Tuesday , September 26 2023

Sink or Swim in the GOP Debate

By Ed Hoffman

Those of us who have been paying attention will all be looking for different things from the second Republican presidential debate tonight. Here’s what I’ll be looking for; maybe you can relate to some of these, or maybe they can inspire you to add to your own candidate criteria list. Tonight, I’ll be looking for:

Donald Trump to deliver some substance. He’s the only candidate people are talking about, but he’s all style. Where are the actual policy propositions? So far, he has one: Get Mexico to build a wall. That’s great, but we need more. Trump needs to remember that Republican voters actually think before they vote, and despite the huge crowds he’s drawing, some of them aren’t yet sold on him based on fun and fluff alone. Fun and fluff has driven America straight into the gutter for the past eight years. “Saying what’s on everybody’s mind” can only get him so far; we need to know specifically what Trump plans to do if elected. And finally, we need him to stop hurling insults at his opponents because it’s making his supporters look bad. Grow up already.

Ben Carson to bring more energy. As I have told my radio audience, I’m enamored by the intelligence, character and sincerity of Dr. Ben Carson. But unfortunately, Trump is right about one thing: Dr. Carson lacks energy. He is clearly capable of opening his eyes wider, speaking with more passion and delivering his message with more fervor. We saw and heard this when he first came on the national scene two years ago. I’m hoping that tonight, he will recapture some of that – and, I’m hoping the debate moderators will give him the opportunity to speak more. Carson is number two in most national polls, and yet he had very little time to speak in the last debate. Last week, I spoke at a local Tea Party meeting and was told that I shouldn’t support Carson because “he wants us all to get vaccinated.” Really? Conservative voters, please stop focusing on stupid stuff. I don’t know how else to say it.

Carly Fiorina to catapult. Carly Fiorina is a force to be reckoned with. Every time I hear her speak, I like her more (and I’m certainly not alone. Lots of people are saying that right now). But unfortunately, Fiorina is coming in at 10 or 11 in many of the national polls. She has personally admitted that she has the “lowest name recognition” of all the nominees. Tonight, I hope she will change all that. CNN adjusted its qualification criteria explicitly for her – so her performance tonight is perhaps more critical than anyone else’s.

Is it okay for me to say that I don’t care about any of the other candidates? Jeb Bush’s campaign is clearly going nowhere, despite the narrative pitched to us several months back; Marco Rubio is up and coming but it’s not his time; and John Kasich is a Dem in disguise, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t feel compelled to talk about any of the others, but who knows…things could change after tonight. For many of the Republican candidates, tonight’s debate is their sink or swim moment.

Ed Hoffman is host of The Main Event on AM590, which airs Saturday 9:30 AM- 10:30 AM and Sunday 4:00 PM- 5:00 PM. Follow him on Twitter @EdHoffman, and like him on Facebook by searching The Main Event 590.

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