This post is in two parts. The first is based on reporting from the New Republic. The second contains my less disciplined reactions while watching the show (it really was not a debate).
The New Republic recap of the Flight of the Cuckoos is here. Main conclusions follow.
As expected, it was pretty much a Trump show.
In the very first question of the night, Bret Baier asked the debaters for a show of hands from anyone who refused to pledge not to run as an independent against the eventual Republican nominee; a third-party candidate might split the conservative vote and hand the election to Clinton, said Baier. Only one candidate raised his hand.
You guessed it. It took Trump a few seconds to process the question (it did have multiple parts) but then he raised his hand.
Granted, Trump didn't say he wants to run independently; he just really wants to be president. But his response to question immediately made clear that in this debate, as on the campaign trail, he would be the belligerent center of attention. Despite audible boos in the arena, Trump fans were giddy with excitement:
Trump says he doesn't have to respect the nominee, if it's not him. Applause at Trump Bar. https://t.co/TG5ra56KBk
— Colin Daileda (@ColinDaileda) August 7, 2015
The media had a slightly different reaction:
You cannot embarrass Donald Trump. He lives entirely without shame.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) August 7, 2015
For me, the other main conclusion was about the measured and thoughtful comments from John Kasich - you know, the guy who barely made it to the top 10.
"In a night of clowning, buffoonery and ideological absurdity, John Kasich deserves an award as the candidate most resembling a human," wrote Heer in our live blog. "His answer on gay marriage was quite touching. Not sure this will help him at all with voters."
Read more at the live blog from New Republic reporters.
Observations from your Scriber: What The Faux?
How sad - Fox picked to anniversary of the voting rights act to advertise the incredibly poor line-up of characters who each has the gall to imagine him[her]self as the president.
I'm going to try to do this in real time, but I may have to take a break while I adjourn to the retchroom.
Problem is that this is not a debate. It is a show. A collection of stump speeches, never challenged by the moderators. It's hard to take notes. The candidates don't answer questions. Maybe they have the same problem I do. By the time they start speaking I've forgotten the question. (That says more about the quality of the questions than about my memory.)
On abortion: Hucksterbee claims DNA evidence showing that fetus is a person. WTF??? What science shows that?
On immigration: JEB wants to get rid of sanctuary cities. Perhaps he hopes/plans to let California slide into the ocean?
None of the candidates answer questions and What The Faux let's them get away with it. For example: Chris Wallace challenges Trump for not answering a question on immigration. Trump spits back vitriol. Wallace caves: "we have to move on" - or something like that.
Carson's tax plan. Flat tax. If you make $10, $1 tax is the same as if you make $10 billion and owe $1 billion. The logical flaw escapes every one on the stage and all of the inquisitors and audience. Think remainders: $9 is equivalent to $9 billion? Going to retchroom now.
Retchroom reconsidered. Visits to barroom in progress. Thinking of moving to Barsoom (name for Mars in the John Carter of Mars series).
Research project prompted by GOPlin response to the "Iran deal": Which of these demagogues has a DD214? I'll do some checking and let you know.