Author Kenton Long
Thursday, Fox News hosted the first debates featuring the Republican candidates for President 2016. The field of 17 candidates were divided into two separate debates. The earlier scheduled debate presented 7 of the lowest polling candidates in the field of 17. Three hours later, a debate presented the 10 highest polling candidates in the field of 17.
I took the afternoon off from work to watch the debates. This is like Oscar night for me!
Presented here are the two debates and their respective candidates. I list the candidates in the order I personally feel each candidate performed, number 1 the best performing candidate in that particular debate.
BOTTOM 7 CANDIDATE DEBATE:
1. Fiorina Outstanding performance. Did better than her peers but only by a noticeable margin. This is the first time I’ve heard her articulate the principles of individual liberty. She was unafraid.
2. Jindal Second best performance. Solid.
3. Santorum A distant third place. Too scripted. Making same mistakes as last time. You cannot run the Oval office from a script. Be more yourself. Be more vulnerable, less controlled.
4. Gilmore Most statesman-like of the group. Confidence. Resolve. Needs new fresh ideas.
5. Graham Weak persona did not match his bold and important message. Kudos for honoring our troops!
6. Perry He is not ready this time either! Looks like he is trying so hard, but it just comes off as awkward, blustering, insincere, and immature.
7. Pataki Who?
TOP 10 CANDIDATES DEBATE
1. Huckabee Is at the top of his game! Thoughtful, passionate, friendly, and knowledgeable.
2. Cruz Close second. Smart, articulate, presidential. Strong showing. But, a little too stuffy with a hint of patronizing from on high.
3. Carson What a wonderful and endearing performance. It’s a joy listening to this man formulate his thoughts and express his convictions. Beautiful temperament. Suggestion: never call your fellow countrymen “useful idiots.” Only a few of us out here know the origin of that term.
4. Rubio Rubio had a good night. Focused. Unfortunately his delivery sounds scripted like a stump speech.
5. Walker Would make a good President, but not at this time not under these circumstances.
6. Jeb Predictably dull. Good sincerity. Unlike Obama there is no question Jeb loves America.
7. Trump Blew his opportunity to keep his rising momentum in the polls. Proud and thin-skinned. One can have passion and yet have humility, but this favored trait is not in Trump’s wheelhouse. You’re fired.
8. Kasich Solid performance from a newcomer to the race. Why isn’t he running as a Democrat?
9. Christie Ill tempered. Cannot adequately disguise his temper for passion. He reinforced his negatives.
10. Paul Poorly coached. Shows poor judgment and stage presence. He has trouble conveying our founding principles in every-day language voters can understand. Suggestion: remind voters what the 4th and 14th Amendments actually are, and how they are as relevant today as when they were ratified.
I felt the debate questions for the top 10 candidates were pointed—if not pointy—tipped with tinge of mean-spiritedness. (A little over-the-top, Fox News.)
Some notes. Yes, I think Ms. Fiorina was the winner of the lower tier debate, but I don’t think she ran away with it. Nevertheless, she clearly belongs with the upper-tier candidates.
Biggest surprise: Mr. Huckabee. I would never have thought I’d be giving consideration to former Governor Mike Huckabee. He gave a terrific interview to Mark Levine this week, announcing he is the only candidate calling for an Article 5 Constitutional convention of the states to clean up Washington D.C. I’m with you on that score! Leading up to the debate he wisely and rightly picked his battle well with Pres. Obama, defending Israel in the face of the ongoing Iran nuclear treaty. Huckabee had a good week and a great debate. Not conservative on matters of immigration, capitalism, or education, but he is at the top of his game.
Every candidate on that stage who claims to embrace the Constitution and our founding principles should have raised their hand claiming they are willing to run as a 3rd party candidate, regardless of the election consequences. Trump is not a Constitutional conservative, but he has the audacity to raise his hand. I do not trust the “establishment” Republican Party leadership; they will crush any and every non-establishment candidate. If the Republican Party nominates an “establishment” Republican I will be submitting a write-in candidate ballot. We conservatives have compromised for many many years, and now we see our good intentions have compromised our nation’s future.