10:13 PM: I’ve seen a million of these debates and I’ve seen very few comebacks, smackdowns quite as total or as successful as that New York values exchange between Cruz and Trump. 9/11 is unassailable in a GOP primary. It’s the ur-event in current GOP foreign policy. And the genuine somberness of Trump was a fitting rejoinder to Cruz’s crass and fairly gross pandering to the various unlovely meanings of “New York values.” He literally had Cruz clapping for him before he was half done.
10:20 PM: “Muslim friends”
10:21 PM: As dark as it may be, Trump understands, breathes this language perfectly. We have to stop being stupid. People are laughing at us. It hits all the sensitive points: weakness, humiliation, strong and weak, dominating and dominated.
10:23 PM: “I want security for this country.” Clear.
10:25 PM: Not perfect, not a lot I agree with. But Kasich, albeit very conservative in the 1990s, is basically a throwback to the pre-Bush43 GOP. An actual center-right party.
10:28 PM: Cruz calls President an “apologist for radical Islamic terrorism.”
10:32 PM: Textiles and similar industries have been devastated going back decades in South Carolina and support for protectionist policies has run very high. Trump knows his audience here.
10:36 PM: I’m not sure Marco Rubio fully grasps the impact of tariffs.
10:54 PM: This is a truly surreal exchange, a debate over tax policy that 5% of the electorate cares about or understands, about policies that will never happen, judged on the basis of who the ghost of Ronald Reagan agrees with.