First, let's begin with this: The Big GOP Debate last night gave CNN it's highest ratings ever -- the highest ratings in CNN history!
It's clear now that all the energy, all the ideas, all the excitement and all the interest is on the Republican side. And on the Democrat side? What have we there? Well, tired old candidates, warn-out ideas and more, more, more of the same: higher taxes. more bureaucracy, bigger government, more regulations, more intimidation, a continued sluggish economy, a weak defense and America in retreat on all fronts.
Last night, we got the snap and crackle of fresh ideas in a debate filled with candidates, any of who is not only electable but qualified and ready to serve and take us in a new direction.
And clearly, the people watched last night because there is a hunger in the land for new leadership.
Here's our quick take (in alphabetical order) on each candidate and his/her performance and image during the debate:
Bush: Jeb came alive last night with a bit of brio and a dash of passion. He was most effective defending his wife and his brother but also scored points on substantive issues. Clear moves in the right direction.
Carson: Weak in a somewhat vacillating performance that made us wonder about his knowledge of foreign policy, in particular. So passive/aggressive that he was almost lethargic. Not a good night.
Christie: Classic Christie all the way. He was crisp, funny, human, and relevant. In an instant he almost made Carly and The Donald seem irrelevant. Nobody connects the dots like Christie.
Cruz: Lots of knowledge put forward but he always seems like a college debater trying to score points. He just seems too sharply drawn and a bit too pugnacious.
Fiorina: Yes, she had a very good night even though some of her answers seemed canned and even though she seems to hog the stage and even though she sometimes seems overly structured or (dare we say?0 corporate. She still comes across for the most part as smart, poised and ready. Formidable!
Huckabee: A bit preachy and folksy and even corny but that's Huckabee. And, you've got to admire him for standing up for what he believes in and taking some controversial stands.
Kasich: A likable sort of rah-rah, Rotary type guy but he seemed sweaty last night. He's like the solid, reliable, go-go-go college football coach or the golf partner you look forward to having a couple of beers with. The Real Ohio.
Paul: Not a stupid man but again he seems small and sour and insignificant. Somewhere along the line he just didn't click.
Rubio: Absolutely the most charming guy on the platform and he's smart, quick and thorough with heartfelt, convincing answers and responses. It's impossible not to like him or to turn away from him. Killer smile.
Trump: When the subject isn't Trump, The Donald grows strangely quiet. He's hard-edged and (it would seem) needlessly provocative. Does he belittle others as a tactic or does he really believe the things he says about himself? Does it matter?
Walker: This is the guy that borrows your lawn mower and gives it back to you later the same day, all cleaned, oiled and tuned up -- like new! His accomplishments thus far have been breathtaking but he doesn't seem to be able to translate that into an effective debate performance.