Vail Daily column: The star of the show
August 13, 2015
And the winner of the first Republican presidential candidate forum: Megyn Kelly.
Yes, the Fox News journalist. Sorry, Donald. This will prove out with time.
Amazingly, the show set Fox's record for most viewed ever and was the most watched primary debate, ever, as well. Other than ballgames, nothing on cable has ever attracted a larger audience.
Yeah, turns out folks were interested, 24 million of us.
I watched, too. First time I've bothered with such a forum before even the primaries.
Why? Well, sheer number of candidates. Something like 17 "serious" ones for the Republicans, and twice that if you count the kooks.
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I put Trump with the kooks. Highly entertaining if not a serious choice.
Still, he currently runs No. 1 on the "serious" list, too. That's an indictment of the Republican Party right now. Dude's not really even Republican. More like Wind Vane. The fascination here is that of an unfolding train wreck. Where's the popcorn?
Just Trump, though, and I'm not watching. We've seen his kind peak and flame out many times. Cain, Perry, Bachmann all took their turns in the last GOP primary season. The party electorate flirts with these guys, and maybe a gal or two, before the true candidates emerge.
Makes you wonder who the true GOP nominee will be this time. Walker? Bush? Rubio? Cruz? Fiorina? As likely it will be one of the et al contigent.
But Trump is done. I'm calling it here. Sure, he continues leading the polls. But after the debate, more of those surveyed reported discomfort with the idea of him as the GOP nominee. Especially women.
While he's calling Kelly a mean bimbo who is unprofessional and not very bright besides, well, he hasn't noticed she got him right in the heart. She sliced though the bombast and pricked him at the core by asking him about his temperament and insults of women.
Let's just say Trump took a decidedly unpresidential tack with a question that should have been easy to parry. His response during the debate and ever since has not been especially bright or professional. What struck me was how quickly he lost his cool. He made a samurai sword out of a hairpin.
If you listen to the political gossips, he bowled over Roger Ailes, head of Fox, following the debate. Now Trump is back doing shows with Fox. Kelly is taking a "much-needed" vacation for a week and a half. I doubt there's much to read into all that. Trump needs Fox as much as Fox needs Trump. Tell me when Kelly's show gets canceled. Otherwise …
Of course, Trump's poll numbers don't back up my little argument he's toast. At least not yet they don't. He leads the pack, just as much now as before the debate. No less a political expert than Rush Limbaugh is chortling about it, too, speaking of entertaining.
Here's the deal as I see it, though: Ripping everyone from national icons to Mexicans to women plays well with his core of admirers. But no one has won a presidency with 20-25 percent support in his own party.
Trump needs a majority of voters among the Republicans, never mind the full country. The rich brat grown up, calling everyone and everything he doesn't like "stupid," and standing up for little other than The Donald is hardly a prescription for cultivating support.
Kelly, meantime, could not have found a better moment to shed any vestige of the bimbo blonde Fox girl stereotype with pointed questions for all the candidates, a sharp wit and ability to keep her poise. Great sense of humor, too.
Ailes ought to be more worried about her than Trump distancing himself from Fox. His act will exit the political stage soon enough, unless of course he becomes the Ross Perot of our time.
Kelly? She ought to run for president.
Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 970-748-2920.