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Boca Break Down

Scoring the Florida debate.

1:33 AM, Jan 25, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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Mike Huckabee: You know it, I know it, we may as well admit it--we're going to miss Mike Huckabee when primary season is over. (Unless of course he wins, in which case we'll be wishing we were missing him.) That line about being the only guy at the UN without a headset was not only funny but original. And the Chuck Norris stuff was classic. He's also begun to use references like an Everyman version of Dennis Miller. First, he's analogizing Saddam's WMDs to Easter eggs. Then, he's relating the IRS to the horse sense of Doctor Phil. He's enormously entertaining.

Demerits, though, for that mean little joke about the Romney progeny's inheritance. Nevertheless, it was an instructive moment regarding the meanness and smallness that always lies at the heart of populism.

Rudy Giuliani: It's the first time Rudy's been relevant going into one of these debates since the campaign's Jurassic Era. He was at times funny and engaging, but he looked a little rusty and unsure of exactly what he wanted to get done. The other guys with a chance obviously had a plan. Romney was intent on playing on his home court, the economy. McCain was determined to reassure Republicans that he's economically conservative.

What did Rudy want to get done tonight? Beats me. And I bet a lot of other viewers don't have a clue, either. Which is probably a pretty good sign that whatever he wanted to get done, he didn't.

Dean Barnett is a staff writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.