I caught the first hour of the Republican Primary debate last night. If you didn't see it, you need to take the time to watch a little of it. It did my heart good.
I know that we are still early in the elections and that the candidates will eventaully need to differentiate themselves and that there will inevitably be some mud-slinging. But what I saw on stage last night was a united group of Republican candidates who did not treat each other as the enemy, but focused on the real problem at hand -- President Obama and the Democratic leaders.
A number of times, a candidate began their statement by saying, "What [this or that candidate] just said is exactly right..." When CNN tried to bait some of the candidates to attack Mitt Romney on aborition or health care, they refused. As a group, they did something that would seem impossible: They got 2 straight hours of making solid arguments about how the current administration is doing it wrong and what they would do to fix it... in prime time... on CNN!!! I'm sure it drove CNN nuts.
I finished watching, and I thought, You could almost just pick one of the candidates names out of a hat for the primary! They were all very solid, and they were all on basically the same page. ANY of those candidates would be a huge breath of relief in light of the current administration. They were all strong and decisive and not afraid to say what they thought, despite potentially offending the left.
I couldn't watch the debate live, because I was in class. But I pulled up the debate on my laptop, turned down the volume, and then watched CNN's audience tracker. As they liked what a candidate said, the lines would trend up. If they didn't like what they said, the lines would trend down. With both the Republican and Independent voters, I never once noticed the lines go down. Regardless of who the candidate was, the lines would trend upward.
It was simply a very solid showing for the Republican party. It made me proud to be a conservative. I'm sure strong leaders will emerge out of that group as the debates continue. I would hope that those who eventually fall behind and see that there is no chance will bow out gracefully rather than try to tear down the other candidates. We ought to follow suit and support each other rather than tear each other down. If we can keep the focus on the real problem at hand, 2012 is going to be a very good election. We have some very good candidates.