Opinion | Republican candidates manage to clear the lowest hurdle on earth

Somewhere deep within the Earth, where no sunlight has penetrated for thousands of years, beneath a pile of discarded principles and what looks like an elephant skeleton, there is a bar. So low that scientists wondered if it existed. Other scientists wondered whether, given its location, it would still be impossible to remove. But the good news is that it has a constant value that is almost visible to the naked eye. On Wednesday night, two Republican presidential candidates cleared that hurdle in the final debate before the Iowa caucuses.

Of course, not Donald Trump (he had his own town hall on Fox News at the time), not Vivek Ramaswamy, who was not eligible for the debate, but Nikki Haley and, to some extent, Ron. -It was Mr. DeSantis. After a disappointing start where they keep telling us to visit their website amidst the usual slugfest (this sounds like a fun thing that might end in salting), Haley… We have a special website, DeSantisLies.com, dedicated solely to pointing out DeSantis’ lies. (I also visited, and it was weird. You would think it would say something like “Ron DeSantis exaggerates his accomplishments at Florida,” but instead, all the entries read ” “Ron DeSantis claimed Nikki Haley once smiled at a transgender child.” This is completely false and Gov. Haley is using her teeth in a show of anger and control. (They just exposed themselves!”) — they succeeded in criticizing Trump!

It was like pulling a tooth, if moderators Dana Bash and Jake Tapper had to try so many times to pull it, but it actually happened. The exchange proceeded as follows.

Host: Does Trump have the qualifications to be president?

DeSantis: I think his biggest character flaw was that he didn’t build walls. That’s something I definitely want to fix. And I’m so sad because he’s not here. I love watching him. If I were president, I would be an even better Trump than Trump.

moderator [trying again an hour later]: Does Trump have a different understanding of the Constitution than you do?

Haley: In the sense that Joe Biden won the election, yes. I don’t think January 6th was a great day either.It was a terrible day. [taken aback by her own bravery]. What we most need are unelected people in Washington who want to take away the voice of the people in each state. National rights! I think one of them even sat at the desk at one point. That makes him the worst threat to our democracy: a bureaucrat.

Host: You know, even though the ending was a little weird, I’m still surprised you said that. Governor DeSantis?

DeSantis: I know he likes to vent on social media, but I want to believe he understands how elections work. Of course, if I were president, I would support the Constitution, but I hardly feel the need to say this.

Moderator: No, I’m really happy to hear you say that! Mr. Trump is now saying in a town hall that he will not be a dictator, which raises some questions for me. Related article: If President Trump ordered the assassination of a political opponent while in office, as his lawyer claims, do you think he could escape prosecution?

DeSantis: I don’t think this is a winnable legal argument. Remember, I’m a lawyer. I think this claim means he will lose the election, but I hope he accepts it. I would be happy if he did that!

Host: Governor Haley?

Haley: Yeah, I think that’s an insane argument. Wow!

moderator [sobbing]: I was very relieved to hear that.

DeSantis: We are courageous people.

Host: In a sense, yes, given the profile value and the courage value!

Haley: But if I win, I promise to make a lot of people’s lives miserable!

DeSantis: Oh, yes, obviously.

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