Not so much Trump in GOP debate

The introduction

Direct from the somnolent center of the Midwest, the city that gave America the Fonz, Laverne, and Shirley, Milwaukee hosted eight Republican dwarfs gathered Wednesday night to derail the 800-page gorilla who was not in the room.

Candidate and former President Donald J. Trump, who is carrying more indictiments than a Mafia godfather, which Georgia accuses him of being, was not present because a) he has a ginormous lead, and b) almost all of the dwarfs will beat each other over the head, leaving him unscathed, except by the 800-pound gorilla who is on the stage — Chris Christie, who seems to be running on pique, for having been displaced as the biggest bully in American political life by The Donald.

The Conventional Wisdom says Trump retains his lesd by staying away and airing on the former Twitter a pretaped, which means it will be edited, interview with fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who is removing his lips from Vladimer Putin’s rectum long enough to serve Trump orally. The two biggest liars in American politics, together at last, at the request of virtually no one.

The distant No. 2 is Ron DeSantis, who has been falling in popularity since the day he announced. The Florida governor has avoided directly criticizing Trump, because Trump — despite everything — remains the most popular person in the Republican Party. To survive politically, DeSantis’ numbers must bounce. If not, his money people might flee, directly into the arms of Vivek Ramaswamy, No. 3 in many polls, who earned his millions at a hedge fund before launching a biotech company. His is the oddest name in U.S. politics since Millard Fillmore, and a nonwhite candidate named Barack Hussein Obama. That guy won. Twice. (Neither John McCain nor Mitt Romney claimed they were cheated.)

The five others, polling in single digits and needing a breakout moment, are former ambassador Nikki Haley, whose ancestors, like Ramaswamy’s, come from India, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former Vice President Mike Pence. 

So that was the Racing Form before the introductions made by Fox News anchors Martha McCallum and Bret Baier, each experienced journalists. Their mission was to remain impartial, allowing each dwarf time to make his or her point. 

The debate

They often got rolled, bullied into letting Tim Scott and Mike Pence exceed the 30-second limit by a lot.

At one point Baier admonished Pence and also the noisy audience.

Next time, the anchors need to cut off the mics of those who don’t play by the rules.

The attention-seeking missile was Ramaswamy, who started out hot to cheers, but his vociferousness, and his willingness to abandon Ukraine (and Israel) turned most of those cheers to boos before the night ended. He is smart enough to know television is a cool medium. 

He was a gatling gun, taking the most shots at the most people, accusing everyone else of being bought and paid for. Christie accused him of coming across like “a ChatGBT.” There’s no doubt Ramaswamy provided the most clips that will be played all day Thursday.

Surprisingly, it took 53 minutes before someone attacked Trump. That was Hutchinson, without mentioning him by name, followed by Christie, and then, yes, Haley, calling the former president the most disliked politician in America. She got a mix of cheers and boos. She also got booed when she said, entirely correctly, that Republicans were responsible, along with Democrats, for out-of-control spending and exploding debt.

The truth hurts. 

The frontal assault expected by Christie on Trump was oversold.

The expected attack on the front runner (on the stage) DeSantis materialized and he parried them well, on my scorecard. At one point, when the anchors asked a question about climate change and asked for a show of hands, DeSantis broke in, saying that was childish, and stopped the show of hands.

The candidates pretty much agreed that Pence did the right thing on Jan. 6, but then patted himself on the back and made some uncomfortable with references to his savior, Jesus Christ. It’s fine to be religious, but it should not be a hammer.

To me, there was no “winner,” but the soft-spoken Hutchinson got very little face time, ditto Burgum, Scott was too much honey, and not enough pepper, Pence was too much Jesus.

I think DeSantis helped himself, along with Haley.

The polls will be interesting. 

28 thoughts on “Not so much Trump in GOP debate”

  1. Stu, As far as I am concerned you are 100% accurate in your critique of what went on.

    As usual, there was the finger pointing and name calling but not much in the way of legitimate suggestions on how to get our country back on the right track. Also, allowing Pence and Scott to exceed their time limit so many times is utterly ridiculous. CUT OFF THEIR FREAKING MICROPHONES AT 31 SECONDS AND DO THE SAME TO THEIR CAMERA(S)!

    All in all I have seen much better decorum at a children’s birthday party than I witnessed at that debate!

    1. I’m glad you admitted Biden and the democrats have the country going in the wrong direction.

      1. Danny, I never said President Biden caused the problems. You know it was that orange-skinned POS who has caused major problems to us. Hopefully when his ass winds up in jail we can at least start to heal.

    2. I haven’t seen such childish behavior since, um, I don’t know, the 2020 Democratic Presidential debate. You know, when Harris called Biden a racist, and they all (except one) agreed all illegals should get free medical care, which my son and daughter can’t get.
      Left and Right — as always — see things differently. (Check Daniel’s comment.) 😁

      1. Is bidenenomics working? IS the border secure? Do people feel safe in our cities? Are we better off since Biden became president? I think anyone with common sense from the left or right know the answer to these questions.

        1. Yes, Bidenomics appears to be working. All you need to do to confirm this is to read the facts on the economy from the government reporting agencies (yes, this is factual data, not opinion). Manufacturing is on the rise in the U.S. as it has not been in decades, salaries are up, inflation is going down and is much better in the U.S. than in most of the rest of the world. You’d know all this if you were capable of independent, rational thought and good research, which you obviously are not. Yes, we are better off since Biden became president. All you need to do is study your history and look at the economic and social conditions during the four years of Trump’s presidency via those same agencies. Glad I could help. Have a nice day.

  2. Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum were unable to enforce the rules. Fox News should’ve hired actors capable of playing strong, no-bullshit moderators–such as Liam Neeson and Glenn Close.

  3. Unfortunately I recently switched from Comcast to Roku (saving about $200 a month with the streaming services included). I wasn’t able to hook into Fox in time. I saw a snippet and what little I did see, Nikki Haley impressed me very much. Still don’t think anyone can overtake Mar-A-Lardo, but hey, anything is possible.

    1. Mark, I too will be ditching Comcast after my contract is up. I have owned Roku’s for many years and I love them.

      If you do not mind me asking who are you now using for your internet service?

  4. Isn’t it ironic that any of these eight Republican dwarfs would certainly be a substantial improvement over the current traitorous POTUS and his hapless VP, with “substantial improvement” being a very substantial understatement?

  5. “I think DeSantis helped himself, along with Haley.”
    Polls say Stu hit it on the nose.

    “Share of likely Republican primary voters who watched the debate who are considering voting for each candidate after the debate compared with before it”

    DeSantis’ favorable rating up from 67.5% to 74.2% while his unfavorable dropped from 26.9 to 24.7. Folks who are “considering voting for him” went from 63 to 67.5%

    Haley’s favorable rating up from 51.7% to 65.5% rivaling “2nd Place” Desantis, and her unfavorable only increased slightly from 26.4% to 26.8%. Folks who are “considering voting for her” went from 30.2% to 46.7%, the largest swing in the debate.

    For the rest of the candidates in the debate, all of them gained in favorable AND unfavorable rating, with both gains seeming to come from people who hadn’t heard of them before. They also gained in numbers considering voting for them.

    The only all fronts losers were the nonparticipants in the debate. People “considering” voting for Trump went down from 66.2 to 61.4%, and his favorable rating went down from 64.7% to 59.8%. Of course, this measured only the republicans who watched the debate–that is folks who were at least curious about an alternative. So this drop says little.

    As for the other non-debaters, Suarez also lost ground–his favorable rating dropped from 8.9 to 8.1%, and unfavorable went from 12.2 to 18.9%. Those considering voting for him dropped from 3.1 to 2.9%. Stu’s favorite, Hurd,also lost on of those considering voting for him from 4.7 to 3.6%, though somehow he increased his favorable rating from 6.9% to 10.9%.

    I got this at 538

    1. Thanks for that. As for Herd, he WANTED to be there, unlike Trump, but didn’t qualify.
      (Also, Herd is not my favorite, but I wanted to see him on the stage to go after Trump, my least favorite)

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