I used to read Jonathan Chait at The New Republic, now I read him at New York. He's one of the best.
Here are a couple of recommended posts:
If you're a Republican opinion leader, you want to promote Romney over Perry. At the same time, you have to account for the possibility that Perry might win the nomination anyway, which means that you can't say anything that could be used against him in the general election. You need to gently suggest to Republicans that Perry is too crazy to be elected president, without suggesting to swing voters that he's too crazy to be elected president.
And this is precisely what establishment Republicans are doing, including the nefarious Karl Rove. But will they succeed, with the party's grassroots base aligned against them?
In general, Romney took his weak hand and played it far better than Perry, who at times appeared to be drugged, and perhaps is still suffering from a recovery from back surgery. But though Romney won most exchanges on a question-by-question basis, Perry probably emerged with the stronger meta-theme. His overarching condemnation of Romney is as a slippery, quasi-Democratic figure. Romney has nothing anywhere near so strong to deploy against Perry. He has tried, elliptically, to paint his foe as unelectable. But the deeper Romney expresses contempt for Obama — tonight he accused him of never having held a job — the harder it must be for Republican voters to imagine that any nominee would actually lose to this unemployed, socialist, America-hating failure.
An excellent analysis of last night's "debate." Romney is by far the stronger candidate, at least in general election terms, and has much more substance to him than Perry, but Perry has a stronger case to make to the base, a much more compelling narrative to spin. (This is precisely the difficulty the establishment faces.)