Rick Perry Corndog

My favourite photo of Rick Perry, not least because he’s an opponent of same-sex marriage.

We haven’t had a Democratic Party debate yet, but tomorrow sees the second Republican Party one. As in the first debate, the field has had to be split into two because there are so many contenders.

One candidate, former governor of Texas Rick Perry, pulled out on Monday in a long speech in which it’s generally agreed he blamed everyone except himself for his failure to fire. To be fair, as far as Republicans go, he was one of the better candidates. He did a lot of damage to his personal brand though when he ran in 2012. He had recently had back surgery and wasn’t physically ready. He frequently couldn’t even remember what he was talking about. I didn’t know about his surgery at the time, but now that I do I completely understand what he was going through. The exact same thing of the pain being so bad that I can’t remember the simplest words, for example, is something that happens to me.

Fiorina, Carly carlyforamerica

Carly Fiorina (Source: www.carlyforamerica.com)

The two CNN debates were supposed to be the same as the first Fox News one, with ten in the main debate and seven on the under-card. The under-card has been reduced to five competitors though. As well as Rick Perry pulling out, number eleven in the polls has been elevated to the main debate. CNN’s qualification rules were such that they were using polls taken well before the first debate to decide who would qualify for the second debate. That meant that Carly Fiorina, who easily won the under-card in the first debate and who had been doing well in the polls ever since, would not be part of the second main debate. She made her case to CNN and deservedly was given a place in the main debate. CNN were naturally reluctant to remove one of the other candidates though, so there will be eleven candidates in the main debate and five in the under-card debate.

The results in the two latest national polls are:

GOP 7-10 Sep 2015


GOP 9-13 Sep 2015

In both of these polls, it is Chris Christie who would’ve lost his place on the main debate stage. I think there’s a good case for keeping Chris Christie there just on credibility – there actually are some decent people in the Republican Party, and it must be pretty embarrassing for them that 50% of their members are supporting Donald Trump and Ben Carson. At least Christ Christie, whatever you think of his policies, is capable of governing the country. Personally, I’m with the Miss Alabama candidate for Miss America:

So the under-card for the second debate will consist of Rick Santorum, Jim Gilmore, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, and Lindsay Graham. Bobby Jindal has been trying to get a bit of publicity for himself by putting out a web video attacking Donald Trump, but as the Washington Post put it, “You know you’re losing when Donald Trump stops responding to you on Twitter.” I will be watching this debate, which will be on CNN (087) at starting at 10.15 am on Thursday morning New Zealand time (6.15 pm Wednesday night EST).

The main debate, featuring Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, and Christie, will be on in New Zealand from 12.15 pm on CNN i.e. lunchtime Thursday (8.15 pm EST Wednesday).

Trump’s poll numbers are still increasing, but I retain my view that it will not last. Ben Carson has also been doing well. Despite that, and like Trump, he hasn’t been properly scrutinized. I recently saw him announcing his migration policy to much Republican praise, none of which noted that it was almost an exact copy of Obama’s which they take so much delight in trashing.

Criminalizing ChristianityMike Huckabee has been using the Kim Davis case to try and increase his media exposure and poll numbers, but even amongst evangelicals, Trump is beating him. I’ve seen him on several Fox News shows trying to argue that Christianity is being criminalized and even more ridiculous, that the US Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage is legal doesn’t count because it was a 5-4 decision and lots of people oppose it.

I am looking forward to the interaction between Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina. Amongst the candidates who have the “outsider” badge, she’s the only one I consider a competent and realistic candidate. After he made his recent ignorant comments about her appearance where he said, according to Rolling Stone magazine,

“Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”

Her superpac made a genius comeback, without even mentioning Trump, giving him nothing to grab hold of to attack her again:

Fiorina still does not have wide name recognition. Because of Trump, the GOP debates are getting higher viewer numbers than they have ever had, and this is Fiorina’s chance to shine. This might lead to another candidate losing their nerve – I don’t think this will happen to Fiorina. She is very smart, thinks quickly on her feet, and has a huge knowledge. I don’t agree with her politics, but I can’t help admiring her greatly.

Ted Cruz is desperately trying to get attention without attacking Trump (he wants his voters), but he’s not gaining much attention. He desperately tried to make it to Kentucky in time for Kim Davis’s release from prison, but couldn’t get there. Huckabee wouldn’t let his surrogate on the stage.

Scott Walker is, thankfully, fading into insignificance. The only thing he ever talks about is that he won the recall election in his state – that supposedly means he can win against a Democratic candidate in the general election.

Marco Rubio is trucking along nicely, not making any big gaffes. He’s just released a new ad which is pretty good. As I’ve said before, I don’t think he’ll win this time, but he’s gaining valuable experience for 2020. He’s a very talented politician, and while I find many of his positions on social issues appalling, I have to acknowledge is ability.

On Fox New’s The Five today, co-host Greg Gutfeld suggested an opening question to out-FNC FNC (Fox News Channel): “Put your hand up if you don’t think President Obama was born in America.”

I think that’s genius! I hope CNN’s moderators were listening! 🙂