I sat down to watch the GOP debate in Florida last night, the first time I've done it with the intention of seeing the whole thing through (otherwise, I have just skipped through youtube clips for the best highlights).
After about 30 minutes, I couldn't take any more. Presentation wise, Newt Gingrich has this thing sewn up. He runs circles round Romney and makes him look like a blustering ken doll. Gingrich is clear, concise and utterly full of himself - a great combo for debating.
The thing is, all of the candidates other than Ron Paul lie so blatantly that the debate doesn't actually mean anything. They are arguing over a reality that does not exist. To the GOP field, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the sole reason the economy fell off a cliff in 2008 (a convenient way of blaming poor minorities), and Cuba is the gravest threat to American security since Soviet Russia.
It was a surreal moment when Gingrich announced that President Obama has been too obsessed with the Arab Spring and not concerned enough with Fidel Castro. Given Gingrich has supported every war and every escalation in the Middle East on record, one would think Gingrich would have chosen his words more carefully.
But not Newt.
The man's ability to believe his own rhetoric is extraordinary. He seems positively intoxicated with his own brilliance and boldness, and his confidence is growing with every debate. Gingrich lies and lies and lies without shame and there seems to be no stopping him. Poor Mitt just isn't capable of lying with the same ease, and he's having a terrible time keeping up with Gingrich.
Anyhow, the debate became so ridiculous that I had to stop watching it. With Romney desperately trying to paint himself as a tough guy by threatening every country on earth, Rick Santorum blathering on about Terry Schiavo, and Ron Paul insisting that we have to dismantle the government to restore the economy, I pulled the plug.
I'll try again for the next one, but I'm not promising anything.