ok i'll try a general evaluation. fiorina did amazingly well, and maybe emerged as a viable mainstream candidate, policywise and in temperament. paul came back from the dead after whiffing the first time around; i think maybe he'll get a little wave in the polls. carson was solid and genial and there is no reason his rise can't continue after this. i don't think kasich did that well this time out. i think cruz has already peaked, though he has a pretty steady hardright constituency. i'm not sure huckabee or christie helped themselves that much, though they did ok. bush and walker are sort of non-entities. trump, i believe, is wearing thin, and further inroads from carson and fiorina may stop the momentum. after that, he might sink quickly.
10:59: ok bush was pretty good on what the secret servce should call him: 'eveready, cause it's high energy, donald.'
10:50: man, this is a marathon.
10:35: fiorina 'lost a child to addiction'. i did not know that! i make that a sort of qualification: a trial, and a way into knowing something.
10:29: rand making it obvious that he's a completely different on drugs, race, mass incarceration. he really does favor drug legalization. do you know how amazing it is to see that position on the republican debate stage? hillary is just the sort of person who used to smoke dope all day, and endorsed mass incarceration for drug offenses...because it was polling well. i'm sure she opposes it now, or if we're near 50/50 on that, that she yaps for awhile and says nothing at all. racial nightmare? is it close to 60% for? then i'm there, baby.
10:20: bush at a perry level of grammatical and conceptual incoherence on john roberts and the supreme court. but let me guess: he'd appoint judges who will not legislate from the bench. oops! yup.
10:17: kasich is straightup framing this thing as a war of 'christian and jewish values' against islam. if the whole thing begins to be conceived as a world religious war, we are seriously fucked. it justifies everything that the jihadists say; it is a perfect justification for their violence.
10:10: i think that christie, unbelievably, is still taking the bizarre propaganda line that linked the invasion of iraq with 9.11. one of the idiotic nightmares in the history of prevarication, leading to tens of thousands of deaths.
10:05: trump's emphasis on his opposition to the iraq invasion is bold in this context. whoa carson just gave him a high five on that. paul opposed the thing as well. it plays against bush, obviously, who through all the 'i'm my own man' stuff will just defend and recapitulate his brother's administration.
9:46: walker just makes no particular impression. fatal on this stage.
9:44: hillary is going to have a hell of a time in a debate with bernie. while she mechanically and joylessly recites her cliches, he's going to stomp her with some actual commitments and clarity of character and ability to improvise in response to questions. she and bush, i think, are human talespins.
9:29: the republicans just kind of make me sick on this immigration thing.
9:25: trump has got everyone endorsing border walls. i like walker's plan (not that it came up tonight) to build a wall with canada, along the longest international border in the world. but personally, i would think of the function of walling america as keep people in rather keeping people out. this whole country can be an internment facility! (or a better internment facility than it is right now.)
9:16: bush: 'to subject my wife into a raucous political conversation was completely inappropriate. . . . i want you to apologize for her." man, bush is notably inarticulate. then his derisive laugh when trump says he endorses common core was ridiculously stagey.
9:08: and on trump on her face: she nailed that. even bush's exasperation is registering against trump. i think he sinks now. i've thought that before. but really, he's kind of displaying the drawbacks very vividly.
9:03: fiorina is kind of rocking like a hurricane (in an unlikely pairing of iran and planned parenthood) and probably got the biggest audience response so far.
8:50: paul boldly opposing intervention in syria. utterly the opposite end of the foreign-policy spectrum from graham, and at least the rhetoric of most of the others. graham made jindal and santorum say they'd send ground troops; pataki did refuse. i think this is a fairly rare case i which who gets elected president is really very important.
8:45: 'bad deal' is an example of the focus-grouped catchphrase that reveals its users as manipulative people who cannot speak their own words. what do you think you're gaining by talking like a simpleton and exactly like everyone else? they think it's strategic to talk like that. just take them seriously as being what they evidently are. think: this is the best they can do.
8:44: paul doing ok with his semi-peacenik foreign policy. continue to communicate with iran, putin etc.
8:41: cruz has a strange combination of slickness and extremity. he gives me a creepy vibe, and at any rate, i don't think he really works as a presidential candidate.
8:38: rubio is always steady and articulate. the same might be said of fiorina. also both are showing fairly good mastery of the middle east situation.
8:35: trump's attack on bush's fundraising and the corruption of cash in politics is powerful in the context of his self-financing. he is not bought. hard to argue with him on that. bush cannot stand up next to him i think.
8:28: kasich pretty effective by attacking the crazed sniping so far.
8:21: trump: "first of all, rand paul should not be on this stage." dude you led with that. rand firing back calmly and effectively, ripping don a new one. 'sophomoric' is not a bad adjective. all don is doing is making nasty gratuitous cracks. obviously i hope rand does better this time.
8:20: maybe i'm the only one that thought that christie won the first debate; i think he is always impressive. pretty good opening.
8:17: i'm sorry, but jeb is just not going to happen.
lindsey said that strom thurmond had 3 children after age 67, and that unless we're all willing to do that, we're going to need immigration. when i was a baby prof teaching at vanderbilt, i had a student from south carolina, whose dad was a state legislator. the first time strom tried to rape her, she said, she was 13. he pushed her into a closet at a party at her own house. her dad kept pulling her out, but also didn't do anything more about it. strom was in his 80s, i believe. that's what political leadership really means: decades of rape with impunity.
the first four could have been worse. none of them had a disaster or a clear victory, etc. but jindal did get pretty crazy up in there.
7:47: jindal: 'i am angrier at the republicans in dc than i am at the president' (who according to jindal, is at least 'an honest socialist'). i don't know how well that flies. he also indicated that maybe he (or 'we') would or should withdraw from the republican party and start a real conservative party, etc. so maybe he's not running for the rep nom after all? maybe he'll be the nominee of the constitution party.
7:22: santorum's economic populism is sharp. he just pointed out that at the 2012 rep convention, they paraded business-owners and entrepreneurs onto the stage, but 'not a single worker'. 'how are we going to win an election if 90% of americans think we don't care about them at all?'
7:12: lindsey's jokes are forced sometimes, but he does score: 'the first thing i'll do as president: more drinking." (as reagan drank with tip, mind.)
they should have done a more even split between the two debates: 11 is too many.
6:56: pretty interesting that pataki says he would have fired kim davis. probably the only candidate of the 15 who'd say something like that. like santorum: "the supreme court decision [on gay marriage] is against god's law."
6:46: maybe that was a bit wrong on graham: pretty sharp and enlightening exchange between graham and santorum on immigration.
6:31 i think graham is just there to say over and over that isis must be destroyed. he appears to be completely uninterested in any other issue. he's just there to try to drag the party back to demented cheneyesque militarism.
6:26: case of the prob in the entry below: jindal still "has the bandwidth to get us through this": any nonsense phrase in a storm, x1000. the republicans are just as bad overall as the dems on the stupefyingly repetitive rhetoric: they're still accusing everyone of supporting 'amnesty' for 'illegals'. that focus-grouped out in 2000, and since has grown into a tumor on the republican brain. people who talk in a collage of repetitive catch-phrases are stupid.
6:02: jerry brown was on the cnn pregame, sounding for all the world as though he's running for president.