As the Republican presidential hopefuls prepare for another round of debates, I write a few impressions of the lineup (my opinion and no one else's):
Mitt Romney - He is expected to win next Tuesday's primary, so most of his rivals have concentrated their efforts elsewhere.
Mitt's strategy of holding on to the center with a death-grip does not sit well with many conservatives, who expect him to stake out clear and unequivocal positions without appearing to be a flip-flopper. On the plus side, he is one of the few candidates with a claim to being a turnaround artist, as evidenced by how he saved the Salt Lake Winter Olympics. If he became the Republican nominee, expect the Obama regime to release a flood of anti-Mormon propaganda.
Rick Santorum - Former Sen. Santorum's excellent showing in the Iowa caucuses have propelled him to the forefront of the "I'm not Romney" candidates. In the past few days, he has had a welcome infusion of cash, up to $1 million a day. Even when he was at the rear of the pack, he became the darling of social conservatives and evangelicals, and is expected to capitalize on this fact when he gets to South Carolina.
Ron Paul - Rep. Paul is actually a libertarian running as a Republican. While I like some of his ideas of a minimalist federal government, his isolationism, lack of knowledge of foreign policy and plans to aggressively cut our military strength are frightening.
Newt Gingrich - Give this man some power, and his dark side will come out. Let's face it, the former Speaker of the House has no people skills, and is given to ridiculous hyperbole (he compared being excluded from the Virginia primary ballot to Pearl Harbor!). Democrats are usually quite forgiving of serial philanderers - except when the offender is a Republican.
Rick Perry - Gov. Perry had the chance to build up some momentum when he announced his candidacy, and he blew it. Like former President George W. Bush, he comes from a weak-governor state, and since old habits die hard, may be inclined to compromise with Congress even at times when bold and firm action are called for.
Jon Huntsman - Sometimes Huntsman appears to be a candidate who could easily pass for a Democrat. He has been concentrating his efforts on New Hampshire more than most of the others, and we will know by next week whether or not his efforts have paid off.