Last night’s Republican debate

As seen on Youtube:

Mitt Romney: Looked great, even though I disagreed with him. Nobody touched him, and the moderators gave him softball after softball. Going after him on the contraceptives issue even allowed him to play the “voice of common sense” – something he is the last person on stage to deserve. However… only he could somehow turn the phrase “Constitutionalist” into a slight.

Rick Santorum: Came off as a petty jerk on a couple of occasions. He needs to stop that. Also, he got a nice soundbite on his “Americans don’t believe in ‘class'” bit. Otherwise he kept the “W”-esque party line carefully, and got some great shots in on Obama. I don’t know that he gained many supporters, but I doubt he loses many either.

Ron Paul: Clarified a couple things for me personally, otherwise, nothing surprising. What was surprising was how many attacks were made on him. I wish he’d spoken a bit more clearly, but his points were made, and directly.

Newt Gingrich: Contributed very little of relevance. Seemed more just an example other people used. One thing that I did think was interesting was that he seemed to be the only one to address his local audience primarily over the national one, using specific examples on occasion.

Rick Perry: “I would send troops back into Iraq!” Bye, dude. You were doing alright until that one.

Jon Huntsman: Surprisingly sensible, and funny too. Too bad he’s irrelevant at this point.

The moderators were embarrassingly bad, and didn’t even try to appear neutral or unbiased.

Post-Iowa thoughts

So, Iowa has come and gone, and we have some fairly interesting results, in my opinion. Looks like Santorum and Romney came out essentially dead even with Paul in a close third. As I write this, the winner’s not yet decided, but really, it doesn’t matter in the overall picture. Romney surprised no one, Santorum suprised a lot of people, and Paul did exactly what the polls said he would.

Now, Iowa has a pretty good record of showing who’ll be the nominee historically on the Democratic side  – but on the Republican side, they picked Huckabee (34%) over McCain (13%) in 2008, and Dole (37%) over Bush Sr. (19%) in 1988. They did get Dole right in 1996 and Bush Jr. in 2000, but if we go back further, they were wrong on Reagan as well. So we can’t really say that, at least recently, this is going to make a huge impact on the chances of those top 5 in regards to November’s results.

What it does do, however, is cut the field to five, and the hopeful field to four, since this was Perry’s best-polling state out of the first five. Bachmann and Huntsman are done, though I’m sure Bachmann will squeeze a few more dollars out of her supporters before tapping out, and anyone hoping for Cain to come back can fuggedaboutit. I think the most surprising thing to me is how strong Santorum polled – I suppose he’s the one receiving the majority of the “oh please don’t let it be Mitt” vote. Romney actually pulled the exact same showing as he did last year, which can’t be an encouraging start in his camp, given he has the huge advantage in name recognition and time spent.

But that Ron Paul… he over doubled his result from last year and came dangerously close to taking it. That’s a bit surprising to me, given how hard the media’s tried to ignore the guy. That said, he was polling ahead of both Romney and Santorum yesterday, though by a narrow margin, which means he’s not grabbing much of the undecided vote. He ended up gaining about 1% in the actual vote, where the other two made up about 6% each – that could be a problem for him going forward. Now, he’s currently polling second in New Hampshire, behind a heavily-favored Romney and just ahead of Gingrich – Santorum is only polling at around 3% there right now

Now assuming Paul stays steady, this makes me think that he may hold on to a strong position as he’s still polling top three in the next few states to hit their primaries, where Santorum and Perry are both doing terribly. Unless Santorum sees a big swing in those states soon, I’d expect Romney, Gingrich, and Paul to be the frontrunners by the end of the month – and given the media’s treatment of Paul thus far, that means we’ll be hearing a lot about Gingrich and Romney.

As it is, I’m already starting to consider Paul the least of the available evils – somewhere I didn’t think I’d see myself a few months ago. Oh what interesting times these are.

Happy New Year

Every year I quote one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, as he has written probably the most charming New Years wish I’ve read anywhere. So here’s to you, readers:

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

Happy new year.

Not a typical Sunday

Today, a man of God passed away. He is home with his Father now, and his family rejoices, because they have hope.

Today, a man of God got engaged to the love of his life. His friends rejoice that God has brought together two of his children in such a way.

Today, a man of God stood before a room of hungry believers to teach and used the passing of his wife to forward God’s kingdom.

Today, a man of God spoke to a sports reporter saying emphatically that his excellent performance was not his work but God’s.

Been a pretty awesome day for the Kingdom, I’d say.

It’s been a heck of a week

This week so far, in bullet points:

  • Got over a nasty cold.
  • Heard a great message from Pastor Tom.
  • Beat Borderlands, finally.
  • Got to present my work in front of the VP of Operations for our entire company – and got kudos.
  • Met with some friends over coffee to discuss a chance at going back into web development.
  • Officially hit the 100 lbs lost milestone, posted on r/loseit, and got… compliments?!
  • New employees are doing great.
Now that’s a good first half-week, no?