At the time I am writing this, The seventh and final Republican primary debate has concluded less than two hours ago. I’ve had some time to process the event and even get some opinions from personal friends as well as colleagues in the political commentary field and one thing is unanimous: we are all very thankful that these primary debates are finally over and done with. I actually skipped the last two Republican debates because of how redundant I felt things were in the first four.
Before we began, I’d like to state that I am not grading Donald Trump since he didn’t even participate in the debate. I have mixed feelings about his decision not to participate. On the one hand I was really glad that he wasn’t there since he seems to love turning every event of which he is a part of, into a self aggrandizing spectacle. This is the main reason I’ve avoided the last few debates prior to this one as I’m not interested in The Donald Trump reality show that these prior ones seemed to have devolved into. On the other hand, I found it in poor taste of him not to show up since this is The Iowa Caucus. I believe that the primary voters should have an opportunity to hear from all the candidates, and that he robbed them of that opportunity in order to go exploit The Wounded Warrior Project in a faux charity event created for the purpose of flipping Fox News the bird.
Yes dear readers, my disdain for Trump should be quite apparent at this point and this is mostly due to the fact that I don’t believe he’s serious about being president. (Another column for another time).
Like them or not, all of the candidates that did show up for the Iowa debate all genuinely seem to be interested in The Oval Office for nobel and unselfish intentions. So with this in mind: here is my analysis of the candidates and their performances.
Rand Paul — B+
Although I am not always a fan of the senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul was certainly one of the better spoken candidates and was clear and concise in the majority of his talking points. His prioritization of the national debt has always earned him my respect. He presented himself in a way that has made me start to reevaluate him in a more positive fashion. However, it’s his remarks about privacy laws and The NSA that are still a turn off for me.
This whole thing about privacy and an “invasive government reading through your emails like a peeping Tom” bit that both Rand and his father do is getting old. People seem to keep forgetting the fact that the NSA searches for certain keywords used by terrorism suspects and potential sleeper cell agents and disregards the rest. Most of this is automated from a computer system beforehand anyways. The same applies to social media and Google searches you may make as well. The government really doesn’t care one iota about that Instagram selfie you took or heaven forbid, the Google search for Kate Upton pics from every male ages 14 and up.
Marco Rubio — A-
Marco Rubio is one of the few people in public office today that I’d classify as accessible and inspiring. His vision for “A New American Century” filled with innovation from private industry, as well as a straightforward no BS attitude towards ISIS and other terrorist organizations, makes him one of my more preferred candidates in this race of whom I would gladly vote for without hesitation if the general election were today. He did stumble and fall when it came to his contradiction in regards to immigration which would’ve only earned him a „B“ rating in this review. However, I felt he did a good job recovering from a glaring criticism and remaining calm and collected throughout the remainder of the debate and thus earning an „A“- rating overall.
Chris Christie — B-
I’m actually a bit surprised to be rating Christie this high myself, but to be completely honest, it’s all because of the way he took Hillary Clinton to task repeatedly on Benghazi among other things. He doesn’t seem to want to argue with fellow Republicans and instead is anxious to clean Hilary’s clock which I have no doubt that he could do given the opportunity to do so. However, this is the only thing that Christie has going for him at this point which means he gets a „B-“ rating since I’m in a generous mood.
Ted Cruz — A-
Ted Cruz has been a favorite of grassroots conservatives and like Marco Rubio is a man of honor in my book. His audio-graphic memory, sharp wit, and love of our founding documents was evident tonight and they make one hell of a combination. His take no prisoners attitude towards terrorism is exactly what we need right now. However he continues to present his arguments in a somewhat polarizing fashion and this could very well be his downfall. He’s still one of my favorites though.
Jeb Bush — C-
Though he didn’t bore me as much as Carson or Kasich, Jeb seemed to pick a fight with everyone in the room and was just flop and uninteresting in general. Not much else to say here.
Ben Carson and John Kasich — D
This ranking honestly breaks my heart since I like both men. They’re both personable and have strong integrity. However, when it came to this debate, I could’ve sworn both men were asleep at their respective podiums when not being called on. Carson seemed to fumble with his words repeatedly and Kasich was so uninteresting that I’ve already forgotten pretty much everything that he stated during the debate. I like them both but they need to get out of the race now.
I have done my best to look objectively at each of the candidates and their performances during the debate. Bush, Carson, and Kasich have no business being in this race still as far as I’m concerned. The biggest surprise of the night for me was how well Rand did. With that being said, I think it’s ultimately going to come down to Trump, Cruz, and Rubio. Now we must wait and see how Iowa ultimately responds to the debate.