Carly Fiorina was the star of the first GOP debate, no one else was even close. I admit that even though I am someone who favors only conservative governors as candidates (Walker, Jindal, Perry).
The Fox News moderators were just awful, but Fiorina still shined. The other candidates who impressed me were Perry and Jindal.
The reactions on Twitter were unaninmous in declaring her the winner, with Jindal and Perry being mentioned as runners-up.
Let’s take a look at that article from The Federalist that Mollie Hemingway tweeted.
FOX News hosted an early debate for seven candidates whose polling numbers weren’t high enough to get on the main stage. Former New York Governor George Pataki, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-SC, Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-PA, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and businesswoman Carly Fiorina answered questions from FOX News’ Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer.
Graham focused his answers on ISIL, discussion of which seems to be the main motivating factor in his run for presidency. Perry focused on his experience. Jindal emphasized the importance of conservative governance. Pataki and Gilmore emphasized records from their time as governors less recent than Perry’s. And Santorum revisited themes, such as helping out blue collar workers, he emphasized during his earlier run for presidency.
But it was Carly who stood out. Fiorina towered over her opponents, even though many of them handled themselves well. When asked about Donald Trump’s popularity, Fiorina pointed out progressive positions he held while also acknowledging that his popularity is a result of the GOP political class failing to serve its constituents. Still, she asked, “What are the principles by which he’ll govern?
“There’s a sharpness and intelligence about her. A precision of her message that really cuts through,” FOX News’ Chris Wallace said immediately after the debate.
That was seen in one answer when she went out of her way to draw distinctions between conservatism and progressivism, about how they differ at their core in their views of the individual, equality, and the role of the government. Though she officially ran out of time in this answer, she kept going until she made her point and a moderator would have been crazy to stop her, on account of how compelling the moment was. Her control of the stage at that moment had something of Reagan’s “I am paying for this microphone” to it, a defiance based in commitment to a cause.
Simply articulating conservatism, much less doing it with precision and eloquence, reminds viewers how rarely such defenses of conservatism are heard from current Republican leadership. It also reminds them how ineffective and inarticulate such defenses of conservatism usually are.
She should have been in the debate of the top 10 candidates, and let that clown Donald Trump go jump in a lake.
Now there was some division about who won – some people thought Jindal and Perry also did well the debate:
Rachel Alexander explain why she liked Jindal in this article at The Stream.
It was clear who the winners were. Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal consistently had solid, confident, precise, conservative answers to each question.
The other candidates fared less well. Lindsey Graham was tripped up a couple of times on his lack of a conservative record. When confronted about working with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on climate change legislation, he admitted he would reduce the country’s use of fossil fuels. George Pataki likewise stumbled when confronted about his pro-choice record. Asked about the horrific Planned Parenthood undercover videos of selling fetal body parts, he responded that Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for over 40 years and he would not ban abortion before 20 weeks.
Rick Perry seemed unsure of himself on issues, stumbling a bit over his words. Rick Santorum kept saying he wanted to make the U.S. number one in manufacturing jobs — despite the fact we are a First World country and technology is naturally causing shrinkage in manufacturing jobs. Jim Gilmore seemed too focused on repeating his past experience.
When asked about Ohio Governor John Kasich supporting Medicaid expansion in Ohio, Bobby Jindal soundly refuted it. “We can’t afford the entitlement programs we already have today,” he said, and stated that it was a mistake to expand Medicaid.
He said Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are working hard to turn the American dream into a nightmare.
“We’re going to have too many people in the cart rather than pulling the cart,” he said, and it isn’t free money we’re borrowing from China. He then pivoted to simultaneously enlist Obama in the point he was making, and point up how loose spending weakens America on the world stage:
Yesterday, the president stunningly admitted this. He said, “we don’t have leverage with China to get a better deal on Iran because we need them to lend us money to continue operating our government.”
The president of the United States admitting that he’s weakening our government’s position, our foreign policy standing, because he can’t control spending in D.C.
Both Perry and Fiorina did well discussing the Iranian threat. Perry said he’s on the side that keeps Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. In a surprise endorsement of Fiorina, he said, “I would rather have Carly doing our negotiation than John Kerry.” If so, he continued, maybe there might be a deal that didn’t give everything away. There needs to be a Congress that says, “Hell, no” to this regime. If elected, the first thing he would do would be to tear up Obama’s agreement with Iran.
I also found an interesting exchange between Fiorina and that liberal clown Chris Matthews on MSNBC. She knows how to deal with the liberal media. Probably because she is used to being CEO and having people listen.
I listened to the second debate as well, but it was harder to follow, because of the crowd noise, and the more obnoxious moderators, e.g. – Megyn Kelly. Will hopefully have a post up about that by midnight.