Thoughts and updates ahead as we watch the debate. Feel free to discuss in comments!
Update #1: On Scalia’s replacement, it looks like intransigence and obstruction are the name of the game for the GOP. Dangerous stakes for them, but they’ve been playing it to the hilt for the last many years. So why not up the ante?
Update #2: Ben Carson shows his ignorance again by suggesting the average age of death was 50, so lifetime appointments didn’t matter as much. Average mortality was severely affected by infant mortality.
Update #3: Republicans are obviously taking the approach, as with immigration reform, that their unprecedented obstruction is all President Obama’s fault for being “divisive.” Will the few undecided swing voters actually buy into that line? Highly doubtful.
Update #4: Someone really needs to challenge these guys as to whom they would consider a “consensus” nominee for the Court.
Update #5: The Trump theory of war is “attack the oil and keep the oil.” It’s good to know that open old-school imperial colonialism and resource piracy is the favored policy of Republican voters.
Update #6: Despite the boos, Donald Trump won the exchange with Jeb Bush. The GOP Establishment doesn’t really get that even their own base has tired of the usual neoconservative war strategy, including playing up a fight against Russia at the expense of other priorities. GOP voters are far more afraid of pretty much everyone in the Middle East than they are of Russia.
Update #7: Ted Cruz still believes Iran is the greatest threat to the United States. That should be disqualifying in its own right.
Update #8: Donald Trump just accused the George W. Bush Administration of lying the country into war, saying there were weapons of mass destruction when they knew there were no weapons of mass destruction. If Trump continues to win these primaries, that is earthshaking to the GOP foreign policy apparatus.
Update #9: Watching Trump hammer the Bush Administration on 9/11 and Iraq on a GOP debate stage is some of the most compelling TV I’ve ever seen.
Update #10: Trump may actually have finally done himself in tonight. But if not, the GOP establishment is basically done. It means they have finally completely lost contact and faith with their own voters.
Update #11: Are there enough GOP voters with a vested emotional interest in defending the Bush Administration on Iraq and 9/11? I’m not sure. We’ll have to see.
Update #12: Carson speaks so slowly that he can’t even get the basics of an answer out before his time is up.
Update #13: Dios mio. Cruz hits Rubio on immigration, Rubio responds that Cruz doesn’t know what he said on Univision because he doesn’t speak Spanish, then Cruz challenges Rubio–in Spanish!–to debate him in Spanish. This is crazy. Rubio just got shredded by Cruz, and badly.
Update #13: When Rubio insults the federal government by saying “they” promised to take care of the border during the last immigration reform, it’s important to remember that he means Ronald Reagan.
Update #14: If you want proof as to just how far the GOP has run off the rails and is in disarray, just rewatch this debate. This is a party flying in every angry direction, utterly abandoning dignity and compassion, with little in the way of policy unity. It simply can’t continue like this. Something has to give.
Update #15: I’ve never seen a political debate as ugly and embarrassing as this. It’s like watching a violent, NSFW online video you just can’t pry your eyes from.
Update #16: This is such an embarrassing brawl. There can’t a single persuadable voter who wants any of these people as President.
Final thought: Did Donald Trump destroy his campaign tonight? I don’t know. I’ve never thought before that any of Trump’s supposed missteps would really hurt him. But tonight was so far out of the traditional GOP comfort zone that he might well have done himself near-fatal damage. But I just don’t know. We’ll have to see.