I treated the second debate—this one staged by CNN—just as I did the first one, conducted by Fox. I watched the beginning to see what the tone would be and then checked in occasionally to see who was fuming or arguing with whom at the time. I did read a large part of the transcript, saving boatloads of time and not having to suffer through the commercials. The moderators (interrogators, opportunists, agenda-freaks) began their respective political circuses (orgies) the same way—an all-out effort to see that Donald Trump looked b-a-a-d-d-d-d...even evil.

Out of the gate, Fox sicced commentator Megan Kelly on Trump, with the charge that he abused women verbally. She hurt herself—perhaps by just her obvious anger and agenda—and left for a few days off shortly after. CNN's Jake Tapper employed the same modus operandi, though not attacking Trump himself but inviting the only woman in the debate to shred Trump. It remains to be seen whether Tapper's ploy worked or not. I'm not a Trump supporter but this sort of piling-on simply proved again that the “newsies” have an agenda that transparently is non-Trump.

The beginning of the debate turned it into either a huge soap opera, reality show, or circus—take your pick. There were far too many on the dais and it went on for far too long. Trump (an old guy) indicated somewhere that it proved he could stand for three hours, and Fiorina “trumped” him by saying “in high heels” on her behalf. Imagine a president in high heels...egad!

This is the year of the woman and Dr. Ben Carson in his opening remarks made sure to welcome Carly Fiorina to the fray. Later, she and Trump got into it over their respective records, Fiorina's in her being fired from Hewlett-Packard when the corporation did poorly after she took over, and Trump account his four bankruptcies of various enterprises. One can only imagine the catfight next year if Fiorina and Hillary Clinton should be the nominees. New Jersey Governor Christie tried to put the quietus on the Fiorina-Trump dust-up by suggesting no one was interested in their business biographies.

I will not be much interested in the race until sometime next year after the field is narrowed, mostly by the ability or lack thereof of candidates to raise money, something Trump, by his own account at least, does not have to bother with. He gets plenty of free publicity by simply being outrageous. Why bother spending millions on TV ads?

Carson is at a distinct disadvantage not because of any thing he's done or not done but because he's African-American at a time when the first African- American to be president has completely botched the job, both domestically and internationally. The debate happened, for instance, on the same day that it was reported that Obama's DOD has spent $42 million to train 54 Syrians to fight Syria President Assad's army, as if they actually could, with only four of them now to be found, representing $10 million per “successful” trainee.

Carson believes marriage is only between a man and woman, but that's what Obama said in 2008 until he was running for reelection in 2012. He discovered that he had—his word—EVOLVED into a better understanding and that it was perfectly OK for men to marry men. So...the voter has to wonder if Carson might EVOLVE. Obama's other baggage, for instance a seeming compulsion to lie, forms problems. Without question, racial divisiveness and outright violence have been enhanced during his presidency, so one wonders what Carson would do if the opportunity might arise to ruin a white policeman's career as in the case of Obama vis-a-vis Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.

The “Iran-deal” just damned into being by State Secretary Kerry got some attention and disagreements. Fiorina, with an obviously well-rehearsed presentation, talked t-o-o-u-u-g-g-h-h and made it plain whom she would call right after she took office and give a piece of her mind—Netanyahu (promised support) and whoever she decides is conducting Iranian affairs, probably the ayatollah Khameini (possible destruction). Cruz totally disdained it. Kasich decided it should have a chance.

Planned Parenthood (or Planned un-Parenthood [abortion to the fore], depending on the individual) came in for discussion regarding shutting down the government over continuing funding or not. Just as with most questions, it's way too early to take any of these folks too seriously. Positions probably will change between now and next year, when the chips are down. If the country's shut down each side will blame the other, so what else is new.

It's almost unbelievable that the candidates allow themselves to be jerked around by the media, as they have been in these faux debates. Far better would be a scenario in which the candidates, seated and without moderators, simply take turns with equal time to discuss their positions regarding agreed-upon issues. The only thing to be needed would be a clock. This assumes that the candidates would be civil, avoid name-calling and personal attacks and stick to the rules voluntarily. As it is, the debates are actually all about the moderators.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark