I violated the rules. I watched last night's GOP debate AND I watched the Tucker Carlson interview of President Trump. I never understood why some were making it into an either/or proposition.
Let me start with the Trump interview. It was fine. No new developments. It would have been better if the interview had been recorded after the debate, so Trump could react to the debate, but, that's what we have. Trump was mellow, funny, and perceptive, but didn't say anything we haven't heard before. I think his explanation for not participating in the debate was good enough, i.e., why give those other guys too much publicity? I am sure Biden will use the same excuse for not debating Kennedy, or whomever else emerges from the DNC swamp to "challenge" him.
The debate. Well, before I start, let me pass along the Diplowife's words of wisdom: it's the first debate, give the participants time to develop their debating tactics and messaging. OK. Fine. Now let me state that it was kind of a bore. I am not sure there was a "winner," but Ron DeSantis did not hurt himself, which was probably his main goal. He did come off as stiff, and clearly free-wheeling debate is not his forte. He does fine on the stump and in one-on-one interviews. I'll come back to RDS.
I thought Vivek Ramaswamy came off as just too clever: he's obviously smart and would have been a terror on a college or high school debate team. He, however, was too cute, too much of "I am the smartest guy here," for my taste. He needs to calm down a bit, show more gravitas, and not jump around so much. I don't think he hurt himself, but it's just not clear if his is a serious candidacy. Nikki Haley? I don't know. She reminds me of Mitt Romney. She's got the establishment foreign policy talking points down pat, but I couldn't discern any particular vision for how to get us out of our current mess. Her words on abortion I found vapid, just empty. Tim Scott, was a nice guy who had memorized a lot of economic data, but didn't give me a feel that he has a plan. The big loser, I think, was Chris Christie who at times seemed to forget that he is running for the GOP, not the DNC nomination. His attack on Trump did not go over well, and will gain him nothing. I think he burned himself. Mike Pence? Nothing to say about him. People weren't buying his explanation for his actions on January 6. The other two were basically nothing-burgers who couldn't explain what it was they were doing on the stage.
Back to RDS. He did well when explaining what he's done as Florida governor and in laying out a tough approach to illegal aliens and drug smuggling. He, however, let himself get overrun by Ramaswamy and Christie and needs to get into the fight a bit more. I like RDS, but not sure this is his time. Who knows?
OK. What did it all mean? Not much right now. I doubt these debaters ate into Trump's lead for the nomination. I would be surprised if Trump picked any of them as VP.
OK. About to head back to Raleigh from Wilmington. I'll write a word or two about falling planes in Russia.