5ive hours of debate

1442459484931I got a full night’s sleep last night, yet I’m STILL exhausted from the 3 hour CNN GOP Varsity Debate last night. (At hour 2.5, my son asked when it would end. I said, “Oh, it goes all night.” He responded, “Seriously?“)

There is an online poll on Drudge that asks who won. As of Thursday morning, 55% said Trump.

Which just goes to show the worthlessness of online polls.

The person everyone is talking about this morning, and the clear winner of the debate, was Carly Fiorina. Marco Rubio was a pretty clear second, though some could differ on that.

Chris Christie probably came in a farther third after Fiorina and Rubio. From there it’s a crap shoot.

Huckabee, Cruz and Walker didn’t do a bad job. But they didn’t shine, and at times became invisible, kinda like Hugh Hewitt.

Like Trump fans, you will never convince Rand Paul supporters that he had a bad night, but his answers likely nailed his coffin shut for the season. (And cue the Paulistas to jump to the comments!)


It can easily be argued that Trump’s appearance was semi-disastrous, though his supporters really don’t care. His body-language was awful, his responses were rambling and he got pwned (as the kids say) by Fiorina, and arguably a few times by Bush and Carson. His initial attack on Rand Paul was sort of out-there, though I suspect it was strategic at some level.

But again, his performance will not matter to his hard-core fans. But it likely reinforces the cap that his overall support will have (though that depends on him needing over x% in the primary).


People like Ben Carson’s soft-spokeness and calm, but his responses got long and rambling, and on a number of points seemed to go no where.

He has been climbing in the polls significantly lately, but it shouldn’t be surprising to see some of his support shift.

Oh, and if the election were held today, John Kasich would be done.


The JV debate seemed to be just that. Lindsey Graham was enjoyable, but probably too far-out militaristic for anyone’s taste right now.

Jindal should cool his jets just a tad and wait for next time. Because while it won’t happen now, he could have some staying power.

Not real clear why Pataki and Santorum are still in the race.


But while some candidates seem to be finished, others ebbing and flowing, the fact of the matter is it is still only September. Lots more can happen, news of the day can take over and voters can and will easily flip.

Trump, Fiorina, Bush and Rubio seem to be in for the long haul.

Trump won’t be leaving anytime soon, Bush has too much cash and Fiorina and Rubio keep over-achieving — at least on TV, if not eventually in the polls.

Walker was on the rise, but his message just seems to continue to be a little…dull. Not in the “boring” sense, but as in “non-shiny”. He is the opposite of Trump’s mylar streamers that gardeners use to keep the crows away. Walker still has a good message, but he seems to get less interesting.

[On a side note, I have been asking pols who THEY would like to see on a new $20 or $10 — and CNN’s Jake Tapper stole my questions. Interestingly, Scott Walker answered me by saying, “I’m more interested in keeping twenty-dollar bills in people’s’ pockets, than worrying about who is on the front of them.” But last night, he changed his answer to “Harriet Tubman“. Ah well.]

This was Christie’s best performance yet, but I’m still not convinced he is getting traction. Same for Cruz and Huckabee.


The biggest loser of the night was undoubtably CNN. What a mess.

Three hours? And that was just the late show. The whole schmear went from 5pm-10pm. It was like binge-watching the campaign on Netflix.

Way too many of, “Donald Trump said this. What do YOU think?” questions.

The timing never seemed to work, with Tapper and the “Thank you Governor. Thank you. Thank you,” as they just kept talking.

No idea what Hugh Hewitt was doing there.

A number of goof-ball questions, “A lot of social media questions about Climate Change!” Right. From all of CNN’s GOP viewers…

And it is unclear why the Republican Party handed over the debate process to CNN in the first place. Maybe that’s easier to say, after the Trump ratings bonanza. But they would be much better off-putting it together themselves, then offering the TV stations to bid on it. It won’t be surprising to see this be the case in the future.

And as I noted on the Twitter, the debate with a deflated Trump was much like a golf tournament back in the day, where Tiger Woods was no longer in the final group. It just became less “Must See”.

But the Live Tweeting of the debate is still the best way to go…


This was a must-write for the post-debate, but make sure you listen to today’s podcast featuring Lincoln City Councilman Trent Fellers on The Wheels Down Politics Show.

Here is a clip to whet your appetite:

And Trent and I of course talk much more about Lincoln, the City Council and the goings-on with the Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Listen to this, and all of our podcasts at WheelsDownPolitics.com.


  1. Anonymous says:

    The support for Rand Paul (which is negligable) illustrates that the whole Paul following has fallen apart. Time to get behind someone who can win. Rubio did well.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This was a good news/bad news night for Carly Fiorina. Good news is that because CNN decided to focus half the debate on her personality conflict with Donald Trump, she almost couldn’t help but score points against his carnival act.

    Bad news, when she gets her undeserved bump in the polls thanks to the one-liners she’s had weeks to craft and hone, more light will be shed on her record which is, um, ugly.

  3. buck turgidson says:

    I don’t understand the folks in our party who, after eight years of bitching about the inexperienced and unprepared Barack Obama, are now falling head over heels for Trump, Carson, and Fiorina.

  4. get real says:

    Trump apparently drives inflexible political minds to break into insanity. Sweeper is the latest proof.

    Trump is polled as the winner yet because SS dislikes him SS announces polls don’t matter. Like Krauthammer and others whom Trump has driven nuts, SS eschews reason and ignores the fact that Election Day is also a poll. Sweeper, I recommend you don’t let yourself be so directed. Instead observe those few who are doing the driving. Our one vote each is useless, as are attempts to persuade here. It is by being a credible prognosticator we can contribute but that evaporates when we eschew reason by ignoring facts.

    You appear to like and respect Fiorina. That’s good. But on the chance you are rational enough to hear about her past, here are a few tidbits about her magic touch in her own world.

    Fiorina wrecked Lucent Bell Labs, a seminal research core of the USA which had via pure research produced seemingly useless things like the transistor, fiber optics and the laser; things that made America the world’s technology leader. In came Fiorina and friends who forced scientists to only make things they could immediately sell. When she left to go to HP, Bell labs was ruined. Today world technology is led by not-the-USA. That wasn’t all her doing but she helped that wreckage wreck. As visionary executives go she appears disastrous.

    As HP’s CEO from 1999 to 2005, Fiorina single handedly ruined one of the world’s top tech companies. HP’s ruinous merger with Compaq, firing 30,000 employees, inept navigation of the dot.com crisis, and sending jobs out of the country was all her doing. Packard’s granddaughter and Hewlett’s son tried to oust her, albeit with motives to see the company thrive. But Fiorina is a fighter–a lousy executive–but a fighter. Like a boil, hard to ignore and yet difficult to get rid of. It took years to fire Fiorina. Once HP did fire her in 2005, the next day it’s stock shot up 10%.

    Fiorina does to corporations what Obama does to America. Their right vs left political philosophies hardly make a difference because whatever they touch seems to shrivel.

    Fiorina’s apparent forcefulness and feminism is delighting CNN wonks. But her main rational selling point is her being HP’s CEO and HP fired her. That should make her vulnerable to GOP voters who tend not to delight in feminism but who do often know a debit from a credit.

    • “get real”,
      I’ll bite:
      Yes, I realize that the online poll on Drudge had Trump as the winner.
      If you actually thought Trump “won” the debate, you are either stupid or a liar.
      I’ll let you pick which one.
      That being said, the poll did NOT say, “Who would you vote for?”
      I am fully aware that there are people (mind you, I didn’t say “likely voters”) who say they would vote for Trump.
      Also, I am fully aware of Carly Fiorina’s background.
      I’m also aware of Trump’s background.
      And Carson’s. And Rubio’s. And Cruz’s. Etc.
      And thanks for reading.
      -JK (aka SS)

  5. Sparkles says:

    As noted previously, Fiorina has an almost insurmountable obstacle to the Oval office, her resume.

    And while articulate last night she was, with remarkable consistency, grossly negligent when it came to facts.

    Of course there’s never been a presidential candidate more mendacious than Mitt. And that proved a trait readily ignored by 47.2% of the electorate in 2012.
    So, should she secure the nomination, the modern day GOP would be certain to forgive Fiorina’s fleeting relationship with reality.

  6. Sparkles says:

    Let’s see who Twitter says won the debate?
    Twitter followers gained during the debate:
    Fiorina +26k
    Carson +25k
    Trump +14k
    Bush +8k
    Rubio +8k
    Cruz +3k
    Kasich +3k
    Paul +3k
    Huck +2k
    Walker +1k

    And during the very same time period, Bernie Sanders gained +50K Twitter followers.

  7. Mark Andrews says:

    It is difficult to imagine the electorate swinging far enough to the Left to make Bernie Sanders president. In what part of the Multiverse is that the outcome? If Twitter followers were a measure of electability Taylor Swift would be in her 2nd term.

    I grant you, Sanders comes by his socialist credentials honestly, but that’s not going to matter once Hillary leaves her comfy tower in Mordor and gets to work on the Repub front-runner. Forgive me for wishing it was already Nov. 9, 2016. I’m already tired of this mess.

  8. The Twit says:

    That’s great and all, about Carly’s new twitter followers. Now, at 539K followers, Carly is just behind Ben Carson (639K followers) and Rand Paul (685K followers) still way behind Marco Rubio (857K followers) and not in the same hemisphere as Donald Trump (4.19 million followers.)

    The point? Who cares.

  9. Sparkles says:

    FWIW –
    I, also, could give a rat’s patoot about twitter.
    But, some who frequent this buckyball suspended from a string floating among a back channel of a black hole in our multiverse, seem to think it’s the cat’s meow.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Nobody cares what you think. You want Bernie Sanders elected because you know that you don’t stand a chance at making it in life unless a socialist comes along to save you from working for a living.

  11. Sparkles says:

    917 falsehoods were chronicled throughout Mitten’s 2012 campaign.
    Documented and chronicled.

    A true Prince of Prevarication.

  12. Ed Stevens says:

    While I understand and generally support Sweeper’s policy of “NO URL’s!”, the rule has a very real downside … anyone can post pretty much any “statistic” or “fact” – totally unsourced as though it came down from the mountain inscribed in stone. Folks like the now ubiquitous “Sparkles” are past masters at this sort of thing. It is a variation of the Big Lie fallacy – say something outrageous loudly enough and enough times, and at least some will begin to believe it – especially those who lack any sort of critical thinking skills.
    So I think we should all get to play – I’ll start:

    Hilary has 38 cellulite dimples on her hiney. Bernie Sanders had a hair transplant last spring, but 97% of the transplanted follicles rejected him. Sparkles’ real internet pseudonym is “Spark-less”.

    See – it’s easy.

  13. Macdaddy says:

    The moment Biden announces, Sanders is done and the Democrats have a chance at winning. The moment Biden announces, the AG will announce charges against Hillary and take the wind out of the main Republican talking point: Democrat corruption.

  14. Anonymous says:

    You said “I’ll bite” and bite you did, by saying “If you actually thought Trump ‘won’ the debate, you are either stupid or a liar.” Thank you for illustrating an important point. For those are strong words from a professional whom most would think should be above being chivvied by words.

    I don’t believe I said Trump won the debate. I don’t think it was a debate. Voters are as visceral as debate judges rational. This was more like hook baiting, image oriented. And killing one’s image is almost always a case of suicide.

    The bigger the ego, the easier it is to prick. Politicians have gigantic egos. You simply prick them in the middle of their comfort zone and they often conclude, wrongly, that by responding with righteous indignation they appear to others as righteously indignant. Not so. Voters see those empowered and especially those seeking more power, who when pricked yell “ouch,” as playing victim, like Obama playing the race card. To that, voters feel not sympathy but antipathy. We all have egos and are susceptible. But the more empowered we are the less leeway we have ala reactive pique.

    Trump is good at this baiting game. But I don’t think he can win without morphing from rudeness into dignity. I don’t know how Trump can do that. However, I also don’t know how Carson can morph into a fiery speaker, or Fiorina change into not being fired by HP, or if Bush has enough time to change his last name.

    What I do know is this. There is a lot of time left in this horse race and voters choose horses by gut feeling. After two terms of Obama, voters aren’t hoping for another fop who plays victim and lets himself be chivvied and handled by our nation’s enemies.

    This isn’t about Trump or Fiorina or the two dozen other GOP candidates. This is about not ending up with a Hillary, Joe or Bernie following in Barry’s foot-scuffs.

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