Rubio is the New Romney – Last Night’s GOP Debate

Rubio is the New Romney – Last Night’s GOP Debate

I watched last night’s GOP Debate, and was surprised that I actually learned something about the candidates. I expected it to be just the typical neocon foreign policy chest-thumping (“They hate us for our freedom and I’ll bomb them back to the Stone Age!”), but last night I thought there was some real delineation between the candidates. Of course, there were also bizarre moments, because Trump.

My biggest takeaway from last night is that Cruz went way up, and Rubio went way down. Let’s go over each candidate (I’m ignoring the undercard candidates, because so is everyone else other than Trump):

Top Tier

Rand Paul: Still my candidate, and he seems to be gathering strength with each debate. He still comes across too professorial, but there is no question in my mind that he is the best candidate with the best ideas (that does’t make him an ideal candidate, of course, just the best of the bunch). Unfortunately, I don’t think the typical GOP voter is in line with his foreign policy views.

Ted Cruz: I was pleasantly surprised by Cruz last night. I had assumed that he was a typical neocon when it comes to foreign policy: nation-build, regime-change, spread democracy, blah, blah, blah. But he made it clear last night that he rejects those failed policies. Further, he also came out against bulk data collection, which also was a surprise to me. He is my clear #2 now.

GOP Establishment Dream

Marco Rubio: Wow, did the other candidates – especially Paul and Cruz – gang up on Rubio last night. And he didn’t come out of it well. He supported all the establishment GOP positions: Middle East entanglements, bulk data collection, squishy immigration policies, etc. I had a revelation last night: Rubio is the new Romney. Think of the similarities:

  1. Doesn’t waver from any establishment positions.
  2. Smooth and good-looking.
  3. Robotic.
  4. Considered the most electable of the candidates in the general election.

And another similarity: he’ll probably get creamed in November if he’s the candidate.

Where Did You Go?

Jeb Bush: He is getting uncomfortable to watch. He had a couple of good lines, but wow, is he a bad candidate. Like his brother, he fumbles over his words, but instead of looking “Joe Sixpack” like W, he looks nervous and awkward.

Carly Fiorina: Carly has really faded fast. I had high hopes for her in August, and she really was impressive in those debates, but now she struggles to stand out, and ends up just looking sanctimonious most of the time. I will say that my two teenage daughters (who will be voting in 2016) still like her best, so there’s that.

Shouldn’t Be There

John Kasich: As I mentioned on Twitter:

There is no reason for Kasich to be at these debates, and I think everyone wishes he would go away. More importantly, his positions are scary. He actually said at one point, “Encryption is a major problem!” Yes it is if you are trying to hack credit cards from Amazon.

Kasich also had this weird thing going on with his hands last night like he was Judo chopping the air. Maybe one of his handlers told him it would make him look tougher. 

Chris Christie: Why is he back? The best line of the night was when, in response to Christie threatening Russia, Rand Paul said, “If you want World War III, here is your candidate,” and pointed to Christie. For Christie, every day is 9/11, and everyone is a potential enemy.

The Outsiders I Wish Were Outside

Ben Carson: How this guy has made it this far is beyond me. At least with Trump I see the reality-show, white trash appeal. But Carson? There is nothing presidential about him. There was a bizarre moment involving him, however, when CNN moderator Hugh Hewitt asked him if, as a nice Evangelical, he would be willing to kill thousands of innocent children if necessary. What?!? That is a qualification for President now?

Donald Trump: As always, Trump was a narcissistic, ill-informed buffoon. Of course, that doesn’t matter. As I tweeted:

Hopefully last night’s GOP debate will cull the field some more, but I’ve thought that after every debate and here we are. I don’t believe Trump will be the nominee, but this year is so crazy I can’t say that with any confidence anymore. On to Iowa!