By Dave Andrusko
Tonight the remaining Republican presidential candidates—minus Donald Trump who withdrew—will have at it in Des Moines, Iowa, four days before the nation’s first caucuses.
It is a great reassurance, as NRLC explained yesterday “every major Republican presidential candidate has taken a pro-life position.”
Alas, every Democratic candidate, major or minor, is enthusiastically pro-abortion.
Those in prime time for tonight’s FOX News debate include Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
The earlier debate will include former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum; and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.
No one, including me, could have predicted, or even guessed, how unpredictable the contest on both the Republican and Democratic side would be. Who knew, for example, that at the end of January a billionaire businessman would be well ahead in the national polls (and even in Iowa) while a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders, would be given former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fits?
One predictable development was that former President Bill Clinton would become more involved in his wife’s campaign, particularly when her poll numbers began to tumble. Unpredictable (at least to most people) would be that (as the New York Times wrote today) “It’s Still Bill Clinton, but the Old Magic Seems Missing.”
To be fair, it isn’t fair, as Patrick Healy does, to compare Bill Clinton in 2016—69 years old and with heart surgery under his belt—with the 1992 Clinton who “in a speech at a New Hampshire Elks lodge just before the state’s primary, drove grown men to tears as he described their economic struggles.” Little hard to weave “magic” when your voice is so frail, Healy writes, that people “strain to hear him at time.”
But I’m pretty sure it’s not less physical endurance that is the culprit. Mr. Clinton is of an entire different era, as is Hillary Clinton, which is why Mrs. Clinton, drowning in campaign resources, is having so much time connecting with younger people, particularly younger women, in her own party.
That’s why her Iowa campaign’s final weeks “have been punctuated by events tailored at reaching younger women,” the Des Moines Register’s Tony Leys wrote last week. “Over the past week, she visited two college campuses, including one event with pop singer Demi Lovato. And after speaking at an event with NARAL in New Hampshire, she will campaign with Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood’s president, on Sunday.”
If you can, be sure to watch the two debates tonight. We’ll have some thoughts tomorrow.