Technically it was not a debate, but a forum. But the seven Republican candidates who did not poll well enough to make the cut for the top 10 debate later this evening at 9 p.m. (ET) and 6 p.m. in the Desert, did square off to present themselves to the public.
With their opening remarks where each was given a minute to speak, none of the seven reached out and grabbed me. None presented anything that would have me wanting to no any more.
When both Rick Perry and Carly Fiorina were given the opportunity to strike and strike hard at GOP front runner Donald Trump, neither took the bait. Instead both tried to present a policy position.
For Perry, it was his position that he is the type of leader who has the fortitude to close the leaking US/Mexican border.
For Fiorina it was a light left hook at Trump talking with former President Bill Clinton before getting into the presidential race.
As the first commercial break came, none of the seven looked or sounded that presidential. Keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of this hour will have more life.
In the second portion, both Fiorina and Jim Gilmore came out in favor of breaking down barriers with such companies as Google in allowing law enforcement greater latitude in tracking suspected terrorists and terrorist sympathizers. Gilmore noted that the inside attacks will continue and get worse unless something is done.
George Pataki chimed in that it is a necessity that the Islamic State be destroyed utterly in both Iraq and Syria, but without engaging in a protracted war or boots on the ground for any period of time. Destroy the caliphate and come home, Pataki said.
On immigration, neither Rick Santorum nor Perry would answer what they would say to the families of the 11 million or so illegal immigrants in the nation. Perry did say the number one priority was closing the border – then he would deal with the 11 million.
Then came the second commercial break.
Lindsey Graham started off blasting both the policies of President Barack Obama and taking on Hillary Clinton. Graham said unlike Clinton, he would change the policies of the President which have kept the American economy down.
Santorum said he would put limits on benefits and work requirements. This he said would jump start the economy.
Gilmore put problems with the economy were over-burdensome taxes, environmental rules and regulations and the Affordable Care Act. Gilmore said all three were “drags” on the economy.
Jindal took odds with the President on our relationship with China, which is hobbled by our debt with the Asian powerhouse and need for its money to keep government operating. He also took on the ACA.
Pataki said there was no need for a cultural change. He went on to note that low income Americans were trapped by government programs that kept them down. Pataki called for changing from “dependence to opportunity”.
The third commercial break summoned the third round of questioning.
Halfway through the forum. I am still waiting to be swept off my feet. Love at first sight flew out the window and is not coming back.
Will second chance to find a loving partner show in the second half?
I doubt it.
A viewer question starts off the last half on what to do with Iran.
Perry was asked which side to be on in the debate over the Iran deal. Perry responded on the side which prevents Iran getting the bomb.
It was pointed out by the moderators that some of our allies in the Mideast have groups that support terrorism. The question became which do with side with – our allies or Iran?
Fiorina said our allies are not perfect, but that Iran is at the heart of terrorism in the Middle East. She stated that the President is putting out a false choice of either the Iran deal or war.
Supreme Court ruled same-gender marriage law of land. Santorum was asked if this was settled law. Santorum answered not at all, but like Dred Scott decision, an ongoing debate, which will be changed. The culture warrior is not backing down.
Gilmore was asked about a litmus test for Supreme Court Justices. He was asked if there should be one on abortion. Gilmore said he did not believe in such tests, but that justices would follow law.
The final commercial of the hour-long forum brings to the closing segment.
Unless there is a miracle, it is understandable why none of the seven have reached out and grabbed the public. All seven are personable. All seven are firm on their individual positions. All four can speak without stumbling.
But – none have that quality that says, “I am the best person to lead this country.”
None has that oomph that compels you to go out and volunteer to see him or her win in the coming months.
Did the polls get it right?
Will any of the 10 in prime time fare any better?
Round four coming up and I wait, but bored.
On Planned Parenthood, the only pro-choice candidate, Pataki, said he would defund the organization. He called for a permanent ban on taxpayer funding of abortions. He said that at 20-weeks doctors say the fetus is viable and this is the science. Thus it should be banned from 20-weeks onward.
Jindal said he would thoroughly investigate PP, which his state banned from Medicaid. He also said PP better hope Clinton becomes president.
Graham was asked if voting to defund PP is a war on women and be held against the GOP. Graham said no war on women, but take the money and use for other women’s health issues.
He went on to add that he would send troops back to Iraq and to Syria to protect us at home.
Asked what will be first executive order:
Gilmore – repeal EOs that should not be
Graham – ban funds for abortion
Jindal – sanctuary cities targeted
Perry – tear up Iran deal, secure border
Santorum – repeal EOs costing jobs, protect religious freedom
Fiorina – repeal EOs of Obama, undo whole set of things
Pataki – revoke every EO, hard hiring freeze except defense
Candidates were then asked if they could inspire the nation. None inspired me.
None had anything good to say about Clinton before being given chance to make a final statement.
From the Desert with my feet planted firmly in the Cornfield, this group lived up to the name I have given them of the Not-So Magnificent Seven. None of the seven gave me a reason to say, “This is my man” or “This is my woman”.
Here is hoping one of the 10 tonight will be inspirational.