I watched the so-called GOP Happy Hour Debate on FNC earlier this evening.
Please note I did this while on an elliptical machine. So, yes, I am quite exercised about the whole thing.
Of the seven second-tier candidates, I think only Carly Fiorina has any opportunity for growth.
Jim Gilmore and George Pataki repeatedly reminded us they were Governors on 9/11, but what have they done since? Lindsey Graham looked like he had just woke up from an afternoon nap. Meanwhile, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry sounded too much like their stump speeches. In the case of Santorum and Perry, we’ve seen their act before and I don’t think they’ve added much despite some fine moments from Santorum (like when he mentioned his father saying, “America was the worth the wait,” in his comments on illegal immigration) and Perry’s best efforts (I did like his line about Hillary being good at e-mail).
The one candidate who sounded the most focused without sounding like a re-run was Carly Fiorina. I was especially impressed with her response on Iran when she said that her first phone call on her first day in business would be to Benjamin Netanyahu and her second call would be to the Ayatollah to tell him that America is back in the leadership business. She acknowledged that our Gulf Arab allies are far from ideal, but that Iran represented the greater global threat and that on her second day in office she would summon the leaders of the Gulf Arab states to see how we could meet their needs in terms of fighting ISIS. This was the one time in the entire proceedings that my confidence was inspired.
While I still think Scott Walker is the best candidate the GOP has, I do think Fiorina has something to offer and would like to see her on the main stage in future debates. Given her entrepreneurial background, it would be interesting to see how she would fare against Donald Trump. I think the GOP race is better with Carly Fiorina in it.