Fox Business Debate Festivities

FIRST PLACE: The American people, there are real differences on issues between these candidates, and the moderators were determined to steer the discussions in that direction. It actually got a bit boring, candidates discussing substantive issues, and having to defend sound bites. This is what happens when you have quality moderators.

THE SURPRISE DEBATE WINNER: Rand Paul, I went into this process with him as my first choice. And I must admit that as the emphasis of the electorate has changed with the rise of ISIS, his stock has fallen. But last night he made the best conservative case for the Presidency, and had the strongest grasp of the issues. Even when he challenged someone (Rubio on Conservatism and Military spending) he did it based on philosophical differences not on trite personal attack. Is it enough to resurrect his candidacy?  I doubt it

THE TIE FOR SECOND PLACE: Rubio and Cruz. Cruz had the one Rick Perry style slip up where he named five departments he would close and named Commerce twice. But he also delivered the best line in the debate about economic effects of immigration. “If those were men with Journalism degrees crossing the Rio Grand and driving down the wages of Journalists, the coverage of this issue would be far different”. He’s also lightened up a bit, and only mentioned the Constitution once.

Rubio, continues to have the best grasp of the issues and the easiest time defending his positions off the cuff. When Rubio is talking about the economy and referring to Uber and Candy Crush, he speaking from personal knowledge of America today, not some younger advisors tip on how to be cool for the hip voters.

THE BIGGEST LOSER: John Kasich, I’ve always liked the guy, he was my original pick for VP, but he’s so busy giving talking points to Hillary attacking Republicans and making his claims about the Ohio “miracle” all the while being rude. He belongs in the corner getting a time out at the next one. The kids table is too good for him. Kasich made Trump seem humble on the stage that is quite an accomplishment.

A SOLID THIRD: Ben Carson, I realize he has a lower bar in some ways, but his answers were solid, especially on the minimum wage. His statement about Hillary and the contrast in coverage was right on the money. My biggest complaint with him was actually the moderators fault. He wasn’t asked enough questions, or given enough time. He is not an interrupter or a boorish lout like Kasich, it’s not in his nature, to me this is one of the most appealing things about him. But because of this the moderators need to take the debate to him, he is polling way higher than Kasich who got about double the air time.

BLAH: Donald Trump and Carly Fiorino, Donald for sounding vapid, the more details he’s asked, the more he goes back too “it’s gonna be great, it’ll be huge”.  Basically his detailed position on the issues is, trust me, I’m the Donald. Between this and his attacks on Carson, and his lack of substantive attacks on Hillary, I have to wonder if he’s running for the Republican nomination. The more he talks trying to appeal to conservatives, the more tone death he sounds. If you want a “substance free” Presidency vote for Trump, come to think of it he may be the perfect candidate for the America of the Kardashians and the Voice.

Fiorinio, to me has the opposite problem, she is as well versed on the issues as anyone, but she comes across as to clinical, the Al Gore of the Republican party, a policy wonk who would want to discuss Quantitative Easing over a beer when you want to discuss the College Football playoff system. She just doesn’t seem in touch with the lives of ordinary Americans, something Rubio and Cruz get.

TAKE A HIKE: Jeb (along with Kasich) displayed a fundamental mis-understanding of the banking system. While he had a few good points in the beginning, he is not on the game. And if his last name was Gilmore or Pataki he wouldn’t be on the stage. The fact of the matter is both Jindal and Christie are more credible candidates.

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