America got to see a vaguely threatening parade of gun fetishists, flat worlders, Mars Explorers, Confederate flag lovers and zombie-eyed-Bible-wavers as well as various one issue activists hammering their pet causes. My cheers went to a listless Fred Thompson who easily qualified himself to be president in my book by looking all night like he would cheerfully trade his left arm for an early exit off the stage to a waiting Scotch and good Cuban cigar. The media will probably award a win to Mike Huckabee, the easy listening music candidate at home in any crowd, fluent in simpleton speak and the one man on the stage tonight who led the audience to roaring cheers by boasting that he had a special qualification to be president that none of the second-raters on the stage could match: A degree in Bible Studies from Ouachita Baptist University of Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
ADDED: By contrast, look at how positive Captain Ed is about CNN's handling of the debate:
For the most part -- with a few glaring exceptions -- the network eliminated the silliness and stuck to substance. The questions hit hot topics and sparked some fierce debate. With a couple of exceptions, Republican fears of crypto-Democratic hit questions failed to materialize, and the candidates responded substantively to the rest.
I expected the debate to descend into silliness and gotcha moments. The only gotchas came from the candidates. Truthfully, this may have been one of the least "gotcha" and most substantive debates we've had this year.