The debate last night was profoundly depressing, for the only clear winner was Hillary Clinton. I suspect that is precisely what moderator John Dickerson wanted, for three years back, as the political director of once-revered CBS News, he instructed Obama on how to “pulverize” and “delegitimize” the GOP and turn the country into a one-party state. “The president who came into office speaking in lofty terms about bipartisanship and cooperation can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP. If he wants to transform American politics, he must go for the throat.” And so last night he encouraged the candidates to go after each other, and then sat back to enjoy the show.
The GOP itself was a willing accomplice at its self-destruction. It controlled the tickets for the audience, and once again it was packed with Trump-haters, which had the effect of encouraging the other candidates to go after him. And when someone goes after Trump, you know what happens next…
It wasn’t exactly the Lincoln-Douglas debate, was it? But there were a few telling moments. One of them, scarcely noticed, was when Trump revealed that push-pollers were phoning South Carolina residents to tell them Trump wasn’t running. And Cruz didn’t deny it. Same thing he pulled in Iowa. So is Cruz as nasty as Trump says he is? You betcha! Were he the nominee I think it would be a good time for me to take up woodworking or learn Irish, ’cause it’s not as if there would be a serious political race to follow.
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