Was only able to watch a few minutes of the debate last night. The questioning was surprising incisive, to NBC's credit. Huntsman, to my mind, came off at the best prepared and most presidential cadidate. It's a sign of the extreme rightward turn of the GOP that he's also the candidate with the least real prospects of getting the nomination. Rick Perry seems to have stolen the GOP base's heart, and it's also telling just how transparently shallow and disingenuous his answers were. The question on health care was especially apposite. Contrasting Massachussetts' 5% rate of uninsured to Texas 27%, Brian Williams asked Perry why voters should favor his approach to Romney's (and by implicit extension Obama's). That Perry could claim with a straight face that excessive goverment regulation is the cause of Texas' uninsurance problem simply highlights the extent to which slogans have substituted for thinking in the GOP. After all, is Massachussetts any less regulated than Texas?