My Townhall.com column on the debate last night is here.
Patrick’s enthusiasms for Governor Huckabee aside (what debate was he at?) the next 45 days are about whether Rudy or Mitt runs against Hillary.
David Broder calls it the race between Mr. Nasty and Mr. Nice, but it really about whether the GOP has the confidence to run on the future and on its social values, or whether it believes the only way to beat Hillary and to win the war with the jihadists is with the toughest guy in American politics.
I gave a speech last night to a group of serious conservatives who are also supporters of Hillsdale College. The room was slightly pro-Romney, but only slightly. Other than one hand in the air for Fred, everyone who wasn’t for Romney was for Rudy. That’s where the party is generally, and if I had to bet the house right now, I’d bet that the desire to nominate a conservative wins out and Romney emerges as the nominee by mid-February.
Romney had a strong night, seemed raring to go, seemed to be willing to take on everybody, anybody, all comers, seemed to want to pick every fight possible. It’s as if Alex Gage whispered to Romney as he went on stage: “Governor, remember: you want the headlines to be “Romney Fights For Conservative Principles.”