Just a few quick takes on the debate. Too much in three hours to respond to, so only brief observations for now. Nothing really original or profound here.
Great night, again, for Carly Fiorina. She easily had the most memorable moments. She is smart, substantive, and quick. Her weak spot remains the record at HP, but she managed to handle the questions pretty deftly, though they will not go away anytime soon.
Chris Christie continues to impress and also had a good night, as did Marco Rubio.
At first, I was worried that John Kasich was not on top of his game. I thought he could have made more of some early opportunities. But Kasich routinely comes off as a realist and a grown up, particularly on matters of defense and foreign policy, as well as the practice of governing. I am confident that he worries Democrats as much as anyone in the Republican field.
Donald Trump was terrible, even for Donald Trump. He will, of course, say that he won, as will his supporters. Don’t fall for it. As the debate wore on, he clearly became annoyed and disengaged. Will it hurt him in polling? Unlikely. His base of support is too loyal. But his ceiling may start becoming more apparent. And it will likely be sufficiently low that as the field narrows, his competitors will pull increasingly close and eventually overtake him.
I will try to have more to say later. But I will finish with this: what is with the bizarre attacks on Chief Justice Roberts? It’s nutty and ill-informed.