8 PM Eastern, livestream and CNN. Are you excited? I am. I'll tell you why: this debate, after a lengthy break, will show where all the candidates presently stand. In all likelihood, the debate is Santorum's to lose.
Santorum has hit the spotlight since the last debate, and he's going to have more to defend than he ever has before. I think he'll pull through with flying colors, because he speaks from the heart and these social issues that he embraces are not a problem for him thus far. On the contrary, they resonate with the people of America - just not our ruling class politicians on either side and their news media friends. I am curious what the other candidates will throw at him tonight in the sense whether it will damage themselves more than him. So far, this vetting process is showing Santorum to be what he says he is, unlike what happened to Gingrich.
Romney will have to fight to prove his relevance, as surprising as that is to say. I expect he'll have some self defense going on, and usually he does well with that. I expect he'll also tout his executive experience and budget-cutting experience which no other candidate has - and that is a major plus in this election. Santorum is a stiff competitor for him becuase he comes across with more sincerity. If Romney can muster that same quality, he'll do well, and probably win the primaries of at least one of Arizona or Michigan this weekend.
Gingrich I hope will remain a has-been. He debates well, yes, and he calls the media out, yes, but he sure has a lot of baggage and more ego than is healthy in a leader. Not to mention he's not dependable, reliable, trustworthy, etc. He's really upset about the March 1 and March 5 debate cancellations because debates are the only times he shines. Sorry, dude. Oh, wait. I'm not!
Ron Paul still has loyal support though he still seems a long shot for nomination. Not to mention that he wouldn't be able to get Congress to follow his economic plan in a million years unless we vote out each and every incumbant who doesn't follow through with promises. We'll also see whether foreign policy comes up again tonight because Santorum always creams him there.
Does this debate matter, in the end? To the extent that the better we get to know each candidate, understand who they are and what their strengths and weaknesses are, then yes, it matters. To the extent that any one of these candidates could beat Obama, then no, it doesn't. After we have selected a candidate, who will be well-vetted at that point, we will focus on Obama. The issues of any GOP candidate will be old news by then. We can instead bring up all sorts of issues with Obama's record never mentioned by the media because they're behind him. That alone is enough to be Obama's downfall. Obama himself is not vetted, and people will be surprised and dismayed when they hear what his real record is in office. Like Rush Limbaugh said yesterday:
"Obama has come down to earth. He's now concerned with the most building blocks of middle class economic security: a job, a house, a college education for the kids, health care, money for retirement. That's it. That's what he's focused on. That's it, no more grandiose dreams. He's come down to earth. And they're happy. They at AP think this is reasonable, responsible. My question is can you dorks at AP, Ms. Werner, can any of you point to where Obama has improved any of this is? He controls the student loan program. He controls health care. Hell, he controls the housing market. Can anybody tell me where any of this is any better with Obama in charge? Don't try. You can't."
He went on about oil prices and the like, but you could read it yourself if you're interested. Point is, Obama's in hot water come general election season if he isn't already.