The Republican Enemy List
Jonathan Bernstein – Bloomberg View
If Twitter reaction to Wednesday night’s Republican debate is any indication, one big media takeaway is going to be the early exchange between Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush over Rubio’s missed votes in the Senate — with Rubio scoring (the media judges declare) a knockout.
If that in fact becomes the clip everyone plays, and if it produces a significant polling bump for Rubio, then the question becomes what Republican party actors – politicians, campaign and governing professionals, activists and donors, Republican-aligned interest groups and more – do about it. Will they finally get off the fence and declare for Rubio? Or are they willing to give Bush more time? Or did another candidate impress them? ….
Serious discussion of the issues? Rubio was about the only one to talk about policy in a substantive, reality-based way. The rest, when they weren’t attacking the press, were all about this: The government is bad! Washington is bad! The establishment is bad! Hillary Clinton is bad!
Watch heated exchange between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio:
Terrific Night for Cruz
Michael Warren – The Weekly Standard
Ted Cruz went a long way Wednesday night in making the case for himself as the conservative consensus candidate….
Cruz also began to define himself against the draconian conservative caricature. In discussing his tax plan, he made sure to note that under his proposal “no billionaire pays less than his secretary.”
In another moment, moderator Becky Quick questioned Cruz about the dubious claim that American women make significantly less than men for the same job. Cruz used the opportunity both to show a personal side of himself as well as land a hit on Democrats.
‘I’ll tell you, in my family there are a lot of single moms in my family. My sister was a single mom. Both my aunts were single moms. My mom, who is here today, was a single mom when my father left us when I was 3 years old. Now, thank God my father was invited to a Bible study and became born again, and he came back to my mom and me, and we were raised together.
But the struggle of single moms is extraordinary.’
Insiders: Bush Bombed, Rubio Won
Kyle Cheney – Politico
Jeb Bush blew it….
Bush’s loss was Rubio’s gain: Just shy of half of GOP insiders said Rubio won the night, steamrolling his one-time mentor. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came in a distant second and third, respectively….
Not a single GOP insider rated Trump, the Republican front-runner, as the victor, but barely any said he lost. It was a remarkable fade to the background for the oxygen-stealing showman who thrives on poll results and drives ratings. One respondent rated his performance a “C.” Another said he seemed “banal” and disengaged in the latter portion of the debate.
Ben Carson, who surpassed Trump in a recent national poll, also barely left a mark despite high expectations coming in — just 6 percent said he won, and 10 percent said he lost.
Oh, Those Debating Republicans
Gail Collins – The New York Times
Republicans who have been terrified by Trump and Carson, and in despair over Jeb Bush, keep pointing hopefully to Marco Rubio.
During the debate, Rubio demonstrated great verbal talent when it came to explaining why he seems so bad at things like, say, managing his personal finances. (His parents were humble working folk who did not leave him a fortune.) Also, his stupendous absentee record in the Senate is not all that much worse than some other people who have run for president…..
Jeb Bush is not going to be the Republican presidential nominee. Neither is, let’s see — Christie, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina or any of the other supporting cast members. Ted Cruz did have a big moment when he answered a question about raising the debt limit by attacking the questioner.