I mean the grown-ups debate, the one with 11 people. Let’s start with do did not win it. Top losers:
- CNN: pathetic serious of “gotcha” questions intended (as Ezra Pound said in a different context) to be stirrers up of strife among the candidates rather than to illuminate the issues. Plus, Jack Tapper is no Megyn Kelly.
- John Kasich: too high a quota of semi-coherent accommodationism.
- Best line goes to Scott Walker: “We don’t need an apprentice in the White House.”
- Rubio was excellent overall: a bit of humor, polished, commanding answers all around, excellent grasp of the issues.
- Christie was eloquent and moving on planned parenthood. Almost put himself back in the race.
- Carly, along with Rubio, gave perhaps the best all-round performance. She’s clearly in command of the issues. Spoke to the point and was even good dealing with Trump on CNN’s stupid question about his remark about her appearance: the women of America heard him loud and clear. She too was splendid on planned parenthood, also excellent on the liar-in-chief in the other party, i.e., Hillary.
- Cruz, as always, was excellent on the issues but, also as always, seemed to be lecturing more than speaking.
I thought Walker, Rubio, and Christie came out looking stronger. Cruz treaded water. Carly Fiorina did herself a lot of good.
Trrump? He was marginally more mature last night than during his first performance. No women were called pigs. Punditry is not prophecy but here’s a prediction, when we look back on the 2016 election from the safe distance of November 2016, the high watermark on the wall next to Trump’s name will be September-October 2015. He will start to recede soon.
Rand Paul seemed like somebody’s mascot. Jeb Bush actually did have more energy: the “Everyready” line was amusing, and Trump’s response was nearly generous.
Hukabee? ‘buff said.
One great tidbit from the first debate: Bobby Jindal shone. His line about Obama waging war on trans fats but negotiating with Iran was a stunner.
The overall take-away from the evening should encourage us about the strength of the GOP bench and the reinforce our impatience with the media.