Thursday, August 06, 2015
Winners and losers in tonight's debate
Rubio did not have many chances to shine in a two-hour debate split among 10 candidates, but his answers were solid throughout and he ended with a strong closing statement in which he used his own background as a metaphor for the American dream.
It was the type of soaring rhetoric that few of the candidates were able to muster tonight and Rubio has to be ranked as one of the winners in tonight's debate.
Mike Huckabee- The Fox questioners seemed determined to pigeonhole Huckabee as someone whose only interest was in social issues. While the former Arkansas governor did solidify his position as the favorite of conservatives whose major interest is the so-called social issues, he did branch out on issues like defense and the economy. He also was able to evoke a sense of passion about his beliefs that some of the other candidates were never able to do. Huckabee's statement on the treaty with Iran was powerful.
Rand Paul- Despite what I just heard from Charles Krauthammer on Fox News, Chris Christie did not get the best of his exchange with Rand Paul on the NSA's massive collection of records. Paul came out a serious defender of personal freedom. In his closing statement, Paul described himself as a "different kind of Republican," a statement that is definitely true. That will likely prevent him from receiving the nomination, but he appears to have the ability to make deeper in-roads in the race than his father ever did.
John Kasich- Considering that the debate was held in his state, Ohio Gov. John Kasich probably received less attention than any of the candidates, but he made the most of his moments. George W> Bush proclaimed himself as a compassionate conservative. Kasich appears to really be one. Kasich also has a background of success in his state, something that neither Chris Christie nor Scott Walker can claim.
Ben Carson- It would be a major upset if Dr. Carson gets anywhere in this race and he started slowly tonight, but his last few statements, especially his closing statement made an impact.
DID NOT HURT THEMSELVES ANY
Ted Cruz- He simply did not stand out, but he did himself no harm.
Jeb Bush- He did much better on the question about his family than he had before, but otherwise he was bland.
Chris Christie- His first statement connecting himself with 9-11 was perfectly fitting and effective. His subsequent mentions seemed more designed to wrap himself in that event. It did not work for Rudy Guliani or George Pataki and it will not work for Chris Christie.
Scott Walker- Two candidates appeared out of their league at the beginning of the event- Ben Carson and Scott Walker. Ben Carson recovered; Scott Walker never did. If he had a strong record of accomplishment or an inspiring back story, it might make a difference, but Walker has neither.
Donald Trump- In my earlier assessment of what might happen in the debate, I gave Donald Trump far too much credit. His comments on women and his bankruptcies were revealing. So far, he has said nothing positive about anything or anyone other than himself. I don't know if he will fall in the polls, but I would be surprised if his numbers go up any. It's all fine and good to be fed up with the system, but Trump is not the avenue to take if you want change.
Fox News- The questions were long, convoluted and many times took us away from the issues. It was the same gotcha journalism that Fox has always accused its rivals of practicing.
Readers, how do you think the debate went. Tell me your winners and losers.