I watched Fox’s telecast of the top 10 Republican contenders tonight, and I’m still trying to make sense of it all. Venturing onto Twitter while it was ongoing probably didn’t help. The opinions expressed were not in line with what I was seeing and hearing. One fellow thought retired neuro-surgeon Ben Carson had done a great job because he came off as relatively normal and scored a few points for levity. I mainly heard a political novice spouting religion to the base.
The most cantankerous moments revolved around The Donald—and who was surprised by that? The front-running Republican candidate was miffed at Megyn Kelly, the moderator, and accused her of not treating him very nicely. He and Rand Paul scuffled verbally, but most of the scuffling made Paul seem like a small terrier with its teeth sunk into the pantleg of his owner. Perhaps it was Paul’s ploy to get a little bit of press coverage by “drafting” in the wake of Trump, but he just came off as petulant and out-of-sorts, to me. When Rand Paul went to the table at the conclusion of the debate to speak to the three Fox anchors (presumably to thank Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace and Brett Baier), he didn’t appear as gracious as he was attempting to look. He seemed like a grumpy young man throughout the evening.
Knowing what I know about Old Union-Busting Scott Walker of Wisconsin, I cannot enjoy any of his comments, whether about his state or his family of origin. He is anti-Union and all you have to know about Scott Walker was covered in the documentary “As Wisconsin Goes, So Goes the Nation,” which I highly recommend watching before jumping on his band wagon.
One thing that struck me was how young Marco Rubio looked. He literally looked like he could be a college kid. His speaking was far superior to many onstage. He put Jeb Bush to shame. (It has been said that Rubio was Jeb Bush’s protege).
For me, the Republican candidate who appeared the most normal and reasonable throughout was John Kasich of Ohio, and it didn’t hurt that his hometown crowd in Cleveland gave him a standing ovation. Kasich hit all the right notes about uniting the country, not dividing it.
Meanwhile, Trump ticked everybody off right away by raising his hand immediately to say that he would consider an independent bid—something that experts say would siphon just enough votes away from the Republican candidate to guarantee a Democratic victory.
When Megyn Kelly nailed The Donald with some of his insulting comments about women, he at first tried to laugh them off as being all about Rosie O’Donnell, but Kelly persisted in attaching some truly deplorable past statements to the front-running candidate. He did not seem to like it and said he didn’t have time to be politically correct.
Chris Christie got into a testy exchange with Rand Paul, which was entertaining. Rand Paul could be seen rolling his eyes at Christie’s retort when Paul chided him for hugging President Obama when the president visited New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. Most of the candidates did the “political spin” thing, where they answered whatever they felt like answering and avoided unpleasant terrain, and there was entirely too much waving of the religious flag for my tastes.
There didn’t seem to be any clear winners or losers amongst the Top Ten, but, from what moderator Megyn Kelly said, I would like to hear Carly Fiorino’s remarks from the earlier debate, which wasn’t carried live.
For me, Kasich seemed to be the adult in the room and I am beginning to think that George was “the smart one,” which is a sad commentary on the offspring of George Herbert Bush. Jeb was even booed when the failed Common Core educational program was mentioned. He also became very vociferous about being right-to-life. Anyone who remembers his Governorship of Florida (he’s been out of office 8 years) would remember how he became involved in one tragic family decision about pulling the plug on a brain-dead woman in Florida, even involving his brother, then President Bush (“W”). [I wrote about it in great detail in Book #3 of “The Color of Evil” series, “Khaki=Killer.”]
I can’t even imagine what sort of representation most of these men would give the United States of America abroad. I did think that Kasich seemed statesmanlike, and Rubio was much-improved from his water-guzzling rebuttal to the State of the Union message. Jeb was just ineffectual, Ben Carson was a lightweight, Huckabee was fatter (and with less hair) but seemed just as far out as he always was (don’t forget: he won the Iowa caucuses in 2008), and I’m offended even laying eyes on Scott Walker. I do enjoy it when Walker turns around and his bald spot is displayed for the world to see; I only wish his truly horrible policies were more baldly displayed for the world to judge. At least we didn’t have to suffer through Rick Perry’s glasses and another “Oops!” moment.
Apparently the next months will have us on the edge(s) of our seats wondering if The Donald IS going to run as an Independent.
Stay tuned for that and other developments.