So yesterday I predicted that in the “kids table” debate, Senators Santorum and Graham would do the best, Fiorina and Governor Jindal would be moderately good and Governors Perry, Gilmore and Pataki would do horribly. I would say that although I got some predictions right, I got more predictions wrong. And there was one prediction that I got very, very wrong.
What I got right: I did say former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum would have one of the strongest debate performances, and I was fairly right on this one. I would say aside from the winner of the debate Carly Fiorina (see below) and silver prize winner Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Santorum was the bronze prize winner in tonight’s debate. It was almost too easy to predict that Governors Gilmore and Pataki wouldn’t stand out at all. Honestly, I don’t even know why either candidate bothered appearing in the debate. Everyone knew they were going to fall flat, and they did just that. Gilmore talked about 9/11 the whole time. When Pataki wasn’t discussing 9/11, he was actually making the claim that if he were the Governor of New York during the implementation of Obamacare, he would have rejected the state exchange and Medicaid expansion. That’s pure B.S. and everyone knows it. Now, while I didn’t necessarily get Perry wrong (he definitely struggled and flubbed his words at times), he wasn’t great either. Perry was slightly above mediocre, which is good for him considering how awful he was in the 2011 debates.
What I got wrong: Carly Fiorina won the debate hands down, and it wasn’t even close. I called her personality “bland” yesterday, and I stand by those remarks because I had only previously seen her debate on episodes of Real Time With Bill Maher. But Fiorina’s responses were calculated, she gave detailed responses, and she had the best zinger of this debate (“anybody here get a call from Clinton?”). If Fiorina’s numbers do not shoot up in the polls soon, my prediction is they eventually will. By far the strongest performance of the “happy hour” debate went to Fiorina.
As for what else I got wrong, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was terrible. He started out okay, but then went on a serious bummer trip and looked melancholic and despondent. Maybe Senator Graham realized halfway into the debate that he realy does have zero chance of winning this nomination. I don’t know. Governor Jindal delivered a strong performance, even though I said he would only be decent. Jindal was better than decent, particularly when discussing foreign policy. Jindal’s eloquence should help him down the road (maybe a VP choice?), but I think everyone was expecting a disaster based on his 2009 State Of the Union Response.
All in all, it was a decent debate. Although, I felt bad for the candidates because the moderator’s first question was “Who are you people, exactly?” and their second question was “Why is Donald Trump doing so much better than you guys?” (for the record, I’m only slightly paraphrasing here). It was also very awkward considering there were no people in the audience. So when these candidates would finish a forceful and vigorous response, it was really a bummer that there was no one in the audience to applaud them. But it was mostly awkward. More debate review (for the main event) in the next post.