Debates

The First Republican Debate of 2016: Your Morning Round-Up

A quick guide to the candidates' performances

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Did you watch the prime-time Republican debate last night? Here's a clip to refresh your memory:

I'm really torn between appreciating Trump as a prankster figure and dwelling on the fact that he's a horrible human being with terrible politics.

No? OK, here's a quick guide to what the performers said and did:

DONALD TRUMP: Confessed that he might decide to run as an independent, but assured everyone that he's willing to endorse the GOP if the GOP endorses Trump. Acknowledged that he used to have very different opinions on several issues important to Republicans, but that's OK; every now and then you've just got to declare bankruptcy and start over.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: A little lost now that Trump has stolen his "blustering bully from the tri-state area" schtick. Tried to revive Giuliani's 9/11 9/11 9/11 schtick instead.

RAND PAUL: Far more libertarian than anyone else on the stage. But that's a low bar to clear when there are people onstage who aren't quite sure what warrants are for.

JOHN KASICH: Said he understands "the concerns of all the folks across this country" because his father was a mailman. Presumably dad used to read him their mail.

I guess we're past this stage.

MIKE HUCKABEE: He figured out a way to list Trump's negatives without getting Trump mad at him, which is kind of impressive. Also, he wants to tax pimps and drug dealers. When someone asked him a question about transgender issues, he managed to work Benghazi into his answer.

SCOTT WALKER: Resolutely flip-flopping rightward. He might actually win the nomination, so there's a chance we'll get to see him make those flops in reverse this time next year.

TED CRUZ: Threw tons of red meat to the conservative base in his usual raucous way, yet somehow came across as almost mild-mannered. Political scientists call this the Standing Near Trump Effect.

BEN CARSON: The only candidate who talked about torture, and also the only one who talked about his skills as a neurosurgeon. No, not at the same time.

MARCO RUBIO: Solidified his position as the standby Florida conservative.

JEB BUSH: The frontrunner-if-you-don't-count-Trump, which means he can afford to sit there doing nothing memorable while the focus is on the reality TV star. And indeed, I barely remember a thing he said. Does that mean he won the debate?

NEXT: In for a half inch, not in for two feet

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  1. Excellent summary. Except Cruz WAS mild-mannered. Not “acted like” – he WAS. Had nothing to do with Trump being there.

    Don’t really CARE, but let’s be accurate, eh?

    also – TRUMP WAS BY FAR THE CLASSIEST, STANDING AMONG ALL THESE LOSERS BUT NOT BEING BROUGHT DOWN TO THEIR LOSER LEVEL. #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #Also_MOARCRONYCAPITALIZM!!

    1. The phrase I used was “came across.” He often comes across as a loose cannon, but when there’s a real loose cannon a few feet away from him you start to notice his Mr. Rogers-y tone instead.

      1. I’ll let it pass this once.

      2. He was or he wasn’t. What did they teach you in editing school? “Came across” is amateur freshman writing.

        1. “Came across” is amateur freshman writing.

          No, no?when it comes to freshman writing, I’m a pro.

          1. +1 year of Journo school

            1. Must not have been Columbia.

          2. B-

            Needs more clarity and to grab the readers attention.

            1. Whoa – EVERYONE’s an Engrish professor now….OK then

              *rolls eyes a’ la Rand Paul*

          3. Fair enough 🙂

  2. JOHN KASICH: Said he understands “the concerns of all the folks across this country” because his father was a mailman. Presumably dad used to read him their mail.

    You’re my favorite around here, Jesse.

    1. That really was a great line. Bravo, Jesse.

  3. What are the odds that Trump gets bored with this shtick and bows out halfway through the race, despite still being the frontrunner?

    1. That would be ‘UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE.

    2. What are the odds that Hillary Clinton offers Trump a ‘uuuuge NYC government real estate deal to do as much damage as possible?

      1. I think that’s the actual game here. He’s poisoning the well for Republicans so whoever eventually wins will have to try to win over independents who’ve been watching Trump overwhelmingly representing Republicans in the media for the last year or so. That’ll make it even easier for Hillary to win. Then, he also says he would run as an independent, which would spoil the election for republicans. His trump card is basically saying, “The next president will either be me or Hillary Clinton. Make your choice.”

        And Hillary doesn’t need to offer him anything. He’s given so much to her last campaign and to the Clinton Foundation, it’s reasonable to assume that Trump thinks she’d be good for the job, so he’s not too concerned about her winning if he doesn’t.

        1. not that she would be good for the job of president, but that she would be good for his job as rich person

  4. Also, can we stop calling this a “Debate”. When most of the participants get less than 7 minutes of talking time and don’t even get to address everyone else on stage its hardly a debate. You could have a better debate on Twitter. Heck, you could argue that the candidates did have a better debate on Twitter immediately after their opening arguments on Fox News.

    1. So, some guy -you’ve called women horrible things at different times in your life. Why should you be President?”

  5. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: definitely the losers in this debate.

    1. NO.
      This is called winning.

  6. BTW, I did enjoy the post-a-thon. I couldn’t stand to get on the Tweeterz for long. The HyR-ing was jusssst right.

  7. I can’t believe that a mere fourteen years after, you can at a GOP debate get away with an eye roll at a 9/11 mention. If that doesn’t spell progress…

  8. Paul did ok at the end, but the eye roll will be blown out of proportion. Paul should have told Christie it is pitiful how he uses 9/11 to promote violating everyone’s rights, while mass data collection didn’t even lead to the capture of a terrorists. All instead of rolling his eyes like a douche.

    1. Rand Paul might do well to bring up Korematsu the next time Christie starts hollering about 9/11.

      Then again, Donald Trump would say all those japanese immigrants deserved to be rounded up.

  9. TRUMP =

    “Awesome debate, would have liked to share more of my ideas, but kept getting interrupted by that dumbslut Megyn Kelly. Put a sock in it sister! #MAKEAMERICAGREAT”

    1. USA! USA! USA! USA! #KeepAmericaGreat #TRUMPWILLBE_UUUUUUUUUUGE

  10. This just furthers my theory that Trump was thrust into the pres. race by the clintons to rile up the idiot wing of the Republicans and take their votes as an independent in the general election from whoever the Reoubs nominate

    1. Yeah, it’s alllll a KKKochspiracy, man!

      *looks around suspiciously*

      1. You know that comment makes me want to break out my old copy of the card game Illuminati.

        http://www.boardgamegeek.com/i…..e=original

    2. That’d actually would be pretty clever thing to do. That’s why I don’t believe Hillary did it.

  11. Jesse Walker is out of synch with the rest of the world WRT the debate.
    Scott Walker has evolved his positions, not flip flopped. Jeb Bush practicaly committed ploitical suicide – he was downright God awful. Tumbledown Jed – the younger, stupider brother.

  12. I wonder that the Reason writers think about Donald Trump? Do they approve of him in any way? Maybe someday I will find out.

  13. Is it just me or did Rand Paul sound like a whiny bitch pretty much the entire debate last night? Especially the first two times he tried to interrupt trump. Came off as childish and whiny. Even Paul v Christie…Paul’s argument may have been better, but it sure as fuck didn’t sound better to the majority of people, because it sounded so lame…

    1. Just you. he spoke for ~4 mins.

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  15. At this point I’m just glad Romney isn’t up there. And for the sake of all that’s good, let us all hope that Trump bows out early and a strong Libertarian can lead the debates. I also got the strong impression Trump was in favor of Bush. Nobody seriously believes Trump is ever going to be the nominee right?

    1. “a strong Libertarian can lead the debates.”

      Rand Paul is the only one close, but I wouldn’t call him ‘strong.’

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  17. Everyone sucks.

    /Analysis

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