The cam­paign gets se­ri­ous

Nec­es­sary sift­ing and win­now­ing is fi­nally upon the Grand Old Party

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

The Repub­li­can de­bate this week may have been the ac­tual be­gin­ning of the 2016 Repub­li­can cam­paign for the pres­i­dency. All that has gone be­fore was mere en­ter­tain­ment. The “real” can­di­dates be­gan to emerge and the CNBC-TV moder­a­tors, as bad as they were, helped with sep­a­rat­ing the wheat from the tares. The sift­ing and win­now­ing is fi­nally un­der way.

Jeb Bush had to turn in a crisp, brisk and stel­lar per­for­mance, and he didn’t. His frus­trated man­ager was back­stage scream­ing at the de­bate man­agers that his can­di­date wasn’t get­ting enough at­ten­tion, while on stage Jeb was wast­ing the time he had, talk­ing about his quar­ter­back on fan­tasy foot­ball. This was his third con­sec­u­tive sub-par per­for­mance — enough to get a quar­ter­back in real foot­ball or­dered from the field — and he may find out soon that a pot of money and a fa­mil­iar name aren’t enough to make him a se­ri­ous con­tender.

Don­ald Trump was Don­ald Trump, full as ever of boast and bom­bast, and nei­ther as good as his fans think or as bad as the fans of calm and po­lite are afraid he is. Af­ter the first de­bate, now eons in the past, a poll of past Iowa cau­cus-go­ers re­vealed that he was twice as pop­u­lar among those who didn’t see him on stage as with those who did. As more and more peo­ple have had an op­por­tu­nity to see him, his once daunt­ing poll num­bers have steadily if not dra­mat­i­cally eroded. He wasn’t bad in Boul­der, and that may be enough to sta­bi­lize his num­bers, at least for the short term.

Carly Fio­r­ina did well, but her do­ing well is no longer the sur­prise it was when no one ex­pected her to per­form well, in part be­cause her abil­ity to han­dle a mi­cro­phone is ex­pected now. She seems to be in the midst of an ex­tended speak­ing tour rather than mak­ing a se­ri­ous pur­suit of the nom­i­na­tion.

That leaves the man who was orig­i­nally the “other man from Florida,” the con­ser­va­tive con­tender who looked Wed­nes­day night to be the man to emerge as the lat­est great es­tab­lish­ment hope to keep the Grand Old Party in the hands of the elites. Ben Car­son re­mains pop­u­lar be­cause he is so dif­fer­ent, an is­land of calm in a sea of chaos. Mr. Trump can’t un­der­stand him and nei­ther can his me­dia crit­ics. He may fade un­less he gets a firm grasp of the de­tails of the is­sues a pres­i­dent must con­front, but he re­mains po­lite and civil, and that’s some­thing.

There’s time left for win­dow shop­ping, and com­ing out of Boul­der the party is still look­ing for a can­di­date who is smart, vi­sion­ary, ar­tic­u­late and gen­uine, with ex­pe­ri­ence nice but not nec­es­sary. That’s ex­actly what the na­tion got seven years ago, and no­body seems to be pay­ing that much mind. Do Marco Ru­bio, Ted Cruze or Ben Car­son have that right stuff ? Will that sat­isfy the party, or will vot­ers in frus­tra­tion if not des­per­a­tion give some­one else a long, last look? The clock is tick­ing, and the alarm will ring soon.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.