CORAM, N.Y., Sept. 16, 2015 — Eleven candidates took part in a presidential debate reserved for the loosely defined class of top-tier candidates.
The undercard featured South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the presidential race earlier in the week. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore did not meet the required 1 percent threshold to participate.
Gilmore and Perry were the lucky ones for not being subjected to nonsense. The candidates were dignified. The questions, especially at the outset, were utterly useless.
Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum were both asked about Jindal’s attacks on Donald Trump. Lindsey Graham was asked about his spat with Trump. Hugh Hewitt asked George Pataki about Trump.
Jake Tapper asked whether Lindsey Graham’s service in government was a liability rather than an asset.
After wasting time on nonsense, the discussion finally turned to actual issues. Santorum disagrees with Jindal’s path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Pataki disagrees with Graham’s desire to end birthright citizenship.
Jindal called out anti-Christian bigotry.
Graham made it clear that he was not worried about being blown up by Kim Davis.
“Young men from the Mideast are different from Kim Davis.”
Pataki said he would have fired Kim Davis. Santorum sharply disagreed and said we could disobey unjust laws and cited Martin Luther King. Pataki pointed out that civil disobedience is for private citizens, not elected officials.
Jindal said it was a mistake to select John Roberts for the Supreme Court. Graham called Roberts one of the most qualified judges to sit on the bench. Santorum also stood up for Roberts.
Jindal leveled the GOP Congress for failing to stand up to President Obama.
Graham admitted that Hillary Clinton did a good job on Africa but still has not provided answers on where she was the night of the Benghazi attacks.
Graham elicited laughs by saying that if he were president, everyone would drink more. He would “put country ahead of party.”
Each candidate was asked what he brings to the table that none of the other candidates do.
Pataki cited his electability and his ability to govern.
Santorum cited his success in getting important legislation passed, including sanctions on Iran.
Jindal said he was a doer, not a talker. He leveled the GOP Congress for not trying to defund Planned Parenthood. He has shrunk his state’s budget.
Graham said he “will win a war we cannot afford to lose.”
All four men acquitted themselves well. They deserved better than the questions they were asked. Precious time was wasted.