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Debating the debate

November 11, 2015

Was the format better handled by the Fox Business/WSJ moderators in the latest GOP debate?  Absolutely. Was it perfect?  No. Did it help winnow the field?  Depends on your level of bias.

Clearly, Chris Christie was seated at the wrong table, and so was John Kasich. If you recorded the thing and played only those two men’s performances, Kasich did not distinguish himself as a Top 10 player. Christie on the other hand was able to present himself as a serious general election player, even if he seemed at times to have to place his lip firmly between his teeth to do it.

For many, this was the moment where they wanted and expected something better from Donald Trump. They didn’t get it. This was the time to add some cake under the frosting, and it just didn’t happen.

For many, Dr. Carson did what was expected of him, but didn’t leave them with the feeling that he was unbeatable. Still, he certainly earned his way into the next debate.

The next-day buzz is that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were the clear standouts. For one thing, they are far more comfortable within the debate format than many of the others. Long form answers in a sound bite format haven’t worked to date, and they didn’t work this time. For another, they both have a clear grasp on what concerns mainstream voters.

Somewhat under-rated by the early commentators, Carly Fiorina touched on the idea that the country needs to start over and lay the groundwork to formulate realistic budgets based on real-world income and stop spending money to get votes instead of results. That’s a shame. It’s a good message.

Speaking of revenue…can you imagine the ad revenues for the first all-female Presidential debates in U.S. history?  Not to mention how crazy it would make the gender inequality folks?  Yummy!  Unfortunately, there is that little detail called broad public support that she needs to build up first. Like some of the others, she deserves another view.

One thing that was fairly evident is that some of the candidates are having a hard time giving up the “cage fight” aura. If you are going to bitch about being attacked on a personal level, maybe you’d better develop a real platform instead.

Jeb Bush will hang around a while longer. He did better than his previous performances, so that’s probably fair.

The single issue candidates have just about had their day. At this point, the best they can do is to hope that their plank will eventually be used to solidify the party platform in the general election.

The next national and state polls won’t be out for a few days, so it is hard to say how all this played in Peoria, much less whether this one reasonably substantive debate will set the tone for the others to come. Given that this is the era of the selfie, that would be a huge accomplishment in itself.

One thing is pretty clear.  It’s time to fold up the kiddie table.

BTW –   On this Veterans Day 2015, let’s not forget about all the folks that made and make it possible for us to speculate, ruminate and pontificate about the person who will lead the nation.

Thanks for your service, one and all.

From → op-ed

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