John Bolton

John Bolton

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ted Cruz the Big Winner in South Carolina GOP Debate

In a closely matched debate he managed to shine!

With another debate done voters now have a clearer picture of the views, qualifications and temperament of the 2016 GOP candidates. It was a smaller field. Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul did not make the cut.

Will this chart also predict who is ahead in the race?
Much of the debate was a contest between Cruz and Trump. At one point Cruz reminded voters that Trump is from New York and may not share their values. Trump responded by reminding viewers that on 9/11 New York demonstrated the strength of it's values. Touche but still, people out in flyover country know what a New Yorker is. In an interview on Meet the Press in 1999 Trump had bragged about those New York values and that's one reason he was for abortion without qualification. Trump went so far as to say that he would not even ban partial birth abortion. Not what you want voters in Iowa and South Carolina to recall.

The issue of Ted Cruz's qualification as a natural born citizen also came up. I'm reminded that in September Trump had previously said “I hear it was checked out by every attorney and every which way and I understand Ted is in fine shape.” Now his tune is slightly different. But, if Ted Cruz is unqualified to be President by virtue of his birth then why would Trump offer him the V.P. slot? A Vice President must also be qualified to be President.

[On that issue legal minds like former Assistant United States Attorney Andrew McCarthy and former Chief of Staff to Attorney General Ed Meese have both said (1,2) they see no issue here. Levin went further and said the issue was "resolved" and only "kooks" would believe otherwise. Levin added that the media was “chasing another dumbass issue.”]

Marco Rubio had a good night too. Very forceful answers on defeating ISIS and suggesting that Hillary Clinton was unqualified to be President because she lied to the American people and the family of our fallen heroes in Benghazi.

Even Jeb Bush found some fire this time around. In criticizing Trump's plan to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. he pointed out that we have many Muslim allies. Refusing to allow even our friends entry into the U.S. based solely on religion was a stupid idea that would undermine our alliances. What a shame Jeb doesn't have that same passion for criticizing Hillary Clinton.

One negative note: Carson supporters (of which there are many fewer than last fall) will not be pleased that their candidate continued to remain mostly passive during this debate.

By now voters have had several excellent opportunities to learn more about the GOP candidates. One more debate in Iowa on January 28 before voting begins.

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