I learned that Mitt Romney thinks it oppressive as an employer to have to check the immigration status of people who work for him; that New York wasn't a "sanctuary city" under Rudy Giuliani because he told the INS about those illegal immigrants "who committed crimes;" that both Giuliani and Mike Huckabee distinguish between the literal truths and the allegories in the Bible, without establishing how and on what authority they do so; that Fred Thompson will take advantage of the invitation to do a 30-second You Tube video in order to make an attack ad; that Duncan Hunter thinks it would be unfair to force conservative Christians to serve alongside homosexuals in the military; that John McCain still wants to wage war on the Iraqi people, but doesn't want to torture anybody; that McCain believes that we have the bestest army we ever had with existing rules on "unit cohesion," and that said army told him to tell Ron Paul to "let us win; that McCain thinks the line-item veto is constitutional in spite of a Supreme Court ruling to the contrary; that McCain would improve America's standing in the Muslim world by continuing the Surge, while Hunter would achieve the same goal by reminding them of how grateful toward us they all ought to be; that Ron Paul wants to restore the country's infrastructure by getting the government off our backs and out of our wallets; that Tom Tancredo is passionately opposed to space exploration, and that Huckabee, on the other hand, would like to send Hillary Clinton to Mars.
These are all particular details, but did I learn anything general? Nothing that I haven't known for months, I'm afraid. The thing I have to remind myself of after such an experience is that the Republicans' general badness doesn't make the Democrats more acceptable. There'll be another debate from that group soon enough to refresh our memories.
(Actually, there might not be such an opportunity, I learn, if current trends continue. One solution would be to not hold the debate in a TV studio. After all, Lincoln and Douglas managed without one, and it'd be interesting to see what kind of open-air crowd either pack of candidates could draw.)