Just a couple of observations on the debate. Despite reporting from the Los Angeles Times and even the Wall Street Journal saying the debate was fractious and that Trump dominated, that isn’t what I saw. Conservative filmmaker Jeremy Boreing got it right in his excellent post-debate piece for the Hollywood Reporter:
Thursday night was — against all odds and the prevailing narrative in the media — a real victory for the Republican party.
What was framed in the lead-up as an embarrassing glut of meaningless candidates revealed itself to be, for the most part, a serious and diverse field both in terms of policy and demographics.
What many expected to be a fireworks show between a fractured and fractious party and its unlikely reality star frontrunner was actually a largely civil exchange of ideas. Finally, a party often criticized (especially by conservatives in Hollywood) as impossibly deficient in stagecraft and presentation managed to introduce nine articulate, polished and thoughtful candidates – and Donald Trump.
Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, John Kasich and Mike Huckabee all helped themselves and looked good, I thought. Ben Carson ought to get out: It’s painful to watch a great man out of his element. Rand Paul ought to get out: He’s nuts. Chris Christie ought to get out: He hugged Obama and, no, I don’t forgive him either. I wish Jeb Bush would get out, but I’ll just have to wait.
A comment on Carly Fiorina. She did great not only in the pre-debate debate of the second tier but also in the spin room, where she gave Chris Matthews a much-deserved high heel to the eyeball. I’ve been reluctant to praise Fiorina because I thought she was sort of a no-show in her 2010 Senate run here in California. I met her briefly at the time and, while I had no negative impression of her, I didn’t have an overwhelmingly positive one either. But she wasn’t just great on Thursday. She’s been great ever since she started running. Honest, fearless, smart and politically wise. People keep saying condescendingly that she’s about to have a boomlet or become “flavor of the week.” Maybe. But I’m beginning to suspect she might be in it for the long haul, and could even end up on the ticket, if not in the lead position. I like her.
I’ll try to say more about Trump next week. For now, my previous comments stand.