However, we can be proud that a Canadian party could field nine candidates of this calibre, any one of whom would knock spots of the whole Republican slate for presidency (except The Newt).
I watched these contenders, listened to their speeches and answers, watched the interplay between them, and thought how anyone who had no knowledge of these men and women would find them.
There were few fireworks and little genuine debate:
The bilingual debate — with the first hour in English and the second in French — on the economy seemed more like a series of short stump speeches than a genuine contest as candidates chose to trumpet their experience and sometimes indistinguishable ideas rather than go after each other.
There are more debates to come, but it is clear to me that there are realistically only four who will provide the leader: Mulcair (the most experienced and polished; Nash (waffly but coherent); Topp (wilting a bit under the stress and pushing his talking points without regard for the flow of the debate); and the surprise of the whole lot, Cullen.
Cullen and Mulcair stand head and shoulders above all the others with respect to poise, command of the issues, the ability to talk fluently about them, and their grasp of the contours of the debate.
It was also clear that the rest of the group acknowledged this pecking order, through their body language.
So we have three tiers going into the next debate – five who are clearly out of the running, two who are possibles, and two who are in a class by themselves.
If you asked who looked and behaved like a prime minister in the waiting, you would have to conclude that both Mulcair and Cullen did.