1.  I think this statement, from just before the Monday debate, holds up pretty well “Gingrich’s campaign is built around this fantasy where pedantic, self-righteous bombast = ruff and tuff. Reality will intrude and bring his numbers down. Maybe it will happen in time for the Florida primary (I think probably.) Maybe later.”

2.  Romney really kicked Gingrich around for the first forty minutes of the debate.  I’m glad because Gingrich would be a calamity as either Republican nominee or American President and Romney did everyone a favor by reminding the country that Gingrich isn’t nearly as tough as he pretends to be.  But . . . Santorum was right that the Romney/Gingrich disputes revealed the smallness and hollowness of much of the Republican debate.  The Freddie Mac thing was a big story primarily because Gingrich lied about what he did for them .  Amnesty is a more serious issue, but does anyone doubt that Romney would be for a much bigger amnesty than Gingrich if Romney thought that was the ticket to the White House?

3.  Santorum has been the only candidate to put Romney consistently on the defensive on Romneycare.  Santorum had Romney sounding like Obama in defense of the health insurance purchase mandate and that is not a place Romney wants to be.  Obama will be reminding Romney of those comments come the general election (if Romney makes it that far.)  Santorum’s success in getting to Romney is a testament to Santorum.  He isn’t the brightest, but he is principled and takes public policy seriously.  Perry and Bachmann couldn’t make the case against Romneycare because they didn’t take running for President seriously enough to come up with a coherent and detailed critique of Romneycare.  Gingrich has the brains, but he knew he was compromised by his long-term support for a federal health insurance purchase mandate.  So he went with picking on the moderators.  So that left Santorum to make the case for conservative health care reform in the Republican primary.

4.  If you’re in Florida, you might want to strongly consider voting Santorum.

5.  There was a very bad sign towards the end of the debate.  Romney was obviously feeling like he had thrashed Gingrich.  Romney went back to his lazy and lame “I’m for the America of I love America to stop Obama from turning America into a social democracy of Europe” spiel.  There is the outline of a real argument in there somewhere.  I know because Mitch Daniels made the case a lot better in his response to Obama.  Daniels was better than Romney on economic growth, social mobility, limited government, a responsible and adult citizenry, and a sustainable and secure welfare state. 

6.  The regret . . .

Articles by Pete Spiliakos

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