- Sen. Ted Cruz’ attack on the media scored points with folks who hate the media but, as we’ve seen in the past, those attacks don’t win elections
- Sen Marco Rubio deflected well the questions about his attendance in the Senate, but I don’t sense a lot of everyday people care much about his attendance to begin with
- Donald Trump and Ben Carson did nothing to distinguish themselves (other than dance on the bogus numbers in their tax plans and mostly fade from view in the debate) but they also likely did nothing to affect, good or bad, their basic popularity at the moment in the field.
- Many pundits are saying this morning that Jeb Bush’s candidacy died last night because of his poor performance and his meek attack on Rubio. He did not have a good night, but he also didn’t change the fact that he has a lot of money and staying power. I’d add, as has been the case with many candidates in the past, he should stop trying to be who his strategists tell him to be and just be Jeb. If that isn’t enough, then who wants the job?
To me, when it came to the performance of the candidates and the integrity of the moderators, both failed the character test. Most of us vote not just on issues but on the character of the candidates. If each of those candidates on stage last night were putting forth their true character, I’m not voting for any of them. Each was playing a role they and their advisers wanted them to play. Carson and Trump may come closest to being who he is. A problem with each is they seem ignorant of how the government bureaucracy works and how to make real change in that bureaucracy. Neither gives me (or most others) any confidence they can run a country. You can’t wish change. You also can’t believe the Holocaust could have been avoided if the Jews had guns or that you can negotiate your way to economic boom and world peace. Leadership traits matter.
Jeb is not being Jeb. Kasich just shouted too much (through he probably made the most sense). Carly Fiorina who, in the past, shined in debates, last night dulled the debate. Christie was Christie, kinda, in that he looked in the camera and “told the truth” but he didn’t always tell the truth, if you read the fact checker stories today. And the media? They aren’t being reporters out to find facts, they are performers out to get ratings and “build their brand” and the brand of their employers.
Time to take a step back and figure out what we really want from these debates and demand it. If you want performers mugging for the cameras, you’re a happy viewer. If you want information on which you can base a big decision – who leads this country and is commander-in-chief – you aren’t getting it.