Watching the presidential debates is just good, clean fun for us, isn't it? By the time we finally get around to our primary in May, who knows who will be left standing? If past elections are any guide, the victors will already be known by the time we cast our ballots. So we can amuse ourselves by picking debate winners and losers without it really meaning anything.
I think Megyn Kelly had a great opening when she said, "First, let's talk about the elephant that's not in the room." That got the absence of Donald Trump, which of course had become the debate story, so it could be dealt with and dispatched. And honestly, the Donaldlessness of the evening wasn't that big a deal from then on. Marco Rubio dealt with it better than did Ted Cruz, who tried to hard to make jokes and just came off as the mean guy again. The debate overall in fact seemed to enlarge Rubio and diminish Cruz, so I guess I agree with the focus group Fox convened that gave the debate to Rubio.
Everybody else on the stage were just, well, being themselves, candidates who all have their good points but whom the voters just aren't interested in. It's pretty clear now that Trump, Cruz and Rubio will be the medalists in Iowa, maybe in that order but maybe not. (Of course everybody has been wrong about everything this election cycle, so I don't make that prediction with any degree of confidence.)