Roger L. Simon

What I Learned at Tuesday's Debate

fear andloathing

Here’s what I learned at Tuesday night’s Fox Business Republican debate.

1.  If John Kasich is elected president, I will sell my television set.  I’ve already seen The Hunchback of Notre Dame at least a dozen times.

2. Carly Fiorina is a good debater.  Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are even better debaters.

3.  I wouldn’t want to be in a foxhole with Rand Paul.

4. The biggest spendthrifts in America are Jeb Bush bundlers.

5. Ben Carson talks slowly.

6. Donald Trump likes to hang out in green rooms.

In other words, nothing much new. Still it was entertaining.  Moderators Neil Cavuto, Maria Bartiromo and Gerard Baker did a fine job, devoid of self-promotion and thus far superior to their predecessors at the other networks.  It wasn’t their fault it wasn’t all that substantive in the end.  It never is.  It’s the nature of the format.  Eight is still too many people.  How about four or five next time?

Who won? The New York Times said Rand Paul, which means he didn’t. Frank Luntz’s focus group of actual New Hampshire Republican voters gave it to Rubio in a walk.  I tend to agree, with Cruz a close second. Marc Thiessen said on The Kelly File that Rubio would be the strongest GOP candidate in the general because he would seem like JFK debating Hillary’s Nixon.  Actually, I think Hilary’s worse than Nixon, but he’s got a point.

Which leads me to a slight rejiggering of yesterday’s debate preview post in which I said we have probably already reached the Final Four — Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, with the assumption that Trump, in the number one slot, would never be passed.

Now, I wonder.  I love Donald, find him terrific in most ways, but his comments about Putin tonight reawakened my Trumpophrenia.  . Whether or not The Donald actually met The Vladimir in a green room (already under dispute), Trump’s views on Putin seemed more than a bit naive.  Earth to Donald — Putin is not your golf buddy.  He’s KGB.  Letting the KGB take over the Middle East because it’s inconvenient to go after ISIS yourself is not a good idea on any level. In fact, as a businessman you should realize the degree to which Putin is doing it for economic control.  He’s a billionaire too.

Anyway, I got to thinking about the talk I had heard in D.C. a few weeks ago (yes, inside the dreaded Beltway where all the monsters live) that the Republican primary would come down to Rubio and Cruz in the end. And they might even run together.

That would be an exponential amount of policy wonkiness.  And a helluva lot of Cuban-Americans on one ticket.  But stranger things have happened. They would be two great communicators.  The Republicans haven’t had that a long time, since Ronald R.

But, hey, you’re saying, don’t they disagree on some crucial matters?  Could they possibly work together?

Pause.  Take a breath.  Scratch your head.

They’re politicians.