Reagan Library 2023 GOP Debate Prequel

Regarding tonight’s debate, I will only be discussing candidates in attendance. I will not be discussing candidates who either did not make the debate stage or refused to show up. This is not an attack on any of those other people. However, I want to hear what the candidates on the debate stage have to say. I have concerns about all of them.
1) Ron DeSantis: You’ve been a totally successful governor. However, you have a friendly legislature. Can you work with a combative legislature? Also, you come across as dour. Americans like optimism. Can you present a Reagan-style conservatism without coming across as angry?
2) Tim Scott: Your personal story is inspiring. You’re as fine, honest and decent a man as they come. Are you tough enough for the job? Are you willing to hit back hard when unfairly attacked?
3) Nikki Haley: You are completely right about foreign policy but the GOP has become an isolationist party. Can you make the case for why the muscular internationalist approach is correct? The word Neocon has been portrayed as evil. Can you take it back?
4) Vivek Ramaswamy: Your position on Israel is deeply concerning. Can you explain why any proud Jewish Republican should accept it? You come across as glib. Can you offer more substance? Where’s the beef? Can you dispel the idea that you are only running to get either a radio show or a cushy cabinet position?
5) Mike Pence: You are also as honorable and decent as they come. A large segment of the MAGA movement still is convinced that you are a traitor. They are convinced you had the right to overturn the election. Can you make the case for why you did the right thing? Can you explain that in 2024, Kamala Harris does not have the right to overturn the results if you win? Can you show that charges of disloyalty are baseless?
6) Chris Christie: Can you show that your campaign stands for anything other than Orange Man Bad? We know you have attacked the former president’s character and conduct. Can you concede that a significant number of his policies were successful? Which of his policies do you disagree with? What would you do differently?
7) Doug Burgum: You have a ton of substance and have been an excellent governor. You are obviously qualified, but so was former Governor Jim Gilmore, who came in 17th out of 17 candidates in 2016. What distinguishes you from the other candidates on stage? What can you offer the American people that your competitors cannot?
Lastly, some thoughts on the current polls. Donald Trump has a monster lead for the GOP nomination. That means nothing. He may very well win easily. He is the favorite for totally justifiable reasons. Yet he is also the favorite because of name recognition.
Other favorites in recent primary elections have been Joe Lieberman in 2004, then Howard Dean in 2004, and both Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani in 2008, and Jeb Bush in 2016. The case of Dean is particularly interesting because he had a commanding lead for months and months. He only started collapsing about a couple weeks before the first votes were cast.
Various candidates from John Kerry in 2004 to John McCain in 2008 won their party’s nomination after being declared dead in the water.
All I am saying is that while the favorite does sometimes win, the favorite does not always win. Until actual votes are cast, the nominees are unknown.
That is why I want to watch the entire debate tonight. We need to hear from these people. There is a good chance none of them will be the nominee. Yet there is also a chance that they could be. We need to know where they stand.
As for the moderators, Sturart Varney has a ton of knowledge and substance. I expect to hear questions about food prices, gas prices, and overall inflation. I do not expect to hear nonsense about pop singers and other celebrity drivel. The stakes are too high and the issues are too serious. I hope for a robust, substantive debate.
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Eric Golub

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