The Republican debate is over and Saturday Night Live can’t wait. Ten candidates, all of whom can be parodied, plus Chris Matthews, is just too much to ask for. They were all the 30-second wonders.

Talk about hyper, serious attention deficit disorder, not exactly grace under pressure, this is one sad start for the Republicans. But OK, you ask, who won, who lost, how much does it all matter, anyway.

But, before I answer that, what a shame that no one gets to actually explain or truly explore an answer or an issue. Lincoln-Douglas this wasn’t. Kennedy-Nixon this wasn’t. Gladiator TV is what this was, rapid fire answers that didn’t answer, superficial when superficial must prevail. After all, ten candidates, half of whom are flakes, doesn’t exactly leave much room for analysis. But let’s look at the candidates. I write this before I see the post-spin. Romney was like a weather vane in a nor’easter hurricane, spinning like crazy. On the social issues like stem cells and abortion, who knows what is going on in his head. On his health care legislation which he has been ducking for weeks, he embraced. Go figure. He reminded me of Eddie Haskel in Leave it to Beaver, slick and ingratiating, but totally phony. Maybe a televangelist from a bygone era.

John McCain may have actually come out OK but he was tense and hyper and full of rhetoric that strained. He was wired tighter than a drum but seemed to pick up at the end and show his commitment, his compassion, and, most of all for him, a bit of the fighter and independent voice.
Rudy was slick and well spoken and, unlike the others, appeared to actually take a breath between sentences. It almost made you relax, until you tried to figure out his answers on funding of abortions, stem cell research and the rest of those nasty issues. He did point repeatedly to his tenure in New York and managed to work in the strong on security approach. 9/11, 9/11, 9/11.

I do have to confess, I happened to like Mike Huckabee. He seemed the most real of the bunch and spoke more honestly about his faith, his record and the other candidates.

But, on the whole, I would take the Democrats any day. Anyone surprised?