After the first GOP primary debate I blogged my reaction. Looking back it is clear my take is not in line with the polls. Nonetheless, here it is again!
Jeb Bush: I thought Jeb came off well again. Last time I described him as serious and competent, and I continue to think so. Nothing he did, aside from his excellence defense of using Spanish, particularly stood out, but he seemed like an adult in a room with very few.
Ben Carson: Ben Carson seems like a good guy without a firm grasp on policy issues. Nothing he said last night changes that for me. Just being an intelligent outsider is not enough, in my opinion, to be president.
Chris Christie: I kind of liked Christie last night, he demonstrated leadership qualities and articulated what I was thinking as Fiorina and Trump compared their private sector success…it is great they are wealthy and successful, but why are we not talking about regular people? That said, his whole turn the camera on the crowd thing was embarrassing.
Ted Cruz: My visceral reaction when Cruz speaks is that I do not believe him. He does not come off as genuine. Not a very substantive critique, but he was pretty substantively weak too.
Carly Fiorina: I thought she did well. While I did not agree with all of her positions, it was nice to have a candidate actually be specific about something…her statement about how she would deal with Iran was actually understandable. I’d bet she moves up in the polls considerably.
Mike Huckabee: I agree with Huckabee, just because the Supreme Court makes a decision doesn’t mean it is set in stone or the law of the land. We should all just do whatever we want, that is the best way to run a society founded on the rule of law. Yeah, I’m embarrassed that Huckabee is in the top 10.
John Kasich: He was sweaty and disheveled. I too am often sweaty and disheveled, so I found that appealing. I think most probably didn’t. He, like Bush, strikes me as a candidate with an understanding of what it takes to actually govern. Some call this an establishment appeal, which probably means he is done for.
Rand Paul: Despite what Trump said, he’s not a bad looking guy. As a presidential candidate he scares the heck out of me though.
Marco Rubio: His water bottle joke was pretty lame, but I remember it, so it was effective! If you weren’t aware of the back-story, you probably thought it was very lame. Rubio did well on immigration, his positions were clear and thoughtful, I found his discussion of where he came from compelling.
Donald Trump: Trump loves veterans. He is not racist because he knows and loves Mexicans. He’ll get along with Putin. He wrote a book. He’ll deport people. Trump loves you. Trump seems blissfully unaware of what Obama’s red line in Syria was. Nonetheless, you can trust him not to (or maybe to) cross that line. Whose line? He knows smart people. He’ll build a wall like the one in Berlin. But he’ll keep it up because he’s not a career politician like Gorbachev. He’s rich and knows things we don’t, so we should vote for him.
Scott Walker: I am shocked at how quickly Walker has descended into also-ran status. Nothing about last night will likely change that. His record, including being elected 3 times in four years in a blue state, got him on this stage. But a viable candidate needs more.