Let me begin by saying I watched the debate, not the Trump rally. I found it to be a more organized debate with moderators including the now renowned Megyn Kelly having more control without The Donald in the room. In my opinion, nobody could actually be declared the winner and in fact, many say Trump won without showing up because he has taken over the media.
Ted Cruz needed to not only win, but needed to hit a grand slam to win back Trump supporters in Iowa. Although I disagree with pundits who claim is performance was horrendous, he did not perform like an ace debater either. And he did not endear voters by threatening to walk off the stage after being attacked by other candidates. There is a cliché that says if you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen. If we are going to defeat ISIS as Mr. Cruz vows, we need a president who can take the heat. A Fox News poll gave the victory to Marco Rubio. Rubio does not always stand up to attacks from Cruz as the two aspire to be the first president of Hispanic roots, but Rubio performs solidly and consistently. But since the only scoreboard used in the debating game is the polls, the solid, consistent performances are not scoring enough points to levitate Marco to victories in the Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina trifecta. Jeb Bush gave his best performance, but too little, too late. He is more than five runs behind and if you know baseball, that means you cannot come back and tie the score with a grand slam home run, the one base hit that gets you the most runs, four, with one swing of the bat. John Kasich is the one you light a candle for; he is sensible and rational, but a steamship with no steam.
While Ted Cruz probably will not win a Mr. Congeniality contest, he is the only candidate left with a realistic chance to oust The Donald and the last chance for both establishment Republicans and the Tea Party faction as the party’s third faction is coerced to someone who has never held public office. He needed to dazzle at the debate and he fell short. Republicans like me who want to see the party trace its roots into people like Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan are now depending on Cruz to make it happen. He still has a substantial number of supporters in Iowa but too many sold out to The Donald. All we can do now is let the games begin in Iowa and hope they do the right thing.