The second main stage Republican debate occurred last night, once more following the “kids’ round table” debate. Eleven of the top political powerhouses in the Republican Party faced off in front of millions of people to try to usurp Donald Trump and emerge dominant. Lots happened during the three hour debate, so I have decided to weed through all of the political mumbo jumbo and present you with the most important things that we learned from last night’s debate.
CARLY FIORINA PLAYS WITH A CHIP ON HER SHOULDER
Carly Fiorina was electric last night. Her speeches on Planned Parenthood and Iran were far more dynamic than the whole of Jeb Bush and Donald Trump’s lackluster performances combined. Iran, as Mrs. Fiorina explained, is a battle for the security of our nation. How can we rest easy when we have not yet been assured beyond a reasonable doubt that Iran will be allowed to self-inspect their nuclear facilities? How can we call them trust-worthy friends when the Ayatollah is screaming, “Death to America” daily to appease his base? What of Planned Parenthood, which Mrs. Fiorina stated was the battle for the character of our nation? The acceptance and antipathy toward Planned Parenthood’s barbarous institution in main stream America is appalling. “All men are created equally”, as the Declaration says, and all people are created at conception.
She also defended herself vigorously and her record against attacks from Donald Trump. In response to the attack Trump made against her record at HP1, Carly explained how she “lead HP through the worst technology recession in twenty-five years”, then confronted him about his own record of failed casinos. She also called Trump out on his bull when after he tried to downplay the comment he made to Rolling Stone about Mrs. Fiorina’s face. Fiorina said that women understood what Donald Trump said and no one mistook it. Fiorina had a great debate last night that was no doubt fueled by the fact that CNN initially excluded her from the proceedings, and man, did she use it to her advantage!
And her ending speech about lady liberty and lady justice, you know, where she subtly reminded everyone that she is one of two women in the race without playing the gender card? Brilliant!
DON GETS TRUMPED
I must preface this by saying that I HAVE NO ISSUE WITH DONALD TRUMP BEING PRESIDENT, lest I be accused once again of supporting Jeb and/or Hillary by angry Trumpers. I was very happy with the comments he made about forming a great team, something that I said in a former article2 was his greatest strength. (And frankly, he wouldn’t have been talked about if I didn’t bring it up! Okay?) That said, Trump’s performance last night was lackluster and entirely forgettable. He looked tired on stage, especially as the debate dragged on and the show became less and less about him. Trump was not the same dynamic debater that we saw last month. Last month he could drag the other candidates through the mud and come out wearing the same pristine suit he went in with. This time, Don will need some dry cleaning.
His answers were all over the place and he didn’t even answer some of the more hot button issues. When asked about what he would do to better women’s healthcare, Trump stated that he would be great for women’s health care before going on an uninvited rant about North Korea and the madman running it. In addition, he seemed to care more about what the other candidate’s thought last night as evidenced by his trying to high five both Jeb Bush and Ben Carson. He seemed flustered when Carson half-heartedly shook his hand while staring out into the crowd. When Carly Fiorina responded to the aforementioned comments about her face, Mr. Trump interrupted her saying that she is, “I think she has a beautiful face and she’s a beautiful woman”. As if that made it better! Trump needs to rebound next month if he hopes to win. Trumpers will keep him at the top of the polls for now, but it can’t continue if he doesn’t win in October.
RAND PAUL IS TOO POLITE
I know that in the south, as in the senate, one must wait their turn before speaking. Well Rand, the debate stage last night was neither. While every other candidate last night asserted themselves and made them heard on the issues with passion and bombast, Rand Paul…asked permission to speak from the moderators. Are humility, patience, and good manners the habits that we need our president to have? Of course! But they are deadly habits for a candidate. Like it or not, those are not the rules of the game. Senator Paul will never outlast the likes of Donald Trump and Chris Christie if he continues to play nice. So Rand, toughen the hell up or drop out and hope the winner appoints you VP or surgeon general. You have one month.
POLITENESS GOES BOTH WAYS
Ben Carson is also very polite and subdued. This however, does not affect him in the same way that it affects Rand Paul. Dr. Carson has the good fortune to be in second place in just about every poll, a luxury that Dr. Paul does not, including New Hampshire and Iowa. Dr. Carson is getting a lot of questions posed to him because of his position in the polls that Rand Paul is not. (Although, curiously neither doctor on stage gets very many questions about health care. Anyone else notice that?) Carson’s position and demeanor are strengths for the retired neurosurgeon because they make him stand out from the rest of the crowd who have only become more and more like Trump in order to get attention.
WHY DOES TRUMP KEEP TALKING ABOUT CARL ICAHN?
Donald Trump keeps name dropping the 79 year-old billionaire businessman (Come to think about it, Icahn is the only specific name that Donald Trump has given for his cabinet with the exception of Trey Gowdy and Sarah Palin.) even though Icahn has repeatedly denied any involvement with the Donald’s political career. He did so first in a June 19th article for Fortune.com and then again yesterday with USA Today! Of course, those positions are compromised by an August 7th tweet accepting the offer, should Trump win the presidency.
But why bother? Wasn’t this election supposed to be the one where the GOP mobilize the young Republicans and Libertarians and win the youth vote? (Yay!) I’m a young person who had no clue who Carl Icahn was when I first heard Trump mention his name during his interview with Chris Matthews. Not many other people my age who I’ve talked to have either. Unless you’re really into hedge-fund guys, young people are not going to know who he is and it’s not going to wow us either.
CHRIS CHRISTIE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL CAREERS OR YOUR MONEY AND WANTS TO STOP PLAYING THE GAMES
During a heated exchange between Fiorina and Trump concerning failed businesses, Chris Christie interrupted with a passionate speech about why the middle class guy who is working while they argue doesn’t care that they’ve done great things. Rather, Christie stated that a middle class worker cares more about paying bills and giving his children educational opportunities. This is something that middle class people absolutely worry about every day! He stated to Trump and Fiorina alike, “You’re both successful people. Congratulations! You know who’s not successful? The middle class in this country who’s getting plowed over by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Let’s start talking about those issues and stop this childish back and forth between the two of you.” Honestly, he’s right. I’m glad the elephant in the room addressed the elephant in the room in a room full of elephants. Good job New Jersey.
MARCO RUBIO WOULD RATHER NOT VOTE THAN VOTE FOR A BAD LAW
When Donald Trump brought up Marco Rubio’s “terrible voting record”, Rubio responded that his conscience would not allow him to vote for a bad law. When a bad law is introduced, Rubio abstains. This is exactly the type of characteristic that you want from a man who has the power to veto. All this tells me is that when a law allowing something that is not conservative or is adverse to Senator Rubio’s conscience comes across President Rubio’s desk, it will be killed by his fancy president pen.
TED CRUZ IS A MORE PASSIONATE SPEAKER THAN YOU THOUGHT HE WAS
Cruz’s final address of the night was moving. His eyes were wet, his jaw was shaking, yet his resolve was made of steel. Ted Cruz has a passion that I never saw coming. This is good for everyone involved.
CRUZ, KASICH, PAUL, JINDAL, AND WALKER ARE VP MATERIAL
Understand when I say this, I mean it in the best way. Cruz, in particular, would be the closest thing that we’ve had to Bush 41 in a very long time: a vice president who could win the presidency. (Notice how I didn’t mention Joe Biden?) All of these men, and I suppose you could even include Marco Rubio in here too, are excellent statesmen and each are pretty young as it goes in politics. A term or two as number two would give any of these men excellent experience and raise their profile so they could win after their boss’s time is up.
LINDSEY GRAHAM SHOULD BE SECRETARY OF WAR
All Lindsey Graham cares about is putting 10,000 boots on the ground in the Middle East. While some like Senator Paul wave the olive branch, Senator Graham is hunting doves. Such tunnel vision and war-hawking isn’t acceptable for the president of the United States. But, it is for the secretary of war whose entire job description at the moment is: kill terrorists, win wars. (Wash, rinse, repeat.) He even said that if he could have any other job than senator or president that he would want to be secretary of war. What’s the worst that could happen?
RONALD REAGAN MEANS SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO EVERYONE
Everyone on stage has a living-memory of Reagan’s presidency or has met the great communicator at some point in their lives. Ronald Reagan was the dynamic face of a decade both socially and politically. Rand Paul said it best, “Ronald Reagan was important because it was the grassroots beating the establishment.” That’s something that everyone wants badly to see happen again.
For my money, I’d say that Carly Fiorina won this debate the same way that she won the early debate last month. She was so dynamic that some girls stopped what they were doing in the dorm lounge to listen to what she had to say. None of them knew who she was. One thought her name was Fiona (like in Shrek). After Mrs. Fiorina’s remarks on Planned Parenthood one of the young ladies said, “I like this…broad! What’s her name again?” (She didn’t actually say broad, but you know what I mean.) Fiorina won and she pushed herself even further into the limelight. This is what these debates are meant to do, after all.
Second place goes to Ted Cruz and Ben Carson. Both were eloquent but passionate. They made their case without bravado and I think we’ll see them both rise in the polls.
Third place goes to Chris Christie. He was passionate and resolute while keeping in focus the little guy working in the middle class. And he answered no questions about wiretapping either…which was good for him.
Donald Trump played like his friend Tom Brady did in Super Bowl XLII. He hadn’t been defeated so far all season and expected the competition to simply lie down and surrender as soon as he walked into the Reagan library. Trump needs to be the version of him that we saw last month or his star might start falling.
Rand Paul. Rand, Rand, Rand, Rand, Rand. If you don’t start playing tough next month your campaign will go the way of the Perry. Like I said before, the rules here are different than what you’re used to. Either adapt or go extinct. Those are the choices in nature and those are the choices in politics.
That debate was fun. I can’t wait for the next one.
- He said the company was still a disaster today. HP reported a 111.5 billion dollar net revenue last year. http://www8.hp.com/us/en/hp-news/press-release.html?wireId=1900243#.VfrEktJViko
- Donald Trump: America’s CEO theelephantsconscience.com