Of all the debates, I guess because the “players” are now well known, was one of the most revealing. I am watching the morning shows blast the moderators, however, I feel that is because they have a different view. In their minds, the moderators should be the stars of every debate, stumping the candidates and making themselves the star of the shows and the center of not only the media but the morning news.
The fact is, at least in my mind, the moderators were so aggressively biased that they offered the candidates the chance to “man up”….. or “woman up”. It gave us a chance to see who can think on their feet; who can defend themselves and their positions; and who can see “through the fog”. In other words, it showed which one of the candidates have the “fire” in the belly to actually be considered as “Presidential” material. Keep in mind, these are just MY opinions….. Please feel free to tell me what YOU think….
- Trump: He was very restrained throughout the debate, he is the front-funner in most of the polls and all he had to do was “not do any harm” to himself. Early on in the debate John Kasich took a running plunge at Trump that fell two feet short and allowed him to land on his face. Trump proved that if you shoot down the first attacker and then finish him off, no one else will try that move. As “crazy” as Kasich might feel Trump is, Trump is a nimble fighter and willing to “go there” when defending himself and his positions. Contrary to what some write this morning, Donald Trump is the leader of the group. And as the leader, he does not need to jump out in every question or over-bloviate. He showed strength and commanded respect.
- Ben Carson: He was understated as usual. He also ran into a great deal of trouble trying to explain his tax plan and his knowledge of business. He was not asked many other questions but the humble, quiet demeanor that the crowd loves was on display. For some reason, he seemed very nervous. He rubbed his hands quite a bit when answering the questions regarding his tax plan. No one attacked him and he attacked no one.
- Marco Rubio: Sometimes when I hear him speak, it seems as though there should be fife and drum, bagpipe and salsa music playing in the background because you know that all statements are rehearsed. But all obfuscation aside: Marco does not like the job he has so he does not show up —- he missed a great deal of votes BEFORE he declared that he would run for the Presidency – Nearly one-third of the votes Rubio has missed in 2015 came before he launched his campaign. Between Jan. 1 and April 12, the day before he announced, the Senate held 135 votes. Rubio missed 25 of them, meaning that even before his campaign began, he missed more votes than Paul or Sanders have all year. In addition, his personal financial problems are overwhelming and they have not been. As the “artful dodger” of the evening, Rubio sidestepped and lied regarding legitimate questions about his financial judgment and past support for immigration reform. He took some well-rehearsed dodges – but they worked. He is cute and his retort to Jeb Bush was “street” enough to give him “cred” and some applause. I don’t think he will be the nominee because in the game of “dodge-ball” eventually you will get hit.
- John Kasich: I like John Kasich , but, he looked bad last night…… real bad. He looked disheveled, angry and did not do himself any favors when not answering the first question from the moderator and instead choosing to attack the two front-runners. “We are on the verge of picking someone who cannot do this job,” Kasich said at the very start of the CNBC debate in Boulder, Colorado. Trump pushed back with the following: “John got lucky with a thing called fracking.” That cut into the idea that he was nimble in solving the budget problem in Ohio. AND THEN: Trump also slammed Kasich for his time as a managing director at failed Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers. “This was the man that was a managing general partner at Lehman Brothers when it went down the tubes and almost took every one of us with them, including Ben and myself,” he said. The reality is that he was a branch manager in Ohio, but the average person really does not know the inner workings of the brokerage business. John Kasich was flustered by this charge, BTW. Lastly, Trump lamented that Kasich was once “such a nice guy…but then his poll numbers tanked. That’s why he’s on the end, and he got nasty, and he got nasty.” Ouch, that became the upper cut. Lights out.
- Rand Paul: Paul said: “I want a government so small I can barely see it.” Instead, HE became so small we could barely see HIM.
- Carly Fiorina: I like her! She is a skilled orator and debater, and she shines in this type of arena. She is polished and capable in getting out her message without too much in the sentimental story arena. One thing you can always say for her, her answers are substantive and she can “roll with the guys”. Her issue will be with the Democrat women who resent her not being on their side.
- Mike Huckabee: Mike is great. I have always liked him. He is unflappable and has a unique outlook. Unfortunately, the landscape has changed since his last run in 2008. He is not getting much traction although he seems to be a great person.
- Ted Cruz: This is one smart cookie. I think he will make it through. He is the same age as Marco Rubio, but that is where the comparison ends. His resume, having been a professor of law and Solicitor General of Texas as well as his education at Harvard and Princeton is head and shoulders above the experience and education of Marco Rubio. In addition, with a self made net worth in the millions, he does not appear to be bedeviled with the personal financial woes of Marco. Cruz is the only candidate in the GOP field who has consistently stood against amnesty for illegal immigrants. Also, it’s s sign of his character that he was the only GOP candidate to tell farmers face to face that he opposes ethanol subsidies at the Iowa Ag Summit. In addition, most of his answers were directly in response to something happening….. in other words, he could think on his feet. There should never be a verbal or intellectual match-up between Rubio and Cruz. Never….
- Chris Christie: Great soundbites. Great comebacks. This man can speak to the crowd and not to the moderator. Although his poll numbers are low, he has enough personality for at least 10 people…. we will see more of him.
- Jeb Bush: He has the money and the name so he will hang in until the bitter end. And unless there is some serious bolt of lightening, the end will be bitter. I realized last night that the pits Jeb! fell into would never have befallen his brother George. I have several brothers and I notice that extreme differences between them and their personalities. This is the case here. Although they both grew up with the platinum spoon planted firmly in their mouths, George W always came across as “street smart” and “plucky”. He may not be the most eloquent speaker BUT he always came across as sincere. By contrast Jeb! appears to be highly sensitive and easily flustered when confronted. I remember during a debate when Al Gore decided to shadow Bush in the arena and Bush turned around and did the “face off” thing you learn early as a way to tell someone to “back off” without words. Jeb! would have stopped and asked Gore to stop following him around because it makes him uncomfortable. And then he would speak to him about the need for personal space. Jeb! is not resonating, the “but who” commercial is not helping either, but who knows maybe the money will win on this one.
So, who won? How about YOU tell ME!