The powers-that-be at Fox News are ratings geniuses and the proof is in the pudding: Twenty-four million people (7.9 million in their prime advertising demographic of 25 to 53); the highest-rated non-sports cable telecast of all time and the most-watched presidential primary debate ever. The contest, moderated by Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace, was lively and exciting, pulling no punches (which is exactly as it should be). I had expected little more than a vacuous beauty contest, but what was clearly demonstrated was the astonishing breadth and depth of the Republican bench. Any one of them would make a superior leader to the dead weight we have now or the progressive, Sal Alinsky, big government radicals populating Hillary's inevitable coronation.
I applaud Megyn Kelly for her pointed, prosecutorial questions directed at front-runner and political lightning rod Donald Trump. When Ms. Kelly said, “Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women. You’ve called women you don’t like “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals” her assessment was a fair one. It was also a viewer's bonanza: Mr. Trump should well know anything transmitted in the Twitter universe (or on the internet) is “out there” forever in the public domain. And when running for U.S. president—a big boy or big girl job if ever there was one—virtually any question under the sun regarding public statements, actions or behavior of a candidate should be fair game.
For all of his vast material resources, Mr. Trump is ego-driven, lacking humility and any semblance of class. His wealth and social position—which he freely lords over the less successful (a.k.a. everyone else) that he feels attacked by—makes the basis of his chauvinism (or feelings of superiority) economic posturing. Therefore, while the target of his vitriol can be, and often are, successful women like Megyn Kelly or Rosie O'Donnell, it is not exclusive to that category of person. He is actually an equally opportunity offender (much in the same crude mold as provocateur and shock-jock Howard Stern) and not a true misogynist in the traditional sense of the word.
Republicans need a bold contender: a non-politically correct truth-teller to reclaim the White House in 2016 that much is obvious. As past is prologue, in 2012 Mitt Romney lacked a fighter's passion and failed to inspire 3.5 million Republicans to the polls. However, Mr. Trump is the other extreme, a brawler who likes to fight for its own sake. I suspect that lack of measured restraint—a plus when intimidating in business, but a deadly character flaw in the finesse of politics—is likely to ultimately be his Achilles heel. In the long run though it does not matter, in the flameout of “The Donald's” afterglow, attention will fortuitously be cast on the legitimate hopefuls like Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson.
Fox News got the whole enchilada: tough, thought-provoking questions and candid candidate responses, a spirited debate for the record books, high viewership and a likely kingly sum in advertising dollars. Beyond that and despite ill-founded objections, the event was balanced. While it is true that some candidates got more attention or face-time than others, no undue favor was evident to any candidate. Contrast that to the typical fare of the MSM that is hopelessly biased in favor of Democrats (think of the Romney-Obama debate when moderator Candy Crowley interjected her pro-Obama opinion into the proceedings regarding when Benghazi was first labeled a terrorist attack.) Indeed, Fox News' program is the new gold standard in political debates and should readily be copied by the other networks.
My only disappointment is that Mrs. Clinton (Socialist Bernie Sanders and the motley crew of other nondescript Democrats) was not on that stage to take an even more well-deserved grilling. Benghazi, Server-gate, Charity-gate, Planned Parenthood, other lies and alibis: my mind boggles at the forever lost possibilities. Does anyone seriously believe that future MSM moderator-led debates will challenge the Democrats in any meaningful way or ask them anything remotely controversial?