More Debate Thoughts

by Rich Lowry

–How weak was Romney’s answer on Afghanistan? He couched his position in favor of staying as much as possible in we’ve-got-to-get-out terms. He clearly senses which way the wind is blowing on this within the party. 

–Although Romney was strong overall, we still don’t know whether he can take a punch, since no one threw one.

–I understand why Pawlenty always brings up his working-class background. The thing is there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly working-class about him when you watch and listen to him, so I’m not sure how much  resonance his background will have.

–Pawlenty’s strategy is to appeal a little to everyone. The problem with that is that you might not appeal a lot to anyone. Last night, he seemed to fall between the cracks between Romney (more established than he is) and Bachmann (more interesting and anti-establishment than he is).

–Bachmann played well to one of her under-appreciated strengths–she’s currently in the fight, while everyone else is a former officeholder or never officeholder. (Sorry, Ron Paul fans–I put him in a separate category.) Also, the fact that she’s been in Congress for a while gives her a big advantage over Herman Cain. She knows the issues and is used to discussing them.

–I think Bachmann has a chance to speak very powerfully about the importance of marriage in this race, given that she was raised by a single mother and given what she’s done for the children of broken families.

–If Bachmann can consolidate grass roots tea-party and social-conservative support, she will be very formidable.