It’s a shame the Fox Business was not able to winnow the Republican candidate horde down to 4 or 5 for Thursday night’s debate, but perhaps we should be grateful they were able to cut it down to seven suspects. If this were a murder mystery, we’d be channeling Agatha Christie. Or is it Clue — Trump in the study with the rope? Cruz in the conservatory with the revolver? Rubio in the kitchen with the water bottle?
Whatever. This new configuration puts Bush (showing slight signs of life in national polls, but going nowhere in Iowa and New Hampshire) and Kasich (all his marbles on New Hampshire and no signs of life in national polls) in the whiny spots in end positions six and seven.
Both of them are fairly whiny anyway, but not nearly as whiny as Rand Paul, who didn’t make the cut this time and is so whiny he refuses to appear in the undercard debate, blaming the GOP establishment and anyone else he can find for his troubles. He’s leaving Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum to fend for themselves, which doesn’t mean much since it’s unlikely any of the three will rise again. Huckabee and Santorum seem to be competing for Fox News contracts anyway. (I wouldn’t hold my breath.) Carly might have a shot at a VP nomination. Her stock may have gone up after Nikki Haley took an unnecessary shot at Trump. I’d be surprised if the undercard debate gets much of an audience, scheduled, as it is, against the semi-finals of the ASB tennis tournament in Auckland, New Zealand. (Okay, kidding, but not by much).
Not so the main debate. With the Iowa caucus slightly more than two weeks away, followed a week later by the New Hampshire primary, it’s already pretty hot and should get hotter. Trump is at Cruz’s throat — sort of. Cruz is at Rubio’s throat — sort of. Christie’s at everybody’s throat — sort of. Bush is spending more on attack ads than the GNP of most African countries. And Carson, on The O’Reilly Factor, says he wants to prove he can be at everybody’s throat too. (Hence, my reference to the murder weapons above may not be so exaggerated.)
Is this a plea for the candidates to exercise restraint and ooze collegiality? Not in the slightest. After Barack Obama — aka the divider-in-chief — delivers a speech of monumental hypocrisy urging us all to be nicey-nicey with each other, I say go for it. Let a hundred stink bombs bloom.
Besides, the leading candidate of the other side has one foot in the hoosegow and she’s followed by a man for whom the clock stopped at 1931… or was it 1871 (the Paris commune)? In any case, he seemed to be the one person left on the planet who still actually believed socialism is a viable economic system. Or we used to think it was that way, but suddenly he has a whole host of dimwitted followers.
This is, as Eliza Doolittle told Freddie, “no time for a chat.” We don’t need elegant words, Republican John Kerry’s slavering all over us with diplospeak. We need action. And if that means there is blood on the tracks, so be it. From Paris to San Bernardino, 2015 was no normal year and with Cologne and now Djakarta, 2016 promises to be the same and more so. Let’s have a vigorous debate. Name-calling is even okay. I’ll be tuning in to watch the Indians fall. Next time there may only be three.