I predicted the debate could be a letdown, in some ways I was right. There were, however, times such as when Chris Christie and Rand Paul mixed it up on government data collection that makes these debates worthwhile in the first place.
If only we had more of those. That is what real debate is, not some ultra-controlled environment where candidates give canned answers that are even less appetizing than oven fresh Spam.
Candidates like Rubio, Cruz and Walker went about as well as would be expected from them. A major screw up from them would be like an NFL kicker missing the extra point after a touchdown. It’s sort of unthinkable.
Anyway, here’s the four main takeaways the first debates:
1. It’s a travesty that Carly Fiorina isn’t in the top tier. Forget top 10, she should be in the top 4. She was on my wishlist for the main event and she did herself a HUGE favor with her performance in the B-list debate. Her answers were so good you would think they came with a teleprompter. Unless she was warned ahead of time I can’t see how that would be possible, partly because that would be unethical, but mostly because she isn’t Hillary Clinton. My mind wasn’t changed on much last night, except Carly. She now has a fan in me (not an endorsement, by the way), and I wouldn’t be surprised if she got called up to the “majors” soon. She would deserve it.
2. Donald Trump IS a paper tiger. I predicted his performance might reveal this, and while his supporters would vehemently disagree, I think it did. If Trump was in the business of answering questions instead of being real estate mogul he would be the poorest beggar in NYC right now. The Rosie O’Donnell quip was funny, but that’s all it was. Brit Hume says he didn’t move the ball forward or backward, and I agree. His supporters are still there, but he won no converts, and as the campaign continues on his cantankerous approach will wear thin and give way to substance…or at least it has to.
3. Jeb Bush talks a good game, but I’ve already been fooled twice. The Bush family is not conservative. At best they’re center-right moderates who find conservatism when they need the votes. On a less fallacious level than guilt by association, if one completely erased all preconceived notions of the Bush family from my head I still simply don’t get the impression that Jeb is capable of the type of strength required to be the anti-Obama that America will need in less than two years.
4. This is a MUCH MUCH better crop of GOP candidates than the 2012 offering. Even guys like Jindal and Pataki were very adept at giving compelling arguments for why they could/should do the job. Another way to put this would be: Our bench is as deep as the Democrats is shallow. While 16 candidates is pretty unwieldy I’d rather have that than what the Democrats are currently staring at.
I had a lot of fun watching 2012 unfold, as depressing as it was at times. I think 2016 has promise to be even better, and right now I have optimism that the very best has yet to rise to the top.
Preview image from home page via Flicker.