Thoughts on last week’s GOP debate

Wednesday’s debate between a wide assortment of GOP contenders left plenty to be desired. That is if you tuned in expecting a highbrow policy discussion. Policy proved off-topic for Trump et al, as the contenders rallied around a blistering attack on the ‘liberal’ and ‘leftist’ media, which Rubio termed a ‘Clinton super PAC.’ Strong stuff.

 

Media witch hunt aside, moves were made by Senator Rubio, while Trump seemed unusually subdued. Yet Trump’s poll numbers remain stubbornly high, rivaled so far only by Carson. So, did we learn anything new?

 

Maybe not. But, Marco Rubio was the clear winner. He remained above the fray, refusing to bite when attacked by Jeb Bush. Many Democrats remarked after the debate that Rubio would be Hillary’s most formidable rival in an as-yet hypothetical presidential race.

 

Rubio managed to toss a few bones somewhere leftwards, with his ringing endorsement of the role social security plays in the protection of his mother. For these comments, he received enthusiastic applause from the crowd, but to tie up the nomination he will need to continue to cater to the right-wing base.

 

He certainly came across (to Democrats at least) as the least crazy of the Republican crazies, a candidate that could potentially cause consternation across the political divide.

 

Jeb Bush on the other hand looked for the all the world as if he was sinking in quicksand. His attack on Rubio’s no-shows at the Senate had little impact, instead making Bush look insecure and weak. Rumors continue to swirl about that his campaign is on life support and that many of his donors are fleeing to the safer bet of Rubio. It remains to be seen whether Bush has any hopes of resuscitating his flagging campaign.

 

On the outsiders, ‘Big Boy’ Chris Christie failed to live up to his larger-than-life reputation, with a NYT editorial now calling for him to drop out of the race. Cruz and Kasich were both fiery yet purely polemical. Rand Paul advocated the destruction of big government and not much else. Carly Fiorina? Well she spoke of how being fired makes her suitable for the role of President of the United States, an interesting proposition. And Mike Huckabee? His night will be remembered for his love-in with Trump. He ACTUALLY SAID ‘I love Donald Trump.’ That’s enough analysis of his evening.

 

And finally, what about the newly installed frontrunner, Dr. Ben Carson? He was almost completely anonymous and proved incredibly shaky on his tax and spend plans (yes, there was some policy discussion). Let’s just be grateful he refrained from using the word ‘healing’ to describe his candidacy, as he has delighted in doing so, thus far in this race. We get it- he is (was) a doctor.

 

Conclusion- Rubio coming up hot on the heels of Trump and Carson. Bush freefalling.

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