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Scott Blakeman

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My Debatable Weekend

Posted: 01/08/12 09:28 PM ET

From Saturday night until Sunday morning, we were given a taste of what life would be like if there was a 24 hour Republican presidential debate channel.

Saturday's debate followed the adventure game show Wipeout where contestants tried to navigate a moving obstacle course suspended over water. Even though the Wipeout contestants often emerged soaked and battered, they emerged from the chilly waters with more dignity than most of the GOP candidates.

A year from now, one of the candidates in the debates this weekend will be doing reverse mortgage commercials.

Jon Huntsman kept his dignity intact and won both debates. Not just for what he said, but for the fact he finally got to say anything at all. Like many people, when I first heard Huntsman speak Saturday night, I thought "Oh, so that's what he sounds like."

With the elocution, looks and demeanor of someone who would have played the part of the president in a 1950's film, Huntsman proved that by speaking with intelligence and wisdom, and at times, in Mandarin, you completely alienate the Republican base. Even though Huntsman is an authentic dyed-in-the-wool conservative who hasn't done a Romney flip-flop, he is looked upon by Republicans as an alien from another political party. Even though he would be the GOP's strongest candidate if they were willing to take him seriously.

The real question is how Republicans can take any of the other candidates seriously. When Newt Gingrich passionately defended marriage as a "sacrament", which is at the very foundation of our society, you might rightly wonder how this twice divorced philanderer qualifies as an expert on that institution.

After some early comments, Rick Perry disappeared from the first debate (I think he flew to South Carolina ), until the final question, when he was asked "If you weren't here, what would you be doing tonight?" Perry said he would be at a shooting range, which was one of the most believable comments anyone said all night. But just when I thought Perry might be finally getting his muddled thoughts together, he gramatically incorrectly said in Sunday's debate, "I make a very proud statement and a fact that we have a president that's a socialist." Perry also gave his vote for sending our troops back to Iraq. Next, he'll be calling for a restart of the Vietnam War.

Romney is an oddly ill at ease, uncomfortable front runner. He's like a comedian who's always desperately trying to win over the crowd. By using someone else's material.

If I left Ron Paul out of this article, his supporters would claim it was a conspiracy. So I didn't.

And Rick Santorum says he doesn't discriminate against gays, but just doesn't want them to actually have equal rights.

After watching the first debate Saturday night, I went to sleep and had a few nightmares. Then I woke up this morning and turned on the second debate.

Those nightmares turned out to be real.

 

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