A few quick comments on the first debate. At first, I really liked the idea that the moderators were going after certain candidates to make them clarify past statements or positions. I think it is important not to simply take everything a candidate says at face value, but to challenge them to defend their statements. The problem with this is that it really felt like the entire debate devolved in to some kind of mass smear piece, centered more on calling out candidates, rather than trying to learn more about their plans and policies. I liked a lot of what the candidates said, and I disliked a lot of what they said. All in all, I think it is a strong GOP field that is getting overshadowed by the Trump show. It will all settle down in time, and there is plenty of it, being more than one year away from the election.
Trump – Trump was Trump, and he behaved exactly how we expected him to. He didn’t say anything of real substance, but he held his own and didn’t implode. The most telling moment for me was when he said he donates to politicians so they will do whatever he tells them to do – not the guy you want in there trying to fight big government.
Jeb Bush – I need to learn more about Jeb, but I thought he did well in the debate. So far he is the establishment candidate, which is why I am not supporting him.
Huckabee – This guy is a joke. Not much more to say about Huck.
Ben Carson – He did well. He was sort of middle of the road until his last few statements, which is what everyone will remember. What stuck out most to me was when he said the sequester was tearing the heart out of our military. He pretty much lost my vote right there.
Chris Christie – an absolute buffoon and he represents everything I despise about the Republican Party. Did he really just tell Rand Paul the 4th Amendment was silly?!
Ted Cruz – He really came across intelligent, clear, and concise. I like Ted Cruz a lot, but I think he is probably too divisive to win in the general election. But, as far as people who appeared most presidential in the debate, I thought Cruz was the clear winner.
Rand Paul – Rand did well. I really liked his jab at Christie about the 4th amendment, but I thought his comment about the hug was a cheap shot. I am glad he was fiery during the debate, but I do not necessarily agree with his overall strategy. He was trying to jump in to stir it up whenever he could. Perhaps he thought it was the only way he could get air time (and I believe he received the fewest ‘speaking’ minutes of any of them), but I think it just came across as desperate. We all know Rand is my guy; he is the only one to whose campaign I have donated; he is the only one I KNOW I will vote for in the general election.
For me, that is what this process is about. I really want to vote for a Republican in the general election, but I want to vote for the RIGHT Republican. Rand is the only one I know I will vote for if he wins the election, with the slight exception of Ted Cruz. Everyone else has to convince me to vote for them and not for Gary Johnson, or whomever is running on the Libertarian ticket. So far, they are doing a pretty poor job.