I intended to watch Wednesday night’s debate, and I did, but I didn’t know I’d live-blog it on Twitter too. Just kind of happened.
I didn’t post thoughts yesterday because I try to keep Thursday miscellanea posts apolitical. Here is a bullet for each candidate, ordered from “helped himself/herself least” to “helped himself/herself most”:
- Jeb Bush launched an ill-timed and poorly thought out attack on Rubio early on, and never recovered. He seemed cowed the rest of the debate. That Bush has been such an inept politician in this campaign is astonishing.
- Rand Paul had his Warholian fifteen minutes, but they were over a year ago. It’s easy to forget he’s there. He needs to fold his tent soon.
- John Kasich clearly went in juiced and ready to shoot the moon, knowing his campaign was out of time. Too little, too late.
- Mike Huckabee, to me, is just not a presidential guy. There’s an X-factor missing that I can’t quite articulate. I like him. He’s quick, he’s funny, and he’s smart. But I’d like him around, not running the show.
- Carly Fiorina did fine, and got a decent laugh with criticism that she didn’t smile enough. But she didn’t say anything truly memorable, and I think probably a push debate performance is nearly as damaging to her campaign right now as a bad one would have been. She couldn’t hang onto her post-second debate numbers, and there won’t be a bump at all from this one.
- Chris Christie landed some punches, but I think everyone knows he has those. As entertaining as the Tasmanian Devil is, you can’t turn the shop over to him. What does Christie have in “statesmanlike”?
- Ben Carson doesn’t change much, does he? He is a fine man and I like him a lot, but it’ll be interesting to see how soon his demeanor will become a liability (or, indeed, whether it will).
- Donald Trump adjusted his burn just a bit, exhibiting the same attitude but toned down slightly. I’m reading this as acknowledgment that it’s still a year until we all vote, and a little moderation might be indicated. It’s a promising sign for those of us who’ve been waiting for him to go away, and are now starting to realize that he might not.
- Marco Rubio, after bloodying Jeb’s nose, stayed appealingly blunt and straightforward without seeming like he was licking the blood off his fingers. He is very good at talking about American ideals.
- Ted Cruz stole the entire first half of the debate with his excoriation of the (one would assume) inadvertently comical CNBC team of moderators, and did a fine job staying more personable and accessible than he’s yet been. I suspect a lot of “well, maybe this guy could be president” resulted.
Long way to go yet…