Well, the first debate is history and the GOP is feeling really good about themselves. Unless things change radically the next time Romney and Obama meet, we can glean these two things from this debate:
1) Without his teleprompter to do his thinking for him, Obama is an empty suit spewing platitudes. He had to constantly refer to his notes (the reason he kept his eyes down) and he seemed reluctant to engage Romney about anything substantive. His few referrals to his record were immediately thrown back in his face with a double dose of refutation.
I've said it before and I have seen nothing to dissuade me of this notion: Barack Obama is the product of marketing and polling, and nothing more. Someone in the Democrat Party did market research and decided that a smooth, articulate, minority candidate would win the election, and they were right. Since then, Obama has repeatedly proven that he is way out of his depth as President. His domestic policy has been a disaster and his foreign policy is imploding a little more every day.
However, when faced with a savvy candidate with substantial political and business experience, he folded like a cheap suit.
2) Ron Paul may not have won the nomination, but he definitely won the war of ideas. Mitt Romney mentioned free markets so much I almost thought that I was watching the Libertarian Party Candidate. His repeated assertions that he planned to give more power to the states and wanted the free market to be less regulated was simultaneously refreshing and infuriating. These are not new ideas, why did it take until this election for the GOP to embrace them?
One ironic note was when Romney stated that he didn't think that the government should have control of our healthcare choices. I could almost hear the tremulous voices of the pro-abortion bunch mewling about the irony of that statement. How murdering a baby can be considered "healthcare" is beyond me but, I'd be lying if I said I would be surprised to hear it.
Aside from that, Romney acted like he was President and Obama was the challenger. He challenged, corrected, and scolded, Obama whenever he tried to attack Romney's record.
Ultimately, tonight's debate was just the first of several, and to conclude that this is the way that all of the debates are going to go would be premature.
Still, after eight years of Baby Bush's milquetoast, "compassionate conservatism" and four years of Obama's bullshit, it was nice to see a candidate that was unafraid to confront the incumbent and take him to task on the issues.
I hope Romney at least sends Ron Paul a 'Thank You' card.