Lost in the short-term attention commanded by Donald Trump in the first Republican primary debate was a long-term problem for the party, created by questions that compelled the candidates to take positions at odds with a majority of Americans. While the debate questions were smart and sharp, they were also predicated on many conservative litmus tests. When the subjects of abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration and religion were aired, they elicited responses that, while pleasing to a core constituency, will be a tough sell in the general election. Adherents can get their news in a manner that validates their beliefs, notwithstanding that the objective of those outlets is to draw clicks from adherents based on controversy that would not exist in a world of compromise.
Megyn Kelly is a smart lawyer, a tough litigator and a hard questioner who played Trump like a skilled violinist. I look forward to a rematch in January 2016 when Fox News once again hosts a GOP Presidential debate -- that is, if Trump is still running and one of the other networks hasn't hired Kelly for something bigger than cable news.
Well, that was entertaining, wasn't it? We refer, of course, to the grand spectacle of the first Republican presidential debates, held last night on Fox News. Since this is all anyone's talking about in the political world today, we are going to follow suit and devote most of this column to our reactions.
They're catnip for commentators -- two dynasts announcing within two days. Except the differences far exceed the parallels -- one's a yellow-pad wonk related to a popular ex-POTUS who leads with 60 percent in Democratic polls. The other is a "Jar of Mayo" with 100 percent recognition yet only 10 percent in GOP polls. Lowry and Katrina debate why.