This latest Republican debate featured Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Governor and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
NewsNation hosted the debate and the questioners included their anchor Elizabeth Vargas and former Fox host Megyn Kelly, both of whom made few memorable moments, to their credit.
To their discredit, they did not stop the incessant talking over one another by Ramaswamy, DeSantis, and Christie…when will debate organizers cut off microphones to stop this buzzing blooming confusion?
Definitive moment from The Hill: “Ramaswamy had accused Haley of having ‘a corruption problem,’ and held up a pad of paper with ‘NIKKI = CORRUPT written on it, prompting a mix of boos and cheers from the audience of the Tuscaloosa event.”
“He called her a puppet’ and accused her of ‘using identity politics’ as ‘a form of intellectual fraud.“
Ramaswamy also called Haley “corrupt,” and even said, “This is a woman who will send your kids to die so she can buy a bigger house.”
To his utter discredit, DeSantis did not defend his colleague Haley. To his credit, Christie did, saying “This is a smart. accomplished woman and you should stop insulting her.”
Ramaswamy’s obsessive contempt for Haley is an embarrassment for Republicans who do not condemn him.
Haley was clear and articulate in each of her answers. Her strong points continue to be her knowledge of all the material issues of the upcoming presidential election. She is the only one in the presidential race who recognizes the cruciality of supporting Ukraine against Russia.
Christie’s self-importance manifested itself time and time again.
Asked what you would do if China attacked Taiwan, Christie bragged that he would, unlike others, actually answer the question. He would respond militarily. Brave, irresponsible answer: to answer that question boxes him in as president and might energize an irresponsible act that might lead to a world war. Sometimes we must have strategic ambiguity by not announcing policies prematurely.
These were to me the most salient lessons from the debate.
I would vote to nominate Nikki Haley in the time it takes me to reject Ramaswamy.
Editor’s Note: Richard Vatz is the benefactor of a $ 2,000-a-year Debate Award at Towson University and Professor Emeritus of Political Persuasion.
Richard E. Vatz is professor emeritus of political rhetoric at Towson University and author of The Only Authentic of Persuasion: the Agenda-Spin Model (Authors Press, 2022) and many other works, essays and op-eds. He is a Distinguished Professor at Towson University and has won a number of teaching awards.