Fox News got mega ratings for Thursday’s debate. Since everyone under the sun has given their analysis, I thought I would give mine. I’ll restrict my thoughts to the top ten contenders, even though I think Carly Fiorina is going to get a lot more attention soon. Here’s my impression of each candidate:

Donald Trump The aftermath of the debate might prove to be his undoing, but the debate itself went fine for him. The first question, on running third party, should have been more adequately prepared for as his response was not that great. Grade: C.

Jeb Bush Looked uncomfortable. And he should be. This is not his father’s Republican Party or even his brother’s. He’s trying to appeal to the GOP based on his record in Florida rather than throwing them red meat. He wasn’t a disaster but he didn’t impress anybody either. Grade: C.

Scott Walker He didn’t do “bad” but his abortion position is going to come back to haunt him if he makes it to the general. Still hasn’t convinced many establishment Republicans that he’s ready for prime time. Grade: C-

Marco Rubio While not a huge debate win, Rubio came across well here and will be an adequate candidate for the GOP establishment to rally around should Jeb falter. Has good people skills and that counts for something. Grade: B+

Mike Huckabee Probably one of the more overlooked candidates; Republicans like Huckabee but very few have him as their top choice. Not sure if he’ll be able to capitalize on the debate but he did well. Grade: A

Ted Cruz Cruz was one of the winners of the debate. He reminded conservative Republicans why they liked him so much in the past and he’ll once again be on their radar, especially if Trump collapses. Grade: A

Ben Carson The soft-spoken Carson’s night was saved by his closing statement. As with Huckabee, Republicans like Carson but he’s the #1 choice of few. While he turned in a decent performance, a surge in the polls won’t be forthcoming. Grade: B-

Rand Paul Trump said it best: “You’re having a hard time tonight.” And he did have a hard time. His opening statement ended with “I’m a different kind of Republican.” First of all – show, don’t tell. Second, different kind of Republicans don’t vote in primaries. Grade: D

Chris Christie Christie tangled with Paul in one memorable exchange. They both lost. Other than that, Christie actually did a good job, but he’s in danger of being relegated to the kid’s table for the next debate. ‘Good’ is no longer good enough. He needs to be perfect. Grade: C

John Kasich Kasich was one of the winners of the debate, but only because it increased his name recognition. Beyond that, though, I fail to see how he’s going to appeal to the primary electorate by being the most moderate guy in the room. That might thrill the media but it’s not going to excite conservatives. Grade: B+

Additional thoughts: Carly Fiorina is going to vault herself into the top tier. (See this tweet from our state’s own Public Policy Polling.) Also, if Donald Trump survives this thing with Megyn Kelly, establishment Republicans need to seriously start preparing for the possibility of Trump as their nominee.


  1. Radagast

    (Sorry for the DP).
    Roops! The US State Department (dragged kicking and screaming into releasing Hillary’s e mails by a Federal Judge’s order) has just released 7,000 more pages of Hillary’s e mails (from her private server), 150 of which have been designated as “classified (which makes 150 felony counts, if my calculator is working right). .
    The trickle has turned into a flood. It’s just a matter of time now, before the Hildabeast is toast (God Speed – and Good Riddance)!

  2. Radagast

    I get it, Fox News is an “entertainment channel”. However, an entertainment channel that’s leading the cable new ratings, expontntianally. (Plus, they have some of the most beautiful female reporters in the USA, an anathema to the Femi-Nazis.).
    I certainly have a clue (thank me very much), In case you didn’t notice, the Conservative Party in Great Britain has dominated since the Magnificent Margaret Thatcher (whom Ronald Reagan called “my dear friend”), and is still in control. Go figure.
    And that assumes (of course) that MSNBC claims to be a “news channel”, with babbling, spitting idiots Chris Matthews, and Al Sharpton?” Their ratings are in the toilet!
    The “name calling” is disgusting? For Cripes-A-Mighty Sakes, haven’t you ever heard “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me”?
    For God sakes, The Hilda Beast has to sneak up on a glass of water, just to get a drink! (No wonder Slick Willie had (and is still having) trysts with all those Bimbos)!
    I’m sorry, but with Hillary, if I took every Viagra pill in the bottle, I couldn’t……(well, never mind).
    And you don’t think Hor-Gay (that’s how he wants it pronounced) is a little gerbil? He’s an Illegal Invader and Community Organizer (like his mentor, Hussein Obama)!
    But ( I assume) you had the same outrage when George W, Bush was called an idiot
    , and portrayed as a chimpanzee, didn’t you?
    Crickets chirping……………
    Lions and tigers and bears, Oh My! Making up names and name calling, Oh My!
    So, I’m sorry I abused your mamby-pampy sensibilities, here. As Jack Nicholson said in the movie A Few Good Men: “You Can’t Stand The Truth!”.

  3. Radagast

    I’m smart enough to know that we have agreed to disagree. But OK, here’s my sources. Fox News is blowing everybody out of the water in the cable news ratings. (But shucks, never mind the facts).
    And, White House spokesman Josh Earnest did issue an endorsement of Biden. Again, my source (among others).
    The UK (United Kingdom) Daily Mail is a British online news source, which has the temerity to report on what the American Main Stream Media used to do: investigative journalism. Last I checked, the Brits are not known as “conservatives”.
    However, the Hildabeast’s e mail scandal has gained so much traction, the MSM has been dragged kicking and screaming into reporting on it. Trump is right. Hillary won’t make it to the starting gate, no matter how many times she wears that pumpkin suit!
    Trump just kicked Illegal Immigration Activist Hor-Gay Ramos out, when he tried to disrupt a press conference. To Trump’s credit, he let the little gerbil back in, and debated him. In the end, Trump actually got Jorge to agree with him!
    Of course, the “experts and pundits” predicted (again) that Trump was finished, but (lo and behold) Trump went up in the polls after that!
    Anyway, good debate!

    • Apply Liberally

      First, and again, Fox News is an entertainment channel, not a news channel. It leads in the ratings because it gives people what they want to hear and what fits in their world view—it does not give them facts.

      Second, in the late 1960s, The Daily Mail went through a phase of being liberal on some issues like corporal punishment, but has since towed a conservative line. The Mail has historically been a supporter of the Conservatives and has endorsed this party in ALL recent general elections. “The Brits are not known as ‘conservatives'”?? Please, get a clue.

      Third, Earnest did not give any formal endorsement of Biden. If he had, he would have been fired. It’s not the place of the WH communications director to give political endorsements. Your reading comprehension skills are lacking. He talked about how Obama feels strongly about Biden’s worthiness and credentials to be president—things that one would hope a good VP would have.

      Finally, you’re back to making up names and name-calling, Hildebeast? Hor-Gay? Little gerbil? I suppose I could ask you to stop, but, on the other hand, why bother? Your words demonstrate to all how you think and what you are…….

      • Norma

        Well said. I thought for a moment I was reading satire Radagast, not good satire, but the name calling is disgusting.

  4. Radagast

    -57% of GOPers votes won’t win a presidency.
    Gee, that’s what they said about an unknown Senator from Illinois in the 2008 election (which was supposed to be Hillary’s coronation).
    And, in case you didn’t notice, Fox News is leading the ratings, with O’ Reilly first, and Hannity second (but hell, never mind the facts).
    The Daily Mail reports the facts that (curiously) the American Main Stream Media fails to report on (I wonder why?), and they broke the story about Hillary’s (the smartest woman in the world’s) server being backed up by a “mom & pop” company, who had their servers in a bathroom closet.
    Childish, made up names for the Vaunted Wrinkle Queen? Not my names, buy what everyone else is calling her. Have you seen the avatar of Hillary as the Wicked Witch of the West? (that’s a howl).
    I have a very open mind (thank me very much) and my open mind tells me that “Missus Rodham’s” presidential campaign is headed for the latrine (God Speed), and she’ll be lucky if she’s not criminally indicted.
    Senator Elizabeth Warren just met with Joe Biden, and White House Spokesman Josh Earnest just endorsed the VP.
    But hell, as you said, I have a hard time “keeping up”.

    • Apply Liberally

      “They” said that Obama can’t win the presidency because he can’t get 57% of registered Republicans to vote for him? What? NOT TRUE (because nobody ever said that).

      “Everyone” is calling HRC those names? NOT TRUE. Maybe she’s being called those names by you and others in your small world, but that’s a limited sub-sample.

      FOX News is leading in the ratings. PARTIALLY TRUE. It is leading the ratings among entertainment (non-news) networks that are highly partisan and propagandistic. But, of course, there is only one such entertainment network that fits that description, and it’s FOX News. And its viewer demographic is predominantly white, conservative, and male, with a median age of 65 years old (you can look that up). Doesn’t bode well for that network long-term.

      You originally implied that The Daily Mail was not a right wing conservative outlet. NOT TRUE. It IS a right wing conservative tabloid.

      “”WH Spokesman Josh Earnest just endorsed the VP”??? NOT TRUE. Your reading comprehension skills must be very poor.

  5. Radagast

    I have no problem if a post is challenged. It appeared that my source post had been taken down, but was re-instated. As I said, there are many other sources as well, not just the ones I posted.
    Rasmussen is reporting that 57% of Republican voters would support Trump in the general.
    Fox News Judge Jeanine Pirro says The Missus Clinton could be charged with seven crimes in her e mail scandal, along with her aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.
    Reuters is now reporting that dozens of e mails were classified from the start, refuting Hillary’s claims that they weren’t. The Daily Mail is reporting that Hillary’s e mails were backed up at a “mom & pop” computer company, where the servers were in a bathroom.
    And as we know, Reuters, Rasmussen and The Daily Mail are all right wing neo-con outfits!
    The good news is Hillary is toast, and the country will be better off for it.

    • Apply Liberally

      -57% of GOPers votes won’t win a presidency.
      -Who cares what a FOX News talking head says? It’s not a legit news outlet , and has no journalistic standards.
      -The Daily Mail is a stauchly conservative TABLOID.
      -Ramussen and Reuters are legit and generally objective sources, but, after visiting those sites, I see that you put your own biased spin on their stories. And you cite them only wrt Hillary’s email matter, and not wrt to the specific claptrap you were challenged on (about Obama undermining HRC’s campaign).
      -thanks for easing up on hurling those childish, made-up names for HRC. Shows that you are educable.
      -Folks who follow this blog are generally not dummies, and they do try to maintain an open and critical mind despite their political leanings. Please try to keep up.

  6. Progressive Wing

    You posted sources to refute Apply Liberally? Really? I went back and read your first post here several times, and don’t see a single “source” cited other than yourself. If you had actually “posted sources,” and credible ones, perhaps your post would not have been challenged.

    And, please, having one’s words and opinions challenged in a public discourse on politics is (1) not a First Amendment matter (that amendment is about being able to speak out without GOVERNMENT reprisal; last I looked, Thomas’ blog site is not government-run), and (2) even if it WAS a First Amendment matter, having one’s statements contested openly by others is what the First Amendment is all about!

    “…..folks are wondering why Megyn Kelly took an ‘unexpected’ vacay….”? So what? To imply that her leave had anything to do with her treatment of Trump in the debate is pure 100% speculation. Folks are also wondering if the current VP will run, or whether the East Coast will have a hurricane this season. Again I ask: “So what?”

    The ONLY “source” who claimed that Obama and friends are trying to undermine HRC’s candidacy is ….(wait for it)….DICK MORRIS, a former Clinton friend and now highly discredited commentator. And he did it in an interview with NewsMax, an arch conservative site run by arch conservative Christopher Ruddy, who after writing a book on the so-called Vince Foster conspiracy, has for some reason (guilt? reparation?) now become a supporter of the Clintons. In short, and either way, hardly an unbiased source.

    Sorry, but your posts show all the signs of one who’s stuck in that neo-con echo-chamber. And saying that is not “shouting you down” in any way. It’s just offering an opinion on your opinion.

  7. Radagast

    OK, let’s try this again. I posted sources to refute Apply Liberally, but apparently that’s not allowed. So much for the First Amendment.
    Recent High School graduate: the First….. what?
    I’m a little slow on the uptake, but I do have enough sense to come in out of the rain. Will conservative opinions be allowed here, or shall I be shouted down? The world wonders.
    Suffice it to say that folks are wondering why Megyn Kelly took an “unexpected” vacay, Obama and the Shadow President (Valarie Jarrett) have declared war on Hillary, and yes (sorry folks) The Donald may just make it to the nomination.
    And I agree, Trump is polarizing. Love him or hate him, there’s no “in between” with him.. At least he will not apologize for America, and (most assuredly) will never bow to a foreign leader (like somebody else we know).

  8. Radagast

    My sources:
    (Among others) Thank me very much!
    Alas, the Vaunted Wrinkle Queen will not make it to her coronation (again). 2008 was supposed to be “her turn”, but along came Obama, and the Dems threw Nurse Ratched under the bus. Now The Hildabeast will be lucky if she avoids prison.
    Yes, Trump has 30 bil, so he will not be beholden to special interests and lobbyists. You can tell he has hit a nerve on the Illegal Invader issue, because the liberal weenies is screaming and puking their pabulum.
    Trump didn’t enter the ring to play Namby-Pamby and stand on top of the hill to sing the Coca Cola song. He’s in the ring kicking ass and taking names. It’s about time!

    • Progressive Wing

      Thanks for providing so-called “sources” (at long last), and thereby also proving the point made that you get your info from fringe sites. I’ll just shake my head at your believing this stuff and weighing these sources as credible.

      BTW, Klein was simply reacting to and speculating on Morris’ wild allegation, and as noted, “is the author of Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas, and has given many anonymous insider accounts of what happens behind the scenes with the Clintons.” Doesn’t a website publicly identifying and glorifying someone who sells himself as an “anonymous insider” tell you anything?

      Finally, “Vaunted Wrinkle Queen”? “Nurse Ratched”? “The Hildebeast”? “Illegal Invader issue”? “Liberal weenies….puking their pabulum (sic)”? Really? I mean, really?

  9. Radagast

    I like Donald Trump more and more. He is not politically correct. If you throw a stone at Trump, he will throw a brick back at you!
    Curiously, Fox news diva Megyn Kelly has taken an unexpected week and a half “vacation” from her top news spot. Looks like she was made to stand in the corner after her attempt to take Trump out in the debate.
    The MSM and the Republican establishment has tried to pronounce Trump “dead in the water” numerous times, but his poll numbers keep improving. He is now trailing The Hildabeast by only six points.
    Hillary has her own problems, and won’t even make it to the nomination. Word is Obama has given Atty. General Lynch and the FBI the green light on the criminal investigation regarding her e mail scandal.
    Some pundits are grudgingly admitting that Trump could make it all the way. Go Donald!

    • Apply Liberally

      Can’t say I’ve ever read a comment o full of rumor, hearsay, innuendo, and sophomoric nonsense as yours. Megyn Kelly made to “stand in the corner”? “Hildabeast”? “Word is that Obama has …….” what? And how it is that YOU would be privy to any such “word”?

      And gotta love that “Some pundits are grudgingly admitting…” line, too. The equivalent of when FOX News sets-up a very leading and shaded question with “Some people say that……”. Give me a break.

      Fans of Trump must like the wealth, arrogance, nativism, bigotry, bullying, and jingoism that goes with his every step and pronouncement. Real patriots….not.

    • Troy

      For the record, let me say this, In my eyes, Donald Trump is a blithering idiot. He’s business smart, no one can deny that. But he has all the eloquence, grace, and panache of a 20 ton wrecking ball rolling through a fine china shop.

      The darker truth to his reality is that he is saying what a lot of people are thinking. Since he has no accountability to anyone other than himself, he rides roughshod over any one and every one that doesn’t agree with or simply worship him outright. Dare to disagree with him and your are beneath contempt. He never lets anyone forget or ignore the fact that he is filthy rich and doesn’t need anyone beyond the voting booth. And that my good sir, is something you should remain conscious of heading into that voting booth.

      The other theory which I also find plausible is that he represents the antithesis to the ‘professional’ politician. For the Pol Pot fan club set and the John Birch Roast members, he’s a (God I hate saying this) breath of fresh air. He represents a true and viable alternative to what many see as what is wrong with the Nation.

      As far as throwing a brick, he hasn’t got the nerve; he’d talk about it and brag about but in actuality, he would hire it done since he’s not going to get his hands dirty or ruin his manicure.

      Remember to always be careful what you wish for; you might just get it.

  10. Troy

    Trump continues to hold his position because he says what he thinks. While it isn’t right, proper, or even a decent thought, it is his. He might not be elected, but no one can say they don’t know where he stands on something. So he hangs himself out there, right, wrong, or indifferent. And his popularity stands fast; so far. Will that change? The powerbrokers that really run this country have yet to weigh in and I anticipate a Bush/Clinton duel for next November. My two cents and I certainly don’t have my fingers on the pulse of this race. The pathetic reality of the Bushists being trounced in 1992 and they haven’t felt good about themselves since.

    Pundits and strategists. “Different kinds of Republicans don’t vote in the primary.” “You have to appeal to the party base.” “You have to run to the right to win the nomination and then dash back to the middle for the general election.”

    Certainly not all of those appeared in John’s article, then again, most of you have heard them espoused at some time or another. Is it any wonder people are sick of politics in general and politicians specifically? This is why they loathe and despise the political process and why many abstain or become apathetic and lethargic concerning the process. Politicians can’t pick an issue and make a statement and stand by it; the polls might go against them so they must remain generalized and non-specific. Those seeking office are what I refer to as ‘professional’ politicians. That is their career path. Their lives are spent brokering power so they will do what they must to be elected again and again. They certainly don’t want themselves tossed for younger, faster, smarter. Do you see now why so many voters are leaving both parties saying that “there is really no difference between them” and file as ‘independent.’

    And the sad part is, we’ve done it to ourselves. We’ve sold our own self-interest for ‘freedom’. Freedom which we already have and that has never been threatened. Honestly, does anyone reading this actually think that that a few thousand religious zealots can bring down the entire United States, Government of, particularly when that entity is comprised of “We the People”?

    We’ve voted against our own well-being for issues that neither affect nor impact us as a nation, a state, or as individuals; issues which run contrary to some abstract notion that we were taught as children and for some reason, ignorantly adhere to as adults as if nothing has changed twixt and tween. We continue to elect representatives who act not in our interests, but their own and those of the people who gave them the money to run and win. We sit still while our tax dollars are transferred to private enterprise in order to eliminate jobs and make money for that private enterprise. We say little and do nothing while our tax dollars are used to fund the private educations of those ‘less fortunate’ under the guise of ‘choice’ and ‘improvement’. We sit woefully silent as the taxes for the few are lowered and the taxes for the many are raised; as long as the few are in the top tier tax bracket.

    What does any of that have to do with John’s article and the Republican debate? Everything.

    • Norma

      May I ask what you do to end this mess you describe? I know that I have spent much of my life speaking out, even risking my safety to oppose some actions that I knew to be morally wrong, always vote (local, state and federal), and as tactfully as possible challenge the stupidity and ill informed voices I encounter. I understand the frustration, but “we” is a bit overly inclusive, I think.

      • Troy

        Certainly you may ask. You are also free, unlike many other things, free to think as you choose.

        My use of the word “we” was certainly not inclusive of ‘you’, given the veracity of your continued commentary. My use was rhetorical more than literal since no election on the State or Federal is ever decided by unanimous vote. However I found it quite fitting giving due consideration to the majorites that now sit within the confines of our State and Federal Legislatures making decisions on our behalf, but somehow, never seem to have our best interests at the core of the resulting legislation.

        So “we” (there’s that word again) either by omission or commission have brought about the problem that is now upon the population, myself included. In a representative democracy, where else is the responsibility to be laid except upon those that cast the votes? That was the context of my writing.

        And…I’m not frustrated.

  11. Russell Scott Day

    Glad you all watched it. I care a good deal about politics, but as entertainment I get depressed. Sanders did say the best things about them.

    Certainly they are not thinking of the realities of our nations conflicts in a world of enemies. The US is grasping at being the Government of Governments, but it is a reach too far beyond the brand, so far anyway.

    Possibly if we came out and said something to that effect. Prospects of Nuclear war in Central Europe? Ending J. Edgar Hoovers hold on our policing, which was the basis of his police state?
    Per capita opportunity for public school systems?

    Not even any mention of the Post Office. How in gods name can anyone be for the Federal Government, and against the Post Office? These people are running for President.

    Let’s all talk about what? Breaking up the big banks? How about looking ahead to when we abandon the Petrodollar?

    What does the Saudi attack in Yeman really mean?

    Why don’t major corporations want to pay taxes?

    Why are the wealthy becoming British Londoners at 3,000 a year, instead of 300? Is it right that our most stalwart ally gets to hide the money in the Caymans or even the Cook Islands?

    What about the defense of our Grid, or why doesn’t the US government think it ought defend our commerce by making a rock solid web invulnerable to attack?

    Solid journalism?

  12. Nortley

    So a not embarrassing debate performance is supposed to make up for Carly Fiorina’s disastrous stint at Hewlett Packard?

    • larry

      No it doesn’t and should not, however the bar for the …for all the performers was and is very low so Carly ‘Dragonlady’ Fiorina looked cleaver and serious. And they actually think they have deep bench. Go figure.

  13. keith

    I disagree with “Apply Liberally” re: FOX’s vendetta against Trump. His outlandish statements over his entire history, his dearth of anything substantive in terms of public policy, and his generally obnoxious personal speaking tones demanded at least the attack he was given. The other candidates, with the exception of the wet-behind-the-ears Carson, have all functioned in a political, public world; thus, they actually have positions and governing records to be attacked, not just stupid verbalization as is the case with Trump. Even moron Ted Cruz is part of a governing body, even if he generally does not join in. I am no FOX fan, but I do not think they treated Trump unfairly at all.

    • Apply Liberally

      I never said Trump was treated unfairly by FOX, or that his grilling by the moderators was undeserved. I simply felt that it was comical how FOX (and behind it, the GOP) has been forced to now try to undermine the monster they have created. Trump verbalizes many of the biases of far rightist GOP’ers—-biases that FOX has been cheerleading since its founding in 1996.

  14. Apply Liberally

    Grading the Bozos on the GOP Clown Car is a laugh-a-minute exercise. None of them did very well in showing their presidential mettle or worthiness (with the possible exception of Kasich, IMO). The funniest “skit” in that audition (it was hardly a debate) was the obvious vendetta FOX and the GOP has launched to try to dump Trump from the top polling spot……

  15. Arthur Dent

    If Cruz and Huckabee were the top of the pile (ignoring, for the moment, Rubio, Kasich and Fiorina), then some of us (say, the more rational, moderate citizens of the United States) have to do a much better job of convincing the right-wing that those are not the droids they are looking for. They are both grim, marginalist ideologues in a ever-more diverse country.

    • Norma


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