Republican Debate: The Top Ten (Thoughts & Analysis)

Last night on Fox News, the top ten candidiates for the Republican Presidential nomination held what will probably be the first of many, many, many debates. Earlier in the evening, seven other candidates took to the podiums and had an hour long debate of their own, which I have not had the opportunity to watch yet, so I can’t comment on that or those participants yet. But I did watch the second debate, among the top of the pack. I watched it twice. So based on those two hours, as well as my own general perceptions about each of the men running for the opportunity to become Commander In Chief, I’ve decided to do a quick analysis of each of the top guys, the pros and cons and why I think they would (or would not) be a good choice to occupy the White House.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R – FL)

Rubio is a good looking kid who says the right things and seems to have his ducks in a row, but he doesn’t strike me personally as someone who would make a great President. Maybe it’s as one of the others noted, that he has no executive experience and is merely a legislator. I think that does matter and more often than not, someone who has been a Governor or a CEO, where you make decisions and actually govern and manage, is a far better choice to lead the nation than someone who acts as part of a committee all of the time and just makes proposals and suggestions. I just don’t feel any confidence in this guy. Better to keep him in the Senate where he can argue and debate. And look at those ears. This is petty, but everytime I watched him speak, all I could notice was he has the largest ears which stick out pretty prominently. They keep me from taking the rest of him seriously. A good guy, I have no doubt. But President? Nope!

Sen. Rand Paul (R-TN)

He looked tired and worn down last night. He’s another one who I generally respect. I liked his father a great deal and was a strong supporter of his father being a Secretary of the Treasury or maybe head of the Federal Reserve. That never happened, but given his knowledge and common sense on the financial matters of our government, it would have been a good idea. But Rand Paul is NOT his father. I respect the man for going against the grain and not being afraid to ruffle feathers, but the thought of this man as President scares the hell out of me. Sometimes, I wonder if that elevator goes all the way to the top. And again, he’s a Senator. That means he can debate and legislate, but can he govern or lead? I have my doubts.

Governor Scott Walker (R-WI)

Last night was not his best night, but Governor Walker is a good example of a strong leader and the kind of person we need in the White House. He said what he was going to do and he did it. But he’s just so damn boring and plain. He doesn’t stand out in the crowd and looks like the good Uncle from a TV sitcom. He knows how to win elections, as he’s proven in Wisconsin, but does he have the personality to stand out from the pack and move to the front. And how would he do against Hillary or Sanders? I think he’d make a good leader of a state, as he’s proven. He’d make a good CEO for a company. He’s a smart and competent guy, but in terms of charisma and voter appeal to the general public, he has a long, long ways to go. In today’s world, it’s as much about flash and sizzle as it is substance. Walker has the substance, but needs to work on the rest of it. It shouldn’t matter, but it does.

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ)

I like Governor Christie. I admit it. He’s a smart man who has done a good job, not great but good, in a state that really needed it. He’s got fire and charisma, as he showed several times during the debate last night, especially in a dust up with Sen. Rand Paul, but he was also articulate and well spoken for most of the night, something given his reputation, one would not really expect. Of the crowded pack, he’s among my top three or four guys to be sure. I know that most die-hard Republicans will complain that he’s not “conservative enough” and bring up the “hug” with Obama, but let’s be honest, he’s more of a “common sense” guy than conservative. He’s blunt and says what he says and no apologies. He’s not so restricted by a certain ideology that he can’t work with whoever it takes to get things done. He doesn’t pander or kiss butt and as Lou Grant once said about Mary Tyler Moore, he’s got “spunk”. In this case, spunk is a good thing. I’m thinking Christie is a good man and will be one of the top guys in the end.

Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AK)

And here’s another guy I like, personality wise anyhow. Huckabee is quick witted and intelligent and I used to enjoy watching his show that aired each weekend on Fox. He’s a good interviewer and talented musician. He’s also closed minded, homophobic and a hypocrite. He panders to the far right of the Republican party, the extremist faction, but at the expense of the common man and woman. While I could get along with him on a personal basis, he’s not the type of person I want in any kind of power or control over my life. Huckabee means well, I’m sure, but the kind of things he talk about and stands the strongest for would only set our country back to the dark ages and hurt a lot of good people. The best of intentions, but… Stick to the church, Governor and leave the politics to the people who are open minded and living in the twenty-first century.

Governor John Kasich (R-OH)

Of the entire pack shown last night, Kasich is probably the best best dark horse candidate running for the nomination who actually has a chance and would make a good, strong candidate. He’s done an incredible job as the Governor of Ohio, plus has a long history in both the House and the Senate, making him one of the few who not only can legislate, but lead as well. He has a kind of quirky personality at times and thart could hurt him, but the record is there. The knowledge of the facts is there and the open attitude to try new things and be respectful of others works well in his favor too. I didn’t like his non-answer on expanding Medicare in Ohio, but he’s a politician and why directly answer a question when you can talk around it instead, a trait shared by the vast majority of the men on stage last night and the majority of politicians in general. His performance last night was hit and miss, but he’s going to get better as the debates progress and the election campaigning continues. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL)

Still the top guy in the Republican field in terms of money and name recognition and unless something really big happens, poised to wait out and just simply outlast the rest of the players. It’s a marathon and not a sprint and he knows this. Bush is a good man and was a good Governor for Florida. I don’t agree with him on a few issues, but for the most part, he’s a solid guy and would be a competent leader for our nation. But he needs to step it up a bit in the personality department. He didn’t make many mistakes last night, but he didn’t hit any home runs either. And the name. I’ve looked over his resume and did my research and it’s pretty obvious that he’s not George H.W. Bush or George W. Bush. He’s his own man and that’s pretty obvious and based on his governing skills in Florida, would be a different and possibly better type of President than either his brother or his father, but it’s hard to get past the name. This country is Bushed (and Clinton’ed) out and while name recognition is a great thing for raising money and making speeches, those are two names that probably hurt as much as they help. It’ll be interesting to watch and see what direction Bush heads in and what he does to establish himself more as “Jeb” than just a third Bush.

Dr. Ben Carson

Soft spoken, Dr. Carson looked so out of place on that stage last night, a dolphin in the middle of a pack of sharks. He’s a smart man to be sure and had one of the lines of the night when he made that joke about “half a brain” and Washington. But honestly, why is he there? What does Dr. Carson, a brilliant man to be sure and a great example and role model for anyone, know about arms treaties, being the Commander in Chief or establishing guidelines for the EPA? Dr. Carson is a great many things, but a politician is not one of them. He was way out of his element last night and it showed. He has a great future ahead of him writing books and giving motivational speeches to be sure, but as the leader of the free world and President? I don’t think so.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Ted Cruz is a smart man. That’s pretty obvious. He’s also not afraid to call a spade a spade or a liar a liar, regardless of who it may be. But there’s just something about the man that makes me nervous. Maybe it’s because he’s like Governor Huckabee, pandering to the extreme right at the expense of more moderate America. While I think he could be a big time player in the world of Washington DC and international politics, maybe with a Cabinet position at some point, I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea of this man in the White House and to be honest, I don’t think he could win a general election. I liked some of his answers last night and he made a few good points, but he’s not what this country needs in charge right now. He just strikes me as too extreme and unwilling to compromise or keep an open mind. I may be wrong and I’ll be paying attention and watching the Senator from Texas, but he gives me bad vibes right now.

Donald Trump

And finally, we come to “The Donald”. Trump says what’s on his mind and doesn’t mind stirring the pot. Those are his good points, but that mouth and that ego, could we really survive with that in the White House. His comments about Rosie O’Donnell, while funny, are not what we should be hearing from someone who wants to be President. His comments to Megan Kelly, the remarks about telling Hillary to be at his wedding and she was, and just so much more. Trump is a showman and he’s entertaining and makes for great TV (and debates), but President? The main thing that annoys me about our current President Obama is not his policies (although I disagree with about 98% of them) or even the bad decisions he constantly seems to make, but his attitude. The man is all ego and won’t allow himself to even entertain the thought that someone else might have a better idea or that his ideas might not work or be wrong. And when I look at Trump, I see the exact same thing, but probably even worse. He’s saying what needs to be said and isn’t politically correct in any way, shape or form. That’s the good thing about him. He’s stubborn, outspoken, and doesn’t think that the rules apply to him. He’s just a richer, even more arrogant if that’s possible, clone of President Obama. Not on politican issues or hopes & dreams for our Nation, on those these two men are complete opposites, but in terms of coming across as cocky, arrogant and just in general ass-clowns, there are few differences. Trump is the flavor of the month and the “star” right now, but it won’t be long before the ghosts of the past come back and karma shows her head. Then Trump will be regulated to the side-show where he belongs and the real, serious candidates and contenders, can step up and take over.

So there you go with my take on the “Top Ten” current contenders running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, based mainly on their debate performances last night, but my general perception and feelings as well. I’m going to go online in a short while and try to watch the other debate, consisting of the other seven contenders attempting to secure the Republican nomination, later today and if all goes well, I should have an analysis of them as well.

Just a quick thought here before I close this up. In our reality-show type enviroment that seems to dominate everything today, after all, how else could you explain Donald Trump as the current leader in the polls, there has to be a better way to determine who the Republican nominee (and the Democratic nominee as well) should be. Why don’t we just do it American Idol style. Each week, the candidates perform (debate) for a panel of judges of top Republicans. For example, we’ll say George W. Bush (since he was the last Republican President), Mitt Romney (since he was the last Republican Presidential nominee) and Nancy Reagan (because she was married to Ronald Reagan), and Ric Flair (just because…. woooooo!). And each week, a candidate is voted off the island until it’s down to a manageable number of perhaps, three candidates. And then, they can do the whole political campaigning and mudslinging in the traditional manner. Makes sense to me and in the world of Big Brother, Tough Enough and Survivor, it would make for some great TV. It’s just a thought.

And with that, I’m out of here. I have things to do and people to see (or is it people to do and things to see?) I’ll never tell. Have a great one and thanks for reading. I’m Doug and as the great Baron Von Raschke would say, ‘Dat’ is all de’ people need to know!”


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