A Few Thoughts on the Latest Republican Party Debate

The latest Republican Party debate has come and gone. It was supposed to deal broadly with foreign policy, though CNN focused a lot on terrorism and Middle Eastern politics. Many foreign policy issues weren't covered and China received virtually no attention. The debate lasted too long and a lot of what was discussed will be unhelpful for the party in a general election.

Sen. Marco Rubio performed very well and Governor Chris Christie wasn't bad, though his repeated references to the fact that he was a federal prosecutor have become increasingly awkward. Jeb Bush was making a lot of sense during the debate, although he still comes across as stiff and unnatural. He doesn't really look like a presidential candidate. Ben Carson didn't do well at all; a lot of his answers were utterly incoherent.

And what about Donald Trump?

Trump performed poorly in this debate. Having said that, it's become so clear that it's virtually impossible to predict what Trump supporters may or may not be thinking, or if some of those Trumpians are even thinking at all. Perhaps Trump's poll numbers will rise after this debate.

There were moments of substantive discussion on surveillance, immigration and the U.S. role in world affairs. There was also plenty of misinformation and spinning. Essentially, most thoughtful watchers of American politics were likely left unsatisfied.

Unfortunately, the Republican race is still a mess and a lot of the prevailing discourse continues to be very unhelpful and, at times, un-American. Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Carson are all Republican radicals who should be viewed with deep skepticism by any thoughtful American.

So what's next for the GOP?

Nobody really knows. However, at least a couple things are clear. With the start of primary season only six weeks away, the GOP still hasn't rallied around a thoughtful, pragmatic candidate. And, the Clintons have to be loving every minute of this.