Like most pundits, I dragged myself along through most of the death march of the 20+ debates. Last night's was an exception. After seeing excerpts of the first hour through the last hour of my radio show, I was obliged to dash to another event and thus could only judge the result through the anlayses offered by others.
These, however, were near uniform. Whether one checked Michael Barone, Guy Benson, Mark Halperin, the National Review symposium or any of the other score or so of pundits-who-matter-and-who-are-also-reasonably-objective, Mitt Romney was the night's big winner because Rick Santorum was the night's big loser. The last in the long line of not-Romneys had a very rough night even as votes are being cast via absentees in both Arizona and Michigan.
Checking a debate result against so many analysts is a lot like averaging the polls as is done at Real Clear Politics so well. An outlier --"Ron Paul dominated!"-- gets tossed and the result is clear.
So Romney won and won big if the collection of professionals is to be believed. That probably means Romney's rise in Michigan will continue and his triumph in Arizona made more certain, and with those two results, he spring boards into Super Tuesday, does well there and the result of a Romney nomination, almost inevitable since the Florida vote, becomes a widely acknowldeged fact.
The debates have been a great disappointment, as they might have served the country very well in understanding the extraordinarny choice that will arrive before it in the fall. What the legion of MSMers did who manned the moderator/panelist posts was to generally protect President Obama from debate one forward while focusing on starting or enlarging fights between the GOP nominees who mostly agree on the issues. Only rarely did a question do to this big issue --Why fire Obama?-- when it should have been the central and recurring question.
This, by the way, could have happened with the MSM' bias on full display and viewers wouldn't have midned:
"Obama got bin laden. Doesn't he deserve a second term?"
"Obama saved GM. Souldn't he get a second term?"
"Obama capped the Gulf spill well. Shouldn't he get a second term."