Debates matter in primary elections, because unlike in general elections, high information people matter in primaries. Thousands of Republican Party elected officials and committed conservative activists across the country watch these things and ask themselves who they want to see as their party’s standard-bearer. After two debates, I think you’d be left with the concern that Rick Perry is perhaps a bit too shaky on his feet to be your guy, and I don’t think this answer on Pakistan would remove those doubts:
This moment was a reminder that I wish moderators in future debates would think a little bit outside the box more. Last night’s moderators (especially Megyn Kelly) did a good job of asking questions Fox News viewers are likely to care about. But the tendency has been for each debate to cover very similar ground to the previous one. It would be interesting to see how able the candidates — and especially the “big two” of Perry and Romney — are able to answer some slightly less obvious questions. What does America do if the Eurozone breaks up? What if the pro-independence political party comes back in power in Taiwan?