The initial debate for the Presidency of the United States was supposed to present the Republican candidates. This was accomplished by Fox News but not if all you watched was the prime time debate with The Donald, The Bush, and the other eight candidates. Wait, you exclaim, aren’t there seventeen candidates? True, but for the other seven, the second tier candidates determined from the average of five polls taken up to about a month ago were put on before prime time and scheduled so their debate would not bore anybody with their skills. That was unless you were former Ohio Governor John Kasich who was thrust onto the stage with the other first tier candidates without having even been listed in the five polls as nobody even realized he would run. Fair or not, he waited until the Friday a week before the first debates to declare he was in, but the debate was being held in Ohio; so out with Texas’s former governor Rick Perry and in with the man from Ohio as one must respect the location over the locution. So, for those who were expecting to see how Rick Perry might compare with Huckabee, Christie, Paul (Rand, not Ron), Rubio, Carson, Walker, Cruz, The Donald, The Bush and by location over locution as he had hardly said anything other than I’m running and I’m the hometown boy, gotta love me, Kasich; you were out of luck as he was on with the presumed also-rans who were on before you got home from work as why would anybody care about the underdog seven. I am aware that you can and will hear all about the first tier candidate debate and I can give you my synopsis in a couple of sentences with a lot of comas or whatever follows in my brief and somewhat unique views. The vicious and venomous questioning, especially by Megan Kelly, focused on The Donald from the opening question where the ten were challenged to declare by not raising their hands that they were not going to run as an independent if they were not the Republican candidate. Everybody who has an ounce of sense or had paid even a modicum of attention already knew The Donald had stated such might be an alternative if he felt he had been cheated from a fair and even shot at the Republican candidacy. Well, congratulations Fox, you took the first step in making sure that The Donald has solid proof he was treated very differently and cheaply with targeting to make him look as bad as humanly possible. They also ignored Ben Carson for most of the debate and the questions were relatively sophomoric and too much time was spent to show the erudite and beautiful people of Fox and less so the Candidates. So the main debate mostly proved that The Donald will apparently be targeted with every possible cheap shot even to include every potentially embarrassing moment or every demeaning comment, especially if they were made towards a woman, or bankruptcy of one of his many firms which failed and declared in efforts to make The Donald look like some monster from the political black lagoon. The rest of the main debate did little to enlighten and was to me a disappointment, especially after witnessing the first half of the debates which was conducted in a more casual and far less acidic or vindictive manner and by being so more informative. There was no pitting of one candidate against another to maximize animus between the candidates and just simple questions which did not always require or receive simple answers. So, on to the so-called junior varsity.
The second seven was presumably to be led by the recently demoted Rick Perry included in the order given by the CNN recap so the order is not mine, Carly Fiorina, George Pataki, Bobby Jindal, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham and Rick Santorum. Some of these candidates gave exactly what those who follow politics fully expected and there were a few presumed surprises. Rick Perry was sporting his new ‘Geek’ eyeglasses which have been critiqued as improving his appearance giving him an intellectual appearance and making him look so much more serious. I might disagree on the better look but if he is going for a more Geek Squad look may I advise having a pocket protector, driving a black and white two tone VW bug (the new variety) and maybe on occasion to show his fighting spirit some white tape on the bridge of his new black rimmed glasses. Other than the new look, his performance was better but not the most polished of the candidates with uncomfortable pauses which perhaps some might call intellectual pauses while others might call them fumbling for how to phrase his answer half-way through his response. Much of his performance was quite adequate but not stellar or overly exciting. His debate performance did provide competence and we did not have anywhere near his listing the three departments he would terminate immediately after he walked into the Oval Office, the Department of Education and unlike Governor Perry I cannot even remember the other two, he only missed one but my excuse is it is four years later. In all honesty, he would have fit comfortably in the later debate but may end up being better served for being with the smaller field and getting more response time and higher quality questions without the gotchas.
Next up, Rick Santorum, a known entity, was questioned pointedly as to whether he thought that he had had his time and perhaps he should retire from the field instead of running again. His answer was equally pointed pointing out that despite many media and other forces made his candidacy an uphill struggle not mentioning the fact that the win they had referred to in Iowa as a win was carried in the media asking what he was going to prove after losing Iowa when in reality it was announced a month later after the actual counting was completed that he had won Iowa at which point such coverage of who won Iowa was relegated to yesterday’s news after a brief mention of the actual count. Rick Santorum was upbeat and positive and showed his usual casual manner which has charmed people and showed his warm nature combined with a down to earth common sense which also makes people feel comfortable and relating to him especially when meeting him personally.
Bobby Jindal was excellent and shone brightly. He answered the questions posed him knowledgably and with an erudite vocabulary which might even pass muster with Bill O’Reilly. I have high hopes that Bobby Jindal will be in the top tier for the next debate and hope he is still around for March 1, aka Super Tuesday. Should he continue his level of performance, then he should be pretty much guaranteed to not only make it to Super Tuesday but potentially well beyond. I was pleasantly impressed with Bobby Jindal.
We can cover Jim Gilmore, former Governor of Virginia, and Lindsey Graham, Senior Senator of South Carolina, together as both were adequate and bland and unimpressive. Lindsey Graham would have been far more impressive if he did not have a long history which explained why he has worked so well with Democrats in the Senate, he often could almost be caucusing with them and sometimes his cooperation to go along to get along attitude makes him a dangerous candidate as the Republican base will largely stay home should he be the Republican candidate. Jim Gilmore was simply without spirit or excitement and a perfectly calm and overly responsible candor which will likely not grab the attention of voters but the early primaries will determine that for both men.
George Pataki, former Governor of New York, was even headed whose seeming biggest claims were to have lowered crime and turned around the state of New York and having been Governor of New York during the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a fourth jet which was brought down by the passengers preventing it from reaching its target somewhere in Washington D.C. The problem is that in a debate should he make those same claims any Democrat opponent would accuse him of claiming the gains which actually were almost exclusively due to improvements made in New York City by Mayor Rudy Giuliani and that would be the talk of the town for the rest of the campaign and the media would sink him over accusations he was attempting to mislead people over his accomplishments.
Lastly, Carly Fiorina who is the former CEO of Hewlett Packard. I will freely admit that I had extremely high expectations of Carly Fiorina even before the debates. From the majority of reports of her appearances she had wowed audiences wherever she appeared. She was said to be informative, well briefed, real and most of all comfortable before the people and gracious with her time when answering questions. Her weakness was her unknown political status as she has never held political elected office and was chosen for the position of CEO of Hewlett Packard which is not exactly an elected position but one where an election of sorts is taken to select one for such a position. Some of my readers had also alerted me to keep her in mind, so that had whetted my appetite even more. I must say I was satisfied and then some. She answered as if she had been in politics all her life with a calm assurance and steady calm tones of a polished professional, but then she was a professional with plenty of speaking engagements. Her story of her experience and how she eventually gained the position of CEO at Hewlett Packard where she has told she started as a secretary at a at a nine person real estate firm and worked her way from there into the CEO spot, something extraordinary and unbelievably impressive. I would be very happy for the last two standing to be Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal and believe a final debate between just these two would be able to raise money for the eventual winner’s campaign by selling tickets and having it as a pay per view on cable TV and also on the internet. When it comes to trading barbs with Hillary Clinton I have a feeling that Carly Fiorina would almost relish the opportunity. If she does not make it to the top of the ticket, maybe after Biden or Sanders or whoever defeats Hillary and has Clinton as their running mate, that would be sufficient reason for the Republican candidate to have Carly Fiorina as their running-mate if only for the setup of the woman on woman debate of the century.
Is it too much to ask that we have a Fiorina-Jindal ticket in either order, please?
Beyond the Cusp