|A bit of a yawner.|
As we get further into the GOP presidential debates, the GOP primary candidates all seem to be hitting their strides in the debate venues - no big mistakes, get the talking points out, and differentiate yourself from the other candidates. They all seem to be getting there - albeit a different rates of speed. Perry for example spoke better but still had a pause or two that was a couple of seconds too long. Given that emerging dynamic, and the fact that there are fewer and fewer areas of new ground to go over, is it possible for anyone to win?
Michele Bachmann did well for herself, but the question remains whether any good performance now will be enough to win in Iowa. The Iowa caucus vote is coming up fast. Newt Gingrich held his own, which is probably a win for him for the same reason. Mitt Romney probably didn't hurt himself despite his non-gaffe slip up. Rick Perry re-iterated his message but likely did not move the dial, and Ron Paul continued to be Ron Paul. Rick Santorum made his points but really is stuck in the single digits.
Without a major gaffe, or a terrific one liner, the debates are going to start settling and not add a lot to the shape of the race in my opinion. The problem is the debates themselves, the format is routine, and that encourages routine in the debate performances. People go in with game plans designed to make gains but not shake up the race. There's too much risk in that and that's especially true in a venue that encourages sameness and short answers.