Roper: NBC’s GOP debate was actually pretty good

But the top candidates shouldn’t participate in any more.

by Rob Roper

Wednesday night’s debate between the five qualifying GOP candidates for president not named Trump was by far the best of the three held so far. At least in my opinion. One critic complained it came off more like a TED Talk than a debate. I agree! But I thought that’s what made it good. Unless you’re looking to exploit click-bait soundbites, what does anybody get out of mud-slinging one-liners and too many people talking over each other?

All of the candidates did good job outlining their positions on a number of serious issues ranging from the Israeli/Hamas conflict as well as Ukraine, and China, to energy policy, immigration, the opioid crisis, crime, inflation, entitlement spending, and education. The spinners are trying to stir the pot by highlighting a couple of “heated moments” – Nikki Haley is Dick Cheney in heels! — that weren’t really that heated or are downplaying the event as irrelevant. (The latter have an argument.)

Some, I think, did better than others. Ramaswamy made some solid points starting with taking on the legacy media for their multi-year collusion in the Russia collusion hoax but shot himself in both feet by generally coming across as, well, just kind of a jerk. Tim Scott finally came out of his shell and turned in a solid performance, but, if Tuesday’s election results from Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia teach us anything, it is that Scott’s Christian conservative positions on issues like abortion won’t translate well into a national race. Chris Christie was Chris Christie. He’s a smart guy, but a Blue State, center-left Republican is not what an overwhelming majority of Republican primary voters are looking for today.

That leaves Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, the two non-Trump frontrunners. Personally, I think these two should be the Republican ticket for 2024, and the only question to iron out between now and the primaries for me is which one should be at the top. Both are/were highly effective conservative governors. Both delivered conservative policy and electoral victories in their states. Both are extremely articulate in their own and in complimentary ways – DeSantis being more methodical (some say uncharismatic), and Haley being more passionate (some say more charismatic).

Both have demonstrated they can connect with and bring in voters who are outside their base constituencies, such as independents and minorities. Both are young, energetic, and attractive. If either won the presidency in 2024, the other would still be young enough to run in 2032, setting up Republicans for long term national success. (Trump, of course, would be constitutionally done in 2028.)

We need to see and hear more from these two. Just these two.

So, some free advice to their campaigns that probably won’t be taken but anyway…. Scrap any more GOP sponsored debates.

Currently there is a controversy over a proposal by influential Iowan, Bob Vander Plaats, president of The Family Leader, to hold a public Thanksgiving roundtable discussion with the GOP candidates and the RNC is threatening to bar anyone who participates from future GOP sponsored debates. First, what future GOP sponsored debates? And second, who cares? Do the Vander Plaats event (which I’m happy to say it looks like he’s going to move forward with) and don’t stop there.

None of the five from Wednesday is going to break out or change the current dynamic by popping up once a month, if that, to scramble for fifteen minutes of talk time at free-for-all moderated by a bunch of left-wing legacy media talking heads. So, create your own forums and have a real, in-depth conversation about what your visions are for the country – and how you plan to win a general election in November.

As for Haley and DeSantis, I would suggest the two organize a World Series of two-hour head-to-head discussions. Seven games, each focusing on a specific topic, hosted by someone(s) conservatives care about and who has an audience. Mark Levin? Tucker Carlson? Joe Rogan? Elon Musk? One a week leading up to the Iowa Caucuses on January 15.

Last month Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy explored doing a one-on-one debate on Fox News and the RNC quashed it. Why did they chicken out? Both probably would have gotten more publicity for their campaigns and created more of an opportunity to connect with voters had they done it. I, for one, was looking forward to it and hope they revisit the idea themselves. The more in-depth exposure we get to these folks the better.

The low-information way we go about picking the leader of the free world these days sucks. I cite the current guy who ran from a basement hiding behind a mask – and won — as my evidence.

Rob Roper is a freelance writer with 20 years of experience in Vermont politics including three years service as chair of the Vermont Republican Party and nine years as President of the Ethan Allen Institute, Vermont’s free market think tank.

Categories: Commentary

9 replies »

  1. Ramaswamy was not wrong! The fact the GOP hired LEFT leaning moderators for a Republican debate is hysterically ridiculous. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is a problem. Anyone remotely associated with Mitt Romney is swamp rot. Also not impressed by Desantis or Haley although as Governors they were successful. Neither will beat Newsome or the other candidate Ramaswamy mentioned.
    Desantis should remain Governor of Florida. Haley can’t be trusted. Tim Scott would make a good VP IMO. Ramaswamy/Scott or Trump/Scott or Trump/Ramaswamy The cities in this country would need to be saved from being burned down.

    • This is what happens every election in Vermont too. The entire debate is framed around VT Dem talking points. Nobody seems to get it……we need to frame the conversation that cuts across party lines. Why?

      Because people coming together is Kryptonite for the uniparty. When you expose the uniparty, you’ll win hearts and minds across the spectrum.

      For Vermont, Affordability is #1, nobody is addressing this. Drugs is another major issue, to which nobody is addressing. School funding and indoctrination is another…..these cut across all walks of life.

      When your granddaughter can’t get a good job, because she is functionally illiterate and has zero math skills, people take notice. Aside from all the other crazy stuff they are putting in our kids heads.

  2. What a joke. These so-called Republican debates are like going to see concert where the headlining country western band doesn’t show up and they put on a tribute band, but the audience is from Kazakhstan and doesn’t speak English or even like country music.

    When are we going to see a debate not on FOX or NBC (which has no credibility at all) or any of the MSM. Rather a debate where the candidates show up with real moderators like Tucker Carlson, Bill Mahr, Glenn Greenwald, Joe Rogan or Bill O’Reilly.

    The RNC led by Rona McDaniel has set not only the debates but the candidates for failure. Not one of these candidates is going to beat Donald Trump and the voters know it as the TV ratings were worse from the last debate than the previous two.

    The Jellyfish should replace the Elephant as the logo for the Republican Party. It fits perfectly, spineless, brainless, heartless, eats its own, craps thru its mouth and is full of poison. If it wasn’t for Trump, there would be no party at all.

    • The uniparty wants control of the narrative, so if they have their way, it will NEVER happen. I believe they even stated that no candidate can go on an unauthorized debate format…..see how that works?

  3. Re: “Personally, I think these two (Haley and DeSantis) should be the Republican ticket for 2024, and the only question to iron out between now and the primaries for me is which one should be at the top.”

    No news here. Rob isn’t a Trump fan. Curiously, he doesn’t explain why… except to say that he doesn’t care for 45’s personality… and he’s not ‘young, energetic, and attractive’.

    Re: “(Trump, of course, would be constitutionally done in 2028.)” Sure. Kinda like Obama is ‘constitutionally done’.. as opposed to his current front man, Biden, being over-cooked.

    IMHO, the question is, who can stand up and best resist the deep state bureaucrats who are currently in control of the government and using draconian tactics to stifle our individual liberties – or what’s left of them. Haley and DeSantis, while well-meaning (i.e., well scripted), are light weights. Do you want someone who is ‘young, energetic, and attractive’ to fight this fight? Or do you want the Bull in the China shop?

    • Happy to explain why Trump is a bad candidate in 2024. And it has nothing to do with anything personal. It’s logistical. He can only run for one term — unholster revolver, shoot foot. He’s spending almost all his donations on his legal defense instead of campaigning. He polls terribly with swing voters. He’s undisciplined and unfocused in his communication, easily distracted and off message. He’s very good at rallying his base (about 25% of the voting population) but terrible at winning over folks outside of that bubble and, appears to be uninterested in trying. He can’t break away from a statistical tie with the braindead corpse who beat him last time — and will not be, mark my words, the ultimate Democrat nominee. He surrounds himself with sycophants and even then can’t seem to manage/retain staff, which mean’s he doesn’t get things done. And, even as his supporter Rush Limbaugh noted, Trump is not a conservative. I am.

  4. They still don’t get it. Dr. Sabastian Gorka got it right. There is only one person the United States that can serve only one term as president and that’s Trump. The first thing a DeSantis or Haley will do is work to be re-elected and all the stuff that happened to Trump and to our institutions and the Constitution won’t mean anything to them if it doesn’t work towards getting them elected. This why Trump is running away with the nomination because people don’t trust anyone on that debate stage except maybe Ramaswamy.

  5. There is only one man in America that is not compromised running for the office of president of the USA and that is Donald Trump.

    He doesn’t owe anyone favors and is not serving for the cash they all are drooling to receive at taxpayer expense and selling out America to lobbyists and foreign countries.

    Trump proved he had the knowledge to move America in the right direction for the safety and the economic viability of Americans.

    We were on our way to being safe from illegal immigration. Trump was building the wall on our southern border in spite of the democrats fighting tooth and nail to stop him. The refused 5 billion dollars for Trump to continue the wall. What is the cost of illegal immigrants under Biden to the American taxpayers today? 150.7 BILLION DOLLARS in 2023.

    What person in their right mind with concern for the American people could vote for Joe Biden and his crimes against America over Donald Trump? WHO COULD HATE AMERICA THAT MUCH?

    Trump is the only president in recent history that has promised to return America to the American people…which is where it belongs…

    Trump wanted to stop illegal immigration, knowing full well it would be the destruction of America.

    Anyone with concern for the safety of people in their state would never allow open borders or try to stop ICE from stopping and deporting illegal immigrants and the crimes they drag into America and commit against American women and children.

    Anyone that voted for the BIDEN CRIME FAMILY knew they were not putting country over party. They knew they were voting for the destruction of the United States of America.

    These other candidates in the so-called republican party are BOUGHT AND PAID FOR CANDIDATES ready to sell out the American taxpayer to fund their controllers.

    I’m excited to vote for Donald Trump again for president because of the wonderful things he did for the American people.

    To attempt to discredit Trump is an attempt to keep the CCP involved in American politics and the eventual sellout of America to the World Health Organization and the One World Order.

    I want a president we can trust, and I want to keep America free.