The debate last night among the eight Republicans seeking their party’s 2012 nomination was moving along with little new information. That is, until Texas Governor Rick Perry, the darling of the Tea Party movement, broke out the fiery rhetoric about Social Security. Perry called it a “ponzi scheme” and a “gigantic lie.” Mitt Romney pounced, saying Social Security should be fixed, not eliminated.

Otherwise the debate was a snooze. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich decided it would be a good idea to attack moderator John Harris of Politico and the media in general. Gingrich went after Harris accusing him of “trying to start fights between Republicans…” Huh? Harris simply asked whether Gingrich would support a health care mandate like Romney championed in Massachusetts. Isn’t that what debates are all about—sorting out the differences in the candidates? The former speaker should do everyone a favor and drop out now.

Here’s the lowdown: Perry looks and sounds like a scary robot; Romney was on the defensive about his Massachusetts health care plan; Ron Paul is a nut; Michele Bachman didn’t answer the questions; Herman Cain is way too conservative for The Shad’s taste; Rick Santorum is unelectable but slapped around Perry pretty good; John Huntsman needed to make an impression and didn’t; all of them kissed up to the other.

In a related issue, some group called “Californians or Population Stabilization” ran a number of ads on MSNBC (the only outlet to show the debate) before, during and after the debate. The ad attacked and disparaged legal immigrants, saying “They’re taking our jobs…” Wow.