Conducting a debate with 11 people at one time is a tough job, and I would not wish to volunteer for it. That said, CNN did, and it was a complete dumpster fire. There was far too little Hugh Hewitt and far too much Jake Tapper. Most of all, there was far too much focus on the front-runner, whose time speaking doubled some of the field, and when he wasn't speaking, he was being referenced.
The big story of the night was Carly Fiorina, and justifiably so. Her performance was strong, very strong, and she had some of the most memorable riffs of the night, including this bit on Planned Parenthood.
Although I am biased of course, the punditti seem to agree that my man Rubio came in second. I was concerned with how quiet he was in the first hour, that his strategy of not being the springbutt was backfiring in this format, but he came on strong throughout most of the night. Here is one of his very strong moments from the debate.
I thought both Jeb Bush and Chris Christie helped themselves last night, and Mike Huckabee once again showed how light he can be on his feet in debates. Ted Cruz just plain bothers me--we aren't connecting on many levels, even though I agree with him on several subjects.
There are two huge surprises thus far in this race; the first is the identity of the front-runner, and the second is the prolonged fade of Rand Paul. He had some real moments of lucidity last night, and if you want a candidate who projects a more careful and less adventurous foreign policy, he's your man. But he simply is nowhere to be found. I truly believed he would come in second place in this race, and I said it many times. It looks like I will be wrong on this, as in many other things.
Ben Carson. I really like the guy. Someone on Twitter wrote last night "Ben Carson for My Next Door Neighbor". I think that sums him up. I'd really like to have the dude as a friend. Less sure of having him as my President.