Who “Won” the Latest Republican Debate? Winning is Such a Relative Term…

By | March 3, 2016

Grading the candidates in the latest monster-truck-derby/bar-fight/”Debate” (quotes necessary for legal reasons) so you don’t have to…[watch it that is].

Ted Cruz…You would think Cruz would be riding high after “wins” on Super-Tuesday like his home state and the state that bordered his home state, but the bottom-line is that Cruz can not seem to give a straight answer on anything. Every word out of his mouth is a lie or an attack on something that has nothing to do with what they were talking about. You feel like he’s the kind-of guy that would say (in regards to what he wants for lunch) “Well, Donald Trump would want a ham sandwich because he likes government pork, but I don’t.” He’s supposed to be courting evangelical “values voters” but how he does that when he’s a walking attack ad, I’m not so sure. Cruz feels like the walking embodiment of a phony politician that doesn’t really know who he is, rather than what his opponents are wrong about. In a night where Kasich came off as a grown-up and everyone else will be talking about Trump’s dick size, expect Cruz to get totally left out in the buzz-wars. And campaigns don’t die from boos, they die from silence. Grade: C

Donald Trump…One of the worst debates he’s had so far, but people have said that about him a lot the last few times and it’s not made any real difference. Trump is a lot more immune to weak debate performances than other candidates for multiple reasons like: 1. His fans don’t expect him to do well, they’ll tell you he’s not a “politician” so there’s a grading curve on smooth debating performances. 2. Faux News has attacked him since the first debate and it’s made no real difference so far, and now the attacks are starting to seem more than a little “let’s throw shit at the wall and see if it sticks.” Now all that may change with Saturday’s states since Nebraska/Kansas might continue his Midwestern problem—the only states Trump has lost are literally Midwestern-states stacked on top of each other like Texas/Oklahoma and Iowa/Minnesota—but you can expect the media to read too much into that, and be shocked again when he wins the states after that. Plus, it was more than obvious that Faux was going out of their way to hammer him, all but carving “liar” into his podium. Still, Trump got monster laughs off of bragging about his penis size, and it even managed to make Ted Cruz temporarily flustered which was a real highlight. Grade: C-

Marco Rubio…Marco didn’t even look healthy at this debate, he had dark circles under his eyes and spent much of the night looking flush and pallid. [I was just kidding when I impersonated him as a cokehead in my YouTube video, but I’m beginning to wonder if I might have been on to something.] Plus, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the way to beat Trump is not to become a worse version of him, and Marco’s lame attempts at insult comedy are probably costing him more votes than he’s gaining. If all people wanted in a candidate was an immature shock comic, they would probably be voting for a guy who’s actually good at it like Trump. Rubio’s too-late attacks are not just a red flag of desperation but highlighting a much bigger problem: he’s another candidate who doesn’t seem to know who he really is and that just plays right into Trump’s frequent criticisms on politicians. Personal Note: And I found his answer about Flint, Michigan to be the worst answer he’s ever given, damn near personally offensive. Grade: D+

The Moderators…This is not how you moderate a debate, despite the rest of the media giving these hacks a pass. Yes, they technically kept a tighter control of the reigns than Wolf Blitzer did last week, but that’s meaningless when they have become an all-too-obvious arm of the Republican Party. I can understand the need to “vet” a nominee now before the Democrats do it later, but that’s not what this was. Their anti-Trump bias drove the entire debate, and they seemed almost annoyed when John Kasich used up time to, you know, talk about issues rather than attack Trump. Faux has never been subtle about their bias, but this time was even worse than the first debate. And I’m surprised it wasn’t mentioned that their boss had just said they were “dropping” support of Rubio, showing that they clearly do back certain candidates, although only Trump would have been inclined to mention this tonight. Grade: D-

John Kasich…His best debate so far, and it turns out that when nobody has really been paying attention to you, you can really hone your pitch and begin to get your messaging just right. Kasich is the only one of the group offering an honestly hopeful, uplifting message that would be tough for the Democrats to beat in November. So I’m more than a little relieved that his path to the nomination is pretty much non-existent unless he takes it at a brokered convention. Grade: A-

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