So the field is set for the two GOP debates scheduled for next Wednesday night in Simi Valley — and they’re the exact same lineups as were displayed in Cleveland last month, with two exceptions.
One is that Carly Florina, who became the darling of the media following her impressive debate performance in the “Happy Hour” debate last month, has been able to squeeze into the prime-time matchup on CNN, though her poll numbers have remained stagnant, topping out at 3 percent nationally.
The other exception is that former Gov. Jim Gilmore failed to make the cut, and will be the only Republican candidate not allowed to participate in the 6 p.m. warmup act.
One question: What do you have to do to not get invited to these debates? Sure, Gilmore is polling perhaps at a negative level, but is it any worse than Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, or Bobby Jindal?
Speaking of Jindal, he reminded America yesterday that, yes, in fact, he still is running for president. In a blistering speech at the National Press Club in Washington, the Louisiana governor had his best moment in years, saying of Donald Trump, “He’s a nonserious carnival act…Here’s the truth about Trump that we all know, but have been afraid to say. Donald Trump is shallow. Has no understanding of policy. He’s full of bluster but has no substance. He lacks the intellectual curiosity to even learn.”
He went on to call Trump a “narcissist and an egomaniac” who is “insecure and weak.”
“And that’s why he is constantly telling us how big and how rich and how great he is, and how insignificant everyone else is. We’ve all met people like Trump, and we know that only a very weak and small person needs to constantly tell us how strong and powerful he is,” Jindal said.
It’s probably not in his wheelhouse, but Jeb Bush could take note — instead of hitting Trump on policy issues as being a faux-conservative, just call him out for his puerile remarks.
Speaking of puerile, when Trump went off on Fox News’ Megyn Kelly last month, it turned off conservative hot shot Eric Ericson, not exactly known for being Alan Alda when it comes to being a sensitive man. Ericsson ended up banning the GOP front-runner from his Red State gathering, hurting Trump not a whit.
But what about The Donald’s crude remark about Florina in Rolling Stone? Listening to a bit of Rush Limbaugh yesterday, that remark did not go down well with some of Trump’s female enthusiasts.
Meanwhile, Trump is insulting Dr. Ben Carson, now that the retired neurosurgeon has (bizarrely?) moved up in the polls. Carson is reportedly running a lot of advertising in Iowa, which explains in part his rise in his ratings there. But how did he rise after the first debate, in which he was largely invisible?
“Ben Carson is not going to be your next president, that I can tell you,” Trump declared yesterday, which isn’t exactly a bold statement. “All of a sudden he’s, oh, he’s totally anti-abortion. Well, if you look back, you will find he’s a very much different Ben Carson.”
In other news…
Enthusiasts for Marco Rubio and Bush can’t be feeling great after reading the results of that CNN/ORC poll released Thursday that shows the two Florida favorite sons struggling in the national ratings for president.
Then again, it’s still the summer (of Trump). At least that’s what Jeb fans were saying yesterday afternoon at the official opening of his statewide headquarters in Town N’ Country.
Not only is Patrick Murphy being attacked on a quasi-regular basis from his Democratic Senate opponent Alan Grayson, but Karl Rove’s American Crossroads is also getting in on the Murphy-bashing bandwagon.
Consumers for Smart Solar — you know, the industry-backed solar power constitutional amendment vying to get on the 2016 ballot — says they now have enough signatures to trigger a review by the Florida Supreme Court.
The city of Tampa is now officially accepting applications for the controversial police civilian review board.
And CD13 candidate Eric Lynn told reporters he’s been researching how he’d vote on the Iran nuclear deal if he had such a vote –but looks like for now he’s content to release a new video telling potential voters that he’ll make sure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon– without saying how he’d vote on the matter.