But, that said, who did the best and the worst?
I think Chris Christie had the single best moment, when he said he did not deny climate change - as do many Republicans - and would do what he could to improve our climate by supporting private alternate energy enterprise. That's an enlightened anti-government position on this issue.
The best exchange was between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, who both came across well in Bush's attack on and Rubio's defense of his poor attendance record in the Senate. In general, both Bush and Rubio had a good night, with Rubio somewhat better.
Cruz had a strong moment with the perennial Republican chestnut of attacking the media in general and the questions being asked of him and his colleagues in the debate. But that was about Cruz's only moment.
Kasich started strong then all but disappeared. Rand Paul gave some good answers but looked tired and bored. Huckabee was unmemorable - except for his proud admission about wearing a Trump tie - and Fiorina was the dullest I recall seeing her in any of the debates so far.
Carson and Trump, the two front runners, were both ok, sometimes pretty good, but they often seemed more like bystanders than full-fledged participants in this economic debate. Someone tweeted - I think it was Farhad Manjoo - that if "if you knew nothing about the polls and watched this you wouldn’t believe Trump and Carson were leading." I've got to agree.
And so it goes. Trump will have a chance to rekindle some of his fire on Saturday Night Live this weekend. He'll need that, because he certainly didn't have all that much tonight.
PS: I thought Lindsey Graham was far and away the best in the junior GOP debate tonight, and was better than at least half the contenders in the main debate tonight.