Despite all the idiotic this or that questions in yesterday's Republican debate, it was all about consensus: A world of slashed government safety nets and regulation, where Rick Santorum's views on abortion and gay rights don't stand out as extreme at all. And where Bachmann, who announced her candidacy onstage, looks sensible and "mature."
Pundits declared Mitt Romney the winner, although Romney is up against the distrust of the "values" voter and the general indifference of anyone else. CNN, which aired the debate, noted that "in the end, all praised each other, with Romney declaring that any of the seven on stage would be a better president than Obama."
In an actual competition over who had more kids and grandchildren, Bachmann bested them all with her objectively impressive fostering of 23 children. She mentioned them a total of three times.
Bachmann indisputably knows how to put on a show, but one problem, according to John B. Judis at The New Republic: "She lacks Palin's charm and sexual charisma." More winking, perhaps?
Bachmann is clearly more interested in pretending to be rational. She also claimed on the Early Show this morning that she would be the "voice of common sense" in the White House, "where it's been missing for far too long."
New Hampshire isn't the "social issue" stronghold Iowa is, but when it came to recognizing equal rights to marriage and serving openly in the army, as well as abortion rights, the candidates were fairly aligned in oppostion.
Here are all them lining up to outdo each other on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, right after Bachmann sounded comparatively reasonable by saying she wouldn't interfere with New Hampshire's right to legalize gay marriage.
On abortion, Rick Santorum was asked, bizarrely, if he believed that Mitt Romney was really pro-life after having been pro-choice as Massachusetts governor. He claimed, for the second time, that he had "taken bullets" for abortion. We're not the only ones who listened and grimaced, knowing who has actually "taken bullets" in this "debate." Bachmann was asked about rape and incest exceptions, which Pawlenty has respected; she replied that this was a tiny proportion of cases and that this was about the right to life.
The picture was more muddled on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, as you can see in this video, with some favoring restoring the policy and a practical handful saying we shouldn't spend any more time on it (and some, like Bachman, being as vague as possible). Romney said sullenly that we should be talking about jobs and the economy.
GOP Contenders Take Aim At Obama In CNN Debate [CNN]
Bachmann: I'll Bring "Common Sense" To The White House [CBS]
Pundits: Mitt Romney Wins New Hampshire Debate [MJ]
Michele Bachmann Assumes The Position [WP]
Michele Bachmann's Surprisingly Mature Performance [TNR]