What Good Issued From the Candidate Debate?

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Did you hear about the ratings?

Over 24 million people watched the first Republican debate Thursday. That’s the largest audience ever for a cable program, save for sports.

Everybody knows why so many watched: people wanted to see a fight break out between Chris Christie and Rand Paul.

Donald Trump’s presence probably didn’t hurt. Let me clarify that. Trump’s appearance helped rating. His performance might have ended his campaign.

Donald Trump comported himself with all the dignity and gravitas of a George W. Bush as portrayed by Will Ferrell.

At the risk of receiving angry tweets from Trump and his minions, I tweeted:

There’s plenty of good analysis of the candidates’ substance, so I won’t get into that. Instead, I tried to watch the debate like the majority of American voters. They don’t like politics, but they figure it’s their duty to vote with a bit of knowledge.

[More on Donald Trump here. And here.]

Who Else Lost Ground

Trump was not alone in turning off voters. Governor Jeb Bush struggled. He seemed a little needy at times, like a kid who wants to be left alone with his toys at his own birthday party. He defended his unpopular positions mostly by saying “I know better.”

Senator Rand Paul, with whom I probably most agree, needs a bit more seasoning. I never looked at him and thought “Mr. President.”

Senator Ted Cruz, I’m afraid, suffers with familiarity. I honestly can’t put my finger on what it is about Senator Cruz that irritates me, but something does. Anecdotally, I’m not alone. When people ask themselves which candidate they’d like to hear speaking on the news every day for four years, Cruz won’t be the answer.

Governor Scott Walker struck me as smug and a little arrogant. He memorized lines and recited them like a high school senior accepting his Prom King crown. And I so wanted him to do well.

Who Did Well

Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie performed well. Neither man wins on conservative values, but I like them more as people after their performance. Christie gets points for having the courage to propose changes to Social Security which is an important safety net that’s about to rupture from too much weight.

Senator Marco Rubio could smile more, but he seemed at times the readiest to be President. His speaking style would wear well over four or eight years of constant news about him. The panel on MSNBC declared him the winner by a mile. That might overstate the case, but he did very well.

Governor John Kasich might be the most electable in a general election. He is smart and quick. His sarcasm comes across as sincere. He never seemed to be giving a prepared speech, which afflicted all but one of his debate partners. Katich will suffer in the primaries over Medicaid Expansion, but his very popular in Ohio, and Republicans will not win the White House without his state.

Who Won?

No one. But Dr. Ben Carson won a lot of hearts. He was the most human. Somehow, when he explained that he’s separated conjoined twins and performed amazing neurological surgeries it came off as if he were apologizing. I believe his humility is sincere. His closing statement was absolutely brilliant, and the words themselves were too simple, the structure too casual, to have been scripted.

At some point before the Republican Convention, the electorate’s mood will coalesce. After ten years of heated, cynical attacks and great suffering through wars, terrorism, mass shootings, and chronic underemployment that afflicts so many families, I believe the national mood will crave a human voice, a gentle spirit, and a confident smile. Those qualities will trump ideological purity and mad-as-hell bombast.

Ben Carson might not appeal to the dogma worshippers on the right, but he could win the love and respect of millions of people who simply want to get through life the best they can in an America renewed of spirit and prosperity. Sort of like 1980.

I’ll leave you with Ben Carson’s closing words:

But I am very hopeful that I am not the only one who is willing to pick up the baton of freedom. Because freedom is not free and we must fight for it every day. Everyone of us must fight for it because we are fighting for our children and the next generation.

–Dr. Ben Carson

Thank you for reading. May you have a blessed weekend, friends.

Will KMOX Drop Candy Crowley Or Lose Its Credibility?

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CNN’s Candy Crowley talks politics during KMOX’s Total Information AM every Friday. KMOX Presents Crowley as a credible source of political information.

But Crowley’s credibility is gone.

On Tuesday, Crowley jumped into the Presidential Debate by claiming Barack Obama called the Benghazi attack “an act of terror” in the Rose Garden on September 12. In hockey, she’d have earned a game misconduct for being the third player into a fight.

Crowley either lied or never read the transcript.

More importantly, why was the MODERATOR doing Obama’s bidding by side with him against Mitt Romney? That’s not moderation; it’s advocacy.

While Obama did use the word “terror” in that speech, he was clearly referring to 9-11-2001.

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks.  We mourned with the families who were lost on that day.  I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.  Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.

He did NOT refer to the Benghazi attack as an act of terror, as he claimed and as Crowley claimed. At best, he spoke of terrorism in the abstract. The fact that he blamed the video – that day and for weeks after – indicates that “terror” was not linked to Benghazi in Obama’s mind at that moment.

Here is Crowley trying to cover up her “3rd man in” moment after the debate, and doing a very poor job.

 

Crowley’s partisanship was disgraceful and unethical. KMOX has been a pillar of quality and credibility for generations. I would hate to see it end with this.

Read the transcript.

Now We Know Why Mitt Romney Has Been Wildly Successful In Life

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Barack Obama’s performance was not nearly as bad as Romney’s performance was good.

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Not good—terrific.

I’m not talking about his politics and policies; I’m talking Romney’s remarkable presence. Here are the four principles of presence that Romney knocked out of the park.

Command of the Facts

When it came to facts—and to how those facts matter to the listeners—Mitt Romney seemed more prepared for the office of President than the President. Every attack by the President was countered, not with excuses or logic, but with numbers, facts, and verifiable statements.

The words that popped into viewers minds regarding Romney: confidence, authority, intelligence, competence, and readiness.

Affable Demeanor

From the moment he stepped onto the stage, Mitt Romney’s body and face reflected a friendly, but determined, man. His eyes danced. He smiled when appropriate, and never scowled. He stood still and straight—“in neutral,” as personal coach Frances Cole Jones describes the position: feet planted, hands at sides, ready to move but disciplined to hold steady.

Romney’s demeanor led people to think: approachable, safe, unguarded, honest, open, and strong.

Eye Contact

When Barack Obama attacked Romney, the President looked down or at Jim Lehrer. When Romney called out Obama, he looked his rival in the eye. While Obama’s eye-aversion looked weasel-like and weak, Romney’s forthrightness looked brave.

The word that Romney’s eye contact conjured: mensch.

Consistency

After 90 minutes, the President looked beaten, exhausted, distracted, and uncomfortable. He stood on one leg, often rocking back and forth like fidgety boy in Sunday School. But Romney’s strength, energy, and determination never waned. Romney never soared, but he never descended.

The word viewers thought about Romney’s consistency:  stamina.

Presidential

In every respect, Mitt Romney came across as more presidential than the President himself. He was more in command of facts, he was more likable, he had the wherewithal to look his rival in the eye and maintain all of these qualities consistency.

Mitt Romney’s impression on voters:  Mr. President.