Meh. Very unimpressive overall. Poor moderation, too, by the hosts, including the usually excellent Stuart Varney.
Well, the easy answer is Trump.
It confirmed the wisdom of his not participating. He remembers, obviously, what he did to Jeb Bush back in the debates of 2016. We forget that the wise opinion then was that Bush would be the nominee, and that Trump was just a distraction. In those debates, Trump lasered in on Bush, and demolished him. Why would Trump, the clear-front runner now for the nomination go up there and be the punching bag for 7, 8, 9 whatever the number of opponents? Not saying it's fair or just or ideal, just saying that's how the politics play out this time around.
Lousy questions and a clear effort (I think) to marginalize DeSantis. I haven't seen the analysis of how many questions or how much time each candidate got, but doubt it was DeSantis with the most.
Despite Varney's presence, the economic questions were flat. I am surprised no candidate, especially DeSantis, didn't just butt in and say what we all know, "The economy is in terrible shape. You don't need fancy stats to tell you. Go to the supermarket, go to the gas station, try to get a mortgage or a car loan, look at your bank account. You used to have money, now you don't. Go downtown in almost every major city: see the havoc wrought by Bidenomics and its Soros allies in the DA offices. Look at the border. Our money goes to protect Ukraine's border and ours stays wide open. Look at our foreign policy as we skate ever closer to a major hot war with Russia, drive China closer to Russia, and placate the mullahs in Iran, and the dictator in Venezuela."
Nah, none of that.
No mention of the weaponization of the justice system, and the blatant corruption of the Biden family and administration.
Nah, none of that.
Just a lot of shouting and talking over.
Haley (horrors!) had the best reply on education issues and on that basis alone I would give her the "win." It's a meaningless trophy, but it's hers. Her foreign policy stuff, however, was just typical DC establishment blather about the importance of Ukraine. The debate about the curtains at the Ambassador’s residence was nonsense.
DeSantis better step up his game if he wants a real shot.
More thoughts later.