Some GOP debate superlatives
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Last night's Fox Business/Wall Street Journal debate looked more like a political debate than a reality show. I don't know if Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE is toning it down or if I've become desensitized. Still, while this debate lacked the compelling drama of its predecessors, it had its moments. Here are a few of the high-school superlatives:

Most Likely to be mistaken for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry: Something in the Texas air must cause folks to forget which government agencies they want to cut. Four years ago, Perry was going to cut three but couldn’t remember the third one. "Oops," he famously said.

When Cruz held up his countin' fingers and said, "five major agencies that I would eliminate," every Republican in America held their breath and wondered if he could do it.


"The IRS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, uh, the Department of Commerce and HUD." Still, he remembered four and probably snuck that second "Department of Commerce" by a few folks.


Least likely to be mistaken for a politician: This is retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson all the way. Every time he's asked a question, I sit on the edge of my seat, wondering if his answer will ruin him. He still looks and sounds uncomfortable, and I still don't feel like he's up to snuff on policy specifics. That's good news for Carson, though. This Republican primary is some sort of parallel-universe anti-election where down is up, polished is scuffed and electability is suspect.

Most likely to spontaneously combust: This one goes to Ohio Gov. John Kasich for spending the entire evening looking like Tweek from the TV show "South Park." Nary a sentence was safe from his (presumably) caffeine-induced interruptions. Finally, in the debate's final moments — when Kasich explained that he wouldn't bail everyone out of a bank failure, that he would simply look in everyone's pockets and bail out those who didn't have enough folding money — the audience booed him. The boos were long overdue.

Least likely to be endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin: This one goes to former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. While Trump endlessly touts how well he's going to get along with Putin, Fiorina made it clear last night that in a Fiorina administration, the American president will be the leader of the free world:

One of the reasons I've said I wouldn't be talking to Vladimir Putin right now is because we are speaking to him from a position of weakness brought on by this administration, so, I wouldn't talk to him for awhile, but, I would do this. I would start rebuilding the Sixth Fleet right under his nose, rebuilding the military — the missile defense program in Poland right under his nose. I would conduct very aggressive military exercises in the Baltic States so that he understood we would protect our NATO allies — and I might also put in a few more thousand troops into Germany, not to start a war, but to make sure that Putin understand[s] that the United States of America will stand with our allies. ... We have the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it.

Fiorina understands — as President Reagan did — that peace is not achieved through attrition or appeasement; it is achieved through strength. Fiorina's speak-softly-and-carry-the-Sixth-Fleet foreign policy is Putin's worst nightmare because it would mean the end of a world with no consequences.

Least Likely to appear in any more debates: It has to be Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCheney unveils Turkey sanctions legislation CNN catches heat for asking candidates about Ellen, Bush friendship at debate Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump isolated amid Syria furor | Pompeo, Pence to visit Turkey in push for ceasefire | Turkish troops advance in Syria | Graham throws support behind Trump's sanctions MORE (Ky.), because his burn rate is an unsustainable 181 percent, and he won't pick up many new supporters with his isolationist foreign policy.

Zipperer is assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College.