Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

I watched that ugly debate so you didn't have to, and ...


I watched, so you didn't have to. And most of what you're hearing about last night's debate is true.

Jeb Bush, needing to impress, did the opposite. He looked like I would look like if, at age 59 and out of practice, I walked into a street basketball game. He was tentative, two steps too slow, flat-footed and a bit befuddled out there. By the end of the night, no one would throw him the ball.  And when he tried to take on Marco Rubio, he got posterized.

Rubio proved the star of the night, polished and adept. Ted Cruz showed ability as well. Sure, his tirade against the media was pre-planned and predictable -- bashing the media at a GOP debate, oooh, risky! -- but it's necessary to acknowledge that CNBC, with its clumsy questioning and lack of control, had set him up for it perfectly. And while Chris Christie did well, his campaign isn't going to catch fire if you took a flamethrower to it.

The appeal of Ben Carson has always been a mystery to me, so when I tell you that he again came across as someone whose entire schtick is reciting the contents of Hallmark greeting cards, maybe that's what his fans like. And yes, based on his debate performances, the air is slowly leaking from the hot air balloon that is Donald Trump. He was both boring and bored, neither of which bodes well for his political future.

That's what I saw.


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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.