So who won? No clear winners but here is my take:
Trump: Very subdued, stumbled on one foreign policy question but unmatched he explains what a corporate inversion is and why companies move around to avoid the rising tax rates. Ummmm, this is a very complicated but worthwhile discussion. I get tired of the stories of the dog, Granny from the old country and spiteful comparisons or….. I am the ONLY one who….. along with snarky “I did this” statements. Trump does not offer this tripe.
Ben Carson: I don’t know what he was talking about regarding foreign policy, domestic policy or tax policy. On foreign policy m he does not know the players or even the functions of the military; he has changed his mind again on raising the minimum wage; and a tax policy can not be based on tithing. There was a mild, one-and-done question about his truthiness — which he deflected with a ready-made quip before pivoting to an attack on Hillary Clinton and the media. Not even after reading the transcript did I get clarity on anything Carson declared the employment rate among black teens is only 19.8 percent, argued that minimum-wage hikes boost overall unemployment and stated he isn’t for raising the minimum wage. About 75 percent of black teenagers have jobs.
Perhaps Carson’s biggest blunder was on a national-security question. Asked how he would handle the growing terror threats from Islamic State group and the unraveling of the Syrian government, the doctor delivered a meandering, incoherent answer.
“Well, putting the special ops people in there is better than not having them there, because they — that’s why they’re called special ops, they’re actually able to guide some of the other things that we’re doing there,” he said. “And what we have to recognize is that Putin is trying to really spread his influence throughout the Middle East. This is going to be his base.” He went on: “And we have to oppose him there in an effective way. We also must recognize that it’s a very complex place. You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there.”
His closing statement was lovely, however, and it is nice that he brought his grand-daughter. He emerged uninjured from the ordeal. I did not know that the Chinese are in the Middle East.
Marco Rubio: Polished. Quick answers and aggressive. He practices a great deal, he is full of stories of his family and good at deflecting. His shallow past, financial problems and light resume’ will rule the day if he should make it to the “big” meat-grinder. One remarkable statement was: ” Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.” The audience sheered wildly………. Just because the audience sheers does not mean that they are correct, According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are in fact 849,930 workers in welding or a related category, such as soldering or brazing. Their annual mean wage falls between $36,450 and $40,040. Meanwhile, the BLS says there are 23,210 post-secondary philosophy and religion teachers (probably the closest one can be to a professional “philosopher”). Their annual mean wage is $71,350. Also, the population of post-secondary philosophy and religion teachers is aging….. the need might be great for great “thinkers”. This response was tested for it’s crowd pleasing ability and it pleased the crowd. But it is not correct.
John Kasich: He looked jumpy, anxious, and he kept interrupting EVERYONE. He stumbled on banking questions even though he was instrumental in the banking world albeit one of the biggest banking failures in American history. That might be a point. Kasich’s worst moment came late, when he struggled to articulate his position on the Wall Street bailouts. “I would not let the people who put their money in there all go down,” he said. “As an executive I would figure out how to separate those people who can afford it versus those people who are the hard-working folks who put their money in those institutions.” The crowd booed. John Kasich would have been better off at the kiddie table and Chris Christie would have been better in his place.
Carly Fiorina: I like her. She does not look like any of this is any fun. It has nothing to do with her looks, I think she is lovely and very fit……. but the second debate with the look of indignation was enough. I think she is extremely intelligent and would make a good president, good cabinet member, or whatever she decides to do but first she will have to get there. One of the best zingers of the fourth GOP debate tonight was when Carly Fiorina took a jab atDonald Trump about Vladimir Putin, noting that she’s also met the Russian leader — “not in a green room for a show, but in a private meeting.” In 2001, Fiorina and Putin met for 45 minutes in a green room at the APEC CEO Summit in Beijing, where both were speakers. Fiorina’s campaign confirmed that the meeting took place in a green room, but Press Secretary Anna Epstein drew a distinction between one at a conference and a green room at a TV show. This was easily checked out.
That being said, she is magnificent in her answers and her knowledge. She is twice as good, twice as smart, but female candidates are always judged by different standards. It IS NOT fair.
Rand Paul: A hair relaxer might help here. It is really distracting. He appears at times to be the plucky little brother jumping around with his fists clenched saying “put’em up” BUT you can learn a great deal from this man on foreign policy. “If you’re ready for [a no-fly zone], be ready to send your sons and daughters to another war in Iraq,” Paul warned.“I don’t want to see that happen. I think the first war in Iraq was a mistake,” Paul added, before being cut off by applause. He knows how to defend his positions, so “put’em up”.
Jeb! Bush: “I got about four minutes in the last debate,” he said at one point on Tuesday night. “I’m going to get my question right now.” Jeb! became fiery…. and feisty….. No one listened and kept on talking. There were clenched smiles, obscure geographical references and hands that reflexively darted into his pockets. He is trying real hard. Trump essentially told John Kasich to “hush” and let Jeb! talk……. John hushed…. Jeb! tartly replied: “Thank you, Donald, for allowing me to speak at the debate,” he said. “That’s really nice of you. Really appreciate that. What a generous man you are.” Ah….. no good deed …. Well, he repeatedly mocked Mr. Trump for what he said were pie-in-the-sky policy plans that could not possibly work and would play into Democratic plans to cast Republicans as the enemy of minority voters. Jeb! looked exasperated. After the debate, Mr. Bush’s top aides seemed palpably relieved that they would not, at least for a night, have to make excuses for him again. At least not now.
Ted Cruz: He is a brilliant debater. He made a doublespeak of a list which people tried to liken to Rick Perry. It won’t work, this guy is SMART. Ted Cruz never utters a single unkind word about his “good friend” and primary opponent Marco Rubio. Without calling out his Senate colleague by name, Cruz twice took subtle digs at Rubio during the Fox Business Network debate. At one point, he warned against Republicans who would turn the GOP into “the party of amnesty” — without specifically mentioning that Rubio had championed a bill that would have provided undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship. At another point, while railing against “corporate welfare,” Cruz singled out subsidies for the sugar industry — a policy Rubio has consistently, and controversially, supported despite objections by free-market critics. “Sugar farmers farm under roughly 0.2% of the farmland in America, and yet they give 40% of the lobbying money,” Cruz said in the debate. “That sort of corporate welfare is why we’re bankrupting our kids, and grandkids.” Rubio, whose home state of Florida contains hundreds of thousands of acres of sugarcane fields, remained silent. Smile, Mr. Rubio, you are the target.