Well, if you watch the debates for entertainment, then you were not disappointed last night.
It’s all Kabuki theatre song and dance. It seems most of the candidates are now taking a page out of Trump’s playbook, after seeing how well his shtick goes over with the attendees. The moderators came off most asinine, with the possible exception of Carl Quintanilla, who did at least portray an iota of grace and humility at certain points. I was glad to see candidates call the moderators on their far-from-objective questions. Is there any such thing as moderators who leave the politics to the politicians anymore?
Becky Quick, who is married to one of the CNBC producers, (no nepotism there), seemed particularly gleeful in her opportunity to get in a few digs against Fiorina. Cat fights bore me. Save it for Maury Povich.
And Carly, please, open your eyes and keep them open! All that blinking makes me itch. It’s really hard to look at and very distracting from your message, as a telltale sign that you may not be quite as together as your perfect posture and resume indicate. I realize you are only human, but that’s hardly considered an asset nowadays. Great job on smiling more often, though you might want to do a few warm-up smiles before the camera’s roll, or perhaps borrow the Tin Man’s oil can.
Bush came across like the socially awkward rich kid nobody else in the class wants to play with, who makes embarrassing remarks like “I’ll give them a wet kiss”. Please! No one wants to hear about your skull and bones initiation experience.
John Harwood, look, it’s not your job to debate with the panel of candidates. And please, keep up with your lies and retractions. Have you learned nothing from Brian Williams’ cautionary tale about “misremembering?” We all know what a rabid hater you are of all that is conservative, so we’re not sure why you are even here, but here’s a tip: one’s moderating prowess is not measured by one’s ability to reach a greater decibel than that of the candidate he wishes to silence. Why not just admit it. You lost control.
These moderators lean so far left they are horizontal. But do you think they learned anything about the mood of the country by the response of the debate audience to their obvious bias? Of course not. They are blinded by their own arrogance. They haven’t the sensibility to be the least bit reproved.
Gov. Christie, the lap band thing was the right call, and congratulations on the weight loss! That “flag on the play” for Jeb’s fantasy football digression was spot-on! Unfortunately, that’s the only impressive statement you managed to make. Kind of a disappointing performance for a tough Jersey boy such as yourself. So much for representin’!
Huckabee and Paul weren’t given much of a shot either way. Huckabee, too Christian. Paul, too wacko. They were included only for contrast.
Cruz says the right things. Who didn’t love when he gathered up the moderator’s insipid questions and spliced them together in a poignant collage of blatant bias and tossed them right back, but there is just something so plastic about that guy. One could almost have missed his slick (non-sequitur) insertion of the token “born again” Dad story for the sake of Evangelicals. (No, not really!)
Trump, well, what is there to say about Trump? He is one pot-stirrer extraordinaire! Without a doubt he is the spark that lit the fire we saw last night, I’ll credit him that. But I stick with my initial assessment that he is in this for the publicity and renewed relevance. The only problem is, I also think there is a slight chance in this culture of political lunacy, of his actually getting the nomination, in which case he is cocky enough to take up the gauntlet. He is a mega-businessman, therefore he will sell out to the highest bidder. All of his talk is the talk of a pushy salesman. I do not trust pushy salesmen. I don’t trust non-pushy salesmen either. He could just as easily bow out at any point, preferring to walk away with what he has already won, and looking like a gentleman. He is, after all, a gambler.
Rubio came out of his corner like George Foreman and didn’t let up. Offense, defense, right hand punch to Harwood, left hook to Jeb Bush, who was already staggering when Rubio delivered the TKO, and the crowd was eating out of his hand. It’s just too bad his policy is nowhere near as good as his oratorical finesse.
And now let’s get to the current darling of the Evangelical’s, Doctor Ben Carson. I have tremendous respect for the man, the surgeon, and his candidacy. However, his weakness in economic matters was impossible to conceal last night, even in his nervous mannerisms and pauses. Since this was the central issue of this debate, it went about as well as one would expect for Dr. Carson, however, as critical issues in this election go, economic ones are pretty high up the queue for all Americans, so this is not a weakness we can afford in a president. Will his good-guy persona outweigh this? I’m not so sure. People love him, but high poll numbers won’t necessarily translate to actual votes. He may come across too nice and too soft to avoid being eaten alive by the rabid dogs and sharks of the political big leagues. That whole walking softly and carrying a big stick is pretty passé at this level. Reagan himself probably could not get elected in today’s societal climate!
Kasich claimed, and even seemed to demonstrate, a better comprehension both of what the nation’s economic problems are, and what it will take to do anything about them, than anyone else on the panel, but unfortunately, in the context of a debate, his oratorical skills were not sufficient to deliver the goods in an attractive, compelling package, and his somewhat peevish remarks were instantaneously eclipsed by the entertainment factor being generated by others on stage. The fact that he is one of the big wall-street bankers who collected a fat six-figure bonus and got out before the Lehman Brothers collapse while investors lost everything, proves that though he has “experience” and possibly a sufficient understanding of economics to solve our nation’s dilemma’s, he can’t be trusted to put the people’s welfare above his own. Maybe he has done good things for Ohio, and maybe not. Statistics and numbers can be manipulated to back up claims, but from what I have read, joblessness is still a major issue in Ohio just like the rest of the nation, and the numbers are not quite as impressive as he claims. Still, were we to give Kasich Carson’s tranquility, or Rubio’s fire, Trump’s bluster, or even Cruz’s “presidential demeanor” he could possibly have made the sale last night, in the debate that arguably should have been one of his best chances to shine. I don’t expect he will remain in the running much longer.
So, was it a good debate last night? It all depends on your purpose for tuning in. Voters are no more well-informed of any substantive plan on the part of any candidate, for attacking the royal mess our nation is in right now. But it sure was one heck of a rousting game of rhetorical showmanship. And Marco Rubio won, hands down. Woo Hoo! Look out Sham-Wow Shticky guy! Marco Rubio might take your job! At least Rubio hasn’t been arrested for soliciting a prostitute, that we know of, but then, it’s still fairly early in the campaign process.