Winner: Carly Fiorina
Breakouts: Possibly Carly Fiorina, I didn’t see it happen for anyone else.
The debate went smoothly and was well behaved. None of the awkward moments we saw in the last Obama/Romney debates. Each candidate had an opportunity to impress. Most were well practiced and ready for the questions which seemed tailored to give each candidate an opportunity to hit on their talking points in the short time available.
Rick Santorum: Looked a little car sick during the introductions but slid into familiar territory as soon as he got started. Once he warmed up, he sounded familiar and like an old friend. The moderators tried to nail him down on his harsh immigration stance but he held firm stating “this nation is a nation of laws.” He proposed a flat tax of twenty percent which was interesting. Senator Santorum was the only candidate that brought up religious freedom. I like him as an individual and he seems an old friend but he lacks that alpha quality demanded of leaders at the presidential level. Sorry Rick, you have had your turn and it slipped by. I would vote for you for national pastor, if there was such a thing, but not for President.
Rick Perry: Went straight to the play book and in doing so lost the first round. However, after the break he immediately become much more animated when dealing with the issues of Donald Trump and the Mexican border. He stayed strong thereafter. Avoided the question about the potential of breaking apart illegal immigrant families to talk strictly about the border. Handed Carly Fiorina a compliment on her negotiation skills. Otherwise it was yada, yada, yada, Texas is great and Texas is greater because of me, yada, yada, yada. Sorry Rick. I’m really tired of Texas, your glasses look funny and you just don’t inspire me.
Carly Fiorina: Introduced herself straight from her talking points. She has an interesting story. From the very beginning of the debate she sound confident and secure. Complimented Donald on being the front runner then took a swipe at his flopping on issues by wondering which set of values he would use as President. Good answer on the tearing down walls that allow for ISIS recruitment leaving the impression that she is an insider in the tech industry and could actually work within the industry to do what is needed. Good, non-cookie cutter answers on Iran, Israel, the EPA etc. It was during her little speech on conservatism versus liberalism that the CEO was fully in view. She took command of the issue with eloquence, confidence and authority. It was revealing. She deserves to be a contender.
Bobby Jindal: His intelligence was there in his comments about the IRS and in putting the blame on President Obama for shutting down the government should the Planned Parenthood scandal get that far. I was surprised to get a glimpse at the depth of his principles and convictions. Nevertheless, his lack of mastery in playing politics and his inability to inspire were also in evidence. Jindal is smart, really smart, but he needs more to be the President.
Lindsay Graham: His comments on the environment and energy independence sounded a little too Democratic; not wrong or inappropriate, just delivered in liberal speak. Nevertheless, it problably needed to be said. His primary focus is war with ISIS in Iraq and Syria. War with “whatever it takes for as long as it takes.” At once, Lindsay Graham is the most liberal candidate and the most hawkish. He seems to be running just to advertise how dangerous ISIS is. He is competent but he hasn’t convinced me yet.
Pataki: Interesting response to being called Pro-choice. He would ban abortions after 20 weeks.
Gilmore: Who? Don’t know much about him. He did not inspire me to find out more.
Well, that about rounds it up. I will be sending a small donation to support Carly Fiorina’s campaign and I will be paying attention to what Bobby Jindal is saying for as long as he lasts. Otherwise, hasta luego mi ermnos, we will pause briefly as each of you slips into the next election cycle. Your contributions to the discussion have been both appreciated and helpful.
Samuel Waen Jensen