So many faces, so little time… or should I say so MUCH time. I’m writing, of course, about the recent Republican Primary Debate. If you include the undercard, it lasted nearly 5 hours, and while it was certainly livelier than most debates, I’m not sure what we actually learned.
First and foremost, we learned CNN can’t get enough Donald Trump. Whether it was foreign policy, money in politics, or attacks on physical appearance, everything revolved around the frontrunner. It wasn’t just the way the moderator, Jake Tapper, worded his questions, although he certainly framed many subjects around Trump’s stance. It seemed like CNN yearned to keep him on camera as much as possible. We often saw split screens of “The Donald” as he was being spoken about, or as he was reacting to another candidate. But sometimes, CNN put him on camera just for fun. Trump = Ratings Gold!
But Trump’s wasn’t the only face that made an imprint on my brain. The former front-runner, Jeb Bush, came to play. While he undoubtedly stepped up his energy, it’s going to take more than an “Eveready” battery to charge up his chances. He challenged Trump in several instances, but his delivery is uninspiring. One other issue: that face kind of reminds me of someone… I just can’t place it.
But what face is better than Scott Walker’s? I don’t know why he insists on sucking on a lemon before he speaks, but it’s not working for him. It’s hard to focus on substance when he obviously has something very sour in his mouth. He may have actually solved world peace, but I just couldn’t hear the words coming out of his mouth.
Speaking of governors with faces, Chris Christie actually turned down some face time yesterday, asking the cameras to turn to the crowd. He employed the “focus on the voters” strategy several times, except when he saw an opening to bring up 9/11. Apparently he remembered the tactic worked really well for Rudy Giuliani and thought: “Let’s bring it back!”
And all the other faces? I’m told Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz were there. It seems they’re both hoping County Clerk Kim Davis, the headline grabbing gay marriage opponent, throws her hat in the ring. They seemed to be fighting it out for a chance to get their faces next to hers as her running mate.
Rand Paul stood out as the only candidate who is truly against war, but he’s facing the reality that his chances of winning the nomination appear to be very slim. Peace is just not the applause line it used to be.
Marco Rubio showed off some serious foreign policy chops in several instances, but did he seem presidential? I would say he more resembles the face of a president’s nephew.
Ben Carson may in fact be the most intelligent person involved in the entire race. It’s too bad he comes across as ill-prepared when asked about the situation in Syria and his tax plan. Was he not expecting these topics to come up? His face gave me that “deer in headlights” feeling.
Usually GOP primaries start as a race to see who can be most conservative, and end as a contest of who can actually win a national election. John Kasich’s stance on international relations and a possible government shutdown clearly have him playing the long game, but there’s no guarantee he will still be in the race when electability becomes the top issue. Even if he does make it that far: will conservative voters trust the face of someone who’s been working in government for 25 years?
And finally there’s Carly Fiorina. As a former television producer, I see her as a great candidate. She understands the art of a debate performance. Her timing was impeccable. Her points were clear and concise. She often answered questions directly and she was not shy about jumping in to the fray. Trump now says he thinks she has a “beautiful face.” To me it looks like the face of the Republican presidential nominee.
Measurement and evaluation