Sorry, boys. The girl won. Back to that in a moment.I did not watch the undercard debate on CNN last night. Those four candidates aren't going to get anywhere near the nomination. I should give up "Jeopardy!" to listen to their babble?
And please realize that everything I'm going to say about the main debate might be total nonsense (and everything most other people say as well). Since Donald Trump entered the race, all the accepted conventional wisdom about political campaigns has been turned on its head, so anything can happen in this race. For example, I don't think either Trump or Ben Carson, who are polling 1 and 2 in the field, did particularly well last night, so that should hurt them, right? But they didn't do all that well in the first debate, either, and look where they are now.
The debate was about as crappy as I thought it would be. I don't think it was quite as bad as Justin Peters at Slate thinks it was ("an utter failure" and perhaps "the worst debate I can remember") but, still, it was pretty awful. CNN's primary goal was obviously to provoke a fight, and that's what the whole first part was, a verbal brawl with Trump trading barbs with several of the candidates. (Can CNN explain, by the way, what Jake Tapper's two co-moderators were even doing there? Tapper asked about 80 percent of the questions.)It was half an hour in before there was a question about something actually substantive (how to deal with Russia in Syria), and the debate didn't stick with substance the rest of the way. There were more questions about what the candidates thought about the others' positions than questions about the issues themselves. The moderators were short on follow-up questions, so even when serious issues were discussed, it wasn't with much detail. I still wish someone would conduct a debate with just two or three issues that the candidates can go back and forth on with some depth.
Anyway, I think Carly Fiorina was the clear winner last night, standing out from the pack even more than she did in the first debate with the second-tier candidates. She was direct and smart and funny, precise and specific. She knows the issues and can explain exactly where she stands on them and why. She gave the impression, too, that she would be a tough and decisive executive. If we have it in us to produce a Margaret Thatcher, she just might be it. I was glad to read the reviews today and see that a lot of people agree with me. It may even be the consensus by this point:
For the second debate in a row, Fiorina was once again the breakout star of the night, taking on Republican front-runner Donald Trump with finesse and capturing the crowd with polished, zinging answers and an impassioned charge against abortion.
Marco Rubio also had a good night, as did Jeb Bush. Scott Walker and Rand Paul didn't do much for me. All the others had OK nights, but nothing that will move them up in the polls much. I hope Mike Huckabee and John Kasich are the next to join Rick Perry in the dropout line (along with the four undercard candidates) because I don't care much for their positions, but, alas, I seldom get my way.
I wrote early on this year that Walker and Rubio could be the GOP dream team, which clearly won't happen since Walker has shown himself not to be ready for the big league. Now I can see a Rubio-Fiorina team or a Fiorina-Rubio ticket. There, I've gone and jinxed her now.
ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS
A lot of police departments, including Fort Wayne's are rushing into body camera as a quick fix for community image problems. But there are problems in some venues about when and how to release footage, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. If the goal of the cameras is accountability, government can't pick and choose which videos to make public. But if you make them all public, then there will be serious privacy issues with many of the citizens in encounters with the police. so maybe we need to think about this a little longer.
We know by now that Donald Trump is winning mostly because the voters are just plain fed up with the political establishment. They are that angry. Senate Republicans could dampen a lot of that anger if they would just get rid of the filibuster so a 51-vote simple majority could do some of the things voters want the Senate, like kill the Iran deal, defund Planned Parenthood and put the brakes on executive-ordered amnesty. Most Republicans are fuming because the GOP keeps promising to do things then failing to do them, letting a minority of Democrats stop the majority Republicans on everything. There's nothing constitutional about the 60-vote threshold, it's just a Senate rule, one that Harry Reed was happy enough to dispose of when it suited him.
President Obama will apparently test just how far Pope Francis’ notorious tolerance will go by inviting a rogue’s gallery of people.opposed to Catholic teaching to greet the pontiff at the White House during his visit next week.
In a stunning show of political indecorum, Obama has invited a series of individuals who publicly flout Catholic teaching, including a pro-abortion religious sister, a transgender woman and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, along with at least two Catholic gay activists.
Class act, this administration.
Doubtless to the chagrin of the gun control crowd, a a majority of Americans do not believe it is "too easy for Americans to buy guns." No matter how easy it is to buy a gun legally, it's harder than it is for the bad guys to get one illegally. Gun control advocates never ever get it that they are asking the wrong side to disarm.
Finally, so far the U.S. has spent $42 million of a $500 million program to train moderate Syrian rebels to fight ISIS in Syria. What do they have for the money spent? "Four or five" trained fighters, says a Defense Department spokesman. That's a bargain, huh, just $8 to $10 million per trainee? In other news, there is such a thing as a "moderate" rebel.
WORD OF THE DAY
proxemics (prok-SEE-miks), n. — the branch of knowledge that deals with the amount of space that people feel it is necessary to set between themselves and others, as in: "You don't have to be a student of proxemics to know that Donald Trump is a get-in-your-face type of buy."