With ten of these guys alternately sparring and offering platitudes, here is The Shad’s view of winners and losers.
• John Kasich. Clearly turning the home field advantage into thunderous applause, he avoided clashes with his fellow candidates, told his story and really did sound like a “compassionate conservative.”
• Carly Fiorina. She wasn’t even on stage but her performance in the Losers’ Bracket Debate earlier in the night (see below) resulted in a quick video of her running during the main event. She could have looked at Trump and said, “You’re fired!”
Seems plausible (maybe):
• Jeb Bush. He came on strong during the discussion on education reform. His closing statement had a lot to be desired, Still looks nervous.
• Marco Rubio. He’s more likeable than your average Republican but will still battle the “light weight” label.
• Ben Carson. He started strong, disappeared, then reemerged at the end. I’m still not sure what he stands for.
Please Go Away:
• Ted Cruz. You hate Obama and everything about him, we get it. You are the only candidate who I suspected of packin’ heat on stage.
• Chris Christie. He seems angry and nasty. Even Republicans can play nice. Avoid the Tappan Zee Bridge on the way home.
• Mike Huckabee. He’s a tool.
• Rand Paul. He threw down with both Trump and Christie. He’s an agitator and not much more.
Will Maintain the Lead:
• Donald Trump. He came though not only unscathed but didn’t back down to assaults from Paul, et al. He explained his past positions fairly well. I’m not sure, but I think he told us to invest in Iran.
• Scott Walker. He was No. 3 in the polls coming in but failed miserably to make his case. He is not ready for prime time. He would have been better off wearing a cheesehead.
• The FOX News moderators/hosts. While the questions themselves were quite good, Chris Wallace, Meagan Kelly and Brett Baier seemed quite taken with themselves. The opening of the debate was marred by long, awkward pauses and the hosts’ forced laughter at every word the others said.
• Rosie O’Donnell. She probably spit out her organic, gluten- smoothie after Trump’s comment.