Get your political fix from an unrepentant political junkie.
August 13, 2015
Mario Cuomo was known for saying, “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.” Intuitively, political campaigns appeal to voters’ desire for inspiration. The right candidate strikes a balance between head and heart. Like building a relationship, it takes time to learn who they are and what kind of leader he/she would be.
On the two stages in Cleveland August 6 were 16 Republican candidates for the nomination — 17 if you count Donald Trump — 18 if you count Trump’s ego.
The first debate proceeded smoothly. Carly Fiorina outshined her fellow candidates with her command of the issues and her poise in discussing them.
The second debate started as a show with a hook to rile up the audience, putting Trump on the spot. The Fox News moderators’ hunt for Springer-type conflict among the candidates was undignified, and not constructive to the democratic process. Unsurprisingly, Trump behaved like a petulant adolescent who wants his way or no way. We already have a petulant president. We need a mature, disciplined intellectual in the White House, one who honors the U.S. Constitution, and both debate stages offered an abundance of good options.
Trump’s poll numbers were soaring prior to August 6, so high I am wondering what Republican voters are smoking. What questions are put forth in these polls, and whom are they polling? Fox News polls undoubtedly include voters much less informed, which accounts for the high numbers for Trump and Jeb Bush.
Active voters, who vote in primary elections, are informed and familiar with candidates long before an official debate is televised for the national audience. Polls of active Republican voters have very different results, putting Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Marco Rubio, Mrs. Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Gov. Jeb Bush in the top tier (in no particular order). Struggling to make a mark are Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Gov. Jim Gilmore, Gov. George Pataki, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Chris Christie, and Gov. John Kasich (again, in no particular order).
Fiorina is correct that Trump has tapped into an anger over illegal immigration. Americans need to get to know Cruz, Paul, Carson, or Perry – or just about anyone who understands securing the border, enforcing immigration laws, and respecting people all at the same time. Rejecting political correctness is not synonymous with crass narcissism.
The boosted ratings gave Americans an opportunity to get to know the real candidates, such as Mrs. Fiorina, who was little known to most before August 6. Americans will come to admire her consistency.
Who won? Each candidate had strengths. I am partial to Sen. Rand Paul for his policies and approach to government, but I can honestly say something good about every one of them. Who won the debate is not the determining factor of this primary, but Americans were introduced to them.
Being president of the United States requires emotional intelligence, as well as intellectual policy formation. These debates provide voters an opportunity to learn about the candidates as people. Verbal cues, facial expressions, and body language all contribute to the intuitive process of assessing a person’s character and leadership style.
I don’t know who “won” Thursday’s debates. I know who won’t last long. His ego won’t let him.