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GOP playoffs are underway.

December 16, 2015

If you had confidence in your candidate’s chances going into last night’s debate you probably didn’t get too rattled by the results of this last-of-2015 GOP tryouts.

Despite the best efforts of the moderators, most of the top-tier opponents managed to score points for themselves, and even Donald Trump finally fleshed out one or two of his bullet points with at least one sub-heading, as he did in explaining what he meant about shutting down internet service to certain countries.

Note to Senator Paul and Governor Bush.  In time  of war, any President can, with full Constitutional authority, shut down, co-opt, or control any civilian industry they want to.  Neither the citizens or owners of companies had a say in whether or not civilian purchases of gasoline or sugar or flour were curtailed in WWII. If whomever wins wants to shut down Google or Facebook or Microsoft, or force them to cooperate with the government’s need in time of war, he or she can do it.

As an aside, if the CNN moderators had left the word Trump out of their questions, the network could have scored higher in their tradecraft.  Most of the questions did go to substantive issues, but the inescapable allure of ratings trumped journalistic standards once again.

One thing that is clear is that going forward, the standards for inclusion on the big stage need to tighten.

Having more than a half-dozen or so people in the main arena is just no longer a viable option, given that we are heading into the caucus and primary seasons in just over six weeks and less than that if you discount the entire Christmas season.

A round-up of opinions from the networks seems to have it pretty much this way.  Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Christie, and Fiorina seemed to draw the most interest from viewers. That gives five major players with one spot left over for the wild card of your choice.

Between now and the first 2016 debate (Fox Business Network, January 14) there will be a plethora of polls issued, and hopefully, some of the candidates will see the futility of continuing.

Some won’t.  It’s been clear from the outset that some of them are auditioning for Cabinet-level and/or second banana billing and they will probably try to stay in at least until after the New Hampshire primary.

Some readers may wonder why Carly Fiorina seems to deserve at least honorable mention in most of the commentary.

While her supporters remain convinced that she can win, her real appeal is her perceived ability to swing the female vote to whomever gets the nod in July.

Whether she would be amenable to second place is unknown, and it’s hard to see her as Trump’s running mate.  Almost any of the others could certainly benefit from the presence of an intelligent, tough female campaign partner, and her technology background is certainly germane to the current state of world affairs.

As the national powers of concentration turn to the holidays and football, perhaps as much in self-defense as revelry, you can bet that politicos everywhere will be huddled in back rooms and fancy hotel suites with more on their mind than eggnog.

From → op-ed

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