Trump Gets Trounced; Bush, Fiorina Shine; Kasich the Adult; Rubio Impresses; Carson a Dud; Paul, Christie, Walker, Cruz, Huckabee All Irrelevant

The Hanging Shad’s take on last night’s action:

The free for all that was the main-stage GOP presidential debate ended up being a very bad night for Donald Trump. Every candidate except John Kasich and the very strange Ted Cruz took shots at Trump. The Teflon Don(ald) came away looking petty, unprepared and uninformed. His lack of specifics on every issue was glaring while his trademark whit and sharpness were lacking.

The CNN moderators kept Trump off balance by repeatedly asking about the insults he has tossed around with regularity. They asked Trump about his missives and asked the other candidates about what Trump has said about them. The result was a Donald Trump on his heels, having to face the music on his unique style.

Jeb Bush started slow but quickly engaged Trump. Later, in one excellent exchange, Bush defended his father and his brother effectively, making Trump appear petty and small. It got a big round of applause.

Fiorina rose to occasion again having made the jump from the losers’ bracket to the main draw. She got the biggest bursts of applause of the night for slapping down Trump and forcefully showing her knowledge of foreign policy.

John Kasich maintained his role as the adult in the room. He is clearly the most experienced and qualified candidate in the field from this view. But he doesn’t seem to inspire.

Mike Huckabee is a disgrace. He still thinks that Kentucky county clerk and resident whack job Kim Davis should not have to issue marriage licenses on religious grounds. He misses the point (or wants us to miss it). The Supreme Court didn’t write a law. It struck down as unconstitutional the law prohibiting same-sex marriage. What we’re left with is no grounds to turn couples down based on their sexual orientation. Huckabee is dangerous yet not smart enough to realize that 63 percent of Americans think Davis should be issuing marriage licenses equally.

Ben Carson disappointed. Scott Walker is toast. Chris Christie tried—and failed—to come off as Mr. Tough Guy, Marco Rubio has potential (but he really sweats a lot), Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are irrelevant.

We’ll have to wait for the next polls to see whether I’m right about any of this or whether other viewers agree.