There’s really no other way to say it, Thursday night’s GOP debate was awful. Not because it lacked “entertainment value” thanks to Donald Trump’s absence, but because it had almost no substance. Aside from one or two moments, this was nothing more than a two-hour event where these Republican candidates spouted off one asinine talking point after another. It’s no wonder Trump is the party’s frontrunner – who’s really going to challenge him? Ted “Everyone Hates Me” Cruz, Marco “I Look Like I’m Always About to Cry” Rubio or Jeb “My Last Name is the Only Reason I’m Even Still in This” Bush?
If there’s one thing I walked away from Thursday night’s debate thinking, it’s that Trump is going to run away with the GOP nomination. So, as Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Jurassic Park famously said – hold on to your butts.
However, just because Thursday’s Fox News debate was incredibly bad, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some rather humiliating moments for the Republican party.
Here are my top 5:
5. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz being called out by Fox News for supporting the very amnesty both claim to oppose: I’ll give Fox News credit (and I wish more debates did this), I enjoyed it when they played several clips of Rubio and Cruz talking in various ways about amnesty for undocumented immigrants, only to be called out as two candidates who, at one time or another, have supported some form of amnesty. Even though both gentlemen continue to insist that they’re completely opposed to providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Sorry fellas, video doesn’t lie.
4. Ben Carson tries to quote the Preamble to the Constitution – messes it up: To be fair, Carson didn’t completely butcher citing the Preamble to the Constitution, but you can’t plan to do such a thing (he did this during his closing statement so this was clearly planned and practiced), then screw it up. You just can’t. Especially if you’re running for president. Was this a huge deal? No. But when you add it up with all the other boneheaded things Carson has said or done, it only solidifies the fact that he has no business coming anywhere near the presidency.
3. After Rick Santorum aggressively whined about how he’s being ignored by the media that’s obsessed with Donald Trump, he was called out by the Fox News moderators for planning to attend Trump’s event after the undercard debate ended: For just over a minute Santorum went off on a rant, basically blaming his dismal polling numbers on the media for not giving him enough attention and focusing on an “entertainer.” That’s when he was called out for being a “guest of Mr. Trump,” the same guy he had just complained about getting too much attention, at the billionaire’s
attention-seeking, ego-fueled political stunt event to raise money for veterans. This exchange actually evoked laughter from the crowd as it was a rather embarrassing moment for the former Pennsylvania senator.
2. Ted Cruz got completely owned by Fox News’ Chris Wallace: This was easily my favorite part of the night. As usual, Cruz tried to interject himself to go off on one of his many “the media is terrible” talking points he often uses to get cheap applause, only to be completely shut down by Wallace. Even when Cruz tried to talk over him, Wallace was having none of it. The Fox News Sunday host handled the Texas senator so well that the audience actually began booing Cruz when he tried to do his usual “here’s why the media is so bad” shtick. It was fantastic, and a moment that made Cruz look incredibly weak.
1. Donald Trump didn’t show up: I’ll admit, in the back of my mind I thought Trump might show up unannounced just moments before the debate because that sounds like something he would do. But ultimately the side of his ego that would rather “stick it” to Fox News won, and the overwhelming frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination skipped out on the last debate just days before the voters of Iowa go to the polls. While it’s not unprecedented (it has happened before), this was basically the moment Trump said to the entire Republican party – I’m on top and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. If he wins Iowa after this petulant showing of childish idiocy, all the other candidates might as well just quit, because nothing is going to stop him.
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