Takeaways From First Republican POTUS 2016 Debate

Participants line the stage in the Quicken Loans Arena at the first GOP debate of the 2016 season hosted by Fox News, Thursday, August 6, 2015.
Participants line the stage at first GOP debate of 2016 season, hosted by Fox News.

Kasich: Handled the gay marriage question with so much grace and kindness it surprised me. That answer should become the standard GOP position on the issue.

Paul: In the opening minutes of the debate, I contributed money to his campaign. Need I say more? He didn’t even have to be there and I would have thought he won. He ended up getting the least speaking time of all the candidates. I don’t think it was unfairness on the part of the moderators, however. He just used less time when given the opportunity. I think he’s playing a strategy of saying as little as possible in the hopes he can retain the libertarian vote while courting social conservatives. He disappointingly lost his cool when needled by Christie and Trump.

Trump: Went on about how he gives lots of money to politicians and then when he needs something, they do it for him. Suggested he could start calling Megyn Kelly vile names on Twitter because she’s not nice enough to him. I’m not sure he hurt himself. Those keeping him at the top of the GOP polls won’t care. My expectations were so low he had nowhere to go but up.

Rubio: A bit rehearsed, but so what? He was prepared and knew his stuff and perhaps gave solid policy answers versus talking points more often than some of the others. A lot of people in my Twitter feed seemed to think he and Kasich were the “winners.”

Bush: Every time he talked all I could think about was what a nice man he seems to be. By the end, I had a little crush going and found myself Googling his wife and thinking his parents must be really nice people. I can’t remember what he actually talked about, except that I couldn’t keep track of whether he was for or against Common Core. And I still wouldn’t vote for him. I predict he will be the nominee.

Christie: Doesn’t like the 4th Amendment or Rand Paul. I can’t remember anything else he said, but he seemed dour and unhappy throughout, with big solemn puppy dog eyes that I guess were supposed to make me take him seriously. I didn’t.

Walker: The main thing I remember is that he nodded so hard at everything Ben Carson said I started perceiving him as a bobble head.

Ben Carson: He does not have the temperament for POTUS. I kept imagining him leading a prayer group where no one ever raises their voice or speaks over one another and Carson nods encouragingly with his eyes half-closed at everything contributed by the other members. In the closing statements, he told a joke so delightful and adorable that I wondered where *that* Ben Carson had been all night.

Huckabee: The Planned Parenthood scandal seems to have pushed same-sex marriage from the center of the GOP radar. Huckabee managed to focus on the former without getting drawn into the latter. He mostly managed to avoid sounding too much like a big-government-social-conservative-closet-theocrat. I had to Google it just now to remember he was there. Oh wait. He did allude to his attack on judicial supremacy. Of all the nonsense peddled on the right, this is the most dangerous. If the GOP nominates a candidate who wants to abolish judicial supremacy, I will vote for the Democrat.

Oh yeah…

Cruz: He was there too. You know that commercial where the guy goes for an interview but he has a spot on his shirt and all the potential employer can hear is that spot yammering gibberish? Cruz is like that for me. Whenever he talks, all I can hear him saying is: “I am holding hearings to rein in the Supreme Court’s defense of individual freedom. And Lochner was wrongly decided!” I have no idea what else he might have said.

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