Last night’s Republican debate was boring and made all the participants smaller.

Perhaps suffering from a long debate layoff, the participants seemed flat. They forgot Debate 101, which instructs: Answer questions only to pivot to a larger point. Instead, they chose to bicker with each other about relatively esoteric issues, such as earmarks, consistently taking John King’s bait to go after each other.

For the first half of the debate, my notes say several times, “petty; small; Santorum = mean; Santorum a fake”(per Ron Paul) and Santorum says the wealthy seniors have fled his state and the only ones left rely on social security which he wants to slash with a real zeal.” (I admit; I couldn’t really read my handwriting here.)

Not sure how this first hour did anybody any good, although his meanness may have hurt Rick Santorum a bit and stirred the oppo scrapers in Obama-land.

The second hour began with Santorum’s best moment, when he channeled Charles Murray and argued for behavioral and cultural changes to address our problems. He stated a fair point: Liberals think government can solve problems of the human heart and character.

From there, the debate went back to sleep. As they say of box scores: no runs, no hits, no errors. But many missed opportunities.