Friday, September 18, 2015

September 18, 2015--TRUMP Is Cooked

The Donald's long free ride is almost over.

Reflecting on Wednesday's debate, most observers agree that Carly Fiorina "raised her profile," largely by the forceful and classy way she took on TRUMP. Especially calling him out about the way he speaks about women, very much including Fiorina where most of his smears have been about her appearance and, more significantly, her failed time as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

When she took him on, from attendees she received the only sustained applause of the night.

His repost, with a shrug, a pathetic, "She's really got a beautiful face."

To have any chance at all of recapturing the presidency, the Republican candidate will have to connect with women. Fiorina, as TRUMP also an "outsider," may turn out to be that ideal candidate.

I suspect TRUMP's numbers will remain high but stalled while Fiorina's will rise considerable, propelling her into third place, with Ben Carson, who did not do himself all that much good on Wednesday, remaining for the moment in second place.

The danger for The Donald is that unless, shark like, he keeps moving forward, he will reveal how vulnerable his support is. It depends entirely on promoting the image that he is all about winning--for himself and for the American people. He promises to make everyone rich. Not just with a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. But rich.

If he begins to look like a loser, or not that special, the air will begin to come out of his balloon. You can't these days (thankfully) run down women the way he has without it eventually catching up with you.

That began to happen at the Reagan Library debate Wednesday evening.

Regarding Carly Fiorina--in spite of what she contends, she was a failed CEO at HP. All the growth she proudly points to as evidence that she was successful, claiming at the same time that she was pushed out because of internal board politics, though some of the latter is true, all the revenue growth she spotlights was because of the purchase of Compaq computers, her biggest strategic move, which quickly turned out to be a fiscal disaster for the company and a personal one for her.

She deserved to be fired and that will haunt her and make her as vulnerable as TRUMP as she rises in the polls and undergoes the resulting scrutiny.

Which in turn will bring us back to Jeb Bush. Languishing in the polls and thus far unable to speak coherently for more than two minutes, the other night, after two hours of hesitation and inarticulateness, perhaps after TRUMP was defanged by Fiorina, Jeb began to find his way. He emerged for the first time as the political pro he is supposed to be. If he can manage to keep that up he could be this cycle's comeback kid.

The problem--by the time he finally woke up viewers were already asleep or had tuned back to ESPN. No one any more was watching the debate and I suspect as a result it will take some time before GOP voters gives Jeb a second or third look.

Bottom line--they will and it will come down to Bush (who wants to put British Margaret Thatcher on our $10 bill), TRUMP (who would choose Rosa Parks), Carson (who would select his mother) and Fiorina, who had the best answer--make no changes, "Women are not a special interest group."

The rest can begin to pack up.

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