I couldn't watch the "debate" live as it was on in the middle of the night here in Israel, but I've seen enough YouTube today to venture a few casual thoughts.1) It must really stink to have to "debate" on a stage with 9 other guys in a political setting where there are certain things you have to say ("Reagan," etc.). How could anyone possible distinguish themselves in a way that wasn't entirely negative? Also, this is not a "debate," hence the use of quotation marks.2) They all even looked exactly the same (this was obviously exacerbated by point #1). I don't like to blame people for being old, bald, white guys in suits with red ties--if it is what you are, it is what you are--but some variation at least in intonation would be nice. Romney gets some points here for a more appealing voice.3) I like McCain. (I like his intonation also but that is just probably because I like McCain.) His message has stumbled a bit along the campaign trail, but he's still logical (supporting stem cell research, see below) and still a maverick when necessary (calling for the resignation of Alberto Gonzales and challenging his party's sitting president going into an election).4) I think Ana Marie Cox likes McCain a bit too (even if she doesn't admit it). Her liveblogging of the "debate" was great. Check out her hidden compliments for McCain that slipped through:8:17PM I have to say, I like how pissed McCain seems. I'd be pissed, too, if those countries kept naming themselves SO SIMILARLY.8:37PM McCain has a great stump speech, but maybe he should not be quoting it now? He is pointing, tho. I like non-thumb pointing.8:55PM Another thing I like about McCain: He'd rather just wrestle for it. And he has yet to suck up to Politico. What is it about Jim Vandehei that makes me want to punch him in the face? Nice guy, sure, but I ... just... want ... topunchhimintheface.8:58PM Romney just completely dodged the stem cell question. Also, love Matthews making it ABOUT NANCY. Brownback: "We can't 'create people to cure people.'" CREATE PEOPLE? McCain says what most sane people think: let's try to cure people.5) I like McCain: He believes in evolution. I do too.6) 3 "debaters" raised their hands to indicate they don't believe in evolution: two who won't matter that much and Sam Brownback, who I have long believed will lead the fundamentalist challenge against McCain in the GOP primary. This, ladies in gentlemen, is one strong reason why I will be switching parties to vote for McCain in the primary (more on this later, obviously) ... and why my girlfriend and my dad are mad at me. Mom's ok with it. I think. McCain needs the type of help in the primaries he didn't get in 2000.7) Mitt Romney is making a much stronger showing than I ever anticipated. His fundraising has been remarkable and the Mormon issue has not hurt him like I thought it would within the Republican Party. It still might become an issue later, but for now, he's doing quite well. As a speaker, I like him far more than much of the rest of the GOP field. I still don't find much in common with his politics.8) I like McCain.