Five takeaways from the first GOP Presidential Debate

By Dave Andrusko

GOPdebate1Whoever is your favorite pro-life Republican running to be the party’s presidential nominee, you had to be very, very pleased with what you heard last night. With that, let’s get right to five takeaways which, as always, could be ten or fifteen.

#1. The viewing audience was absolutely massive. According to CNN

Early overnight Nielsen ratings suggest that Thursday’s Republican debate was not just the most-watched primary debate in history — it may have been twice as big as the previous record-holder. The debate on Fox News had a 16.0 household rating between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., according to Nielsen. Translation: 16% of United States homes with TV sets tuned

This can be interpreted in many ways, beyond the obvious fascination with Donald Trump which, no doubt, drew a lot of people. But clearly, after eight years of pro-abortion Barack Obama and the prospect of four (or eight) years of pro-abortion Hillary Clinton, the public in general, Republicans in particular are ready for a change.

With that in mind, when I wrote about “Hillary’s love offering to PPFA and her rapidly diminishing poll numbers,” I missed a huge result.

To begin with a whopping 60% think “things are on the wrong track,” to only 32% who feel the nation is “generally headed in the right direction.”

And, not surprisingly, “More Americans are clamoring for change in the upcoming 2016 presidential election than they were in the ‘Hope and Change’ year of 2008, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll ,” wrote NBC News’ Mark Murray. 59 percent of all voters believe “This is a time when it is important to look for a person who will bring greater changes to the current policies even if he or she is less experienced and tested.”

#2. There were two separate debates Thursday, because there are 17 candidates currently in the race. Without picking on any of the Fox News questioners in particular, some of the questions were….less than enlightening.

For example, one candidate was indirectly asked about the sensational (in the sense of being stomach-turning) PPFA videos, not on their own but whether the response–a move to end Planned Parenthood’s federal funding–will be turned by the Democratic nominee into another example of a “war on women.”

Really? Trafficking in intact baby body parts and displaying insensitivity so grotesque it offends almost everyone not on the PPFA payroll is somehow going to be a plus for Planned Parenthood and the Democratic nominee? It’s going to be turned into another volley in the “war on women”?

Please.

#3. The nature of the format (and the large number of candidates) meant that not all candidates could respond to all questions. So only a few candidates were able to talk about abortion. The responses were what you would expect from a field dominated by pro-life candidates: terrific.

By articulating their pro-life convictions, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Senator Marco Rubio did not fall into what one questioner clearly thought were “traps.”

For example, Gov. Walker said

Well, I’m pro-life, I’ve always been pro-life, and I’ve got a position that I think is consistent with many Americans out there in that…

(APPLAUSE) in that I believe that that is an unborn child that’s in need of protection out there, and I’ve said many a time that that unborn child can be protected, and there are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother. That’s been consistently proven.

Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has a radical position in terms of support for Planned Parenthood, I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out…

(APPLAUSE)

WALKER: …I’ve got a position that’s in line with everyday America.

Senator Rubio responded

I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not. And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live.

Mr. Trump talked about how he came to be pro-life.

And what happened is friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn’t aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances.

And I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life.

Those are just three examples of the solid pro-life responses of all but one candidate.

#4. There were many, many funny–because they were so true–statements. In response to a contorted question, Sen. Rubio responded

Well, first, let me say I think God has blessed us. He has blessed the Republican Party with some very good candidates. The Democrats can’t even find one.

Near the end Gov. Mike Huckabee brought down the house with this:

It seems like this election has been a whole lot about a person who’s very high in the polls, that doesn’t have a clue about how to govern.

A person who has been filled with scandals, and who could not lead, and, of course, I’m talking about Hillary Clinton.

#5. Every commentator (as do the rest of us) has his or her own opinion who “won” or “did well,” who did not “move the needle,” and those who supposedly fared poorly. Given how many candidates there were, it mean very limited time to respond. (It didn’t help that the questioners took so long to frame their questions.)

But the most important takeaway is that when the Republican Party’s nominee takes on Hillary Clinton, or any other pro-abortion Democrat, they will have an articulate defender on behalf of unborn babies.