The fourth republican national debate was held last night at in Wisconsin hosted by Fox Business channel.
First some house cleaning. I think I will not write about the democratic debates because for all intense and purposes the democratic primary is over. I’ll still watch but really what’s the point? So unless something huge happens I’ll report it but if not consider it over.
Now to last night.
There were 3 moderators and 8 candidates with questions for over 2 hours. This debate was presented as the serious economic debate compared to the fiasco that was the CNBC debate. It did not fail to deliver in one of the best debates so far in either party.
The moderators did not ask softball question and kept things mostly on track as best they can with 8 people with huge egos running for the highest office in the land. The candidates were in general more relaxed across the board.
Put this music on in the background when you read this….
Trump: Weak, rambling, flat. One would think this would be Trumps strong suit last night. After all this is an economic debate that is should be a slam dunk for Trump. But last night I feel his performance was Trumps at his worst. Lots of people like me because I’m a winner is not policy. This guy said my tax plan is great is not policy. Trust me is not a policy. This only thing I liked is when Trump said he would not agree to a TPP trade agreement but he would make trade deals with the individual counties instead made sense. It would take forever to pull off but it’s not a bad idea. On one hand Trump said we need the greatest military in the world but we need to not spend so much on the military and “invest” in infrastructure. Which is it? Not sure there. Trump basically handed the middle east to Putin last night. Which in my eyes is the continuation of the Obama foreign policy of lead from behind or don’t lead at all. I really didn’t get a sense that Trump knew what he was saying last night? Maybe he was tired? Trump proved that he cannot handle this job and all the platitudes in the world and repeating how great we’re going to be over and over is not going to help. Even his shots at Kasich were dull and ineffective. His I’ll build a wall even got snickers from the audience. Look for Carson to start beating him in the polls going forward. The Trump decline is starting
Bush: Better but still dorky. One could tell that this was Bush’s redemption debate. He didn’t hit it out of the park but he didn’t strike out either. It felt like Bush has changed his plan of attack. He completely lost when he tried to go after Rubio in the last debate, so now he’s going to leave that to his super Pac going forward. Bush was successful by shifting his attack to Hillary and Obama. Smart move on Bush’s part. Focus on Hillary, act like the front runner and hope Rubio implodes. It’s worth a try, but it may be too little too late. Where he just doesn’t get it is when he tries to portray himself as anti-establishment. Really? You’re a legacy long shot at best. Bush is better than the other establishment candidate Kasich because at least Bush doesn’t say it out loud that his for big government and pathway to citizenship. Bush was at his best when he stuck to policy and worst when he went off script to take a jab to someone. It felt rehearsed and plastic. Here’s something the chew on. Hillary comes across as more likable and human than Bush. Hillary would win if Bush is the nominee. Because she’s more likable then Bush. Yes I said it. He did ask a very important question last night that I would love to see all the candidates answer in depth. “What does American leadership look like” Trump is not what American leadership looks like. Keep asking yourself that question as this going on. It’s hugely important going on. I know I will.
Carson: Solid. Carson made no mistakes last night and had the more to gain by a strong showing. Carson way out shined Trump as the outsider candidate. He put to bed any doubt about what has been said about his past by redirecting any question of trustworthiness to Hillary. I still don’t see him as my president though . Yes he explained his tax policy in a way that shut Trump up. Needs more details but it’s a start and way better than some guy told me it would be great. He’s right that our money belongs to us first and we are better spenders of our money than the government would ever be. Carson feels that people will give more to charity if we are allowed to keep more of our money? Hillary and Burnie does not think your money belongs to you but to the government first. Don’t believe me? Then why does Hillary want to tax you even after your dead with the estate tax? So with the democrats it’s the only certain thing in life is death and taxes and more taxes after death? When Carson is in charge of health and human services I expect great things from him.
Cruz: Strong, steady, confidant trusting. Cruz was challenged on his flat tax plan and how he was going to pay for it? Which Cruz side stepped quite well but did answer in detail when pushed. I really hate when moderators ask how are you going to pay for a tax cut? It’s our money! By not feeding the government were keeping our money! Cruz got into it with Kasich about bailing out the big to huge to fail banks. Cruz would not bail them out but Kasich would. Cruz wants smaller community banks to grow there by helping small business grow because they’re the ones who need the loans that the big banks won’t supply. Cruz has the chops to stay in it for the long term and he is steady on his feet in a way that Rubio was not last night. He’s good but if he was the nominee Cruz would be labeled as extremist because he believes in God and the power of the Constitution. Strange that believing in the Constitution and separated and limited powers is considered extreme by the democrats?
Rubio: Serious, solid, trusting but not a stand out. Rubio was challenged by Paul in a way that he’s never been challenged before in a debate. How can you be conservative and spend like crazy in defense? Paul believes you can’t be both and called Rubio out on it. Rubio went Trump and shut him down with the no economic security without a strong military. Nice but Paul did have a point and it was a great exchange between two very different views on conservativism. Which brings me to the point of you would never see a substantive economic debate between the democrats like what transpired last night. What would they going to argue about? Who’s going to spend and tax more. Or who’s going to grow the government more? Never would happen. I still like Rubio very much but he needs to stay focused. He could be the last one standing to be the republican nominee and the one to win over Hillary in the general. I would fully support a Rubio Presidency.
Paul: Way better. Paul has the nothing to lose comfort of a candidate who has no chance of winning. He can say what he wants and make his stand where he wants and yesterday he took his shot at Rubio. Did it move the needle in his favor, most likely not. However, he does represent the libertarian wing of the party and the rest would be fools to discount him and the power of his supporters. Whoever the nominee is will need Paul’s supporters to win. Paul was great when he said if you want to see income inequality at it greatest look towards democratically run cities and states. Bam! Can’t really argue with that. Also he is a strong opponent of the FED. He feels the fed is at most of the economic problems of the country. At this point he’s running for reelection to the senate. Maybe he’ll drop to the undercard soon.
Kasich: Grumpy…still. Kasich is either running to be Hillary’s VP or he fishing for the token republican appointment in Hillary’s administration. All he’s doing is complaining that the other candidates don’t understand how things work in Washington and he does. Kasich is someone the democrats can work with and that’s all I need to know. He could be the establishment replacement to Bush but no one cares enough to drop big money on him. He revealed that he equates success with greed. Nice in a republican primary. I have no use for him and he should either drop to the undercard or drop altogether. He most likely will after New Hampshire.
Fiorina: Strong. Direct. Specific and detailed. Carley had a strong performance last night but like Rubio was not really a stand out either. She know her stuff and had a change in strategy by calling herself as “President Fiorina” I would do this or that. As President I would say this. This is a change for her to try to make her stand out in a field of very strong candidates. Great move because if everyone tried this after her they would look bad. She need to reveal her plan to take the tax code to 3 pages. Great but need details. Wouldn’t mind a national security advisor Fiorina to president Rubio. But as we go further the outsider candidates will fade. She’ll be in until supernext year.
Big Winners: Carson, Rubio & Cruz
Winner: Bush, Paul
Big loser: Trump
We’re less than a year away so things are going to start picking up. Look for more attacks on Rubio, Carson & Cruz as the establishment tries to take them out. Look for Carson to overpass Trump and for Rubio to gain in the polls while picking up endorsements as Bush slowly fades.
Until the next time…..