It was staggering. Drama, humor, success and failure. Fox put together a phenomenal format with excellent questions and the candidates delivered. The most entertaining presidential debate I can recall. The Republicans are off to a good start.
Trump performed as expected going down in flames to a watery grave before they even got started. His failure to commit to the Republican Party and his failure to promise not to sabotage the party with an independent run, sunk his ship. While he later hit a point here and there, he never recovered. Donald Trump is done. The only press he should receive from here on out is from the Liberal media who are trying to side track and kill the Republican Party. Wait… hasn’t the liberal media been doing that very thing for the last several months? (Read the liberal reports on the debate and tell me if I am wrong. They love him.) One begins to wonder if there might be some merit to the conspiracy theories that Trump is a Democratic ringer in the race to sabotage the Republican primary. In which case, expect him to jump to an independent ticket.
Unexpected was Mike Huckabee’s elder statesman performance. Well-crafted and expertly delivered answers to Fox’s well thought out questions proved to shoot him well past what I had expected. No bombast, no rude interruptions, just lofty statements delivered with just the right amount of incredulity and emotion made him feel like a well-known and favorite uncle. By the end, with a quick twist of humor at the expense of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s composure, Governor Huckabee vaulted into the next round. He made some serious mileage.
Marko Rubio put in a very professional and heartfelt performance. He was eloquent and on point, handling pointed questions (“Do you talk to God?”) with as much ease as those which tied into his talking points. His politics were conservative without feeling heartless. It was expected that he would do a very good job and he delivered. An excellent debate. With his youth, good conservative politics and being the poster boy for the American Dream, I am predicating he will gain front runner status.
Ted Cruz also turned in a fiery performance. He came to life with his comments on ISIS and remained engaged for the rest of the debate exceeding expectations. His answers were well crafted. However, if you are familiar enough with his antics in the Senate and thus able to read between the lines, his answers did not suffice. Ted Cruz does not play well with others and while his ideology is honest, a politician needs to be able to work within the system. Ted will probably get a bump because of his performance. That is unfortunate. He would be a lousy President.
Dr. Ben Carson was expected to do rather poorly in a debate format. I have been sorely schooled. His answers were brilliant and his easy paced, thoughtful delivery handed out answers which easily transcended the party’s play book. Dr. Carson proved that his lack of direct political experience was not a hindrance. Add a dash of humor and a warm smile and Ben Carson gave one of the night’s best performances. Welcome to the big time Dr. Carson.
Jeb Bush as the de facto front runner, the man with the money, the smartest of the Bush clan, was expected to do very well. He did not. His answers were on point but his delivery was withering. He failed to impress at the level of Huckabee, Cruz, Rubio and Carson. So, while he put in a good performance, by failing to meet expectations he came out with a net loss. With his money and political machine he will still be around for the next one but he will need to look like a political savior rather than a spoiled and well educated heir to a political dynasty.
Scott Walker was solid so why can’t I remember him? Let’s see he … um … he was solid did I say that already? Oh Hell, maybe he should have stayed in college after all. Governor Walker is a good tradesman but the Presidency is a calling too far. Sorry Scott, you failed to impress. Expect him to pick up some points from the big loser (from now on all Republicans should refuse to speak the name of, well “He who will no longer be named.) But, no big bump.
Chris Christi won some and lost some. One thing he lost early on was his temper. It was scripted by the moderators to put him into a one on one with Rand Paul and it was successful. (You may recall that the two have had a tit for tat in the recent past.) Later on he made a few points and failed in a few. A good performance but he did not accomplish his biggest need, to look presidential. Christi will pick up some followers and see a bump at the polls but he isn’t the winner.
Rand Paul needed to impress. He stepped up and the battle was engaged. Beginning early on he interrupted several times and went straight at “He who shall no longer be named.” It was exactly what he needed to do. His points were valid, especially his defense of the Bill of Rights. I have to confess that I really like his ideology and approach to many of our nation’s problems but, he seemed cross and even a little snobbish. In the end he won a few excellent points but was less than stellar at others. I don’t think he was able to achieve what he needed to. I hope I have this one wrong but, I don’t think his good performance was good enough.
John Kasich gave a professional and excellent performance. At this point no one really knows who he is. This debate did not change that. While his answers were excellent and well scripted and his professionalism was on display, he did not stand out from the crowd. He needed to, people still do not know who John Kasich is.
The winners were clearly Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. Add to that list Carly Fiorina from the afternoon debate. Expect some of the others to hang on but they will have some work to do. There will be some who drop by the way side but don’t expect a lot until the primaries get underway next winter. Meanwhile there is more entertainment yet to come in future debates. Speaking of debate entertainment, don’t miss the Democrat’s first debate, if Hillary isn’t in jail by then, the first one should be a stunner.
Samuel Waen Jensen