Opinion by George McClellan:
I think I can safely say that Fox News puts on a pretty good debate, one that allows the candidates to reveal themselves without feeling they must be on guard for “gotcha questions” as the Left usually throws at them. Even Neil Cavuto managed, most of the night, not to interrupt a speaker, like he usually does on his show, with some inane ‘blubbering’ comment or question that is as often silly as it is not understandable. Maybe he’s improving.
The GOP candidates mostly acquitted themselves proudly. Questions about loans, birth places, and stopping Islamic immigration were opened for discussion and nobody shot themselves in the foot, except possibly Jeb Bush. He was doing fine from the outset, sounding very presidential in his opening statement outlining, in generalities, his vision of how he would conduct our ship of state until the immigration issue came up. Then he instantly reverted to his “compassionate conservative” role and tried to separate out, in viewers minds, good muslims from those bad muslims. He still hasn’t got it and neither does his handlers. I fear if Jeb gets in it will be politics as usual. Unfortunately for him, the GOP base has moved on.
Trump and Cruz certainly dominated the evening trading their veiled barbs without rancor. Trump can reveal more with his face and hands than most candidates do with their speech. But, is he really conservative enough or simply a supremely confident and highly successful businessman whose own experience would alter the GOP brand irrevocably?
I don’t mind pointing out once again that the GOP brand has already been seriously damaged by the corruption of the career politicians that has brought us to this sad point. What is apparently not understood yet, is that Trump is popular because he sees the corruption and the damage done to our country by “stupid people,” and tells us he will bulldoze his way through instead of talk his way into the quicksand of political ineptness. That’s exactly what the people want. Cruz and even Rubio, in a pinch, will also do.
Ted Cruz, of course is an experienced debater as well as a lawyer of the first order who knows what he’s talking about and I think I would take his advice over the “the Don’s” on legal and constitutional matters. He is practiced and has anticipated answers to any possible question. His anti-New York comment was probably ill thought out but, using humor he acquitted himself on that issue and it will soon drop.
The same can be said for Marco Rubio, the boy wonder from Cuba (I know), and Chris Christi, the Lord of New Jersey, who speak with the heart felt enthusiasm of new converts to Christ. They’re good, very good, but Rubio still drags the “Gang of Eight” amnesty albatross around his neck and Christi is still seen as a consummate company man. Those are hard images to shake off. Carly Fiorina should be immediately raised back to the top tier and perhaps Kasich and Jeb Bush could be moved down to make room for her.
It was refreshing to see Trump and Christi attack the protective veil of political correctness. Does anyone not know that Kasich is from Ohio and his dad was a postman? He speaks very well, sounds like he could straighten things up admirably, but damn, isn’t he annoying?
And finally, who could miss Gentle Ben? A great human being but he’s going nowhere. His sense of humor allowed him to be recognized from time to time and his answers, while slow, always makes sense. It was a great debate. Thanks Fox News! Remember, freedom is the goal, the constitution is the way. Now, go vote for one! (15 Jan 2015)