Yesterday’s debate was probably the most important debate thus far — and not only because the moderators did such a bad job that even liberal journalists are criticizing them. No, the main thing I take away from it is the rise of two young senators: Ted Cruz of Texas, and Marco Rubio of Florida.
As my colleague Walter Hudson writes, Cruz’s big moment came when he blasted the moderators — and the mainstream media in general — for being biased against Republicans.
Frank Luntz’s focus group showed a 98/98 positive response to this exchange: a score Luntz had never seen before yesterday. It just doesn’t happen. Until now.
Rubio also had a tremendous evening. For example, he followed Cruz’s lead by attacking the moderators, calling them the Democrats’ SuperPAC. His best moment, however, came when Jeb Bush attacked him for missing important votes in the Senate. According to the former Florida governor, his old protegé should resign and just focus on the race for president. Rubio didn’t quite agree and blasted Jeb! for being an opportunistic hack, who only attacks him because he thinks it’ll help him in the polls.
The result: Jeb was KO’ed, Rubio will almost certainly become the establishment’s favorite from here on out, and Cruz proved himself to be — by far — the most competent and effective conservative debater on stage.
Although Trump and Carson are still leading in the (national) polls, it’ll likely boil down to a race between Rubio and Cruz.