The head clown took his show to another venue last night, and something remarkable happened.
A substantive debate ensued.
No kindergarten responses, no bullying tactics, no childish faces.
Pretty much good old fashioned, on-point debating of the issues voters wanted to hear, without the big blowhard in the middle sucking up all the air in the room. The IQ level of the GOP debate increased exponentially the day Donald Trump surrendered to Megyn Kelly.
And thank God for that.
Sure, Ted Cruz miscalculated and tried to get cute by being what he thought was funny at the beginning, and clearly made an error in complaining about the type of questions being asked of the participants later on (don't give up your day job and try to be a comedian, Ted), but otherwise it was pretty darned good television if you wanted to learn something about the candidates and their positions.
Now I'm sure there are many Trump supporters who think (if they think at all) that their guy won the debate last night by not even showing up, and it's likely that many of their minds will not be changed in the few days before the Iowa caucuses ( we can but hope . . . ), however, the last thing Trump needed was a nationally televised platform showing people what civil and intelligent discourse is all about.
I've always liked the focus groups segments Fox News does with Frank Luntz following debates. Not only do they show the high and low points of certain candidate's responses via their dial-a-meter graphs, but they pick a diverse group of people with differing views to watch and rate the debates. It is always interesting to see the changes in support based upon a particular candidate's performance each night, and last night was no exception. And there is no denying that there was a clear winner last night based on that focus group:
I've written before that Trump will have a certain high water mark once voting begins; that being in the high 20's to low 30's percent, and I still think that's the likely number he'll reach on average, and that it will be interesting how the votes shake out once some of the second tier candidates begin dropping out, but except for Cruz's supporters, I believe that support will go to anyone but Trump, and it's beginning to look as if that someone will be Marco Rubio. He was already climbing the polls into a solid third place, and that trend will likely increase following last night's debate. Rubio stayed on point, answered a difficult and tough question on his immigration stance, and focused on the real enemy - Hillary Clinton.
What else did we learn last night?
Rand Paul was lucky to be on that stage due to Trump's hissy-fit, but the GOP will never embrace his more libertarian viewpoints because the GOP doesn't really believe in individual freedom any more than the Democrats do.
Jeb Bush has a chance to continue his campaign past New Hampshire, but a dismal showing in Iowa could negate some possible life in the Granite State.
Dr. Ben Carson is a good an decent man, but he really has no business being on that stage. He looks like he's just going through the motions right now.
Chris Christie always has a couple of good lines in every debate, but can't string enough of them together into a winning performance overall.
Was John Kasich even there?
Finally, despite Donald Trump's belief, Megyn Kelly showed why she's earned a spot on that panel of moderators. She was prepared with past clips of candidates saying one thing in the past, and espousing differing views today, and asking them how they can square the two viewpoints. She was once again tough, but fair - just as she was in the previous Fox News debate. One can only wonder what she had in store for the Donald had he chosen not to surrender to her this time around; after all, it's not as if he hasn't flip-flopped on policy positions himself.
So welcome back, civility!
You've been sorely missed this campaign season.
Hi! I'm Dave Richard, your host. I hope you enjoy your visit. We'll be talking about current events, politics, the occasional sports (I'm a HUGE New England Patriots fan, so get over it), and some "Get off my lawn!" issues.