Boots & Sabers

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1903, 16 Sep 15

2nd Republican Debate

This should be interesting…

My quick take:


Carly! She rocked. She was on point, eloquent, and firm. She continued to turn the debate to Hillary and the dems. She kept her message crisp and conservative. Clear winner.

Christie. He was likable and energetic. He was able to tout his record in Jersey and kept turning the debate back to the people and the failure of the current administration.

Walker. He had some great exchanges early and then faded, only to return in strength at the end. 

Carson: He was natural and smart. He had more time to talk than the last debate and clearly stands out as someone different than most of the politicians on the stage. He validated his rise in the polls. 


Trump. He was himself. His lame retort to Fiorina’s “face” comment was laughable. 

Bush. He was fine, but never really stood out. His attempt to get Trump to apologize to his wife was dumb. But I don’t think he had to do really well because he is the default as others begin to fade. His best line was when he stuck up for W. What most people will remember, however, is that Jeb smoked pot 40 years ago.

Cruz: As someone who should be leading as a conservative standard bearer, he was largely missing. 


Rubio. He was OK, but didn’t stand out. 

Kasich. Was he there? Nobody cared before or after. 

Paul. No ground either way. 

Huckabee: He had a nice stand out on the Iran treaty, but other than that he didn’t move the needle. 


 OVERALL: Although a three hour debate was brutal, it did give time for everyone to participate with 11 people on the stage. BUT, I suspect that few people watched the whole thing, so much of the reaction will be driven by whatever clips make the news cycle.

The questions were OK, but some were clearly designed to get a fiery exchange going. The candidates mostly did a good job pushing the debate where they wanted it to go. The long debate did let them get into some marginal issues. For example, hearing Trump pontificate on autism and vaccines was ridiculous.

In the end, Fiorina is still the clear winner. She established herself as the anti-establishment, anti-Hillary, and private sector candidate. And she put some of the seasoned political veterans to shame.


1903, 16 September 2015


  1. Mark Maley

    Fiorina – but only because Trump fumbled the obvious response to her ” everyone had it tough back then ”
    Answer on her disastrous tenure at HP . Democrats will bury her with her job cuts and Compaq deal

    Rubio- He was better than Fiorina but Carly got off the line of the night about Trumps “face comment

    Paul- but not in a room of right wing conservatives .
    Made perfect sense on Iraq and our lack of prudence and he rung Christie’s bell on his 10th amendment hypocrisy on state drug laws

    Cruz is simply unlikeable and Huckabee had his 15 seconds of Fame last week doing a bear hug on Kim Davis .

    Bush look like the nerd who brings the apple to teachers ,got his salt map done 10 days before it’s due , then gets his lunch money stolen in the schoolyard.

    Joe or HRC( if she’s not in jail) beats any one of them because Hispanics , Women and Blacks get to vote – at least for now

  2. Fairs Fare

    Winner- Carson! He was reasonable, well spoken, fact based and answered the questions directly. Very little prepared “stump” answers.
    2nd- Carly Fiorina
    Turd- Trump
    Biggest loser- Walker. “Stump”, “Stump”, “Stump”. Not the time or place for the same old stump speech.

  3. Steve Austin

    Guess I will be the first commentator here who atually WILL vote for one of these 11 next year.

    Carly won. But once the oppo research gets going on her, conservatives will be surprised she is as moderate or more so than Trump. And she was her own tornado of Trump like controversy at HP.

    Rubio is fantastic. At the same time I get the sense he is way too young and has no executive experience. Would prefer Trump or Carly as I feel like they’ve got some real world experience there.

    Trump. As the conservatives who can’t stand him thought they stomped on his grave tonight on twitter, I think he will defy their conventional wisdom. Tonight showed that Trump can be an adult, can be thoughful and can listen. And frankly some of his positions sell better to the general electorate than the GOP base. If Trump decides to study up on specifics, he will still be a force here. This is all up to Trump. If he loafs, he will fade back. If he grabs a command on issues, he won’t .

    Walker. Love you man, but come back to Wisconsin and be a great governor for the next 20-years.

  4. Mark Maley

    You are correct that I won’t vote for any of the participants .

    My Perspective is one of whom I would not want the Dem to be opposed by .

    I agree 100% with you on Carly and Walker .
    Rubio scares me .
    His personal finances don’t help in his claiming to be a fiscal conservative but he will would be a real generational change

    Him saying Florida State is where kids go to college who can’t go to Florida might hurt him in his home state .

  5. scott

    I watched most of both debates.

    Trump did Trump. No surprises. The fact that he’s on that stage–let alone his poll numbers–is a shocking indictment of today’s Republican voters. I won’t even bother to explain why, as everyone completely knows why.

    Bush did ok. It’s easy to see why he’s the establishment guy popular with rich people. He isn’t a crazy-eyed ideologue like some of those other fire breathers.

    Fiorina did well, but I can’t get past that moment when she was discussing abortion and she became so (apparently) incensed that she looked like she was going to burst through my TV and start biting people. Not sure how angry a woman is allowed to get with Republican voters. Not very, is my guess. “Unlikeable. Not sure why…”

    Cruz is a ghoul. Santorum is a fanatic. Huckabee should change course and become a televangelist. Rubio did well, but he does seem young and inexperienced. Rand Paul had moments when he made a lot of sense, but he doesn’t seem remotely presidential and the fact that he can’t say “no” to “should Trump stop saying ?” means he has no spine, either. All that goes for Dr. Nyquil as well.

    Solid showing for Christy. Not that I’d vote for him, but I think he came across well. Kasich and Pataki seemed levelheaded and reasonable–not remotely the kind of person who’s going to win a Republican nomination.

    Surprise performances of the night: Jindal and Graham, both of whom seemed on-point and well-informed.

    Walker seemed pretty second-rate to me. How anyone thought of him as an A-lister is beyond me.

  6. Mark Maley

    Paul’s question about why we weren’t talking about Saudi Arabia was the best one of the night

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