Roger L. Simon

Fiorina Wins First Fox Debate; Pataki, Graham Shine

Is the Republican Party actually misogynist?  That’s a possible conclusion from Thursday’s so-called undercard debate where, once again, Carly Fiorina was far and away the most articulate candidate from either party on any stage so far this election season.  How come she wasn’t on the overcard?

Republicans, wake up.  This woman may be the best thing that has happened to you since the proverbial sliced bread.  She would eat Hillary Clinton for breakfast, lunch and dinner, assuming our Lady of Chappaqua isn’t indicted first. Fiorina nailed it on foreign and domestic policy.  Some of it, maybe most of it, we have heard before (yes, we know her first call is to Netanyahu and her second to Ayatollah Khamenei though he probably won’t pick up – a good Saturday Night Live sketch that) — those few of us who have been listening anyway. But she had (maybe) a larger audience this time.

Actually, most of the candidates stuck to their familiar talking points — that’s what they do. Most of the readers of this site and have heard, say, Governor Perry reciting the wonders of the Texas job market many times.  He did it again this evening.  And well enough, I suppose.  What it comes down to is how many times you can tolerate them repeating themselves.  That’s important, because by the time people are done being president, we usually can’t stand them, no matter what their party.  So far, Fiorina wears well.

Also performing especially well — no one did badly — were former New York governor Pataki, who made me sit up and think, yeah, maybe he should be running, and Lindsey Graham, who is the only politician honest enough to say we’re going to need boots on the ground in the Middle East…. and pronto!… if we ever hope to do anything about ISIS, Iran or anyone else before WWIII starts. This is all the more timely since, just after this debate was over, it was announced on Fox News that Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian Quds Force commander with hundreds of American corpses on his hands, someone who has been on Western terror lists for years and who, John Kerry promised (oxymoron, I know), would never be removed, just turned up in Moscow for meetings with Putin, flaunting the Iran nuclear deal before the ink is dry.

Anyway, back to the debate.  The form of these events is frustrating because they are perforce so shallow.  I suppose it was obligatory, but I felt asking the lower-tier candidates how they would respond to the absent Trump was tacky.  Again, however, it was Fiorina who came up with the best response.  She supported the validity of the anti-politician feeling that has propelled to Trump to the front of the pack, but wanted to know some simple answers — how does he really stand now on issues like single-payer health care and abortion, on which for years he held the liberal position?  Maybe we’ll find out tonight.

In all, I give Fiorina an A, Graham and Pataki A- and everyone else B+, except for Santorum.  Just can’t figure out why he’s running.  Well, we all have to stay busy.  As for Gilmore, well, he wants to see us put together a Middle East NATO among the Arab countries, speaking of potential Saturday Night Live sketches. How does that one go?  They’re all standing in a room, ready to meet, when someone from Israel walks in and they all faint.


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