My perception of the debate was that Ted Cruz was a disaster. Getting bogged down in procedural points with the moderators is a terrible idea, and as he really should know about himself Bill Murray-style dry humor is something he should never try to do ever. But since I’m not a Republican, I’m reluctant to assume that my views are in any way representative of the audience that counts. In an admittedly unscientific survey of early-state GOP activists, though, Politico finds the same thing:
More than 4 in 10 GOP insiders — given the choice of the seven GOP candidates on the stage, plus Trump — rated Cruz as the loser of Thursday night’s debate, citing his defensive posture on his past immigration stances and opposition to ethanol subsidies.
“He seemed plastic and insincere,” said one Iowa Republican, who, like all respondents, completed the post-debate survey anonymously. “The crowd clearly liked Gov. [Terry] Branstad a lot more than they like Ted Cruz.”
Since Cruz is counting on base enthusiasm and organization to pull out Iowa, this would appear to be Excellent. News. For. Trump. Admittedly, Cruz imploding early would be the best chance for one of the establishment candidates to stop Trump, but the fact that both Rubio and Jeb! were seen as having good debates will probably stop a clear alternative from emerging in New Hampshire. The ridiculous is really becoming more plausible.
And, yes, on a related note Cruz’s answer on healthcare was as silly and repellent and Rand Paul’s answers on abortion rights.