I have a suggestion for Fox News for the next GOP primary debate, if it’s anything like last night’s. See if you can get Maximum Strength Excedrin headache pills to sponsor it. I wish I’d had a couple last night. I don’t know if I would have swallowed them or used them as ear plugs. I haven’t heard so many people shouting at once since the last time a real conservative appeared on “The View.”
I hope no voters who want the GOP to return maturity and decorum to Washington tuned in. The moderators couldn’t control the debate, and some of the participants couldn’t even control themselves. They should’ve let Tyrus moderate it. He would’ve asked better questions, and he knows how to deal with booing Wrestlemania crowds.
I won’t go into detail on this debate because I know everyone else is talking about it, and most people see it as nothing more than an audition for Trump’s VP or cabinet or a book contract or a spot on Fox News or MSNBC, depending on whether they supported or slammed Trump.
But here are a few random thoughts, for what it’s worth:
Joe Biden and his minions are literally dismantling America, but he was barely mentioned by the moderators in the first hour. Instead of substantive questions about illegal immigration, inflation or corruption of the legal system, we got questions about Trump, January 6th (did the DNC write these questions?), and in a historically embarrassing moment, UFOs. I was also glad that DeSantis called them out on those stupid “Raise your hand if…” questions, scolding them that “we’re not school children.”
The fact that the other candidates didn’t attack DeSantis could be read as both good and bad news for him. Good, because it allowed him to make his points without being piled on, helping him turn in a solid if not inspiring performance that might have helped shore up his slipping poll numbers. A number of conservative pundits thought he came across the best, even if he didn’t bowl anyone over. Bad, because the lack of attacks suggests that the others no longer saw him as their biggest threat.
Judging by that standard, they must think Vivek Ramaswamy is their young J. Pierpont Finch and they had to “stop that man.” So the knives were out, with Chris Christie tearing into Vivek out of the gate as if he were a cheeseburger. I don’t think his slam on Vivek as sounding like Obama when he jokingly called himself a skinny guy with a funny name was the burn Christie thought it was. As Vivek reminded him, Obama won.
I doubt that the attacks on Ramaswamy as a wet-behind-the-ears amateur played as well with the audience as they thought. Trump was a political outsider in 2016, and between him and Biden, we’ve all seen that a half century of political experience is hardly the key to being a good President. Also, all of Christie’s vaunted experience didn’t keep him from leaving office in New Jersey with an approval rating lower than that of bed bugs. Nevertheless, I was disappointed that Ramaswamy stuck to his promise to cut off aid to Israel, although he did go into some detail about his support for Israel, reviving the Abraham Accords and stopping a nuclear Iran.
I think the other candidates also misread the room when they attacked Ramaswamy for saying we should be guarding our own border, not the border of Ukraine. We all feel for Ukraine and want that war ended, but that doesn’t mean depleting our own military and Treasury to keep an endless war going that’s just going to inevitably end in Ukraine’s defeat and hundreds of thousands of fatalities. Thinking endless war is a bad policy doesn’t make you a naïve bumpkin, and most Americans share that opinion. It was also good to hear someone dare to say out loud that the “climate change emergency” is a hoax and the lack of fathers is a serious problem.
Likewise, when Ramaswamy was attacked for talking about trying to revive the love of America among the young generation, his critics sounded out of touch with today and helped reinforce the notion that it’s time for fresh blood in DC. There really is an anti-patriotic trend in that generation, stoked by bad leadership and anti-American schooling. Vivek understands that, since as he pointed out, he was born in 1985 (another moment that made me wince, but for entirely different reasons.)
Moments like that were depicted by some pundits as devastating for Ramaswamy, but several voter focus groups ranked him as the winner.
I was also glad to hear some discussion of abortion, since that’s an issue the Democrats are counting on to turn out their base (they’re already lying about not supporting abortion up to the moment of birth, which they absolutely do: https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2023/08/23/fact-check-jen-psaki-claims-no-one-supports-abortion-until-birth/.) The questions of whether there should be a federal anti-abortion law, what it should be, and how to justify it after years of arguing that it’s a state issue need to be discussed.
Asa Hutchinson who is my friend and governed Arkansas competently surprised me when he parroted the bogus Democrat narrative that January 6th was an “insurrection.” No, it was a protest that turned violent. Even Joe Biden mocks the very idea that the 44% of Americans who own guns could overthrow the federal government yet expects us to believe that a handful of unarmed protesters, including a fairly large contingent of selfie-taking grandmas, came THAT close to doing it. Even liberal Democrats like Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley reject that Jan 6 was an “insurrection.” I didn’t expect Asa to sound like the bitter Liz Cheney. For even Never-Trumpers, that was not a good moment for him.
Finally, I think many people will agree that the real winner of the debate was Trump, for choosing not to show up.
Here are some more comments on the debate from various pundits. The best line is from my recent “Huckabee” guest Michael Knowles: "Hutchinson exceeded expectations inasmuch as he didn't trans a child onstage.”