Thursday, September 17, 2015

The second Republican "debate"

If you purchased ad time during CNN's Republican gabfest, one hopes it was during the first hour.  I haven't seen any figures, but I'm pretty sure viewership must have dropped off significantly by hour two, and that only the die-hards stuck around for hour three.  Speaking of ads, it was interesting to note the 501C(3)s that bought time.

Having made her way to the grown-up table, Carly Fiorina must have done herself some good.  She came over as bright and assertive, and her questionable corporate history was largely ignored.  Paul and Kasich may have done themselves some harm by suggesting that the Glorious Republic needs allies to be effective in world affairs.  Others, like Walker and Rubio, were more adept at pandering to the Republican base by asserting, in essence, that the USofA is so "exceptional" it can charge off with drawn saber and win all global conflicts on its own.

I don't think Jeb! made any noteworthy gains last night, but he probably didn't do himself any harm either; and the same probably is true of Ben Carson, who didn't have much to say.  Nevertheless, I suspect whatever gains Fiorina makes will be at the expense of Bush and Carson.

Nobody likes those bad baby butchers over at Planned Parenthood, and nobody much likes John Roberts either, who betrayed right-wing ideology by saving Obamacare.  Huckabee and Cruz wouldn't mind circumventing the Supreme Court so that Kim Davis and various bakers and florists can legitimately discriminate against gays.  (By this point, the discussion was getting really tiresome.)

Trump, the man most of America tuned in to watch, seemed more red-faced than usual.  He may have tried to exercise some self-restraint early on, but unable to defend his "policies" (because he really doesn't have any), he got back to snarkiness in short order.  Will he start to fall behind in polling data?  Maybe, but I don't think this debate was the turning point the Republican establishment hoped to see.

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