Who won? Who lost? Here are the winners and losers from the Fox Business Republican debate.
Winners and Losers
1). Ted Cruz – Cruz was the one candidate on the debate stage that was able to go successfully toe to toe with Trump. When the great birther blow up finally came in the debate, Cruz was more than prepared by pointing out that by Trump’s own standard, he would not be eligible to run for president. The big takeaway that should terrify the Republican establishment is that there was only one candidate who has demonstrated that he can handle Trump. Unfortunately, that candidate is Ted Cruz. Sen. Cruz was big winner tonight who solidified his position as a top two candidate.
2). Donald Trump – Trump might have lost in a head to head with Cruz, but his personality had the audience laughing and on his side. Trump stuck to much of his standard script, and outside of Cruz, nobody could lay a hand on him. The Republican race is clearly between Trump and Cruz with everyone else serving as a distant second.
3). Marco Rubio – Marco Rubio’s demented claim that he knows that Obama is coming to take away everyone’s guns and get rid of the Second Amendment showed just how low a Republican must go to get primary votes. Rubio was the only establishment candidate who did anything memorable. What he did was memorable because it was insane, but that plays well with Republican primary voters. Rubio will probably end up being the establishment Republican candidate, but he is light years behind Cruz and Trump.
1). Jeb Bush – Bush’s debate began with the claim that America was better under his brother than it is under Obama. Bush didn’t use a single economic fact to support this claim. The fact that he completely ignored W’s record made his answer all the more ridiculous. Jeb Bush doesn’t have anything to say as a candidate. He looks like he doesn’t want to be there. Bush needed to go after Rubio, but instead, he spent his night floundering. Bush’s highlight was calling Rubio and Cruz backbench senators. Jeb Bush doesn’t have a reason why he is running for president. He has a pile of super PAC money behind him, but he is the most uninteresting candidate in the GOP field. Unless something dramatic happens, the Bush campaign is DOA.
2). Ben Carson – Carson did nothing outside of telling Republicans that they are doomed unless they stop fighting with each other. Carson predicted the demise of America if Democrats keep the White House because a liberal majority on the Supreme Court will destroy the country. Ben Carson fumbled an ISIS foreign policy question and defended the rich. He is another candidate with a ton of money and no chance of winning.
3). Chris Christie – Chris Christie wants to be the anti-Obama, tough on crime, establishment candidate. His strategy is straight out of 2012. In the year of Trump and Cruz, Chris Christie has no natural constituency. Christie is betting everything on New Hampshire. Once Christie’s Granite State gamble fails, it will be back to New Jersey for the failed candidate.
4). John Kasich – Speaking of governors who will soon be heading home. In any other year, a Kasich candidacy might have had appeal. Today’s Republican Party does not want white bread establishment candidates like Bush, Christie, and Kasich. Gov. Kasich will soon be back in Ohio because the current Republican Party has little room for anybody who isn’t as extreme as Trump and Cruz.