The Bloomberg/The Washington Post Republican Presidential Debate at Dartmouth College limited itself to a single theme. Not a single discussion in Tuesday night’s two-hour discussion veered from the economy, business and taxation, though candidate Rick Santorum managed to sneak in a digression about the stability of the American family.

The result was constructive for the American polity. The candidates engaged in a super-substantive exchange on all kinds of economic issues on both the micro and macro level: the Fed and lending; job creation; inflation; health care and its impact on hiring. Look, for just a second, at the thoughts that seeped from this session:

Rick Perry:

You have got an administration that, by and large, has either by intimidation or over-regulation, put our energy industry and the rest of the economy in jeopardy. And we have got to have a president who is willing to stand up and to clearly pull back those regulations that are strangling the American entrepreneurship that’s out there.

Michele Bachmann:

There’s a real problem, and it began with the federal government, and it began with Freddie and Fannie. If you look at these secondary mortgage companies which the federal government is essentially backing 100 percent, they put American mortgages in a very difficult place.

We had artificially low interest rates, Freddie and Fannie were the center of the universe on the mortgage meltdown, and we had lending standards lowered for the first time in American history. The fault goes back to the federal government, and that’s what’s wrong with Dodd- Frank.

Dodd-Frank institutionalized all of these problems that were put into effect by the federal government. That’s why I introduced the bill to repeal Dodd-Frank. It’s the Jobs and Housing Destruction Act.

Jon Huntsman:

Individual, and on the corporate side, phase out all of the corporate welfare, all of the subsidies, because we can’t afford it any longer, in a revenue-neutral fashion, buy down the rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, leveling the playing field for businesses big and small, allowing us to be a whole lot more competitive in the second decade of the 21st century.

Mitt Romney:

Clearly, if you think the entire financial system is going to collapse, you take action to keep that from happening. In the case of Europe right now, they are looking at what’s happening with Greece. Are they going to default on their debt, are they not? That’s a decision which I would I would like to have input on if I were president of the United States and try and prevent the kind of contagion that would affect the U.S. banking system and put as at risk.

But I can tell you this — I’m not interested in bailing out individual institutions that have wealthy people that want to make sure that their shares are worth something. I am interested in making sure that we preserve our financial system, our currency, the banks across the entire country. And I will always put the interest of the American people ahead of the interest of any institution.

Expect future coverage of economic issues to footnote this particular session, all the way to November 2012.

So that’s great. But I want my social issues back. I want more fighting on immigration and fences and in-state tuition. I’d even go for anouther round on the HPV vaccine. Gays in the military — all night long! Death penalty, oh yeah.

Something, at least, to get the crowd riled up, to push the hecklers to form a megaphone with their hands and make history. That guy shouting toward the end of the WaPo/Bloomberg debate? He’s got to work on his message.