Friday, August 7, 2015

A Few Quick Thoughts on the Debate

Carly Fiorina plainly belonged at the Big Boys' table, and she will be there next time as a result of her performance last night. The only question:  whom will she displace?  I like her better each time I see her.  She has an intellectual toughness that surpasses most if not all of the other candidates.

In the prime time debate, Ben Carson gained the most, particularly with his last two or three answers. His comments on race were brilliant.  He explained that he doesn't talk about race much because as a neurosurgeon, he looks at people's brains, which determines who they are way beyond the color of our skin. His comment that he would be fortunate if Hillary Clinton is the Democrat nominee was humorously delivered, as was his closing remark that he was the only candidate to have removed half of a person's brain, with an aside that one would have thought that would have already been accomplished among politicians in D.C.

Time doesn't permit me to amplify, but Carson's comments are well worth a look for those who did not see the debate. The man is freaky smart, but humble.  He projects a decency and a sense of humor.  His personal attributes make up for any short-comings in not knowing the answer to Beltway wonk questions that most Americans wouldn't know either.

I thought Rand Paul won the fourth amendment exchange with Chris Christie. Good for Rand for bringing up The Hug. That needed to be said.  In fact, it should be said at every remaining debate in which Christie gets to participate. His opening salvo against pointing out Donald Trump's self-absorption was effective, coming on the heels of Trump's admission that he could not commit at this point to supporting the ultimate Republican nominee if he/she is not Trump.

The Donald. His exchange with Megan Kelly was unnecessary. His pattern is that he makes a good point that gets some applause or some laughter and he keeps going and going until he has crossed into the terrain of did you really just say that?

I was shocked that the New York Times reported that Ted Cruz had about the median amount of air time.  Cruz disappeared during the debate. There seemed to be an effort to freeze him out. He comported himself very well and yet did not seem to be in the mix.

Huckabee, as usual, was earnest and articulate.  His closing -- describing all the negative qualities that everyone assumed applied to the Donald, but then substituting Hillary for punch line -- was outstanding.

John Kasich was repetitive but had some good themes. His response to the gay marriage question was well formed -- not backing away from his "old fashioned" position, as he point it, that marriage is between a man and a woman, but also expressing unconditional love for others who disagree with him just as God has unconditional love for all of us.

It is interesting how little airplay that LGBT issues received during the debate, even though they ranked as number three on the Facebook poll (after race relations and the economy) as important issues for voters. Huckabee was asked a question about transgenders in the military, which he deftly swatted away with the more relevant point that he is more concerned with the soldiers protecting our nation's security than using them to make a social statement. Other than that remark, I don't recall anything else coming up about the topic that the most famous Republican transgendered spotlighted earlier this year.

The social issue with the most prominence was life. It was a recurring theme of many candidates, who seemed invigorated by the recent Planned Parenthood videos to go on the attack of pro-abortion forces.

I could write much more, but the bottom line is that last night's debate was perhaps the most riveting I have seen and the Republican field -- both in the primetime and "kiddie table" debates -- is quite strong.  I'm looking forward to the next round.

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