The recent Republican presidential candidate debates may have been good TV and more entertaining than many political events, but they often leaned towards a TV reality show more than a serious debate.
In the early show debate, it was obvious to all that Carly Fiorina is a serious candidate who knows how to make sense and succinctly express concerns of conservatives. Her knowledge and gravitas was impressive and, hopefully, she will gain momentum. She certainly ran away with this debate and deserves to be on the main stage.
In the prime time debate, Donald Trump’s ego and arrogance crowded the already crowded stage, providing a circus sideshow ambiance. His in-your-face and direct approach to major issues has been refreshing for many conservatives and it has put the other candidates on notice that drifting to the left and appeasing progressives is not the way to go. However, his insults, attacks on critics, and overall crude behavior is already getting stale and his threat of running as an independent is arrogantly dangerous to the GOP.
A mini debate broke out between Christie and Rand with true animosity being displayed. Rand’s sneering facial expressions and rolling of his eyes did not make him an attractive candidate. Christie showed more restraint and self-control, but both seemed ready to go at each other’s throat and turn the debate into a Jerry Springer show. Neither gained ground in the exchange.
Bush was listless and seemed out of his element. Rubio’s youth and manicured look accompanied by his fluid speaking ability was reminiscent of JFK, making him very appealing. John Kasich brought a moral outlook to the debate and made sense on the controversial gay marriage issue and the frustration many Americans feel. Walker sounded reasonable in his responses but still came off as an also-ran candidate while Huckabee was Huckabee, a decent candidate but somehow unelectable.
Ben Carson helped his chances by remaining calm, collected, witty and knowledgeable on a stage where the chaos of Trump always loomed. His obvious intelligence was on display but he seemed to lack the passion needed for a sustained campaign. Perhaps a bump from this debate will convince him to jump in with both feet and go for the gold.
These debates will result, hopefully, in weaning out a few candidates. It was interesting and revealing that many social issues progressives seem obsessed with were never mentioned. That’s a good sign because they need to take a back seat to the more serious and dangerous issues plaguing the country. One can only hope the Republican candidates will keep that in mind and not get sucked into the progressive agenda.
David J. Hentosh