Like it or not, Fox News did the Republicans (and America) a huge favor in the first GOP debate.
The moderators came right out of the saddle to say to the candidates that you are training for a fight; not just coming to the gym. There is a difference.
I can tell you that when a guy has no fight in the near future, he is willing to spar with you, with no evil intent in his punches and kicks. However, when a fighter is training for a fight, you become the person he will soon fight for real.
If Donald Trump, et al thought the debate was a workout, they were mistaken; they are training for a fight.
Fox led off with the pledge. Trump took the bait. He could have easily shown presidential mettle by saying,
“I won’t commit to this pledge, because I haven’t had time to research my opponents. As a businessman, I try to know all the facts before making a decision. I presume they all feel qualified and worthy to be on the ticket; however, I believe the prudent thing to do is for each of us to make that very personal decision, based on good information, and not from some ‘show of hands’ gimmick.”
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Strike One on Trump.
Next, he was asked about his issue with women, by a woman. Trump responded with a clever and funny quip about Rosie O’Donnell. However, he promptly followed up with an attack on a woman.
Trump should have seen this from a mile away. You can’t attack a woman for asking a question, legit or not, about your potential misogyny. After all, playboy billionaires are known for such dalliances. They have the financial wherewithal to get women to become very unladylike. So the question was legit for many reasons.
Regardless, what Trump should have said is,
“Megyn, I’m a businessman, and I have said some mean things, not just to women, but to men as well. I have had equally mean things (and worse) said about me. I bet everybody in this auditorium has said things they didn’t mean, based on circumstances and emotions. I’ve had wives and girlfriends, and raised a pretty outstanding daughter. I’ve employed many outstanding women in my businesses. I regret some of my comments; however, I’m happy about my record on women.”
Strike Two on Trump.
Next, Trump was asked about his bankruptcies. Easy question, and one he should have expected. Trump essentially threw the banks and his business partners under the bus. “They’re no choirboys,” implying that they were ruthless business people who got what they deserved.
What Trump should have said is,
“Unlike government, business doesn’t have unlimited capital for constant bailouts. You win some, you lose some. I’ve had many business ventures, and an overwhelming number have been successful. I hate failure, but that’s where I learned the most. Those failures made me who I am today. Would you rather I had practiced on the U.S. economy like Barack Obama!?”
Strike Three on Trump.
Fox News went on to ask tough questions of each candidate. Megyn asked a brain surgeon if people felt he was smart enough to be president. Pardon my French, but that took balls. Dr. Carson didn’t get mad at the question, but merely said that Washington doesn’t need more politicians, alluding that knowing the names and titles of people should not be the goal of politicians.
Walker was asked about flip-flopping on immigration, Jeb Bush on his stance on immigration and Common Core. Almost every candidate was asked about his record, any potential weaknesses, and so on. Most passed the test, except Trump.
Not that Trump needed another swing, but he was asked about his flip-flop from pro-choice to pro-life. Trump responded that one of his friends contemplated an abortion and didn’t have one, and the young lady who might have been aborted grew up to be a stellar individual.
What a terrible answer.
What if the child had turned out to be a miscreant; would his stance have remained the same? By the way, ALL good people are here because they weren’t aborted, so why did he need THAT girl for his epiphany?
Fox News did a fantastic job exposing the dirty laundry of each candidate. That is their job. Further, they cannot be accused of going soft on Republicans, as the Left often accuses.
Perhaps most importantly, Fox News has raised the bar, putting CNN or MSNBC on notice that they are not going to throw softballs at candidates. All of the Republicans are better candidates now than they were before the debate. They now know they are training for a fight; that the media won’t get any easier.
Hillary Clinton is practicing for easy questions. Steel will not sharpen steel in her debate preparation, nor in her debates. It won’t happen for the other hapless rubes running as Democrats. Neither Hillary Clinton nor any other Democrat will be ready to fight, of that you can be sure. They will be full of pat answers, like “I want to make America better” or “I’m doing this for the middle-class.”
The Republican selected will be a gladiator. And we will have Fox News to thank for that.