The Wall Street Journal
By Peggy Noonan
Oct 21, 2011
The candidates were not-so-subtly pitted against one another, and the Vegas staging—the lights, the applause, the set—was like a 1970s game show. And now here’s your host, Mi-i-i-it Romney! I wondered if this was CNN’s sly spoof of the Republican Party, or just someone’s idea of good TV in the age of “Dancing With the Stars.” The candidates’ arguments, which occasionally descended into bickering, yielded a soundbite festival for future Democratic ads: “You hired illegals in your home!”
But in the end, Tuesday night’s debate was a real plus for the GOP. All the Republican debates have been, because they’ve made the Republicans look like the alive party. There’s been jousting and predictable disagreement, but there has also been substance. Often this is thanks to Ron Paul, who had the wit and depth the other night to score Herman Cain for not seeing that the unemployed are the victims of bad policy, not the perpetrators.