Tonight I live blog the Republican debate…many will be called upon and one chosen. What is the state of the GOP race? There are at four “double digit” candidates:Trump, Cruz, Carson, and Rubio. The other candidates can only hope that one of the “big four’ fade.
Pataki, Santorum, Graham, Huckabee, Paul, Fiorina, and Bush are finished whatever happens. If Rubio fades, Christie will have his lane. If Carson fades, then Cruz is most likely to pick up his support. John Kasich will be President if Spock comes back to life and is the only voter.
Bias alert: tonight’s debate will feature a moderator I admire and who is a friend:Hugh Hewitt. Except for his bizarre love of the Browns, Hugh is a great guy. I will be interested to see what he can do to keep the main candidates talking.
The President has failed and this marks the second “failed” presidency (by public perception) in a row. The Republic needs a winner. Secretary Clinton is the certain nominee of the Democratic Party and may be the most corrupt nominee since Warren G. Harding or James G. Blaine. She is unfit to serve in the office.
The question is whether the GOP can nominate a plausible alternative.
If the voting in Iowa were tomorrow, Cruz would win. Given that victory, there will be room for an alternative. (As usual, a live blog is unedited. Pardon my eyesight and my lack of a spell checker on my browser.)
I am deeply concerned about Clinton’s inability to combat radical Islamic terrorism. At the same time, I worry that religious freedom is at risk if we demonize all of Islam. We must oppose those unable to oppose radical Islamic terrorism (like Clinton), but also those who are so incompetent they cut off allies like the King of Jordan.
Isolationism is moronic, but so is jingoism. We need allies, particularly Islamic allies as both Bush presidents had when they ran.
Final bias alert: I have given small amounts of money in the past to Cruz and Jindal (now out). A person I admire recently went to work for Marco Rubio, but I have good friends who support all the candidates except for Bush.
Thought: Anderson Cooper is Beaker the Muppet with less personality.
Top Four (one sentence):
Trump: alpha male, fit to serve?
Cruz: smartest kid, grownup?
Carson: tailspin, second chance?
Rubio: teaparty favorite, now establishments last hope?
Hugh Hewitt will double the IQ of all the moderators of the CNBC debate.
Rand Paul: He decides to attack Rubio. Great. Idea: what about Clinton?
I like Paul on a defense of our values. He should have left the Rubio line out.
John Kasich: Please, please don’t say “postman.” Kasich wants to be homeroom president. He is sincere. If every GOP candidate dies, then Kasich will be still be crabby.
Chris Christie: “America has been betrayed.” He takes on the Dems. Better. He is the sleeper in this field. I am not going to vote for him in a primary, but he as at least a serious man when he is not being a crazy man.
Carly Fiorina: “Like all of you I am angry . . . ” She wants to “take our country back” and claims to be a tested leader. She has a great personal story, let’s send her to the personal life for which she is qualified. No.
Jeb Bush: Ernie the Muppet minus Bert. When Bush says “destroy ISIS” I hear . . . “beige is my favorite color.” Jeb is the nicest man who will never be President.
Marco Rubio: This is a man with “the gift.” He tells a story and takes on Obama. He defends traditional values.
Ted Cruz: He has an adenoids problem. Cruz is a bassett hound. He looks sad. Very sad. It is twilight in America in the Cruz world.
Ben Carson: A moment of silence. It was the shortest moment of silence since silence was minute. We are not in fact a patient. A good analogy does not mean that we should hire a literal doctor or a “stitch in time saves nine “means we should hire a seamstress.
Donald Trump: master of television. Has the right cadence. He has gotten better at debates.
Christie, Rubio, Trump best opening statements.
Trump is asked about Islam. “We are not talking about isolation.”
Can we see the Great Wall of Trump from space?
Bush gives a plan. He points to the Kurds.
Trump: “Jeb Bush does not think I am unhinged . . . ”
Bert takes on Trump as “unserious.” I believe Jeb is serious.
Rubio handles the question many times better than Bush. Bush must quit. He has no political talent. He talks about the horror of radical Islamic terror.
Hugh Hewitt asks how Ted Cruz disagrees with Mr. Trump. Obama is the Cruz focus. “He understands the Donald . . . ” He is for suspending refugees. He quotes FDR on horse thieves . . . and then refers to India and Islam. This is a very, very good answer.
Fiorina: “not lawyers and not entertainers.” She is too vague. There is no real difference between Cruz and Fiorina, but Cruz is a sitting Senator. She has a list problem.
Christie: under Obama and Clinton “fear is the new normal.” Does Christie know normal? Are our fears rational?
We now move to the candidates with no chance.
Kasich says things about the First Gulf War. Kasich remembers the Gordon campaign in Sudan . . . oh wait, the First Gulf War. Kasich works around to “global warming” conference.
(As far as I can tell: the globe is in a warming trend, humans have some role, and this will be bad. I don’t agree with what statist folks want us to do. Does this make me liberal?)
Cruz: On phone records. Attacks premise of phone records bill. Do not attack Cruz on details or you will find yourself buried in a sea of distinctions. The man is a master debater. He spent too much time defending himself . . .
Rubio: Cruz was wrong. “Ability to exploit loopholes.” This kid knows stuff.
Cruz: “Alinsky” whistle. Plays to Beck crowd.
Rubio versus Cruz: this a good debate. Can we have more of this please?
For the love of Salem, Hugh, can you set up a debate between Cruz and Rubio?
Rand Paul has better hair gel, but not a better head.
Rubio is enjoying kicking young Paul into the Know Nothing Century.
Chris Christie does the “nobody cares” junior high line.
Carson demands more time to say nothing new. This like demanding a parking space and then driving home. Note: these debates are good. Carson knows more than when he started.
Jeb: Bush defends his brother and freedom of religion. If you cannot take on Trump directly, how can we trust you to take on anyone?
Fiorina: begins to run for Vice President by playing to her technological strength! The only people more ignorant of technology than the government? Education.
Trump: “We should use our most brilliant minds. . . ” Sometimes Trump reminds me of some science fiction movies where someone says “bring in the best people.”
Kasich: Why are you here? We need a position. Yes. Yes. We do.
Cruz: Returns to reality by talking about reality. Everyone loves the Kurds. Is anyone going to talk about our NATO allies the Turks who hate the Kurds?
Cruz, Rubio, and Trump are in a different level of this debate. Everyone else is (except Christie) a suit seeking a candidate.
Rubio: Educates. Explains. HRC must dread the comparison to this natural politician. Rubio discusses better “propaganda.” Sure. Bad word. Fumble.
Cruz seems smarter than Rubio, but less friendly. This is a hard choice. Do we want the smartest guy or the friendliest guy?
Idea: Trump has a better hair job than Rubio or Cruz.
Cruz and Rubio go after each other. Rubio has facts the way Reagan did not, with the charm.
Cruz friends . . . get him to change his “tonal” quality. Too much whine . . . too little whine of joy.
Trump: question made for him. He gives a tight answer. He would be “firm” with famlies. I want to know what this means.
Bush: “Lack of seriousness.” What does this mean? I hate that.
Trump: We need toughness.
Jeb. Do it. Let it out. Don’t be a patrician. He just cannot do it. He cannot fathom a debate that is about “attitude.”
Hewitt and Carson: Hewitt asks: “Can you wage war?”
Brain surgeons have to say hard things.
I have no actual idea what Carson is saying, We must kill children to make them happy. The audience lives in a fantasy world where war doesn’t kill anyone.
Rand Paul says things. They are things that are important in the world where “Rand”is a name people give people. Do you believe in the Constitution?
Trump: “We cannot kill them.” This was a good line.
Rand Paul is right about Syria. I personally know that our Assad policy brought on the rise of ISIS.
John Kasich “those whom fame outran and so the name died before the man.”
Rubio: We finally hear sense. King of Jordan as our ally. . .
I think the notion that there is an alternative to Assad in Syria is a myth. Who? This is like our belief (and I fell for it) that we had people to run Iraq.
Fiorina takes on Rubio on qualifications? What? She is qualified how?
Christie hates Congress. We all hate Congress. So? If we hate government that much, we are with Trump and not you.
Ben Carson says things.
Cruz gets Libya right. He can beat Clinton on this topic Period. Dem friends fear this issue.
Trust me: there is not good alternative to Assad. I don’t like him, but there you go.
Rubio: Every time he speaks . . . he is The Man. I don’t’ always agree with him . . . I see no alternative to Assad, but at least Rubio is literate.
Cruz: He is winning this. He quotes Israel.
Kasich: Assad has to go . . . but who is the alternative?
Trump: This is a good point. He defends human interests. Come oe anti-Trump folks. He makes sense here. . . populism.
Fiorina: Nasty to no purpose and then takes on Clinton. Continues her campaign for Vice President.
Trump: don’t shoot the messenger: Trump won this round.
I now have reached the pity point for Jeb Bush. I now feel sorry for him. I want to hug him and comfort him and call him “George.”
Rand Paul reminds one member of the room of a man with a magic eight ball.
Cruz goes mad. Why?
Trump now also goes mad and says many things. We can only “do one things at a time.” I am unsure what this means. Does this matter?
I am very sure of this: nobody here (except Rubio?) has ever talked to Middle Eastern Christian?
Rand Paul actually may have talked to a Middle Eastern expert.
Kasich is sensible. I will give him that. Kasich does know what he is he talking about. Does anyone care?
Kasich versus Putin. Apollo Creed versus Rocky.
Fiorina. Feminism is not about having a double standard for women. She is as qualified as
Dr. Carson. . . meaning not at all.
Rand Paul versus Chris Christie: the unelectable versus the incomprehensible.
Paul takes on Christie on the bridge. Oh. Not as if HRC will do that.
Bush has had his best debate yet.
Jeb and Trump manage to engage in the oddest conflict in the history of debates: Jeb Muppets his way to anger and Trump crushes him.
Carson now makes me happy . . . he is the soma of this debate.
Rubio now gets to immigration and tells a story. Trust me. This will win. TELL A STORY.
This is Romney with world class political skills. Rubio: brave enough to embrace citizenship.
Cruz versus Rubio is the most interesting conflict of the evening. This is an adult debate between serious candidates.
Trump arrives and says “walls.”
I like Jeb Bush more than I have ever done. I bet he wears ugly Christmas sweaters. He loves his wife and kids. He is s decent and smart mind in an evil age.
Rubio versus Paul is the cool kid versus the IT kid.
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John Kasich has “too big of a heart” in the sense that I have too big of a waistline: more isn’t always better.
The debate has degenerated into talk about things.
Has anyone noticed Trump drops out at the end? Isn’t this because the Alpha Dog knows that this is now a waste of time?
I feel that I am the only the person in the world watching this. Voldemort could hide a horcrux here and nobody would know.
Since you are the only other person in America still watching this . . .I love you. Thank you for making me a Republican. I do not blame you for this.
If anybody cares, Jeb Bush is having his most Fiver the Rabbit debate. He is precious. The Velveteen Candidate.
Hugh is clearly asking Trump questions to test his knowledge.
Credit where it is due: Trump was right about Iraq. I was wrong. Getting ready of Sdlaam was good, our occupation failed.
Rubio: looks like a tag-along. Weak.
Trump and Cruz are pals. This is weird.
Cruz daughters have color books and IPad, but it is not helping. They are so bored.
Are we looking at Trump/Cruz?
I have to say: really? Lincoln. Grant. Garfield. McKinley. Roosevelt.
Hugh gets to the point: Trump has respect for the people here. No third party. Totally committed to the Party.
Trump totally won this question. Ask the Alpha Dog a big question. . . and he strokes it.a
Shorter Rand Pau is short Rand Paul.
Shorter John Kasich make me Vice President somebody.
Shorter Chris Christie, I will once again say the word “prosecutor.”
Shorter Carly Fiorina I too am a person.
Shorter Jeb Bush we are ashamed not to vote for you, but we will not.
Shorter Marco Rubio we are could beat HRC.
Shorter Ted Cruz, I judge you like William Shatner judges the Oscars.
Shorter Ben Carson, goodnight moon.
Shorter Donald Trump, win, I do.
So the debate winners
Trump: he has grown. He was dominate when he spoke. Like it or not, but he is growing.
Cruz: he is whip smart.
Rubio: so cool.
Bush: he is a loser, but he is precious.