16 September 2015

Reflections on the CNN Republican debate

Rand Paul is the only candidate with a rational view on foreign interventions. Most of the others sound like they haven’t learned anything from recent history and would simply create an even greater morass in the Middle East. Paul’s stance on marijuana legalization was also a breath of fresh air.

In terms of content, Jeb Bush takes some moderate and reasonable views but his faltering speech made him look weak—an unpardonable sin in the testosterone-driven Republican primary.

Mike Huckabee is still running to be the ayatollah of the U.S.

Marco Rubio came across as the whining kid at the back of the class. He was clearly having a bad night.

Ben Carson, when given the opportunity to attack Trump’s position on vaccines, went out of his way to get him off the hook. (This may be a tactical decision. His campaign may consider their odds better if Trump can keep the well-funded candidates like Bush and Walker down in the polls.) Although Carson's views are outlandish, his calm and dignified manner are appealing.

Ted Cruz is a very sharp speaker (albeit, with consistently idiotic views). We should elect him as the national debate instructor.

Donald Trump looked like he was just trying to not make a major gaff. Chris Christie and John Kasich were very forgettable. I was concerned at several points that Carly Fiorina would suddenly break into a karaoke version of America the Beautiful and then get led off stage by the ushers.

All the candidates response on which woman to put on the ten dollar bill was very telling. Half the audience could think of no woman besides their wife or mother. Fiorina--the only female contender--couldn't think of a single woman! The Republican Party still clearly suffers from a view of women that comes right out of a 1950s Leave It to Beaver episode.

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