I didn’t watch the first Republican Primary debate for a couple of good reasons.
I was on vacation and I really didn’t care about hearing Donald Trump tell me how awesome he is and how he would just do awesome things whether they were constitutional or if he had Congressional approval.
Fairy tales are nice, but I prefer my politics to be more reality based. I don’t want to hear about building walls across the Mexican border that will be funded by Mexico or some fanciful plan to round up and deport millions of illegal immigrants.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Republican electorate didn’t agree with me.
I was hoping to get into the race a little later when the buffoon was forced to act more like a candidate. Instead, the polls are forcing the candidates to act more like buffoons.
Trump is making a name for himself for inappropriate attacks on FOX News’ Megan Kelley and fellow candidate Carly Fiorina whose face he just couldn’t vote for. He called Ben Carson an average doctor and questioned his faith. Basically, everything Trump has said would be considered a gaffe by a serious candidate but his carnival act continues to grow in popularity with each crazy comment.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recognized how much attention the press is giving Trump because of his celebrity candidate act so he gave an entire speech devoted to attacking Trump. In the speech, he called the frontrunner egomaniacal and narcissistic. He said Trump was a carnival act that you can’t argue with because he doesn’t know what he is talking about.
After the echoes of the speech died out, Jindal wrote a column on Sept. 15 that painted a picture of the future with Trump in the White House.
Jindal said only late night television hosts would benefit under a Trump Presidency because the jokes would write themselves. Then he went on to blame President Barack Obama for Republican voters losing interest in the “serious” candidates and leaning toward showmen and outsiders.
“But this is no laughing matter. Our country is slipping away,” Jindal wrote. “The liberalism and incompetence of the Obama administration have pushed us to the edge of a socialist abyss.”
Christie did an interview with Kelly this week in which he complained about the amount of time and energy the media is spending on Trump.
He says real voters and most people don’t care about Trump or his attacks. He then did an imitation of Trump to show Kelly he was ready for a turn in the spotlight.
“Your ratings will go through the roof. Skyrocketing. Skyrocketing. You want ratings? Christie is ratings,” the New Jersey Governor said, mocking Trump’s bombastic style. “Ratings, Megyn. Total ratings. Big. Big. Very big,” he predicted. “How’s that? Is that good? I’m trying.”
Mike Huckabee had an assistant physically block Ted Cruz from getting in the photo op with Kentucky Court Clerk Kim Davis when she emerged from her Labor Day holiday getaway in jail for not issuing same sex marriage licenses. The fact that Huckabee’s ushers did a good job of candidate control is no surprise. The fact that two presidential candidates want to align themselves with that woman is remarkable.
In the second debate Wednesday night, John Kasich tried to keep the others from arguing. He failed. Trump and Bush squared off over Trump’s comments about Bush’s wife. Trump and Christie squared off. Fiorina blasted Trump for his earlier comments about her face.
Trump stopped attacking Wednesday night. He was pandering. He even struggled to brag.
I think we saw why New Hampshire and Iowa shouldn’t have the power they do as early primaries and caucuses. The California crowd didn’t like Trump and he was obviously off of his game. Fiorina even blasted him on his favorite issue of birthright citizenship.
He made a flippant comment about Fiorina being beautiful and said he understands Bush’s wife is a wonderful woman.
Trump didn’t land a punch. He couldn’t even land a jab against Huckabee.
The stage is still far too crowded for the debates to have much of a positive effect. When the votes start getting counted, the clowns will leave the circus and make way for the main acts.
Those debates will be far more informative and helpful.
Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at kent.bush@news-star.com.