results from the Newsweek Poll:

May 5, 2007 – It’s hard to say which is worse news for Republicans: that George W. Bush now has the worst approval rating of an American president in a generation, or that he seems to be dragging every ’08 Republican presidential candidate down with him. But According to the new NEWSWEEK Poll, the public’s approval of Bush has sunk to 28 percent, an all-time low for this president in our poll, and a point lower than Gallup recorded for his father at Bush Sr.’s nadir. The last president to be this unpopular was Jimmy Carter who also scored a 28 percent approval in 1979.

The poll goes on to show all Democratic candidates with fairly good leads over all combinations of GOP candidates, which is quite contradictory to all of the other polls being let out over the past few weeks. Another startling number was 71% of those polled felt the country was going down the wrong track. If all of these things are true, it would seem that the blue tide that came over the country in November was just a bit of undertow compared to a tsunami brewing in ’08. That may not be the case.

The mystery of polling is never to be discerned in the raw numbers, the factors that make up a poll are the way questions are framed, and who was asked the questions. The latter is always the most important, and this poll, registered Democrats composed nearly 50% more of the field than registered Republicans. While the Democrats do enjoy a slightly higher registration than Republicans, it is not a 50% majority.

Democrats were 36%
Republicans were 24%
Independents were 37%
Others/not interested were 3%

The polls sample was horrifically skewed. The poll also failed to expose demographics by age, gender or racial affiliation.

I’m not saying this poll is good news for the GOP, and anyone who has eyes which are open knows this, but this poll, is one of the worst constructed polls I have ever seen, and I’ve seen more than a few.

Rasmussen has been conducting tracking polls for years on daily approval, and Bush’s approval comes in between 37-40% the past week, which is a signficant difference. By the way, Rasmussen was very close on ’00 and hit ’04 and even the midterms dead on. He’s simply the best pollster out there, and his numbers show GOP candidates much closer than Newsweek’s poll.

This poll seems made for the MSM, particularly MSNBC. Now, I try not to complain too much about MSNBC’s bias, but remember Chris Matthews (former Carter Speechwriter, former Tip O’Neil aide, former Muskie and Moss aide) and Tim Russert (former aide to Mario Cuomo, and Sen. Moynihan – whom I happen to admire) bring a wee bit bias into their presentations. Newsweek’s editor, Howard Fineman is a regular contributor to their shows, as well as Kieth Olberman.

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d say that MSNBC is doing all the can to act as the Democratic Press Release Committee – but I guess that they would say the same thing about Fox.

🙂

Compromise Bill to Fund War in Phases

A bill is being prepared by House Democratic leadership to send to the floor.

• Congressional Democrats working on new $95.5 billion war funding bill
• Half of funds would be available immediately; vote required on remaining funds
• Bill does not contain deadlines for withdrawing troops from Iraq

This bill has the potential to be met with rather wide bipartisan support.  While the bill doesn’t require a deadline or timetables, it would require the President to report to Congress in July upon the Iraqis progress with meeting certain benchmarks.  The Democrats measures may be gaining some momentum as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) address lagging support among House Republicans.  However, this was stated that it would be timed with General Petraeus’ report regarding progress of  “The Surge”.  A bit more than half of the troops needed for planned operation are in place.  It is believed by many that July will see intense fighting as the heavy brigades will be deployed in various key sectors believed to be Al-Qaeda areas of influence.  Pressure is being put on anti-war legislators to oppose this bill, and not accept any bill which doesn’t immediately call for an immediate pull out.

In a conversation with a friend of mine who has some of the inside story, the plan in July is to make these contested areas “One big Fallujah”.

Time is clearly not on General Petraeus’ and President Bush’s side.  Signficant promise will need to be seen by late Summer in cleaning up Iraq, or it is not likely that the Congress Republicans will stand in line in support of the Iraq policy.

May 4, 2007

GOP Debate: Internals of Survey USA Poll Strengthen Giuliani’s Hand

I had posted about this poll last night, now with the internals the decision is clear, the first “scientific” poll has Thursday night as a big win for Rudy Giuliani. Here are how the internals bolster this support.

I have highlighted the demographics considered signficant in GOP elections.

Who won the debate:

All Giuliani 30% Next was Romney at 16%

18-34 Giuliani 21% (1) McCain 15%

35-54 Giuliani 34% Hunter 12%

55 + Giuliani 31% Romney 19%

White Giuliani 31% McCain 15%

Black Giuliani 32% Hunter 15%

Hispanic Giuliani 39% Romney 13%

Asian Gilmore 16% Hunter 11%

Conservative Giuliani 32% Romney 16%

Moderate Giuliani 32% Romney 13%

Liberals 24% Gilmore 11%

Republican 33% McCain 17%

Democrat 34% Romney 12%

Independent Giuliani 19% Romney 13%

Pro Life Giuliani 26% Romney 16%

Pro Choice Giuliani 33% Romney 11%

Vote GOP in Primary Giuliani 30% McCain 17%

Vote DEM in Primary Giuliani 33% Romney 10%

May Vote in Primary Giuliani 25% Romney 15%

By any stretch last night was a knockout win for Rudy, at least with the voters.

GOP Debate: Forget “Who Won” – Who Lost? Answer Fred Thompson

Well, the snapshot GOP debate is over and rather than mull over who are the winners I’ll go out on a limb, and disagree with many blogs when I make this assertion, Fred Thompson is the Big Loser. You may argue, how could he lose, he wasn’t there. If you did that, you just gave the reason. His absence here was notable, and it will hurt him.

The adage of out of sight out of mind must be remembered. There will be some likely shifting in the polls from the debate. My feeling is that Romney will pick up a few points from his anemic 10%, but where will it come from is the important question. There are a few sources, but there is no bigger source than the non candidate Fred Thompson who is around 15% in most polls, and Former Speaker Newt Gingrich who has about 8%, but I don’t think Newt is a viable candidate and he’s smart enough to know that he can’t win. He’s far too polarizing a figure.

So, that makes Fred Thompson as the most likely source to lose support, and it will go to Mit Romney who spoke articulately and clearly on a number of positions. I also think that when the dust settles, it is not likely that Giuliani will lose any ground, and will probably pick up a few points. Senator McCain is also hard to figure. On the one hand he spoke his voice, but he also seemed edgy and a bit too agressive for the format. He constantly went over his time, and I have a feeling that the base, that isn’t too enamored with him as it is, and is looking for reasons to vote against him, which may be unfortunate, I see him staying pat, but Romney closing in, and possibly losing ground to Giuliani. He could find himself in third place after this debate, which would be a disaster for his campaign.

However, former Sen. Thompson’s non participation and non announcement reinforce a perception about a dispassionate person, who does not feel a fire to run. That doesn’t bode well, as people want a Chief Executive who wants to be there.

Survey USA Poll: Giuliani Beats Opponents in Debate

A poll of 317 viewers watching the debate were asked to rate the performance of the candidates:

Rudy Giuliani 30%
Mitt Romney 12%
John McCain 11%
Jim Gilmore 8%
Duncan Hunter 7%
Sam Brownback 4%
Mike Huckabee 4%
Tom Tancredo 4%
Ron Paul 2%
Tommy Thompson 2%

UPDATE: Drudge report is having an interactive poll, but it does allow for multiple voting, so pretty worthless.

The Debate: Who Won and Why?

You see the title; what is your answer. I will reply after I think.

Updated: Well I thought and I will now take out my teacher’s red pencil and give each a grade in no particular order.

Rep. Tom Tancredo – Looked frustrated at times. I think part of it is that his campaign is struggling for air, and the format hurt him as he tried desparately to get out his views and distinguish himself, particularly on immigration. I also think that people saw that frustration and it didn’t help. Grade D

Rep. Duncan Hunter – Was clear, concise, and strong in many of his answer. One area that may hurt him was he was the most aggressive on Iran, and to a country that is not at all happy with Iraq, showing this posturing towards another nation in the area, one that does make everyone nervous may hurt with many even among Hawks. His trade and pro-worker solutions were noteworthy. Grade B-

Mayor Rudy Giuiliani – He was strong on war on terror and framing himself in his model of Conservativism. The questions on abortion won’t help with the base, and will help him with those who are softer on pro-life/pro-choice. He stumbled on that area, but did make his case with his time as NYC Mayor. I still support him. Grade B-

Sen. John McCain – Anyone who said that he lacked vigor got the reply in spades, he was energetic, perhaps too much so, to the point of aggressiveness in tone and body language. He also really had a problem keeping to the time, and wasn’t held to the time limits strictly. He didn’t hurt himself, but I don’t think he helped himself too much. He came out fairly strongly against President Bush, with saying numerous times, “The war was mismanaged”. He seemed passionate and assertive, but perhaps too agressive. Grade C+

Gov. Mit Romney – Of all the candidates the former Bay State Governor stood out. I am not a big Romney fan, but if I had to declare an overall winner, it would be him. He was able to frame his “flip flop” on abortion, and gave a reason that was credible. He also was well versed on the issues and inviting. Grade A

Gov. Jim Gilmore – Did very well tonight too. He was able to state that he was the “consistent Conservative”. He also did well to elicit his positions. However, there are few moments that make him stand out, and he probably won’t see his coin rise. Grade B-

Gov. Tommy Thompson – Did very well on many areas, but there was one area that may hurt him, and that was the question about firing people due to their sexual practices. I also believe that there was a pause that would have allowed him to nuance his position, and his silence was pregnant. This will be picked up. I don’t know if this is a valid reason to terminate an employee in the private sector, other than religious organizations, such as a parochial school, which are exempt from such restrictions and understandably so. His Iraq solution is interesting and deserves a look. Grade B-

Sen. Sam Brownback – Made some good points tonight, and particularly in his stressing the need for the political process to have a more dominant role in the process. His stands on abortion will help only with those who don’t know him, as they are well known. He also held up his credos to the bases fondness of evangelical base. Overall he may have helped himself, but like so many in the second tier is so far behind. Grade B-

Rep. Ron Paul – Made his stand as the maverick in the field. He also came across as passionate, principled, and had a good wit. However, his views on foreign policy are going to hurt him in the end. As much as America may wish to go back to isolationism, that ship has sailed. He advocated himself well, but his views won’t hold. Hard to grade with this dynamic, but based on his performance, and not his substance B.

Gov. Mike Huckabee – He had some good moments, and probably the biggest yuck of the night with his joke concering “The Governator”. He came across as genuine but may have suffered from the format as his positions are hard to define from some of the others, and nuance of his stands may be lost in the shuffle. Grade B-

Overall big winner has to be Romney. He did very well, and being slotted first, by the draw helped him. I think the big loser was Tom Tancredo, and this is not a slight, but he seemed frustrated and this won’t give him much of a bump.

I think that the only shift will be Romney moving up, but the question is who will pay for this hike Giuliani – who probably won’t lose support, McCain or maybe the non-announced candidate, who will also miss South Carolina’s debate, Fred Thompson.

If I had to be like a reality show and only promote five I think these five will likely be in SC.

Giuliani, McCain, Romney, Rep. Hunter, and either Sen. Brownback or Gov. Huckabee.

Then again, I could be wrong.

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