The Second Republican Debate: Mourning in America

Background

Is it just I-and-I, or does it seem as if the first Republican Debate took place months ago?

don_ricklesYou may remember that spectacle, the game show set, Meghan Kelly grilling the Donald, who hammed his way through the night’s entertainment like Don Rickles at a celebrity roast.

Horse-race-wise, much has happened since early August with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker falling back and Carly Florina and Ben Carson advancing in pursuit of a frontrunner who has put some distance between himself and the rest of the pack.

In fact, three-term Texas governor Rick Perry has pulled up lame, and to put a merciful end to this old nag of a metaphor, it’s hard to imagine donors ponying up much more money for the likes of Graham, Pataki, and Santorum.

If I were a Republican – and praise Darwin I’m not — I’d be hoping to shed a few more of the side show performers because, as we saw last night, eleven is about six or seven too many.

Last Night’s Debate

The stage is set at the Reagan Presidential Library on September 13, 2015, for the CNN Republican Presidential Candidate Debate. CNN's Jake Tapper will be the moderator for the debate from the Library on the 16th.

The good news: the set seemed less like Family Feud; the bad news: even though Ronald Reagan’s Air Force One provided an appropriately phallic backdrop for a debate featuring foreign policy, it was not the Gipper but Richard Nixon who came to mind as sweat beaded on the debaters’ upper lips and brows.

iwus3It reminded me of those old movies when cops/bad guys shove a detainee “on the hot seat.” Sweating makes people look uncomfortable, as if they’re lying.

Kudos, though, to whoever runs maintenance at the Reagan Library for saving energy in beleaguered California by keeping the thermostat at a planet-saving 78 F.

Jerry Brown, no doubt, approved.

Did Debate 2 Derail the Donald?

This race has befuddled the pundits, made them gun shy. Conventional wisdom says Trump should have faded by now a la Michelle Bachman or Herman Cain last time around.  However, because Trump has thrived after tarring POW war hero senator John McCain, smearing Megan Kelly, etc.,  pundits are equivocating when gauging Trump’s performance last night, speculating that “maybe the air’s coming out of Trump’s balloon” but then quickly adding “you never know.”

One thing’s for certain, however. The candidates have embraced the Trump meme that America is in decline and that each of them is the man or woman who can restore us to greatness.

Oh, for the halcyon days of the second Bush Administration when the economy was in free-fall, financial institutions failing, and ISIS was in utero!

Mourning in America.

Bush_Obama_Deficit_2014

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