Debate Reax

It seemed, from what I saw of it, a bad night for both Bachmann and Perry. Bachmann was unrelenting and unpleasant — like commercials in the back seat of a taxi that you can’t turn off. Perry looked both slick and uncertain — a bad combo.

Romney, by contrast, was relaxed and real (how weird was that!). I still don’t see how he slips the millstone of Romneycare off his neck. His justification — right for Massachusetts, wrong for America — has parallels in the past: the 21st Amendment allows dry and wet states, and the Constitution, until the 13th Amendment, allowed slave and free states. Many politicians defended these arrangements as necessary acknowledgments of faits accomplis, but it’s hard to sound good staking out such a position on new ground.

Cain and Santorum were friendly animals in an old Disney movie. It is inconceivable to imagine them in the White House. The wicked idiots in the audience were tireless in their cheers — one of the field markings of their idiocy.

Richard Brookhiser — Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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