Is debate season over yet? The second set of debates, this time on CNN were, to put it mildly, just not as good. (The Cardinals are in a pennant race and I skipped the game to watch this?)
First off, Jake Tapper as a moderator…sucked. He had ZERO control over the candidates when they got on a roll, and spent entirely too much time trying to get the non-Trumps on the stage to deconstruct his ideas and respond to his statements about them. Hugh Hewitt was better at the control issue. However, once the opening pot shots were done, things got far more professional from the moderators. The questions, at least, had substance even if the candidates really didn’t want to answer them.
Yes, Carly Fiorina got in a good dig or two on Trump, but truth be told, Gov. Chris Christie was exactly correct when he said that the comparisons of their careers really didn’t mean much to the people out on the fruited plain. To be honest, both Trump and Carly embellished their records, and really, Carly has a lot to answer for given that Hewlett-Packard’s market share in Iran skyrocketed under her tenure when it was and is illegal to do business in that country. The one thing she can do is memorize soliloquies. (Oh, and Carly, the name dropping and Rolodex opening is getting REALLY old.)
Mr. Trump’s true colors are FINALLY starting to show on one HUGE bugaboo issue: a flat income tax vs. a graduated tax. He is for a graduated tax, albeit less cumbersome than it currently is. Where he is dead wrong, is that this is not socialist. It’s straight out of the Communist Manifesto, and in order to get it into U.S. law, a Constitutional Amendment was rammed through the system in 1913. Underneath, the man does have some honest core goodness, but his approach to how to get government to work just wasn’t discussed.
Dr. Ben Carson, to be honest, did not do himself any favors. Gentleman that he is, he just doesn’t talk fast enough to be able to complete a thought in that environment. That and the entire thing on the minimum wage isn’t going to play well. Yes, lower skilled workers need to learn to work, but a two tiered system for lesser skills is borderline ridiculous. And to be a dove in this jihadist climate…war is hell and no one wants to do it, but we have to be willing to do it in order to survive, not just walk softly and carry a big stick.
Senator Marco Rubio could not have been more impressive without being self-aggrandizing. His words ring true, in a Jimmy Stewart sort of way. His words are very sincere without being defensive. Rubio’s commanding grasp of foreign policy issues is quite impressive and he used it as a club. He knows what it means to have the immigrant experience. He understands the struggle of the middle class. And he needs some executive experience before tackling the White House. Sorry to say it, but…. Still think he would do a better job than the current Occupier of the Oval Office, but he needs a stint as governor.
Gov. Jeb Bush…the sad thing is that his last name is Bush. His record as governor is nothing to sneeze at. His knowledge of leadership wasn’t well explored at all. He did defend his brother’s record by saying that W kept us safe – which is true. At the same time, he didn’t jump to the bait so much even with Trump’s personal attacks on his family. However, at one point he needed rescuing from Gov. Walker. That didn’t help him at all…until the question of what his Secret Service codename would be. “Eveready.” That was good.
Gov. Scott Walker did better than he did in August. He at least distinguished himself. His statements, though, started to blend in with Governors Huckabee and Kasich. The latter two are starting to resemble wallpaper.
Senator Rand Paul…isolationist and pacifist…please, go back to the Senate.
Gov. Chris Christie unfortunately had to play dad. He did okay in that role, and it is quite obvious that this man is willing to use a well of experience to be a success in any job he has in any way he has to. The unfortunate thing for Christie is that he’s changed his stances enough times on core conservative issues, that his sincerity will be called into question. So will his capitulation on some leftist pet causes. He’s not really electable, but as a force with whom to parry, he was quite useful.
Senator Ted Cruz…let’s just cut to the chase and put him on the Supreme Court. Or Attorney General. Or Federal Judge.
In the cocktail hour, the four J.V. candidates had a bit of a food fight, the most impressive of whom was…Lindsay Graham, actually. Not that he has a chance to win, but The Hill did report that searches on Lindsay Graham surpassed Donald Trump in the hour following the first debate.
We’ll see how the polls reshape in the next few weeks, but just like in previous years, the front-runners at this point mean nothing when it comes to winning the nomination for president. The question for the voters should be who can beat the offerings from the Democratic Party. Who is the person who can do that? Th answer to that question is still up for grabs.