The fanciful tax plans and harangues finally drove me away from last night’s Republican debate, but I tend to agree with commentary that Marco Rubio continued to gain ground. He’s glib. He rarely engages on specifics, but he has a practiced debating manner. He probably is viewed by most primary voters as a winner in a sharp exchange with Rand Paul, for example, though if you’re scoring on facts, Paul had the better of it on Rubio’s support for runaway defense spending in a country that already spends more than the next 10 countries combined.

This assessment by Matt Yglesisas is a pretty good summary, I thought.

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They DID talk about issues. It was far more substantive than the CNBC debacle. Rubio, as Yglesias notes, avoided several tough issues, particularly immigration. It was there, by the way, that Jeb Bush demonstrated both why he should be the nominee and why he won’t be. He gave s rational, substantive and even humane explanation of why it’s nonsense to talk about mass deportations of unauthorized immigrants. A gradual path to legal status makes sense. Rational, substantive and humane the Republican base is not.

I couldn’t help but scan the wires for news of Mike Huckabee’s performance in the kiddie table debate. Turns out he more than earned his second-tier status.

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* LAME JOKE: Asked if he’d keep Janet Yellen at the Federal Reserve, Huckabee turned the question into a Henny Youngman-style wife joke that many saw as sexist:

“Well, my wife’s name is Janet,” he said.

“And when you say ‘Janet yelling,’ I’m very familiar with what we need,”

Yuck, yuck Huck.

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* CRINGEWORTHY: Then there was this, described by Bustle as the worst moment of the debate, a response to a question on Syrian refugees.

There have been some incredibly cringeworthy moments from this year’s GOP debates, but Mike Huckabee’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis may be one of the worst ones yet. During Tuesday night’s undercard debate, the former Arkansas governor was asked about the current Syrian refugee crisis and whether American should open doors to people seeking a new life. He was also encouraged to share how many refugees the United States should accept. Instead, he went on a tone-deaf and somewhat alarming rant.

Instead of discussing the four million Syrians seeking refuge currently, Huckabee took an opportunity to first address the Obama administration’s failure to help stop “the slaughter of Christians.” And then he launched into his main point: that America shouldn’t have to accept refugees.

Much of Huckabee’s argument is based on his belief that only “one in five of these so-called ‘Syrian refugees’ coming into Europe are actually Syrian.” Under this logic, Huckabee argues that he doesn’t understand why America would say that “ISIS people can come on in and we’ll give them a place to stay and a nice sandwich and medical benefits.”

The problem with Huckabee’s remarks, of course, is that it’s contingent on the belief that these refugees are not Syrians seeking shelter, but are actually ISIS terrorists from other parts of the world attempting to sneak into the United States.

The one-in-five figure has been discredited. This item says more than half the refugees are Syrian and more than half are women and children. 

No sandwiches for deadbeat women or children. That’s somewhere in Huck’s Good Book, I guess.

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