The Republican primary debates have been spectacular for not only Donald Trump’s theatrics, but also for Bush’s apparent psychological anguish in response. He demanded Trump apologize to his wife, and then crumpled when Trump refused. He laughed pathetically at one of Trump’s jokes, and gave him a high-five, like a nerd complimenting his bully as if it would earn him a reprieve.
What will happen tonight? Even without Trump, Jeb is not safe. His super PAC has spent a ton of money attacking his non-Trump opponents. They have every reason to attack him back. So which rival will be the one to out-macho Jeb?
Could it be Ted Cruz? No. Cruz is a skilled debater, but he doesn’t really exude manliness. Marco Rubio has tried to position himself as a serious, brave hawk, which is associated with machismo, but his voice is whiny, and he always sounds too practiced. Ben Carson? No. As usual, Carson will look like he cut a jalepeno and then accidentally rubbed his eyes. John Kasich? Talks with his hands. Rand Paul? Doesn’t seem to care anymore.
I’m placing my bet on Chris Christie. In a normal election, Christie would occupy the jerk lane of the GOP primary. He likes to yell at people, and when they appear to protest, he likes to yell more. He calls people “sweetheart” sarcastically. He will shout at strangers while holding an ice-cream cone. If it weren’t for Trump, Christie would be getting all the love for being utterly contemptible. Tonight is the night Chris Christie finally gets his due. Poor Jeb.