Four Hot Takes on the Debate

One word: Carly. The response to the Trump “face” comment was pitch perfect and deftly delivered. This may be the moment we’ll remember when the Trump balloon began to deflate. She got in a lot of other great lines, some of them importantly subtle, especially “women are not a special interest group.” She’d totally slaughter Hillary in a head-to-head debate. Her crisp command of military details shows that she knows stuff. Her attack on Planned Parenthood, while coming across perhaps a notch too angry on TV, was likely immensely impressive in person in the hall, if the applause was any indication. If nothing else.

Cruz: A good evening, and he made one of the most serious arguments of the night by bringing up the two Presidents Bush passing up Edith Jones and Mike Luttig for the Supreme Court—two names most people have never heard of if you don’t follow the judiciary—because the Bushes lacked the courage for the confirmation fight. Good for Cruz. Jeb tried the line about appointing Justices with a “proven track record.” Spit-take time: I’d have asked, “Why then did your brother want to put Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court, who had NO track record?” More evidence that the Bush family Just. Doesn’t. Get. It. Cruz helped himself a lot.

Speaking of Jeb, he was totally unimpressive. As someone said on Twitter, he looked like a little kid whose mom pushed him out on the stage. He really doesn’t look like his heart is in it. Stick a fork in him; he’s done. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him drop out after New Hampshire.

Rubio: another solid showing. I’ll have more to say about Ben Carson later perhaps.

As for CNN: I used to like Jake Tapper. Not any more. He was squalid. The worst moment was his total misrepresentation of Reagan, the 1987 ozone treaty, and climate change. I thought the candidates gave solid answers to this gross distortion. And once again, for the real story and right way to think about it, go back and take in my Forbes column from a couple months ago, “What Would Ronald Reagan Do About Climate Change?”