While CNN was presenting the first night of their Town Hall candidate presentation MSNBC was having their own Donald Trump Town Hall over on Liberal Lane. Fortunately the first CNN segment was Dr. Ben Carson, so I was able to go over to MSNBC to see what The Donald was saying.
At the 46 minute mark Senator Marco Rubio came on. I was struck by the stark contrast between Trump and Rubio. The level of issue specificity was amazing over on the Rubio stage. It seems that Rubio, when not forced to get something meaningful out of a 1 minute long debate bite, performed superbly. Time after time, in response to an audience question, Rubio was able to describe in detail each solution proposed for a particular problem.
When I woke up this morning I found most of the pundits agreeing with me. Rubio was praised time and time again for his grasp of the issues, and given sufficient time to explain his positions, he came out favorably on nearly every one.
Contrast the Rubio performance with The Donald Trump Show; the same tired generalizations, unable to explain a single specific as to how he would carry out his grand dreams. Anyone with an IQ above 80 could clearly tell the difference between Trump's snake oil and Rubio's carefully considered, highly specific proposals.
Whether Rubio's performance will translate to good numbers on Saturday is yet to be seen. However, a few things were clarified for me. First, Dr. Carson did remarkably well in his segment, Trump was "Trump", Ted Cruz appeared just a little greasy to me, a bit too hoakey, a bit unnatural when compared to the natural ease Rubio showed in presenting his positions.
I would love to see more of these Town Halls, with each candidate appearing alone, given the time to answer audience questions. and free of the vitriol that has been so ever present in the debates.
I guess the bottom line for me; my take from these Town Hall meetings, is that my top choice is still evolving. I learned more about each candidate and their respective positions; far more than I have learned in those debates. The only thing I know for sure is that I won't be drinking any snake oil.