Here’s what I think about Donald Trump skipping last night’s debate…

Well, another GOP debate, and I know some of you are wondering, what does Col. West think about Donald Trump not being there? It wasn’t a good move, and before y’all go sideways on me, here’s my assessment. You can’t run around talking about how tough you are and then complain about “not being treated fairly.” Folks, you all know life just ain’t fair, and when you’re President of the United States, you are a cut above — and that means bad folks are going to challenge you.

Now, I don’t think Megyn Kelly’s opening statement about “an elephant not in the room” was professional. The snarky intro question about the person who wasn’t there was just as petty and petulant as his reaction of not appearing at the debate. Another low point in the debate was Cruz’s reaction of seemingly complaining about being targeted by the Fox moderators. Well, a warrior loves the fight, and Cruz should’ve relished being the lead dog.

It appeared the Fox moderators did want to evoke a little Trump bashing, but most of the candidates didn’t take the bait — kudos. Also, was it just me, or did Wallace, Kelly,and Baier purposefully promote a contentious atmosphere? It’s one thing to present tough questions, another to incite a spiteful environment. However, there was nonetheless a much more substantive aura about this debate — though I still believe the Fox Business News team of Maria Bartiromo and Neal Cavuto, along with Sandra Smith and Trish Regan, did a much better overall job.

The candidates all seemed to realize they weren’t going to turn this debate into a Trump-bashing session. The heated discussions were policy-focused, not personal, which is what you saw between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio on immigration, for example.

Another general observation from the night is it’s vital the candidates stop with the myopic focus on ISIS. There’s a global Islamic jihad and that’s what a Commander-in-Chief must confront with a clear, concise strategic orientation.

I found it interesting that when the question was asked about radical Islamists having free speech, no one pivoted to seditious speech that incites violence. And when asked about shutting down mosques, well, French President Hollande and Egyptian President al-Sisi have done such to quell the jihadist movement within their borders.

As well, these fellas have to learn to pivot away from the term “profiling,” which the liberal left and their Islamist allies have been great at exploiting. The better word is “trend analysis.” In that same vein, Dr. Carson really missed an opportunity to explain the nature of “Islamophobia,” a term advanced by groups like Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). That term is truly the means by which Islamists and their liberal progressive allies seek to constrain free speech; see UN Resolution 16/18.

Here are some specific observations from last night’s debate:

  • Ted Cruz had a real hard time defending his immigration video clip; reminds me of the days of Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” — “roll tape four.” On another topic, Cruz is going to have to explain why he’s never voted to support the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), specifically.
  • Gotta give credit, Marco Rubio nailed the electability question. And the quip about Bernie Sanders being President of Sweden, well, Rubio certainly upset the Swedes, LOL, but it was a good line. Rubio did well in focusing on Obama and Clinton. However, the issue of immigration continues to be kryptonite for Rubio. And personally I don’t care for the “when I am president” line. I’d prefer, “if you so honor me to lead this great nation.” Never focus on yourself; give homage to the people.
  • Jeb Bush was strong on taking care of our veterans and did speak specifically about combatting the Islamic State. But when Chris Wallace asked him about his brother and Iraq/Afghanistan, there was an opportunity to articulate how Obama lost Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Taliban hold the most territory ever since 2001.
  • Gov. Chris Christie stood out last night for his ability to skillfully transition back to Hillary Clinton, regardless of the question being asked. I was extremely impressed at how he turned the question on Libya right back to Clinton, and recalled the Martha Radditz inquiry of Mrs. Clinton during a Democrat debate. Christie also had one of the best lines, “stop the Washington bull,” as he once again derided the parliamentarian debate society of the U.S. Senate (which I’ve previously commented on as well). If there’s one thing Christie does well, it’s drawing a clear distinction between an executive and a legislator — or as he defines them, a debater.
  • Dr. Ben Carson, he was there, but had no impact.

The folks who TRULY benefitted the most from the absence of Donald Trump were Rand Paul and John Kasich.

  • Senator Paul touts himself as the only fiscal conservative on the stage and a champion for the liberty vote. However, the most important role of the President of the United States is Commander in Chief. Not all budget dollars in Washington, D.C. are equal. There’s a way to have a strong, fiscally-responsible military, because you’re gonna have bad guys. The greatest way to be a champion for liberty is to safeguard it.
  • God bless John Kasich, he’s such a smart policy wonk, but just doesn’t come off as a calm confident leader; still too nervous-looking and trying to hard. His explanation of Medicaid reform in Ohio, well, most folks got lost after 30 seconds.

Here’s my final assessment. Ted Cruz didn’t handle being center stage well. He should’ve known absent Donald Trump, he’d be the target — deal with it. He did prove he was prepared for the ethanol question, as he knew it was coming. So Sen. Ted Cruz still is a contender with the non-establishment crowd.

The establishment gang is starting to see its nominee as Sen. Marco Rubio, but Gov. Christie isn’t going away. He nailed Cruz and Rubio on the flip-flopping, mind-changing videos. He’s making the case that he’s the one to go to for the GOP establishment; we shall see in New Hampshire.

In closing, here’s the one question I’d ask all of these candidates:

“You want to be Commander-in-Chief of the United States armed forces, the most important title of the president. Did any of you want to earn the title of Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine? Why did none of you serve in our armed forces, yet you now want to be the leader?”

I’d love to hear each of them, and give them three mins to answer, because that folks is the question, and answer, that truly matters most to me.


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