Debate Review

6th GOP debate in Charleston, SC!

6th GOP debate in Charleston, SC!

I have just returned home from Charleston, SC, where I attended the first debate I have watched this presidential season since Governor Rick Perry suspended his race September 11th.

It has been a peculiar and unusual election cycle. We began with seventeen candidates, and in my humble opinion, the best and finest candidates were the first three to drop out, beginning with Rick Perry, who led the state of Texas for fourteen years and brought millions of jobs to his state. He passed major pro-life legislation and helped bring high school graduations way up. He is a veteran and has helped countless fellow veterans overcome major obstacles, including taking one in his home and nursing him back to health, mentally and physically.

Next, Governor Scott Walker from Wisconsin took on the union political machine, won a recall election and won re-election in a blue state, but he couldn’t gain traction.

And then, Governor Bobby Jindal from Louisiana left, who also is a very conservative governor.

All left before any state had a primary.

Last night, I attended the debate in Charleston with my friend, Margaret Lauderback, who was previously Rick Perry’s National Finance Director. She is now National Finance Director for Carly Fiorina. We had dinner before with about twenty of Carly’s supporters.  These were some of the nicest people I’ve met. There was lively discussion and excitement of how the debate  would go.  Kudos to Carly, who had previously been on the main stage, but because of lower poll numbers, she was placed in the undercard debate.  Unlike Rand Paul, who acted like a spoiled brat, Carly graciously went on and stole the show. She dominated that debate and shined like a superstar.  She did not take on her fellow Republicans, who ultimately are all on the same team.  She rightly took her aim at Hilary Clinton, the real opponent.   Carly is bright, knowledgable and can stand on her own. She has a fantastic staff, which is key in elections. Rob Johnson, also a former campaign manager with Rick Perry, is now serving as a Senior Advisor to Carly.

The main stage debate was spirited and substantive.  In my opinion, Carly should have been there instead of Ben Carson.  Ben Carson is a fine man, but he is not presidential material. I think he will be exiting the stage sooner than later.

Jeb Bush, bless his heart, had a few good lines, but cannot get anyone excited. He looks like he is pained to be there.  I am trying to think of anything exciting John Kasich said, and I don’t think he is going to gain any traction.  He is too liberal in my opinion, and his support of ACA medicaid expansion hurts him.

The three top contenders were Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump.  This is one of the aspects of this election that are so baffling to me.  This is the highest office in the land, and generally Governors make the best presidents, because they have actually had to lead and work with both sides of the aisle.  This is where Governor Chris Christie did well last night.  He said “When you’re a senator, what you get to do is just talk and talk.  And you talk so much that nobody can ever keep up with whether what you’re saying is accurate or not.”

What I find most troubling is that while Senators Rubio and Cruz are bright and excellent debaters, they have no executive experience.  And Donald Trump, who is a very successful businessman and reality television show star, says things for shock value and his numbers go up.  I do have to give the Donald some credit last night for his rebuttal to Cruz’s New York values comments and his closing statements about our U.S. Sailors who were captured and humiliated by the Iranians. He didn’t seem as far out last night as previous debates, and his comments about being angry about the state of America were really good and resonated with me.

All that being said, I still am having a tough time choosing from these options because of the seriousness of the state of our nation.  We need someone who has a proven record of leadership not just someone who is a good debater.  Marco Rubio had some wonderful lines last night and was energetic and on his A-game.

Ted Cruz got some good jabs into Trump and Rubio. But ultimately, when I think of the increasing violence in the Middle East and the rise of radical Islam, I don’t feel confident of my choices.  It was my first debate to watch and to just get engaged, as I have been hoping and praying for resurrection of Governor Rick Perry, as he embodies all that I am looking for in a president.  But second choices happen all the time in life, and it may take me a bit longer to come up with that second choice.

I will keep watching, listening and praying to see which candidate should hold the title of Commander in Chief and President of the U.S.A.  It’s a decision that should not be taken lightly or be based on poll numbers or who one thinks can win. It should be a solid conviction of a candidate who has integrity, honor, leadership and conviction.  And it’s a long way until our convention in July and so much can happen between now  and then.  Stay tuned!