I didn't watch the debate last night, but I did hear part of the first one on my drive home and I listened to most of the main event on the radio while I worked on various things around the house. My overall impression was favorable, though there were some moments that had me rolling my eyes. I would vote for any of them, even Trump, over Hillary or Bernie. That doesn't mean I want all of them to win the nomination. I offer a few impressions of the debate and the race in general.
I like Fiorina and would vote for her if she wins the nomination, even though I think she would be better positioned at the VP spot. Her lack of political experience is both a plus and a minus.
Trump sounded more measured to me last night, like he's starting to realize the seriousness of what he's doing. Bluster is going to work against him as he has to deal with serious policy statements from the other candidates. Walker, Rubio, Fiorina, and Christie are the anti-Trumps in this race. They will grow taller in stature as they debate policy details while Trump shrinks.
On the other hand, Bush only helps Trump with the anti-GOP establishment crowd. I think if he wins the nomination too many conservatives will have a hissy-fit and the Democrat will win. I don't want to see Trump get the nomination, but if it comes down to him or Bush I'll vote for Trump.
I heard Jindal(I think) press Graham about cutting the funding for Planned Parenthood, passing a budget by ending the filibuster, and daring Obama to veto it. Graham's response shows why many conservatives consider him a member of the Vichy-wing of the GOP: "Do you want to shut down the government?" Look, Lindsey, if Obama vetoes a passed budget he's the one shutting down the government, and you and your Senate colleagues need to grow the stones to make him own it.
I think there's much to like about Ben Carson, but I have some concerns about him. I get the feeling he hasn't thought through some important issues, particularly on foreign policy. I think he too will fade as policy details become more specific.
The dumbest part of the night came when the candidates were asked what they would like for a Secret Service code name. I was disappointed that none of the candidates answered the way candidate Dave would have: "What a stupid question, I don't care."
I think Huckabee, Cruz, Paul, Kasich, Pataki, Graham, Santorum, and Jindal need to drop out for the good of the party. Jindal would probably be another good choice for VP, but he's not going to win the nomination for president this time.
Most of the MSM hates Walker with a passion, that's why he's on the receiving end of the constant barrage of negative articles about him. That's also what may make him the best GOP candidate for the general election. If he can hang on long enough for Trump to fade, those votes have a good chance of swinging to him. That's a big "if" with the MSM and establishment Republicans stacked against him.
The Iowa caucus is still 4 1/2 months away and a lot can happen until then. I'm not putting any stock in polls about the major candidates at this point.