With millions watching, a governor vanishes! ...
I came away from last night's first televised Republican presidential debate feeling pretty disappointed in the lack of both questions and answers on climate change or clean energy. Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised.
The GOP Debate. It came, we watched, it blew our minds! Donald Trump is like teflon...nothing sticks to that guy. Marco Rubio was a surprise standout. Jeb Bush looked pretty old. Scott Walker was boring.
Clearly, these moderators were not impartial. They plainly had an agenda that they were not disclosing, although it was quite apparent that part of their agenda included the Republican Party winning the presidency in 2016.
Now that was a debate. Back in 2012 it was the live audience that got rowdy at the presidential primary debates. This time it was the folks onstage, candidates and moderators alike. And somehow it all stemmed from the presence of Donald Trump, the spiritual epicenter of this event, whose outsize persona dominated the proceedings from beginning to end. Things got off to a rollicking start with Trump's show-of-hands refusal to rule out a third-party run and Rand Paul's aggressive reaction. This riveting kickoff set a pugilistic tone for the debate that never subsided.
If the ten Republican candidates on stage tonight all hold the exact same positions, is it really even a debate?
This could be the election where climate change moves front and center -- but only if big business, with its influence and deep pockets, demands it. Will business leaders use their clout to nudge the Republican candidate(s) into supporting climate action? Don't bet against it anymore.
It seems to me there are four basic strategies the other nine Republicans on the stage have to choose from: ignore Trump, outdo Trump, attack Trump or agree with Trump.
One resource that Senator Paul can invoke to defend his libertarian approach to Cuba is Ronald Reagan's flexible approach to communist countries in transition. That is what Cuba is today.
When political wonks are prostrating themselves before Sheldon Adelson for a shot at his billions, you can't really expect us to care what politicians may or may not say in a public debate. Instead, let's set candidates in a series of one-on-one debates and run it NCAA March Madness style.
While there's still time in your FOX fantasy debate draft, here are some plays from The Standard Table of Influence to consider for Thursday night's clamber in Cleveland. And, pssst, watch for Chris Christie to trump The Donald.
Rubio's stumping in Iowa and across the nation almost entirely in Spanish is, quite frankly, a slap in the face to the intelligence of Latino Americans. The GOP's hope is that he will beguile voters with the "we're so alike" rhetoric and shared stories of heritage that they will not notice that his platform is set against their best interests.
This will work out to a total of about 10 minutes for each candidate over the life of the show. Sounds more like an extended high school musical audition than any sort of serious effort to identify the policy proposals and positions, and test the temperament, of the persons now seeking the presidency on the GOP side.
Elbowing for the bottom rung has been fierce, but there's plenty of material on those we know will be on the podium. Whether you tune in to the Republican debate or not, know this: No matter who wins, women lose.
The time has come for Joe Biden to run for president. Biden can give Hillary a run for her money, beat up any Republican challenger in a debate, and come out victorious. Joe Biden could just be our next president. I hope he decides to find out.
The 2016 Republican presidential contest has barely begun and it has already grown alternately tiresome and old or just downright scary. As a Democrat, I might be pleased, but as an American, I am deeply troubled. I just want it to end.