I’ve watched a lot of debates over the last 30-some years, and I have never seen a more shameful exhibit of childishness as tonight’s GOP Debate. Four of the six people on stage spent most of the night engaging in a food fight that would be shameful in a junior-high cafeteria, and how anybody could watch these people and see someone they would want to see as president is beyond me.
The only clear winner tonight was John Kasich. He was the only candidate, besides the woefully inadequate Ben Carson, who stayed away from the food fight and behaved like an adult. He gave thoughtful answers and spoke about how to uplift the country. As a liberal Democrat, I disagree with most of his solutions, but at least he behaved seriously and didn’t act like a clown.
I thought Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio largely whiffed on their opportunity to pump up the conservative base regarding the new Supreme Court vacancy. If I had been advising either of those Senators, I would have told them to make sure they made clear they would filibuster any nomination the president might offer.
It will be interesting to see what will happen with Donald Trump after directly calling former President George W. Bush a liar, in so many words. The former president is still well-liked among Republicans. Has he finally gone too far? If I had a dollar for every time I thought he’d gone too far in the past six or seven months, I could retire. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Jeb Bush stood up against Trump better than ever, but picked a fight with Kasich and lost.
Rubio, untroubled tonight by Chris Christie, did a much better job and didn’t repeat canned talking points four times in a row, which qualifies as progress. He had a generally good performance and probably helped himself. Bush probably did as well. I think it’s going to be a dogfight between these two for third place in South Carolina next week.
I thought Cruz and Trump embarrassed themselves, but they may not have hurt their positions. Carson came across as a very nice guy who remains completely in over his head.
The only winner was Kasich. Let’s see if it helps his very low South Carolina poll numbers and his dwindling cash reserves.