I haven’t watched many of the Democrat or Republican debates this past fall. I’ve always had something else to do, but I have watched the recaps of some of them. Last night I was putting the Christmas decorations away and had time to watch the Fox News/GOP Debate. One of the nicest things about it was - no Ron Paul. (or his supporters)

Last night I went to dinner with my children at The Olive Garden. I was checking out the menu and noticed my son and daughter-in-law giggling. I asked them what was going on and my son said, “You didn’t see it?” I opened up the menu again and saw a “Ron Paul for President” stamped in red.

That illustrates the irritating annoyance of all things Ron Paul. This past December we went to the annual Christmas parade in Van Buren, Arkansas. It’s always so sweet, full of antique cars and homemade floats and cute kids. Ron Paul’s supporters drove by in a pickup truck with Ron Paul for President signs all over it. No Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Just the ubiquitous Ron Paul.

So this quote by a Republican who attended the ABC Republican debate this past Saturday really hits home with me…..

“Ron Paul starts with seeds of sensibility, and then they blossom into lunacy.”

After Saturday night’s Republican debate on ABC, NRO put together a focus group to get a few quick impressions from the people who attended their debate watch-party in New Hampshire.

That choice nugget came from their focus group. You can watch it here.

Later on, when the waitress came to check on us, I told her about the Ron Paul advertisement inside their own menus. She was pretty shocked but checked it out and there it was.

UPDATE: Sean Hannity was harrassed by Ron Paul supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire last night. Kathryn Jean Lopez asks, “Who does that?” Ron Paul loons, that’s who.

So I watched the debate hosted by Chris Wallace on Fox last night and Mitt Romney came off the strongest. It wasn’t Mike Huckabee’s night. He never did explain the half billion dollars of raised taxes while he was governor of Arkansas except to say, the voters wanted better roads and there was a court case. Why he didn’t explain the school court case I don’t know.

I also found it curious that John McCain and Mike Huckabee seemed to be teaming up against Romney. Huckabee explained to Chris Wallace that Mitt Romney had been issuing (so-called) attack ads against both him and McCain. Huckabee got all misty eyed when he spoke of McCain. I kept expecting him to say, “We few, we happy few.”

It was odd, to say the least.

I thought Fred Thompson did pretty well, especially in his defense of keeping Gitmo open and keeping the detainees out of Ft. Leavenworth.

Chris Wallace had Rudy on the defensive with his questions about Bernard Kerik but he was strong in his responses to the other issues.

But the night belonged to Mitt. He seemed both polished and down to earth and extremely knowledgeable about all of the issues, and he came down on the right side of the issues, taxes, immigration and “change.”

Unfortunately, I think “change” is going to be one of the most over-used words in 2008. Mitt Romney made the point last night that the folks who have been sitting in congress for twenty seven years aren’t likely to get the kind of change our country needs. Rudy pointed out that change for change’s sake isn’t what matters, it’s the direction our country goes in and under whose leadership.