One candidate stood out amongst the Iowa's debate participants: Ron Paul. As usual, he deviated from the Republican policy in foreign wars, advocating a new type of Isolationism. He was the target of Santorum's acid criticism laced with a strong dose of sarcasm. Ron Paul shouted the most, knowing full well that, in spite of a decent poll number, he has no chance to win the primary. Bachman rarely showed the usual passion, except when she vigorously defended her role in Congress: "I was against raising the debt ceiling." Mitt Romney, as the present favorite to win the primary, maintained his distance from everybody else to avoid a verbal confrontation; he of course hasn't shown that he has the skills to fight in the trenches. His perpetual sardonic half smile doesn't serve him well, as if he were making fun of his colleagues.
So much for the most active debaters; in their shadow, Pawlenty seemed a little more animated, but as usual he keeps the title of the Prince of Monotony. If you can't sleep, there is the cure for you; tape his speeches and play them back in a loop at night. Hermann Cain showed poise, common sense, and self-assurance: He gets the nomination for Mr. Sense & Wisdom. Newton Gingrich, by far the most experienced and astute participant, let his tongue get the better of him as usual, bashing the Fox News hosts even though he once worked with them. He gets the nomination as Mr. Ungrateful. Huntsman, our ex-ambassador, well, the less said the better. He clearly deserves the title of Mr. Disappointment.
The real winners are the candidates who were not at the debate, but whose invisible presence dominated the event: Sarah Palin and Rick Perry, the Texas governor. Even though Mitt Romney kept a straight face when asked about Perry's entry into the fray, his response welcoming the fact betrayed his inner turmoil: His worst nightmare has just proven true. Perry is a serious contender, much more than any of the other candidates and he knows it. Romney firmly believes that it is his turn after losing to McCain three years ago and Perry, more so than Palin, represents the dark horse in the race to the White House. I nominate Romney as Mr. Déja Vu.
Michele Bachman is intense, no doubt about it; she is a real "damn the torpedoes" warrior, unlike Romney and that's what makes her a formidable and dangerous opponent. As a de facto leader of the Tea Party, she represents the extreme right views of the Republican Party, which, in my opinion, disqualifies her as a winner of the primary. Few independents will vote for her. Her followers are not afraid to elbow CNN anchors out of the way, which leads me to name her Miss Get Out Of My Way.
Rick Perry took his time to declare his candidacy to the White House, hoping to emulate his predecessor in the Texas Governorship. He acted wisely in not jumping into the race early; he wanted to see what the others had to say before deciding. He apparently feels that the competition is not that strong and that he has a good chance to prevail. Governor since the year 2000 (when Bush was elected the first time), he surprisingly began his political career as a Democrat and switched in 1990. As the longest serving governor in Texas, Perry is known among the locals as a man who follows the political trends as long as they favor his personal goals. This factor may hurt him when his opponents look for ammunition to attack him in the campaign. He is therefore my favorite for the title of Mr. Ride With The Wind.
Who will attempt to defeat Barack Obama? If you know the answer, please let me know!!