This week’s DHD features my take on the GOP opening debate. This may not be something you find thrilling to read, so I will offer this promise that future DHDs won’t be so politically focused.
These are important days in our country, and the next presidential election could be critical for the progression of our country. Though politics may not be a popular topic and many blogs by Evangelical Christians have touted the philosophy of “God is not a Republican,” we should have some interest about who will be our country’s leaders.
No, God is not a Republican. God is above human politics, but we should consider how we honor God through our community involvement, even how God can use us to place government leaders (Rom. 13). Also, our response to important social issues, especially abortion, immigration, racial injustice, marriage and religious liberty can lead to opportunities of sharing the Gospel.
Now that I have given you justification for my choice of topic, here is my ranking of how the Republican candidates performed in the first debate. To clarify, this isn’t directly how I overall favor the candidates. I intended to be objective toward the candidates’ responses, but there was biasness based on how they answered according to my views on the issues.
- Marco Rubio – The Florida senator was eloquent. He wasn’t overly aggressive but expressed a forceful spirit when appropriate. Rubio’s answers relating to sanctity of life, immigration, and Christian faith were pleasing to my ears. He did not have a slip-up moment. In this first debate, from my perspective, he showed himself to be the most presidential among this field.
- Mike Huckabee – The former Arkansas governor is an excellent debater. He has the gift of relating to the audience in a folksy but determined fashion. He did not disappoint. Huckabee is the one who sold me in ‘08 on the fair tax philosophy – don’t tax on what people make but on what they spend, and do away with the IRS. He said all the right things and kept me in his camp.
- Scott Walker – I probably rank the Wisconsin governor higher than others would. A lot of people did not like how he answered the abortion question relating to the life of the mother. His answer was a little clunky, but as someone who understood his emphasis to be that many, especially among pro-abortionists, use the mother’s life aspect as a cop-out and de-emphasize the life of the child, I accepted his answer. I know he doesn’t disregard the mother’s life, but his answer about medical advancement fell on deaf ears when it comes to this aspect of the abortion debate. He also may have lost points on his position on immigration. I did like how Walker expressed his Christian faith, which is a reason he is high on my list.
- Jeb Bush – Jeb has a disadvantage because of his name. That is unfortunate for him because I don’t see him in direct view of his father and brother. As former governor of Florida, he has done well on his own, and I believe he can be the best communicator among the Bush family. Jeb gave honest and direct answers. I thought he demonstrated respect to his father and brother while also emphasizing he is his own man. Others were better in this debate, but he did not hurt himself and remains an overall favorite in the polls.
- Ted Cruz – The Texas senator started slow and somewhat weak, from my perspective. He tried to attack other politicians without substance. His emphasis of telling the truth just wasn’t enough for me. But along with Ben Carson, Cruz shared the best ranking among the closing remarks. He also was strong in how he shared his faith.
- The rest of the field – Ben Carson did fine, but he was not called upon as much, which is unfortunate for him. He had the best humor of the group, which helped him shine in his closing remarks. Chris Christie held his own, but he took some bruises. He was the second-most “attacked” candidate on the stage. Rand Paul was too angry and too aggressive. He had too many self-inflicted wounds. John Kasich did not tickle my ears, though he was the hometown favorite. I did not like his answer relating to marriage.
Donald Trump provided the most fireworks but bombed big time. He was entertaining, but he did not win many people over with his performance. Rubio made him look foolish on the immigration issue. Some of his past remarks have been unfavorable, but we’ll see how much Teflon he has because I just can’t see how he can keep his lead in the polls with so many negative reviews not sticking and taking effect on his candidacy.
So what do you think? I welcome your thoughts on my ranking as well as your own perspective on how the candidates did.