Republican Presidential Debate (Number 4): The Highlights / by Kenneth Buff

Tonight was the 4th (but not last) republican presidential debate. This time it was hosted by Fox Buisness Network. The previous debates have been hosted by Fox News, CNN, and CNBC. Tonight's debate was without a doubt easier to watch than the CNBC debate, not because CNBC did a poor job as the candidates have said or implied, but because the candidates spent less time talking over one another and attacking the moderators, and more time answering questions.

With that being said, here's a quick list of some of the important things I noticed:

  • Rubio's scripted speeches have improved. He's more comfortable speaking now that he's climbed to the number three spot, making the idea that he'll end up being the nominee seem that much more plausible.
  • Virtually all the candidates who commented on the Mexico Wall agreed there should be a wall, but they disagreed with Trump on sending back Mexican immigrants to Mexico, showing just how much Trump has taken control of the conversations the republicans are having.
  • Again, "Obama" and "Hilary" were the buzzwords of the night, especially if you were Jeb Bush, but they were also the buzzwords that got the least applause because they're used so often they now just sound like white noise. 
  • The candidates want to dismantle the government. As Rand Paul said, "I want the government so small I can barely see it." Ben Carson wants to "abolish the IRS."
  • Ben Carson agrees with whatever the popular answers are to the questions being asked. When asked if he would break up the big banks, he said he would regulate them, and then went on to say he hates regulations, they're increasing the price of soap and "people notice." When asked by the moderator, "to be clear, you're against breaking up the big banks?" He responded by saying he would regulate them, after just saying the government should get rid of regulations on most things.
  • Rand Paul sounded the most human out of the candidates, but he'll be ignored by the news media and therefore gain no traction. Rand Paul's answers (along with John Kasich's) sounded the least scripted out of any candidate's on the stage. I'm not saying I agreed with his statements, simply saying he sounded the most genuine, and in politics that's worth something—unless it's completely ignored by the media ( a la, Bernie Sanders), then it's pretty hard to turn that energy into political traction.
  • Bush was once again skittish, he stuttered when he spoke. He seemed like a kid on the debate team who couldn't remember how to spell anything. He spent most of his time saying things like "Hilary Clinton" and "this president" (meaning Obama) rather than detailing his policies on the issues. It didn't play well to the crowd, and it's looking more and more like the Bush 2016 ship has long sailed away.
  • Other miscellaneous buzzwords of the night: Dodd Frank, Israel, China, socialism, repeal and replace, loopholes, ext.

Overall the debate was better managed this time around (something Fox didn't let go unnoticed. The last line spoken to the camera's by a moderator was, "This wasn't about us. It was about them"), making for a less annoying debate, but the answers to many of the questions by the candidates were still disturbing, and the fact that the candidates who called out others' crazy assertions will later be entirely ignored is just a little depressing.