Thursday, August 6, 2015

by Reed Galen

Days Until Iowa Caucus: 187

Quote by a Smart Person: “He who frames the question, wins the debate.” Randall Terry

Welcome to the American Singularity.

Why the Singularity?

·      The presidential nominating process is one in which everything, large and small, is sucked into its gravitational maw, allowing nothing to escape its grasp as events pass through the campaign cycle’s event horizon.

·      There is no more singular political experience on the planet than electing the President of the United States.

·      The United States is still the most free, most prosperous and brightest beacon of hope to billions around the world.

Every action and reaction feeds into this black hole of press coverage, donor reactions, voter sentiment and activist opinions. Nothing goes unnoticed and nothing is forgotten. Legions of reporters, bloggers, opposition researchers, trackers, social media monitoring services, vacuum up every last syllable.

Every week we’ll take a look at the campaign as it unfolds, and how events reflect the campaigns, the issues of the day and the country at large. Have a tip, piece of advice or something to add? Email me – reed@jedburghs.com

Week 20 – Cleveland Rocks

Top Line Thoughts: Watching the two hours of this debate two things struck me about the field; First. this is a very smart group of people. They know their stuff, know their records and have thought about the problems the country faces. Next. Most of them on the stage are exemplifications of the American Dream. Rubio, Walker, Carson, Kasich they all came from humble beginnings to stand on the stage tonight. That is a message that should resonate with voters – this is not about elitism – this is about giving our children a better chance than we had

Participating:

Donald Trump

Gov. Jeb Bush

Gov. Scott Walker

Gov. John Kasich

Gov. Chris Christie

Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Ted Cruz

Gov. Mike Huckabee

Line of the Night: “You’re not having a good night, are you?” Donald Trump to Sen. Rand Paul.

Hot (In No Particular Order):

Rubio: He was confident, crisp and clear on his vision for the future. As a Gen Xer, had a firm grasp of what the economy of 2015 really looks like. His origin story is the stuff of movies.

Christie: If Trump hadn’t completely eviscerated Rand Paul, Chris Christie would have had the line(s) of the night. His answers on 9/11 volleying with Paul and his plans for entitlements were well thought out, well developed and well delivered. He was ready for the Obama hug attack and delivered a crisp response.

Bush: He was mature, confident and able to pivot off uncomfortable issues. For those hoping for the Entitlement choice to hold his own, he surpassed that hurdle easily and made the points for his positions, especially those at odds with activist conservatives, in a calm, substantive manner. He refused to take the bait when offered a chance to attack Trump and stayed positive.

Kasich: He showed up late in the game but scored enough polling points to make it to the big show. He’s got an excellent record as both a legislator and a governor – a rare combination

Honorable Mentions:

Walker: He held his own tonight. He didn’t get a ton of air time but he didn’t hurt himself either. If you liked Walker before tonight, you still like him.

Carson: I was going to put Ben Carson in the loser’s bracket until his last answer and his close. While I still believe he is the longest of shots, he showed a humor, thoughtfulness and intelligence the field needs.

And Not:

Trump: Hard to see how his answers on an independent run and women don’t ultimately doom him with either a primary or a general electorate. He was pure Trump – short, punchy sentences that are a mile wide and an inch deep.

Paul: Perhaps had the toughest evening of the night. Lack of air time and two withering one liners delivered in his direction left the first-term senator fighting for a reason to be there. This, added to the reported internal troubles of his campaign, don’t bode well for him.

Huckabee: Not sure how he fares after tonight. Perhaps the truly hard-core social conservative crowd, now that Donald Trump starts his long trip down the ski jump, will come back to him. His defense of a broken entitlement system, and his reasoning behind it, were weak.

Cruz: He seemed to fade to the background during most of the two hours. While still forceful in his beliefs, he seemed to stand too much on actions taken as a government lawyer and submitting legislation that didn’t go anywhere. He might excite some members of the conservative base, but he didn’t convert anyone tonight.

The Moderators:

Bret, Chris and Megyn: They made for a lively debate. They didn’t let anyone off the hook and the addition of video (of Perry and Fiorina) from the under-card, was an interesting twist. They managed the event well, broke their own rules when it made sense and made things work. Interesting to see how CNN follows it up.

Take Away and Predictions:

·      Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry will threaten the Top 10.

·      Jeb, Rubio, Kasich and Christie provide the makings for a very vigorous, intelligent debate going forward.

·      Rand Paul needs a serious reboot to his effort.

·      Ted Cruz needs to find a message that will allow him to escape the event horizon that is Donald Trump.

·      Donald Trump, chameleon that he is, was unable to hide his true colors tonight. No one gets to “evolve” as much as he has and get it away with it for long. The media, Democrats and Republicans who actually want to win the White House will ping him until he exits stage left for the last time.

 

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AuthorReed Galen