1. Carly Fiorina won. And by “won,” I mean “both debates.” She wasted everyone on stage at the “Happy Hour” kids’ table debate, managed to goad the DNC into creating her very own sexist meme, shut down Chris Matthews, and basically Ronda Rousey’ed the whole night. She punched yesterday in the face. Not a single man in the following debate seemed even remotely capable of delivering her knockout performance, and that’s something to be proud of. With a field of sixteen (eighteen? twenty? eighty?), the initial, Fox News debate — on friendly territory — was essential to solidifying your position among the front runners. Fiorina did that without hesitation. Others, in this case perpetual disappointment Rick Perry, spent the time he should have spent preparing for the debate using his surrogates to manage expectations, and made Bobby Jindal look charismatic by comparison, and Bobby Jindal is the human equivalent of notebook paper.
4. Megyn Kelly asked hardball questions of the prime time debaters, which earned her a spate of terrible Facebook fan page commentary and the honor of being called a “bimbo,” a sentiment which Donald Trump immediately endorsed. Which is convenient for Donald Trump, since he made it through the entire debate without endorsing a single policy, except, perhaps, a national program to relocate Rosie O’Donnell to an inaccessible private island. On that, he is likely to earn widespread support. But while the Donald spent the greatest amount of time yammering, among the candidates, he actually said very little. Except that you should be concerned that he intends to run third party. Which is fine. We always need more candidates to confuse elderly Floridian voters.
6. For the first time in history, observation linked Ted Cruz to Mike Huckabee, which is an intriguing development. Post-debate Luntz polling revealed that those souring on Trump were moving “back” to Cruz and Huckabee, neither of whom made a spectacular showing last night, but definitely share some of Trump’s “anti-establishment” credentials (if there is a such thing). It may turn out that the primary impetus behind Trump’s popularity was simply that neither Cruz or Huckabee had yet hit the trail — certainly Cruz seems to consider Trump his stalking horse — but if neither Cruz nor Huckabee can capitalize on the eventual Trump disengagement, the connections will sink all three. Personally, I see this as no loss. You may differ. In which case, feel free to call me a closeted liberal in the comments section as usual.
9. Marco Rubio “won” the debate itself, which is great for Marco Rubio because it’s high time he’s taken seriously as a candidate. He’s good looking, he’s got a great background story, he’s nuanced on policy and the media already hates him so much they pay for people to scour through hours of footage of Miami Zoning Commission hearings. And now he seems like he could take on the so-called “heavy hitters” he was supposed to be crushed by. Frankly, it would be fun to see him take on Carly in a one-on-one. We’d all be better for it, too.