So debate 2 is in the books, although the full impact of it won’t be know for a couple weeks. Often first impressions are not lasting impressions with these kinds of things.
The thing that remains clear is that no one seems to understand what a debate should be about, and how to moderate it. Jake Tapper made a big deal prior to the debate about how he was going to “craft questions” in a way as to get candidates going after each other.
How childish. And by the way Jake, this is not about you and about how brilliantly you “craft” your questions. How about asking something simple, like, “how are you going to clean up the border mess Obama has made? Or how are you going to clean up the health care mess Obama has made? Or the Iran mess? Or the racial tension mess?”
But moderators won’t ask such questions, because such questions do not allow the moderators to demonstrate their magnificent intellects. Human nature plagues our politics, doesn’t it?
Now, about that potential – and I stress potential – “disturbance in the force.” Think about the 2012 election, and how it appeared that Mitt and Ryan were steaming to victory. Then the hurricane hit New Jersey, and Chris Christie gave Obama the hug on the airport tarmac (if memory serves.) At that moment, when I saw the photo, I thought oh hell, a disturbance in the force. The dynamic changed that very second.
It is hard to explain. And it’s impossible to track. We can never go back and run the election without that hurricane. The disturbance in the force happened, and there’s no rolling it back.
So, fast forward to now. I sense a possible disturbance in the force from two moments in the debate this week. Moment one is when Carly Fiorina smoothly and elegantly pimp slapped Donald Trump on the “look at that face” comment. Seconds after Trump has refused to let Jeb off the hook for a comment Jeb made about women’s healthcare – because he :”heard” what Jeb said – he then tried to clarify his “face” comment about Fiorina . Carly was having none of it. Showing brilliant situational awareness that few do on the stage, she turned it around and used Donald’s own words against him saying that “women across America heard what you said.” Boom.
Now the Trump kool aid crowd – which appears to be about 80% of his supporters – insists Trump won that. Strange. But I don’t think that is how it’s going to play out over time. I think it’s a chink in the armor.
Moment 2 may be even bigger ultimately. And that’s the issue of Trump donating to Jeb’s Florida campaign with the goal, among other things, of getting casino gambling in Florida. Jeb brought this up on the stage, and Trump flatly called him a liar twice. Well, I think history indicates that Jeb is right on this issue – and this is something that might become demonstrable and put another chink in the armor. A disturbance in the force moment? Maybe. Watch for it.
Meanwhile, who the hell is over scripting Ted Cruz? And why won’t he be more assertive with mods who refuse him time? If he doesn’t solve both of these problems, he will never get his voters back – which includes most of those now supporting Trump. It is precisely Trump’s lack of being scripted – a talent Cruz does possess but is not showing – that is pushing Trump. People do NOT want anything to do with normal political speak/scripting at the moment.
Carly showed how to butt in and get more time than she would have otherwise. So did Christie and Kasich and Rubio at times. Cruz, Walker and Carson would be well advised to take note.