7 August 2015

Thoughts on the first Republican debate

Having watched the first part of the Republican debate, I'm underwhelmed. A couple of observations:

1. I can see why Trump's appealing to many people. It is a breath of fresh air to simply hear someone depart from the tired old Republican talking points. His comments on donating to numerous politicians as a way to buy favors were very candid--not something anyone else on the stage would want to dwell on. The Fox News moderators appeared openly hostile to him, particularly on those points where he diverged from the typical Republican line. His prophecy of immediate gloom and doom gets a bit old. Of course, I don't think he believes any of it. My gut feeling is that he's a very intelligent person with much more moderate views on many issues, trying to run in a party that he doesn't really agree with.

2. Bush and Rubio come across as quite reasonable in terms of their style. Since most people vote for people based on immediate impressions--primarily their looks--this is important.

3. Kasich comes across as a very likable person, expressing concern for the downtrodden--not a traditional Republican sentiment. I don't think he stands a chance in a Republican primary since there's a sizable group of the party faithful that's mesmerized by an image of the president as a middle-aged version of Rambo on steroids--an American bare-chested counterpart to Putin.

4. Walker, Huckabee and Carson come across as very fanatical in some of their positions. (Carson, at least, has a very calm and appealing speaking style.) I'm surprised that Walker has such major financial backing. I can't imagine him doing well in the general election.

5. Except for Bush and Rubio, none of the group look like they'd have a sliver of a chance in the general election. Hillary, for her campaign ads, could simply play clips of their statements during the debate and Republican primary campaigning, statements that are out of line with most people in the country at this point.

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