What a God awful spectacle. There is no other way to describe last night's proceedings. It started with CNN's intro to the latest republican debate which looked to be stolen directly from some ESPN college football promo. In fact the only thing missing during the lead in, besides the cheerleaders and mascots, was the tag line, "Who is in?"
Then there they came, gliding across the stage. It was Carly and the Miracles. Ms. Fiorina was resplendent in all red and the chorus accompanying her was clad in what amounted to matching blue suits, white shirts and red ties. Unfortunately from that point on Carly Fiorina had very little say that was either effective, or memorable.
It was such a bad night for her that even Rand Paul came across more presidential. Still, she managed to avoid the cellar so to speak. That dank windowless place was reserved for Dr. Ben Carson who might have seen his sinking campaign slip beneath the waves forever. It was painfully clear that when it comes to foreign policy he is in over his head. You know you are having a tough evening when your most positive moment isn't the audience applauding, but when they're booing moderator Hugh Hewitt after he delivered what was believed to be a cheap shot follow up question.
Ohio Governor, John Kasich, a doomed moderate among a sea of loons, seemed on point most of the time, but his constant karate chop hand gestures made toward the crowd were utterly distracting. At times he looked almost as if he was doing a strange and terrible imitation of the D.C. Comics character, The Penguin.
The desperate, Chris Christie showed up ready for a brawl. He mentioned his experience as a U.S. attorney who prosecuted suspected terrorist after the 9-11 attacks so many times that even reasonably astute mathematicians couldn't keep up. He also smacked both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz when they fell off into an argument about NSA policy. Leaning against his lectern, seemingly exasperated, he told the audience, basically, that's what these guys do, debate arcane policy in the senate while not a single thing gets done.
Rubio seemed the most professional of the lot. He never lost his cool even when Cruz hammered him on his support of immigration reform, which the senator from Texas claimed would allow, Barack by God Obama let in millions, if not billions of unvetted immigrants from everywhere--up to and including the planet Uranus.
Cruz, who recently has been promising to carpet bomb all of ISIS while not so subtly hinting he'd be willing to use nuclear weapons, ran afoul of head moderator Wolf Blitzer. The smarmy Canadian just wouldn't shut up after jumping into an exchange he wasn't asked to join, or had been mentioned in, a violation of the debate parameters. Blitzer finally told him he would have to be quiet and reminded him, sternly, "These are the rules you agreed to."
Former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush did manage to find his testicles as he took on Donald Trump and succeeded at it for the first time. In fact he delivered what was perhaps the line of the evening when he turned to Trump and told him, "Donald, you can't insult your way to the presidency."
Today most of the pundits are speculating Bush's aggressiveness has probably come too late. His campaign and associated super pacs have banked hundreds of millions of dollars, but he is still mired so low in the polls speculation is he'll never recover. There are an increasing number of reports many of the establishment big money people are starting to look seriously at Rubio as the only viable alternative to the crazed Trump and the equally despised Cruz.
At stage center was El Donald. He seemed truly stunned when he went after Bush with one of his patented personal attacks and it received not only that sharp retort, but a smattering of boos scattered throughout the hall. It went all the way down the slippery slope after Marco Rubio talked about the country's aging, "nuclear triad," and it was obvious the reality TV show host had absolutely no clue what the, "nuclear triad" even is. He tried to dance around it, but the jitterbugging was so awkward, Rubio finally had to spell out for him the triad consists of the U.S. long range bomber fleet, nuclear submarines, and ICBM missiles.
Overall, last night's debate was a gruesome display of bombast, half truths, outright lies, vulgar arrogance, and xenophobic rants. But, hey, what else can we expect from this crowd?
The feeling here is, 1-The undercard bunch isn't even worth mentioning. 2-Fiorina, Paul, Kasich, and Carson are finished. 3-Bush is in critical condition and not only on life support, but running out of health insurance coverage. 4-Christie is hanging in, but can't win south, or west of Pennsylvania. 5-Rubio will soon see an influx of serious money as panic sets in. 6-Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are having an ersatz homosexual affair. It is the only possible reason they didn't attack each other last night.
And yes, the bar is open.
sic vita est