From Donald Trump getting booed to Jeb Bush rewriting history to blame President Obama for his brother’s economic collapse, here are five reasons to be glad that you didn’t watch the first Republican debate.
1). Donald Trump Gets Booed For Refusing To Rule Out A Third Party Run – Fox began with a show of hands and asked if there is anyone who won’t make that pledge that if they won’t run an independent campaign. Trump raised his hand and said that if he is the nominee he won’t run as the third party. Rand Paul immediately attacked him and said that this is what’s wrong because Trump is hedging his bets because he buys and sells politicians.
2). Chris Christie and Rand Paul Feud Gets Personal – The constant attacks against each other continued as Christie said that Rand Paul can be blamed for the next terrorist attack because he opposes the bulk collection of data. Paul said he wanted to collect more records from terrorists and less from average Americans. Christie said Paul’s answer was ridiculous and accused him of sitting in a subcommittee blowing hot air. Paul said Christie misunderstood the Bill of Rights and said that he gave Obama a big hug. Christie came back by saying that the hugs he remembers are those he gave to 9/11 victims and accused him of using opposition to NSA data collection to raise money.
3). Rand Paul and Fox News Try and Fail To Bring Down Donald Trump – Fox News tried to trip Trump up by asking him about his former support a single-payer plan, and Trump said he wants to see a private system without the artificial lines between states. He said that the insurance companies are making a fortune. Paul tried to attack Trump again, and Trump said, “I think you’re having a hard time hearing me tonight.” Paul tried to attack Trump repeatedly, but the billionaire kept coasting as Rand’s attacks bounced right off of him. Donald Trump isn’t bound by facts and or reality, so Fox’s attempts to weaken his candidacy fell flat.
4). Jeb Bush Tries To Blame Obama For His Brother’s Recession – In Bushland, President Obama and Obamacare are to blame for the “bad economy.” The fact is that President Obama has created more net jobs than both of the previous Bush presidents combined. By August 2014, “More net jobs have been created under Obama — 5,142,000 as of the August jobs report — than under George H.W. Bush — 2,637,000 — and George W. Bush — 1,282,000 — combined, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.” According to Jeb Bush revisionist history, the economic collapse that happened under his brother is the responsibility of President Obama. Bush wiped out his family’s history of economic failure and blamed it all on President Obama.
5). The Debate Was Stunningly Dull – Republicans keep repeating the mantra that they have a deep bench, but it is easy to see why Trump is leading in the polls. The rest of the Republican field is a snoozefest. The Republicans all hold similar positions on the major issues. They all have the Bush foreign policy, except for Rand Paul. They want to strengthen the military and go back to the Bush administration.
On domestic policy, the Republicans hate immigrants, women, and gay marriage, and think that the country would be better off if regulations were repealed, taxes were cut for the wealthy, and raised on everyone else. It wasn’t that the stage was too crowded, or that the candidates were playing it safe. The vast majority of the Republican field had nothing to say and managed to do it in the most boring way possible.
None of these candidates sounded like a future president, but one of these stiffs will be the Republican nominee.
Winners and Losers:
1). Donald Trump: The big test for Trump was if he could make it through the debate without self-destructing. Trump’s strategy was to deflect any attacks against him and end with a crowd-pleasing line. Fox News asked about Trump’s flip-flops and bankruptcies, and it rolled off of his back. Rand Paul tried to attack Trump and went nowhere. It will not be a surprise if Trump’s poll numbers go up after this debate. Republican voters hate Trump, but they also love him. They booed him to start the debate but cheered him often during the rest of the debate.
2). John Kasich: It could have been the home field advantage of being in Cleveland, but it is easy to see why Kasich is the Republican establishment’s safety date in case Jeb Bush crashes and burns. Gov. Kasich was the only Republican on the stage who sounded remotely sane, which means that he has no chance of winning. His answer on gay marriage was sane and solid.
1). Jeb Bush: Wow, Bush was bad. If he wasn’t stumbling over answers, he was boring the audience to tears. Jeb Bush made Mitt Romney look like Mr. Excitement in 2012. It was like Bush was sleepwalking through this debate. The man has no spark, no energy, and zero charisma. He did not have a single memorable line or interaction. Bush did try to blame Obama for his brother’s economic failures, but he was completely forgettable in this debate.
2). Marco Rubio: Rubio was another establishment favorite who was dull. His answers were long-winded and didn’t bring much to the table. Marco Rubio is a much stronger candidate on paper than he is in reality.
3). Scott Walker: A really bad night for Walker. Gee, Toto, I don’t think we’re in Wisconsin anymore. Walker looked like a governor who was completely lost on the national debate stage. He didn’t have a memorable moment except for a line about Clinton’s email server. He was quite frankly dull, and not believable on foreign policy.
4). Rand Paul: Paul tried to get attention, and he failed at every turn. Rand Paul was lost in the shuffle, and the candidate who was supposed to stand out will most be remembered for his very public spat with Chris Christie.
5). Chris Christie: Speaking of Chris Christie, the audience didn’t like him. He couldn’t keep his bully side silent, and his dust-up with Rand Paul was ugly. Chris Christie is going nowhere fast.
6). Ted Cruz: Cruz said he is going to stop ISIS by calling them names. Cruz was out grandstanded by several others on the stage. He couldn’t get anything going, and it was easy to forget that he was there. Cruz only came to life during the last thirty seconds of the debate when he vowed to prosecute Planned Parenthood during his first day in office.
7). Ben Carson: Carson was in way over his head, and completely invisible.
8). Mike Huckabee: Huckabee sat on the corner of the stage and was forgotten. He might have been better served to not make this debate. He could have dominated the one at 5 PM.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association