There were a few things that happened over the weekend that were very important to the GOP primaries. And a few that weren’t…
Over the Weekend the Republicans had a nationally televised debate, the last one before the New Hampshire primaries. So the debate was not only important, but there were some important moments in the debate as well (and some not so important moments). When I asked if anyone on staff was willing to do a write-up on Super Bowl weekend, this is the reaction I got.
So we figured instead of just a write-up on the debate, we decided to put this into a larger perspective in how that affected the GOP race going into Tuesday’s New Hampshire primaries. Here’s what we deciphered as important and not important.
+ First off, we would like to welcome both Jeb Bush and Chris Christie for finally showing up to the GOP debates on Saturday. They challenged front-runners, like Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, on important issues and gave clear/consistent talking points. When seeing both of them on point made you wonder if these primaries would have broken down differently if they conjured up similar performances in the earlier debates. However it might be too little, too late for both Bush and Christie in these 2016 primaries. For the time being, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie’s debate performances on Saturday night are not important.
+ Speaking of Marco Rubio, on Saturday night it was the first time he looked flustered on a debate stage in the 2016 primaries. Christie channeled his inner-New Jerseyan and called Rubio out on the very specific “Obama-knows-what-he’s-doing” talking point, which didn’t look good at all.
It looks as if Rubio made the age old mistake of looking ahead to the general election and not focusing on the GOP primary at hand. The messaging on Saturday night (and for the past few debates) has been specifically pointed at President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, which is not good. While understandably, you debate for the job you want and not the one you have, yada, yada, yada … but dude, come on! Over performing in Iowa doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to run the table in the GOP primaries. And granted, when it’s all said and done, Rubio is in the best position to be the one left standing once the dust clears, but still there is a whole lot more primary to go!
Also one final point about Rubio getting flustered on the debate stage, whoever comes out of the GOP primary with the nomination will most likely face Hillary Clinton in the general election. If that person happens to be Rubio, he has to remember while Christie may be a junk yard dog when it comes to debates, Clinton is a stone-cold assassin that will smile and shake your hand while slitting your campaign’s throat with the other.
If Rubio is to be the GOP nominee, what happened last Saturday better not happen in the general election! So yeah, Marco Rubio’s flub was significant and important.
+ Someone this weekend has been doing God’s work and inserted the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme to Ben Carson’s debate entrance on Saturday’s debate!
Also people are creating gifs like these:
Between the entrance above and finding out that Carson burns “hundreds of pieces of paper” for debate prep (??), we realized that Carson will be missed when he inevitably withdraws from the primaries after Tuesday’s poor showing in the New Hampshire caucus. To us anyway – for comedic value alone – Ben Carson is very important!
+ Even after a Twitter campaign, Carly Fiorina did not make the cut for ABC News’ GOP debate. This led to odd accusations of the “game being rigged” since last Friday. To be frank, Fiorina’s campaign is not long for this world. So in terms of the 2016 primaries, Carly Fiorina debating or not is not important.
+ Donald Trump’s view on “enhanced interrogation techniques” is incredibly significant and important!
+ During Saturday’s debates, we tweeted this out:
Kasich is a real throwback Republican, but in this GOP primary I don't know where he fits in. That's probably why he's behind. #GOPDebate
— The Post Turtle (@ThePostTurtle) February 7, 2016
While at the time it seemed like a quick observation, the more we thought about it, there was a lot to unpack there.
Here is John Kasich, a moderate Republican that is so old school it hurts. A guy that earnestly believes a “strong ground game” of 100 town hall meetings in the state of New Hampshire will reverse his fortunes in the 2016 GOP primaries. Or that his non-confrontational debate style and pleasant demeanor will attract more middle/right leaning Republicans than the harsh rhetoric you have been hearing from the others candidates. For everyone that claims to be the successor to Republican Base-God Ronald Reagan, Kasich has a legitimate claim to that title in how he tries to bridge the gap between various sections within the GOP, including those that are independents.
While Kasich’s strategy has produced positive results in New Hampshire, in every other state however, his strategy is less than ideal. Whether it’s Nevada or South Carolina, Kasich’s strategy and message is getting very little traction. So the question becomes, is an old-school GOP politician like John Kasich part of a bygone era? It’s a question that probably won’t get answered in this election cycle, but that idea alone makes how Kasich does in these GOP primaries very important!
(Photo Credits: Google Images, Ministry of Gifs, Twitter, Wikipedia)