Richard Adams’s live blog is my source for entertaining summaries of the Republican debates, like the one held yesterday. He concludes at the end:
I have long since given up trying to predict what is going on in this Republican contest. That aside, this debate did no one any good, not the candidates and not the Republican party’s chances in November, I would wager.
Perhaps because the candidates have done this so often, there was no pretense at offering any wider vision. Instead all viewers got was some microscopic discussion about arcane matters, like earmarks and Title X. The overall tone was brittle, passive-aggressive and macho blustering at the same time. To spend so much time and energy arguing about contraception provision veers towards the repellent. The beating of the war drums over Iran is similarly unlikely to attract moderate or undecided voters.
The effect of all these debates has been to shift the centre of the Republican presidential platforms to the right, with even Mitt Romney sounding at times like a mildly crazed member of an obscure Tea Party sub-faction.
Sounds about right.