Wowzer on tomorrow's Daily News. pic.twitter.com/TBCxs5ISuP
— Teddy Schleifer (@teddyschleifer) January 15, 2016
Jim Newell, at Slate:
During Thursday night’s debate, Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump acted out a debate almost verbatim that they’ve been having across separate radio interviews the past couple of days regarding Trump’s supposed “New York values.” And, at least on Thursday night, Trump got the better of Cruz.
Moderator Neil Cavuto asked Cruz to elaborate on his statement that Trump “embodies” New York values.
“I think most people know exactly what New York values are,” Cruz responded. Well, Ted, there are a couple of implications there, and he went with both. “Everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro–gay marriage.” Check. “Focus around money and the media.” Check.
That allowed Trump, as he has in radio interviews this week, to wield the one single time that conservatives have ever shown solidarity with New York City, Sept. 11, against Cruz. He did it well.
“New York is a great place. It’s got great people. It’s got loving people, wonderful people,” Trump began. “When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York. You had two”—an interruption for applause, including from Cruz—“You had two 110-story buildings come crashing down.”…
Trump managed to win the auditorium and make Cruz look callous…
That’s no small feat, Ted — making Donald Trump look like the compassionate, humane guy.
Ed Kilgore, at NYMag, “Republican Candidates Fight Over the ‘Mantle of Anger'”:
… Ted Cruz, whose candidacy was already staked to the premise that conservatives can win the presidency without a single concession to anyone else, managed to ratchet up the high-pitched chattering whine of ideological extremism in his rhetoric via a closing statement that focused on Benghazi!, a pseudo-scandal that everyone other than The Faithful have written off for many months. Marco Rubio, his voice raised to a new stridency, is now routinely joining Ben Carson in blowing a Bircher dog-whistle about Barack Obama as aiming at a “fundamental change” in the nature of the country. He’s also now rationalizing his crabwise changes on immigration policy as a response to ISIS. Chris Christie, himself the target of attacks for being too much like Obama, suggested that massively expanded NSA surveillance could solve the problem of identifying “radical Islamists,” and sounded so much like a 1960s law-and-order candidate that you half expected him to attack the Earl Warren Court for taking the handcuffs off the criminals and putting them on the police. Even Jeb Bush, the only candidate to offer a real objection to Trump’s Islamophobia, seemed to suggest his rivals were mere paper tigers in assaulting the godless liberals…
In the end, the domination of the endless debate time by everything other than the basic economic issues you might expect from a business network showed how far into the fever swamps the GOP contest has strayed. When Donald Trump responded to the attack from host-state governor Nikki Haley on “the angriest voices” by saying “I will gladly welcome the mantle of anger,” he did not stand out at all. And after all the talk about the Republican field and the party Establishment conspiring to stop Trump, that’s the irony: they are increasingly the party of Trumpism With or Without Trump–plus John Kasich.
Jamelle Bouie, also at Slate, “The GOP Is Learning to Love Trump (Because it doesn’t have a choice)”:
… Each of the more mainstream candidates—Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Govs. John Kasich and Chris Christie, and former Gov. Jeb Bush—are running as men who understand voter anger. “I understand why Americans are feeling frustrated and scared and angry when we have a president who refuses to acknowledge the threat we face and even worse, who acts as an apologist for radical Islamic terrorism,” said Cruz in response to a question about national security.
But Trump doesn’t understand Republican anger. He is angry. “We have no borders. Our vets are being treated horribly. Illegal immigration is beyond belief. Our country is being run by incompetent people. And yes, I am angry,” said Trump. To label him angry, he explains, is just to be accurate. “I won’t be angry when we fix it, but until we fix it, I’m very, very angry. And I say that to Nikki. So when Nikki said that, I wasn’t offended. She said the truth.”
Trump is an angry man, and Republican voters—or at least, 34 percent of them—love it…
Which is to say that, for the establishment, this debate changed nothing. The status quo is where it was on Wednesday. Trump is still the front-runner. And judging from his dominance in the debate, he might even expand his lead. Cruz is still the next most likely choice, and if he loses support, the beneficiary isn’t Rubio—it’s Trump. It didn’t have to be this way—there was a point where mainstream Republican voices could have stopped Trump with money and effort—but now it’s too late.
Now, instead of brushing Trump aside, Republican elites are learning to love the Donald and accept him as a potential nominee, or at least a candidate they can work with. Put differently, Republicans are beginning to prepare for a world where Donald Trump, celebrity nativist, is their leader.
So current opinion (with which I concur) is that Donald Trump had a great night, Ted Cruz probably didn’t lose any points with his Talibangelical base as he campaigns for God-King of the Republic of Gilead… and if Christie, Kasich and Jeb can’t be persuaded to drop the fvck out already to give Rubio a scrambling chance when the two leading monsters manage to inflict serious wounds on each other, then the GOP as we have known it is very, very burnt toast. Which is poetically appropriate, since burnt toast (activated charcoal) is an old folk remedy for the treatment of ingested poisons; unfortunately, it’s no good at all against corrosive agents or if the patient has been drinking…
My left ear is completely blocked and I have a mild case of the spindizzies. I know from long experience that it won’t kill me, but it doesn’t help my temper (or my typing).
Apart from self-pity, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up a less-than-optimal January week?