Carly Fiorina Shines in Debates, Rattles Chris Matthews
The first two Republican debates concluded last night and began the process of whittling down out candidates. There were some surprises.
Fox News is to be commended for not only hosting the debates, but also asking the Republicans difficult questions, the type that other networks refused to ask of Democrats including the current President.
During recent weeks, Donald Trump has taken the lion share of media attention for Republican hopefuls. He damaged his cause last night. First, in responding to the initial question, Trump indicated that he is not a team player by being the only candidate not willing to commit to backing the ultimate Republican winter. This should discount his candidacy to any rational Republican, irrespective of his threat to run as a third-party candidate. He also showed himself to be mean-spirited and lacking in depth on issues.
While many on the Right are disappointed with the direction of government and the country, that does not justify nominating one ill-equipped for office. The Democrats did that seven years ago and the results are not pretty.
Most of the other Republican candidates on the two stages acquitted themselves well, but lacking in excitement and vision. Dr. Ben Carson made a good showing considering he is a novice in politics and political debate. Perry and Lindsey Graham seemed weak in presentation and substance.
The big surprise of the evening came during the first debate with Carly Fiorina stealing the show. Her performance was so strong that not to do many consider her the winner, but that she even overshadowed the candidates in the second debate in which she did not participate. This conclusion is shared by this Blog, as well as pundits on the Left, such as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, and Fox News’s conservative Charles Krauthammer, with video clips posted below.
Fiorina’s strong showing came from being well prepared on issues and presenting her views with conviction. It is obvious that there is significant substance behind this candidate and that the surprise is the result of her being unknown to many Americans. This is likely to change going forward.
Chris Matthews is an unapologetic Leftist and an eager and early supporter of Barack Obama during his first run for the White House. The fact that Matthews last night spent significant time after the debates going after Fiorina for calling Hillary Clinton a liar is a telling sign that he fears her skills and potential candidacy.
Following the debate, Matthews interviewed Fiorina and went on the attack asking: “You called Hillary Clinton a liar tonight on a number of occasions. Do you want to explain why you would use such a, almost end of conversation term for your possible opponent next year?”
Fiorina did not back down, responding concisely: “Because it’s true. You know, one of the things that I think people are tired of in politics, and Republicans do it as well, is we don’t use common-sense language. We talk in sanitized sound bites. I don’t, but most politicians do.” Editing specifics to her response, Fiorina said: “By any standard common-sense measure, Hillary Clinton has lied, about Benghazi, about her emails and about her server.”
It is early in the Republican primary process. There is much to learn about the candidates and more surprises will come. However, last night’s debates were helpful in beginning this process with two significant outcomes. First, Donald Trump began his dissent from political stardom. That was not a surprise. On the surprise side, Carly Fiorina’s near rock-star performance was refreshing. She will be a legitimate force in the upcoming primary processes.