First Republican ‘Debate’ of 2016 Was Truly Awful

Last night reinforced what I thought about some candidates and changed what I think about others.

GOP Debate Aug 15

The first Republican debate of the 2016 season (or, technically, the second since seven candidates that barely register in the current polls held a mini-debate earlier in the evening) reinforced what I thought about some candidates and changed what I think about others. Like Donald Trump, I can not pledge to vote for all of them if they were to emerge as the nominee. Indeed, the number for whom I almost certainly couldn’t vote increased over the course of the exchange.

First, though, a sidebar. While the moderators, especially Megyn Kelly, generally managed to maintain control of the festivities and ask sharp questions, the Fox News format was simply the most bizarre, outrageous setup I’ve seen in 35 years of watching presidential debates. That’s saying something, given how awful these things can be.

The best we can hope for in multi-candidate debates is a serial press conference with some occasional cross-candidate shouting. Still, each candidate will respond to the same question and be given time to compare and contrast their record or platform with that of the others. Instead, the Fox team—with occasional help from  random yahoos who posted videos on Facebook—asked gotcha questions aimed one or two candidates and then moved on to another, generally leaving eight or nine of the participants unable to weigh in unless they violated the debate rules and simply started yelling. That made for a livelier television program but a really lousy debate.

Second, I’m very much an outlier as an analyst.  I’m a middle-aged political junkie and trained political scientist and yet watch almost no television news and talking heads programming, which means I’m actually seeing some of these candidates in earnest for the first time. Further, I’ve simultaneously been a Republican for decades and yet been increasingly alienated from the party 0ver the last decade or so.

Donald Trump, the frontrunner according to current polls, dominated the debate. He got the first questions and the most air time.  While I can see the appeal of his honey badger approach to the race, his performance last night just reinforced my view of him as a blowhard.

Jeb Bush was surprisingly sharp last night. He’s stumbled and been unprepared these last several months but came across as a serious candidate last night, avoiding the gotcha questions deftly and positioning himself as a man prepared for the job. He managed to both tout his conservative beliefs and come across as someone who understands and respects the diversity of the country he’s vying to lead. And, by the way, he’s gotten into fighting shape in another way: he’s lost a lot of weight since he first announced that he was thinking about running.

Scott Walker and Chris Christie both raised themselves in my esteem last night.  My introduction to Walker was his standoff against the teachers’ unions in Wisconsin and, while I generally supported his policy position, I very much disliked the way he went about it. Similarly, Christie is generally very close to me on the issues but always came across as too abrasive to be taken seriously as a presidential contender.  Both were quite restrained and sensible last night. Appearing on stage with the likes of Trump, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz helps in that regard.

Marco Rubio was occasionally impressive and likable last night, especially when talking about his heritage and vision for a more unified country. But he occasionally reminded me of how unseasoned he is.

Ben Carson was perhaps the most surprising. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him on television before. My impression from reading about him was that he’s a very smart and accomplished man who’s got some really crazy ideas; essentially what Alan Keyes would be if he were a brain surgeon. Instead, he came across as mild-mannered and uninformed. It was as if a brain surgeon who didn’t pay much attention to politics were told in the morning that he had to debate nine people for president that evening and prepared by studying a stack of index cards.

Rand Paul lowered himself in my esteem last night. There are a lot of issues on which his views are better aligned with mine than with any of the other candidates. But he just came across as unserious—a guy who’s been debating these issues in a dorm room for years and has never contemplated the real world implications of his ideas. Thus, while I think he’s closer to right than Christie on the NSA and Patriot Act, Christie got the better of those exchanges because he at least understands that there are trade-offs involved.

Ted Cruz did the most damage to himself in my eyes last night. Granting that I’m far from the typical Republican primary voter, Cruz was much worse than I thought. Based on what I’ve read, I’ve viewed him as sort of a socially conservative Rand Paul: a true believer who’s just too adamant about his views to connect to those who disagree. Instead he came across as a smarter, scarier, less amusing version of Donald Trump. Indeed, he actually moved below Trump to the bottom of my list among the ten candidates on the stage.

Mike Huckabee always struck me as a lovable nut.  He was less lovable last night.

John Kasich was tenth of the ten in terms of the polls and likely didn’t raise his profile much last night despite the debate being held in front of his home audience. He’s a lot older and less fiery than the last time I saw him. He remained a legitimate contender for the presidency in my eyes, in that I think he’s both eminently qualified for the job and quite reasonable on the issues. He helped himself a bit by dodging an absurd question about what God would want him to do in office and just told us what he thought he’d do. Also, he handled his turn at a Mike Dukakis question deftly. Asked a bizarre hypothetical about how he’d explain his opposition to gay marriage to one of his children if they came out as gay, he simply explained that he can love people without agreeing with their choices.

Bush and Kasich remain at the top of my list and are thus far the only candidates on the stage that I’d certainly vote for over any of the Democrats running or projected to run. Christie is in third place and would almost certainly get my vote over Hillary Clinton although probably not over Joe Biden or Jim Webb. Walker and Rubio moved themselves from almost certainly no way I can vote for guys into plausible if flawed candidates. Cruz, Carson, Trump, and Huckabee would force me to vote Hillary.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    “I’ve simultaneously been a Republican for decades and yet been increasingly alienated from the party over the last decade or so.”

    You should quit the Republican party and re-register as Independent like i did James. ;))

    -Sgt Ivey

  2. Jim R says:

    Christie’s primary response to national security questions appears to be shouting that he hugged 9/11 widows.

  3. rodney dill says:

    While I can see the appeal of his honey badger approach to the race

    Most apt analogy.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Christie is in third place and would almost certainly get my vote over Hillary Clinton

    Considering all he’s done for Jersey, I’m really worried about you James.

  5. PJ says:

    The honey badger has something in common with, for instance, crocodiles, wolves, tigers, killer whales, giant squids, and polar bears, it’s an apex predator. The apex predator is at the top of the food chain and removing it from the ecosystem generally leads to dramatic changes in the ecosystem.

    So, Fox News probably shouldn’t try to push Trump out, it might very well end with a third party candidacy.

  6. An Interested Party says:

    Asked a bizarre hypothetical about how he’d explain his opposition to gay marriage to one of his children if they came out as gay, he simply explained that he can love people without agreeing with their choices.

    As if being gay is a “choice”…

    Christie’s primary response to national security questions appears to be shouting that he hugged 9/11 widows.

    The Second Coming of Rudy Giuliani, in so many ways…

  7. Tony W says:

    Mostly agree with your analysis – but I was most surprised by Huckabee who came across as evil incarnate. Ostensibly a man of the cloth, he had the least compassion for his fellow humans among his peers – and that’s saying something. I fully expected Walker to be the jerk he is, and thought Rubio did a pretty good job.

    After a single debate I do think I could vote for Kasich if Hillary falls apart.

  8. Argon says:

    Further, I’ve simultaneously been a Republican for decades and yet been increasingly alienated from the party 0ver the last decade or so.

    You must’ve been like Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties.

    Reagan’s term in office, trickle-down economics, the Southern strategy’ and tbe ‘Moral Majority’ did it for me. So, through most of my voting life I’ve found the GOP to be seriously f’d up. You’re just seeing the logical outcome of those earlier positions today.

  9. Argon says:

    @Tony W: ” but I was most surprised by Huckabee who came across as evil incarnate.”

    His ‘good guy’ mask came off soon after his 2008 run. He plays in the same, intolerant league as Santorum.

  10. rodney dill says:

    @PJ: I think the Honey Badger reference was due to This youtube video rather than a comparison to predators in general.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    Just to round out the field, I’ve always been a Democrat. (I liked Ike, but I was six at the time, talk about youthful indiscretion.) My parents were Dems because in the Depression Democratic politicians saved their parent’s farms from being taken by Republican bankers. Seems to me that’s still the way it is. Mitt Romney Jeb! Bush? may be a smart, insightful, public spirited statesman (although I fail to see evidence), but as President he would have Republican neocon foreign policy staff and Republican trickle down economic staff. That should be sufficient reason to rule out voting for him.

  12. Blue Galangal says:

    @Tony W: Kasich’s a “good guy” the same way Huckabee is. Don’t fall for it. He got slapped back hard on SB5 in the state and he’s been pretty much under the radar since then, but under his tenure here, for instance, education spending has not only been slashed, the standardized testing has been shuffled around so much that there are literally no indicators next year to put on the report cards for performance metrics. The much touted PARCC tests were given for ONE year… and now they’re gone again. Because it’s impossible to hit a moving target, is my cynical take on it.

    But he’s sold our parks to fracking, he’s signed the second most restrictive abortion laws in the country, and let’s remember why Jim Obergefell – of Ohio – had to go to the Supreme Court in the first place.

    Here’s your takeaway Kasich quote after he got elected governor:

    Kasich, a Republican, asked the lobbyists to join his team to make Ohio great.
    “This is our chance,” he said. “Please leave the cynicism and political maneuvering at the door.”
    He said that he needed them to get aboard “the bus.”
    “If you’re not on the bus, we’ll run over you with the bus,” he said. “And I’m not kidding.”

    link

  13. Hal_10000 says:

    I did a full writeup on my own blog, but the short version is that I was impressed by Kasich and Rubio. Bush seemed to already be running for the general election. I was lot less impressed by Christie than you were. And I agree with you on Huckabee and Cruz, who came across as awful and belligerent. But I was surprised by how much I liked Ben Carson. Not necessarily as a candidate, but as a person. He seemed unaffected by the whole thing.

    As for Trump … well, you could tell that Megyn Kelly has wanted a piece of him for a while. And she got one.

    Regarding the setup: I don’t think Fox has much of a choice. There were ten candidates on stage, each allocated about 8-10 minutes. If they’d gone around the horn, that would have been four total questions, maybe. The idea here was for each candidate to give an impression, not necessarily spell out their agenda. Once the field narrows a bit (and I suspect some of the campaigns will start petering out soon), we’ll get more balanced format.

  14. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: “But I was surprised by how much I liked Ben Carson. Not necessarily as a candidate, but as a person.”

    Yes, he was truly warm and loving as he explained that the United States should be allowed to torture people because refusing to do so would be fighting a “politically correct war.”

    Just as Walker was impressive and thoughtful as he explained that abortion should be illegal even if it means the death of the mother because he’s pro life.

    Some of these guys were able to wear a mask of decency. But the opinions they expressed were uniformly sociopathic.

  15. DrDaveT says:

    Asked a bizarre hypothetical about how he’d explain his opposition to gay marriage to one of his children if they came out as gay, he simply explained that he can love people without agreeing with their choices.

    It’s not a “bizarre hypothetical” — it’s the first half of the key question on this topic. (As noted above, his use of the word choices in his reply is a tell.)

    The second half of the question, which was not asked, is “Why can you only love family members?”

    So-called “social conservatives” are intensely clannish — they are endlessly compassionate and empathetic when the person in question is a family member, while at the same time trying to ruin the lives of equivalent people who are not personally close to them. It’s almost as if they don’t really think strangers are fully human…

  16. Hal_10000 says:

    @wr:

    His torture answer was a big problem for me, yes. And a big reason I don’t think he’s qualified to be President. OTOH, the other candidates, had they been asked, might have given worse answers. The torture issue was the big break for me with the GOP.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT:

    It’s almost as if they don’t really think strangers are fully human…

    We aren’t.

  18. Blue Galangal says:

    @Hal_10000: I have to admit to a soft spot for Megyn Kelly ever since the “is that math you do as a Republican?” moment.

  19. Todd says:

    This election the catch phrase won’t be “it’s the economy, stupid”, it really should be “it’s the Supreme Court, stupid”. Since the next President will almost certainly get the opportunity to shape the Supreme Court for years to come, I just can’t envision any scenario where I could pull the lever for a Republican.

    However, on the off chance that a Republican might win the election; ironically, the candidate who scares me the least in regards to the Supreme Court is actually Donald Trump … for exactly the reason conservatives seem to love him; that he won’t be beholden to anybody but himself. I think what most of them don’t realize is that includes them, if by some chance he’s elected. The Donald will select the Justices that he wants. And I’m not at all convinced that he’s anything close to the “true conservative” that his current sales pitch might lead one to believe. 🙂

  20. J-Dub says:

    @Jim R:

    Christie’s primary response to national security questions appears to be shouting that he hugged 9/11 widows

    Because everyone loves getting a hug from a sweaty fat guy.

  21. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    We aren’t.

    Shhhh. I’m passing.

  22. Mike in FL says:

    As someone who used to play for team D but now considers himself an independent, I had a pretty different view of the debate last night.

    1. Jeb stumbled and felt disconnected to the point where he came across as being insincere. He needed a little more energy and to be more likeable to get the establishment to coalesce around him. He’s still leaving the door open to other candidates.
    2. Rubio looked incredible in the first half and then couldn’t keep it going when the debate turned to social conservatism. He needs to just admit that he’s not a social conservative and better support his moderate views. He seems like he’s lying or uncomfortable when discussing social issues.
    3. Kasich looked great. He communicated well and came across as a candidate with good political background and heart. I think there are a lot of republicans out there that don’t toe the line on every conservative principle, and I saw that from him last night.
    4. Walker just feels like a snake. I know Cruz’s motives: he’s trying to sell me the political version of a 1993 Geo Metro. I can’t figure out what Walker is trying to put over on me.
    5. Carson, Paul, and Huckabee live in bubbles that make it impossible for them to either communicate or appeal to the entire party.
    6. Christie laid it on pretty thick last night, but not as thick as The Donald…

  23. C. Clavin says:

    Did anyone ask why they didn’t allow guns in the venue?

  24. C. Clavin says:

    If the economy keeps adding 200K+ private sector jobs a month none of these guys is going to stand a chance.
    And again Public Sector employment showed no growth.

  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Mike in FL:

    I can’t figure out what Walker is trying to put over on me.

    ALEC, the Koch Bros, and corporatist oligarchy generally.

    Kasich is selling the same spit, but isn’t as dumb. Also, as @Blue Galangal: notes, Kasich got chastened a little by the voters.

  26. PJ says:

    @rodney dill:

    @PJ: I think the Honey Badger reference was due to This youtube video rather than a comparison to predators in general.

    I know, I was originally going to make a comment about it in that thread. The honey badger can behave as it does because it doesn’t have any other species threating it, which says a lot more about the ecosystem it exists in than the honey badger. And the same is true about the Republican primary and Trump being the apex predator…

  27. Hal_10000 says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    That was one of my favorite moments of political television ever. I was watching at the time (I watch MSNBC if the Republicans are winning and Fox if the Democrats are so I can enjoy the Schadenfreude). And I started texting my brother, saying, “Holy crap, are you seeing this?”

  28. Modulo Myself says:

    It’s pretty clear–Rubio/Kasich.

  29. Kylopod says:

    @Hal_10000:

    His torture answer was a big problem for me, yes. And a big reason I don’t think he’s qualified to be President. OTOH, the other candidates, had they been asked, might have given worse answers.

    I think his torture answer was about as terrible as you can get.

    Like Trump, he resorted to attacking “political correctness” as a substitute for defending the indefensible. Just as Trump never explained why it was okay to attack women’s appearance, Carson never explained why torture was okay. It wasn’t a bad argument but the absence of any argument. The implication was that their position’s taboo status was itself proof of its worthiness.

    Let me tell you something. Saying that Jews should be gassed isn’t “politically correct.” Saying that a man should beat his wife isn’t “politically correct.” Saying that women want to be raped, that blacks are feeble-minded, that only the rich should be allowed to vote–all those claims are “not politically correct.” Trump and Carson haven’t said any of these things, but if they did, their reasoning would be absolutely identical to what they did say. The reasoning is fundamentally amoral and could be used to justify literally any position at all, as long as the position is taboo. So when Carson or Trump or anyone else says stuff like this, they aren’t being a “nice guy I disagree with,” they are revealing a fundamentally depraved value system in which the measuring stick of something’s moral worth is its capacity to piss people off.

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @Blue Galangal: @Hal_10000: Rove’s reaction struck me as way over the top if it was just faith in their “unskewed” polling. Seriously, could Rove be that oblivious to Nate Silver and Sam Wang? I’ve always had a suspicion Rove was told Kasich had the Ohio vote rigged.

  31. michael reynolds says:

    I have some sympathy for the GOP candidates.

    On the one hand they have to appeal to the typical Republican base voter: age 79, IQ 79, believes Mexicans are raping everyone under the age of 79. For these people it’s a race for Il Duce.

    Likes: strutting, swaggering, boasting, chin-thrusting, belligerence and invincible stupidity.

    Dislikes: Negroes. Mexicans. Homos. And women who aren’t called Meemaw, Dot, Priscilla or Granny.

    On the other hand, the pols have to run a very different race for Purse Dog of the Oligarchs. The Oligarch voter base (two dozen white males, mostly from Las Vegas) has a very different notion of a candidate. They aren’t looking for Il Duce so much as a new employee.

    Likes: Subservience, compliance, toadying.

    Dislikes: Vertebrae, convictions, human decency.

    Pulling off the perfect blend of swaggering stupidity and belligerence while looking just enough like a bejeweled Chihuahua is not easy, people. Not easy. The trick is to modulate your angry barking so that you sound like a Doberman to the fascist base and a poodle to the Oligarchs.

    Like I said, I have some sympathy.

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: Can’t upvote that enough. (I’ll get on the home PC this evening and get two.)

    Usually I think liberal v/ conservative is the rest of the world against the .01%. Of late in the U. S. I sometimes think it’s degenerated to reason against unreason. But there are a lot of days I think it’s really people who were raised to not be a**holes and dislike a**holes against a**holes and people who admire and wish to emulate a**holes. Party of Values my ***.

  33. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: ” OTOH, the other candidates, had they been asked, might have given worse answers.”

    Can’t say you’re wrong, especially thinking about what Christie might have said. But I find Carson even more chlling, as he seems to be incapable of taking a thought through to its logical conclusion. It’s all “America is good, therefore anything we do is good.”

  34. wr says:

    @Todd: “The Donald will select the Justices that he wants”

    And if he goes with Ivanka, I can live with that. But Donald Jr. is off the table…

  35. grumpy realist says:

    @Hal_10000: Whatever happened to the Republicans? I realized much to my amazement several years ago that if I had to place myself as anything now that I’ve aged, it would be a Rockefeller Republican. But this collection of idiotic John Bircher wannabes just makes no sense. it really is a case of these clowns living in the space they have in their own heads, not in reality.

    (Oh, and you can shove Chuck Schumer and all the Likudniks into that space as well. Does Schumer really think we’re going to get a better situation with Iran and their nuclear toys if we stomp away from the table at this point? No. The rest of the coalition for sanctions will collapse, France and Germany will shrug their shoulders and say “well, we tried it your way”, and China and Russia will immediately start horsetrading with Iran.)

  36. grumpy realist says:

    Did any of you catch this new frolic by two Tea Party politicians?

    Again a case of “rules for thee, but not for me!”

  37. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    I don´t like Hillary, but c´mon: yelling at constituents is simply unacceptable. I would vote for a yellow dog over Christie.

  38. DrDaveT says:

    Early returns on the “who won?” polls are… terrifying. I’ve checked at FOX San Diego, Slate, and a couple of other random online sites. The consensus?

    Trump in a landslide (!). Followed distantly by Rubio, Carson (!!), and Kasich roughly tied*. Everyone else loses.

    I can’t wait to see a new round of professional polls.

    *Now there’s an image…

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa: Take away the yelling and Christie is a mute.

  40. Todd says:

    @wr: lol, I didn’t say it was ideal, or that I even expect he would pick somebody I like. But with every single one of the rest of them, I can be fairly confident that their choice of Justices would not make me happy at all. In a worst case scenario, I’d prefer the wildcard.

  41. David M says:

    This debate was set up to make the field look as good as possible, with the hosts (R-Fox) trying to prop up the candidates they preferred, not ask difficult questions and get rid of Trump. Kind of sad they couldn’t tilt the scale more on their own infomercial.

  42. mannning says:

    A few thoughts on the “debate”:

    1. It felt like a machinegun attack against the candidates, and not very conducive to carefully developed answers IMHO.
    2. It was not a debate format at all, merely a question and answer session, with little time to develop substantial answers or cross-rebuttals from the ten candidates.
    3. I am fairly certain that the above tended to put the candidates in a bad light all around.
    4.Trump is unlikable and lacks substance.
    5.Paul is out.
    6.Carson is out.
    7.I need to work on the rest of the lot, starting with Bush.
    8.So there was some utility to the affair—it virtually eliminated three for me!

  43. wr says:

    @mannning: “So there was some utility to the affair—it virtually eliminated three for me!”

    You mean before this, the man who said that Obamacare was the worst thing in America since slavery was still on your possible list?

  44. Blue Galangal says:

    @Hal_10000: I have to agree, that was definitely in the top 3 political [theatre] television moments ever. And that oh so bizarre WALK TO THE ANALYSTS… what was that even about? Talk about a Daily Show moment; I had this instance of cognitive dissonance where I was expecting Samantha Bee’s head to pop up from one of the desks.

    @gVOR08:

    I’ve always had a suspicion Rove was told Kasich had the Ohio vote rigged.

    Dude!! Me too! Mostly because of his utter incredulity and incomprehension, and then, as cited above, that very strange walk to the analysts. Like, this was simply Not Possible. It was that strange insistence of his that took my suspicion meter to 11 (especially after the 2000 election shenanigans in Ohio). #icebearhasaconspiracytheory

  45. sue says:

    @David M: Worst thing about the debate was Megyn . I’ll take a hair piece over a mouth piece anytime.

  46. dazedandconfused says:

    @Jim R:

    Christie’s primary response to national security questions appears to be shouting that he hugged 9/11 widows.

    Actually, that was a response to Randy Paul’s response to a national security question by shouting, essentially, ‘You hugged Obama!’

  47. Tyrell says:

    Trump will be gone, but there are some lessons here that other candidates can not ignore. People’s views on the immigration crisis have been ignored and discounted by the current administration: illegal immigrants streaming in here like it is Saturday morning at the theme park including violent criminals and drug lords, growth of ISIS, political correctness gone to seed ! And these are not just a few Republicans on the fringe. I hear Democrats at the local stores, restaurants, and local am radio call in agreeing with most of what Trump says: a broad spectrum of the people !

  48. JohnMcC says:

    @dazedandconfused: Incidentally, did you know that Gov Christie’s statement that he was appointed Federal Prosecutor on the day before Sept 11, ’01 was actually false? He was notified of his future appointment on that date but wasn’t actually given the job until Dec. (H/T TPM)

    Not such a serious misstatement I guess. But it does make me wonder why he was hugging all those widows. Did a family member, neighbor or close friend die in the Towers? Inquiring minds want to know.

  49. dazedandconfused says:

    @JohnMcC:

    My comment was about Randy Paul. You have confused it with support for Christie.

  50. JohnMcC says:

    @dazedandconfused: I knew that. I just have a habit of finding odd facts (usually facts — sometimes the media fails me) of interest and so toss them out. And you have a nice weekend, y’hear?

  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tyrell: What immigration crisis?

  52. dazedandconfused says:

    @JohnMcC:

    S’ok. It’s just that I don’t bother vetting Christie anymore, I’ve seen enough…

    Enjoy your weekend too.

  53. Bob @ Youngstown says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I was particularly impressed with Trump’s intelligence gathering capabilities, viz: proof of Mexican government’s complicity in sending criminals to the US is obtained by talking to a guy at the border.

    I’ll bet you could even find someone at the border to say that Mexico has stockpiled WMDs…..

  54. Xenos says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Illegal immigration is down, deportations are up, compared to the last couple GOP administrations.

    If the current situation is a crisis then electing a Republican will certainly make things worse.

  55. LCaution says:

    I think it is obvious that you will not have to vote for Hillary.

  56. Lenoxus says:

    @Tyrell:

    political correctness gone to seed

    This would mean political correctness is waning, not that it is increasing/worsening. You should stick with the classics here, like “gone mad”.

  57. mannning says:

    I will be running a matrix of candidates vs their stated positions on key issues to decide just who I will support. Perhaps someone has already formed such a matrix. I would appreciate a link to it, if so.

  58. MikeSJ says:

    @wr:

    Friday, August 7, 2015 at 09:54

    …Just as Walker was impressive and thoughtful as he explained that abortion should be illegal even if it means the death of the mother because he’s pro life.

    I thought Walker destroyed his candidacy with that comment but I have seen very little blow back on this. It seems to matter not in the least to most commentators which I find amazing. Do they think this is acceptable to the general public? To women voters? To decent people?

    Unbelievable.