Friday, January 15, 2016

Winners and losers from last night's Republican debate

Cutting the number of candidates on stage for the Republican presidential debates from a high of 10 to seven made for a much better debate Thursday night.

Trimming that number to six would have been better still. Ben Carson is an accomplished surgeon, an intelligent man, and from all appearances a nice man.

Last night's debate, however, continued to make it clear he does not belong on the main stage.

Were it or not for his continued top tier ranking in Iowa, Carson would already be out of the picture and relegated to the junior debate.

Everyone else in the debate had his moments (though you have to look hard to find one for John Kasich, who appears to be auditioning for vice president)


Donald Trump- Things did not look good for Trump in the beginning when a large segment of the audience turned against him for his assertion (though he always notes that it is other people who are saying it) that Ted Cruz might not be qualified to be president since he was born in Canada. Trump also gave a convoluted explanation of why he wanted tariffs against China. Nevertheless, it was Trump's best debate performance to date and his response to Cruz' criticism of his "New York values" was his best moment in any debate. Trump cut down on the mugging. He still doesn't look presidential, but that does not appear to concern his supporters.and he did nothing to dissuade any of them.

Marco Rubio- For most of the debate, I thought the Florida senator was doing all right, but there were no moments such as those he had in earlier debates. Then toward the end, Rubio delivered a devastating putdown of Ted Cruz' apparently self-serving flip-flops, delivering one after another. For Rubio to move up, he needs to take down Cruz at some point. Last night may have been the start.

Chris Christie- The moderators from Fox Business Channel seemed intent on making the debate a Trump-Cruz showdown, making it hard for anyone else to stand out. Christie made the most of his moments and continued to be the only candidate making headway with an argument that experience is a good thing. He also has made a convincing argument that all the senators (Cruz and Rubio) do is talk, while he is more of a man of action through his experience as governor and as a U. S. Attorney. Christie, not Jeb Bush, appears to be the best bet to emerge from the governors (if any of the governors survive) to join Trump, Cruz, and Rubio for the long haul.

Lindsey Graham- He was smart enough to drop out of the race and didn't have to be on the junior debate in his home state.


Lindsey Graham- He endorsed Jeb Bush today. He must have a thing about quixotic presidential campaigns.

Ted Cruz- I don't know how many people I have heard say Cruz won this debate, but I don't see it. Rubio shredded him with the list of politically expedient votes Cruz has made. Cruz weakly noted that half of the things Rubio said about him weren't true, leaving the impression that the other half were true. Trump's response to Cruz' ill-advised attack on him for his New York values also failed miserably. Cruz' best moments came at the beginning of the debate when he dealt with the non-issue of his Canadian birth. Yes, he easily won the battle with Trump, but it will be Trump who wins the war, by having Cruz' ability to serve as president continue to make the headlines.

Jeb Bush- It was his best debate performance, but does anybody really care?

Ben Carson- Carson looked and sounded lost.

Fox Business Channel- The network was rightly praised for its handling of its earlier debate, but it squandered all of that good will with its performance last night. Neal Cavuto and Maria Bartilomo strayed from the truly serious issues that this country faces and gave us questions that seemed more in tune with those that were correctly criticized at earlier debates, such as the one held by CNBC. Every moment wasted on questions about whether Ted Cruz could serve as president (and much time was wasted on that) could have been used to bring up other issues which have yet to surface, such as education. The moderators also seemed more interested in setting up a showdown between Trump and Cruz than informing the voters.

John Kasich- Someone needs to tell Kasich we already know he balanced the budget for the U. S. and Ohio. Give it a rest. While I have a feeling he may do better than anticipated in this race, especially in New Hampshire, his good moments in the debates have been few and far between.


Anonymous said...

Trump doesn't need to look Presidential, he just needs to get the job done. Remember our enemies were afraid of Reagan too because they thought he was crazy. The GOP didn't want him either. But he turn out to be the best president ever.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to hear a convincing argument about what makes Reagan the best president ever...

Anonymous said...

11:04 AM: Winning the Protracted Conflict, the USSR vs. The World, almost bloodlessly was a very big thing and something that almost no one predicted. Also, if you were alive and politically and economically aware back during the Carter Administration you would probably be less questioning of the thesis, two decades of mismanagement at the top had the US in dire straits.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

6:19 PM: Yeah, as most of the complaints in those "reasons" show, if you're upset that Reagan destroyed the USSR and freed much of the world from Communism, the "boot stamping on a human face forever", he was indeed a terrible president. But for those of us who are now free, in general or from threats like the 40,000 nuclear warheads aimed at us, not so much.

Anonymous said...

Reagan would be carved up by the current Republican party. He used the term " My secretary should not pay more taxes than me" (speech on youtube) and also said no one should need an assault weapon to protect their home. (youtube also) While many give him credit for going after unions, he was the president of the actors union. The air traffic controllers issue was not a fight against unions as an institution by Reagan, but more a safety issue. If I recall, the workers were ordered back to work while negotiations/mediation would continue.He also gave amnesty to 3 million illegal aliens.
I really don't understand the adulation of Reagan by today's Republicans. They would not tolerate him if he said these things today.

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand the adulation of Reagan by today's Republicans.

Were you alive and politically aware back then? As a self-described FDR Democrat and president after that party had gone not just hard left but full crazy left (the part of "acid, amnesty and abortion" as was put when McGovern ran against Nixon, that's amnesty for Vietnam draft dodgers BTW, as Carter later did), he was certainly a flawed man, but he successfully fought the battles needed for the nation to survive, getting his policies past a Democratic House with a hard left speaker (who "shut down the government" multiple times, to the acclaim of all right thinking people).

And, sure, he made mistakes, one of the reasons the issue of immigration has hardened is that after the amnesty, the left reneged on the restrictions that were part of the deal. For that matter, the current left's unwillingness to keep any deal they've made is one of the reasons things have gotten so hardened. They follow the Brezhnev Doctrine, what's their's is their's, what's our's is negotiable. That's one of the reasons our taking back Grenada for the Free World was just a big shock to the USSR, it was the first time that had been done since the Korean War (but ultimately unsuccessfully after the PRC's intervention).

Today, he undoubtedly wouldn't have the same positions, would be held to a higher standard simply because of what he did back then, which helped move the country to the right, while the Republican establishment if anything moved to the left despite having won positions of power on promises to the right.

It's one of the reasons a lot of us support Trump. Sure, he's a liberal with "NYC values", but he's a fighter and his promises to fight for a few critical things like immigration have infinitely more credibility that anything we hear from the Republican establishment. (Of course, ¡Jeb! doesn't even promise that, says we need to be supplemented by Latin Americans who are more entrepreneurial (really), but none of them including Cruz are credible on this issue.)

We'll work with flawed people if we need to, which of course is not something the current left can even begin to understand.