Ross: The highs and lows of the second 2024 Republican debate

Sep 28, 2023, 8:02 AM | Updated: 9:28 am

republican debate...

Republican presidential candidates, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, right, both speaking during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by FOX Business Network and Univision, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark Terrill)

As you’ve heard by now, there was considerable chaos during last night’s debate, including an argument between Tim Scott and Nikki Haley over the expensive curtains in her office.

You can listen to it yourself; good luck making out any coherent words in the cacophony of yelling.

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I’d rather be on a plane next to a shrieking baby. But there were also some moments that restored my faith in humanity.

Here’s Ron DeSantis talking about joining the military because of 9/11:

“And it affected my life because I ended up joining the military as a result of that. I’ve been a blue-collar kid, minimum wage out of Dunedin, Florida. I ended up getting through Yale and Harvard Law School and somehow came out more conservative than when I went in. And that is not easy to do,” DeSantis said. “I had a lot of opportunities to make money, but I wanted to serve, and I’ll never forget coming back on the plane from Iraq, landing in Coronado, California, North Island, and feeling that breeze up the Pacific Ocean and saying, ‘You know what, I am lucky to have been born an American.’

“And I think being able to serve, and I’ll be the first president elected since 1988 [who] has actually served overseas in a war,” DeSantis continued. “I think that’s going to help me as Commander in Chief, to know how you see these issues and understand that there are real lives at stake for people that wear the uniform.”

Having journeyed to Baghdad briefly as an unarmed civilian at about the same time as DeSantis, it was a pretty dicey situation, as I recall. The people of Baghdad did not love us. Soldiers were targets. And a president needs to understand what a war does to the people who fight it.

DeSantis was also willing to say publicly that we should never have invaded. Pretty gutsy for a Republican.

Now, I’m not sure why his empathy doesn’t seem to include helping more Floridians get health insurance, but no one’s perfect.

And there was this moment when Chris Christie suggested that his fellow pro-life Republicans show a little more consistency.

“I think we fought hard against Roe v. Wade for decades to say that states should make these decisions. So we’re going to have those fights in the States, but what you need is a leader who could talk to people and make them understand that if you’re pro-life, you have to be pro-life for the entire life, not just the nine months in the womb,” Christe said. “And we talked a lot about fentanyl tonight, and we haven’t spoken one moment about treatment. But we need to make sure that for the drug-addicted 16-year-old on the floor of the county lockup, her life is precious to.”

That drew some applause from the audience, but not very much. And as for the other candidates, in a debate where no one was shy about making themselves heard, no one was clamoring to agree with Christie on that.

I’ll be curious to see if he tries to make that point again in the next debate, assuming he makes the cut. At last check, he was polling at 2.9%.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: The highs and lows of the second 2024 Republican debate