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Last night the Fox Business Network hosted a debate amongst the 2016 Presidential Republican candidates. Just writing that feels like déjà vu – this would be the 6th debate thus far. And think! Only six more to go!
Last night saw the first time Ted Cruz sparred with Donald Trump, once over the “issue” (non) of Cruz’s eligibility to run for president, the second time over the liberal values of New Yorkers. Trump being from Manhattan, one assumes Cruz was trying to “stain” him by association.
But a Twitter hashtag quickly sprung up to defend #newyorkvalues, and Donald Trump noted the response of New Yorkers in the aftermath of 9/11. It was a savvy move that knocked Cruz down. It also reminded all of us how much we really do love NYC.
Beyond that, I’d like to take this opportunity to compare the GOP candidates to Justin Bieber songs. I don’t really love Bieber, but his criminally-catchy pop hits play on in my mind, with or without my permission. So here you go:
1. Donald Trump’s Bieber Alter Ego: "Never Say Never"
“And there’s just no turning back/
When your heart’s under attack.”
The lyrics of this song aren’t the draw here; it’s the title. (Though Trump has proven that if you come after him, you can expect a below the belt punch within the hour.) Despite making one outrageous, offensive statement after another, despite being a reality TV star, despite that mystical haze of orange hair, Donald Trump leads in pretty much every poll. What can stop him? This remains a mystery, one that this writer desperately hopes somebody figures out. NOW!!! Oops, did I let emotion get the better of me? Either way, it’s time to admit: never say never.
2. Ted Cruz’s Bieber Alter Ego: As Long As You Love Me
“As long as you love me/
I’ll be your silver, I’ll be your platinum, I’ll be your gold.”
Towards the end of the debate, Rubio ran down a litany of times Ted Cruz has flip-flopped. This goes at the core of Cruz’s appeal, namely that he styles himself the straight-talking non-Washington politician. But it would rather appear that Cruz will shift from silver to platinum to gold –– even to ethanol subsidies –– if that’s what the voters say they want.
3. Marco Rubio’s Bieber Alter Ego: "What Do You Mean?"
“Don’t want for us to end, where do I start/
First you wanna go to the left, then you wanna turn right”
At last night’s debate, Rubio was once again a top finisher. In any other year, you’d expect the good-looking, articulate young senator to be handily beating his rivals at the polls. But this is not a normal year, and Rubio hasn’t appealed to the hyper-angry crowd fired up to vote in the primaries. Is it time for Rubio to make a hard turn to the right? No. Will that mean the end of his Republican romance? Time shall tell.
4. Ben Carson’s Bieber Alter Ego: "The Christmas Song"
“And so I’m offering this simple phrase
For kids from one to ninety-two”
It’s hard to believe that at one time Carson was all but tied with Donald Trump for the lead. He had a good debate last night, returning to his presence with a good one-liner. After jumping in to talk, stating he had been “mentioned” in the previous answer, various candidates said he hadn’t been. Carson replied, “Yes I was. They said ‘everyone on this stage.’” Unfortunately for Carson, Christmas time is over, and his poll numbers won’t be coming back to their pre-2016 height.
5. Chris Christie’s Bieber Alter Ego: "Sorry"
“You know I try but I don’t do too well with apologies/
I hope I don’t run out of time, could someone call a referee?”
Christie’s been on a bit of a surge in New Hampshire lately, and lots of voters were impressed with his previous debate performance. But last night he called President Obama a “petulant child,” and told Rubio he’d had his chance and Rubio “blew it.”
6. Jeb Bush’s Bieber Alter Ego: "Where Are U Now?"
“Now I’m all alone and my joy’s turned to moping/
Tell me where are you now when I need you?”
Ah Jeb. I should really be calling you Jeb! instead. Despite oodles more fund-raised money than any other candidate, your poll numbers remain in the single digits. You can see Jeb mourning with this song, an elegy to his phantom supporters.
7. John Kasich’s Bieber Alter Ego: "Love Me"
“My friends say I’m a fool to think that you’re the one for me.
I guess I’m just a sucker for love."
A conservative who believes in working with the other side, in creating policies that include considerations not exclusively about a business bottom line, and openly defies Donald Trump’s ludicrous ideas? Sorry, John. This isn’t your year.