The Republican Debate continued to offer much in the way of entertainment value, but left the segment of the electorate who supports the GOP as undecided as before. While many candidates seemed ready to bring their A games, with prepared talking points about what they would do if they were allowed residency at the prime bit of real estate on Pennsylvania Avenue, the evening’s festivities seemed to focus on the debutante slap-fight between the heaviest of heavyweight contenders.
Republican mainstay Raphael Edward “Ted” Cruz rightfully calls Texas home and the denizens of the Lone Star State his people. This didn’t stop the Canadian-born son of an American mother and Cuban father from finding himself on the receiving end of a new brand of birther-style antics from arch-rival and debate schoolyard superstar Donald Trump.
“There’s a big question mark over your head,” said Trump, who continued his attack by presenting a scenario that could cast doubt in the minds of voters about Cruz’s viability as a winning candidate. The New York Times cites the Teflon Don’s debate salvo against Cruz with the very loaded question regarding problems his Calgary, Alberta birthplace could cause the Republican Party. “If you become the nominee, who the hell knows if you can even serve in office?”
Trump went on to offer advice about what the Texas Senator should do to dismiss any doubt about his eligibility to act as commander-in-chief. NBC News’ report on the debate showed Cruz’s response was to quickly turn the tables on Trump.
“Since September the Constitution hasn’t changed — but the poll numbers have.”
Even though Trump still visualized a ticket with his best bud at his side, the Princeton educated hopeful from the land of the Rio Grande seemed ready to see the end of what many Republicans may have considered a beautiful friendship.
Meanwhile, on other points of discussion at the debate, other Republicans hoping to see their names on the ballots and bumpers of conservative Americans tried to stay clear of the wild swings and hits while still taking on the big targets on both sides of the political fence. Florida Senator Marco Rubio took on the voice of his party as he addressed his concerns about the policies of the incumbent president and how what he sees as weaknesses and liabilities of the Obama administration might be continued by a Clinton presidency. He took members of his own party to task, stating that Senator Cruz’s voting record was inconsistent. The Washington Post declared Rubio the winner, citing his focus on the issues and his ability to debate while staying above the attacks.
Who didn’t fare so well?
Ben Carson continues to prove that politics isn’t brain surgery. The retired Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins has demonstrated his mettle in the medical field, but his quiet performance at last night’s debates show he’s making little headway in the Republican debates.
Jeb Bush made some good points and was fearless in the face of some of the controversial, and yet disturbingly popular, stances of his fellow Republicans. His earnest delivery was admirable, but he seemed a little lost among the Machiavellian tactics that kept the debates dramatic. While the latest Bush Dynasty hopeful and Rubio might have brought something close to substance to the debates, they were like actors who’d prepared for a production of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington only to find that everyone else on stage was suited out for an episode of Game of Thrones.
What can debate fans expect next? According to the official page of the GOP, the next Republican debate is scheduled for Thursday, January 28. Fox News will broadcast the event from Des Moines, Iowa. It’s an easy prediction that the vituperative barbs and the proverbial fur will continue to fly while Republican voters debate among themselves about the next move their party should make.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]