The cast of characters: Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, John Kasich in no particular order.
The challenge: to become the next president without quick quips, shocking revelations, thin-skinned retorts, brutish behavior, and outlandish statements. More important, can the moderators present an unbiased debate? Evidently not.
Once again, Donald Trump was the focus of yet another debate as CNN moderators attempted to rival Fox News moderators in who can open with the stupidest question. CNNs opening was whether Trump could control his temperament, given the proverbial finger on the red nuclear button available to the president. As with the Fox News Debate last month, there were also a few stupid questions throughout the evening. Both debates had some issues, but CNN seemed to be a slightly better forum and length for a stage-full of candidates to display at least some of their platform over the biased intentions of the moderators.
What both debates had in common was an overt desire to sway the overall favor toward their candidate nouveau amour Jeb Bush. Fox News Megyn Kelley's tongue wagging ingratiatingly up Bush's backside, likely making it difficult for him to focus on coherent statements, showed last month. CNN was not much better in hiding Hugh Hewitt's desire to get into Jeb Bush's pants as he attempted to hoist Bush upon his backside practically running piggyback across the stage. That backfired as well. Bush was given many moderator props at both debates but failed to lead the pack during his debate attempts, much to the chagrin of the elite establishment types in Washington DC and beyond.
As the debate wore on, the authoritative Trump we saw in the beginning, who zinged Bush about liking his energy, became woefully absent on policy. The kind and slow-speaking Dr. Ben Carson looked like a blathering doctor devoid of much in the way of sound policy as well, and there's no other way to say it, but Kasich came across as an angry, white dude.
Huckabee, Christie, Bush, and Rand had some moments, but Rand lost points when he started supporting Marijuana to help children, or some such foolish nonsense showing he is truly libertarian.
Trump and Bush got lost in the battle to have the quickest quip while talking over each other. Walker, Paul, Christie, Huckabee, Kasich, and Carson got lost in the shuffle between the jousting of Trump and Bush, the eerie stare into the camera by Ted Cruz, the silky smooth responses of Marco Rubio, and the dominatrix whip cracking of Carly Fiorina. Ultimately, the three left standing when the dust settled were Fiorina, Rubio, and Cruz.
Cruz by no means did a stellar job last night. He was shuttered by the moderators more than once. Of all the candidates on the stage at both the Fox News and CNN debates, it was obvious both hold the most contempt for Cruz over any other candidate. Though he was effectively shut down in the Fox debate, he was shuffled off by CNN every time his statements started to unfold some substance. Some things I don't like about his debate style are that he's a smart man but he talks over people's heads at times making him appear arrogant instead of the brilliant man he is, that he laser focuses on reciting the conservative message, often leaving the actual question unanswered, and that he looks at the camera instead of at the moderator or audience. This perennial lawyer stance is a tactic designed to make it appear as if he is speaking to the television viewers, but I feel it is backfiring on him and makes him look disingenuous, untrustworthy, and stiff. He seems so out of his element in these debates. Rather than speaking candidly, it's as if he is ticking off his checklist of points he needs to make to a jury. I wish he would stop using that tactic because I believe it is going to cost him the nomination as an end result, and in person, Cruz is far more prophetic than tha, so I don't know why he cannot find his A-game.
Rubio did not disappoint last night as well as in the Fox debate. I was enamored by his clear, concise, and fluid ability to get his point across in the time allotted, without making all manner of grand leading statements. Rubio is so reminiscent to me of a trusted and wise adviser who is of the people and for the people. Would it not be his misguided stance on amnesty, he might have a chance. That one sticking point turned my eyes from him years ago because he cannot get past his ethnocentrism, and I cannot help but feel as though his pathway to citizenship is a cheap trick to get the Hispanic vote. I fall in love with him every time he speaks, that is until he pimps amnesty and the love affair is short-lived.
Fiorina was by far the most articulate last night. She was able to craft well-rounded, touchy-feely statements that got her point across with each new answer. In my opinion, she won the debate, but she has a lot of work yet to do. Her barbs were sharp, but also brought on by what I can only describe as thin-skin. I don't want a president who is on the defensive all the time. I want someone who thinks first and stabs last. Unlike Cruz who refused to utter a bad thought about anyone on stage, she fell into the muck a few times. As the token female up there, she acted like, well, the token female causing me to have a love-hate relationship with this woman. I love some of what she says, but I hate the feminazi that pours out of her. It started with the inability to crack a smile for fear of appearing too female. It ended with how many of her statements were so overtly femalecentric, such as the quip she made about women hearing what Trump said about her face. Except the men heard it too as she just excluded half the population in her Gloria Steinem-like war of the sexes. As a woman, I dislike being called out like we are some special secret maleficent society to be pitted against the male species. I really hate that, "I am woman, hear me roar," crap. To me it smacks of, "I am woman, you have to listen because I said so." Feminism is like racism. It has been bastardized to the point it has completely lost it's meaning.
The big loser last night was Donald Trump who brought nothing new to the stage and it's getting kind of old. It's more than time for him to formulate his policies instead of spouting off insults to score points. To be honest, the rich kid act is getting kind of old. Still, he has a lead for now and I can certainly see why, after witnessing the vacant, swirling-eyed masses at his Dallas rally the other evening. His use of two well-known tea party leaders to introduce him brought lackluster applause and questions from audience members as to exactly who "that chick" was. Shameful tools to show a nonexistent tea party alliance with Trump. Truth is, his followers are not tea partiers. Many are the same types that were agog over Obama which is scary if you allow yourself to think about that for a while. Still, people are angry but they are rallying behind the wrong messenger.
In all, I am looking forward to some of the low-hanging fruit to drop off so we can get to the nitty gritty of this selection process. I'm still a Cruz gal, but I am listening intently to what the others have to say because at the end of the day, I will have to support one of them against a repeat of the Saul Alinsky regime.