A Missing Elephant and 7 Dwarfs: A Review of the GOP Debate

Megyn Kelly’s first question in tonight’s GOP Presidential Debate in Iowa—the last one heading into Monday’s caucuses—said it all: The “elephant not in the room,” which was an obvious reference to Donald Trump, who chose to opt out of the debate and instead host his own fundraising event for veterans, was felt by all 7 candidates on stage. While many have analyzed the impact of Mr. Trump’s move, it is clear at this point that it certainly won’t hurt him.

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As the candidate with the largest polling numbers in attendance, Ted Cruz proved to have a difficult time withstanding the heat from both the moderators and the other contenders. At one point, he said, “If you ask one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage.” Perhaps he said this only in jest, but he continued to struggle with avoiding the punches, especially when it came to his stance on immigration and ethanol.

Rand Paul and Marco Rubio received a lot of attention as well, but it was Mr. Rubio who stood out the most. He handled the early national security questions with confidence, but like Cruz, lost his footing in terms of his immigration polices. Mr. Rubio had interesting moments in regards to his Jesus comment and was the only candidate who brought up the topic of Guantanamo Bay in reference to defeating ISIS, which earned loud applause from the crowd.

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Halfway through the debate, it became clear that the true showdown of the evening was between Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio. After both candidates struggled with their own histories on immigration, Mr. Rubio put the topic to bed with his swift criticisms of Mr. Cruz.

Chris Christie had some decent moments, but spent too much time bashing Hillary and describing how he would prosecute her if he is elected. John Kasich once again lacked charisma, Ben Carson was so disengaged that he appeared surprised when a Youtube personality’s question was directed to him, and Jeb Bush would not stop talking about how much he missed Mr. Trump.

While Mr. Rubio put on an impressive performance that many of his supporters have been begging for, Mr. Trump’s move and the response it received has made Mr. Rubio’s big night taste bittersweet.

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10 Journalists That I Twitter-Stalked

Here is my take on 10 journalists that I recently followed on Twitter. I did my best to fairly rank and analyze their accounts based on page characteristics and tweet “craftsmanship”, if you will. I also included the topics they write about and which publication or outlet they’re currently write for.

  1. Kyle Blaine (@kyletblaine): Kyle’s pinned Tweet is an accurate reflection of his Twitter as a whole: “‘Please keep it brief’”. He’s the senior politics editor for Buzzfeed News and his entire page consists of retweets from other journalists, newspapers/outlets, and his own nicely crafted Tweets. Instead of including a summary of his stories in the body of the Tweet like many journalists do, Kyle includes only the headline, which I think makes the Tweet more eye-catching, as it’s not cluttered with too many words that require you to search for the link to the story.
  2. Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher): Perhaps choosing to follow Shane was a little biased, as he is my newly-assigned mentor courtesy of Georgetown’s Institute of Politics and Public Service mentorship program, but at the end of the day, Shane, who is a political reporter for Politico covering the 2016 race, is certainly worth following. He is currently in Iowa, along with every other reporter covering the campaign, and his pinned stories include an investigation into 2016’s “black market” of donor emails, an analysis on why Hillary and Iowa don’t seem to mix well, and an exploration into the National Review’s recent vendetta against Donald Trump . Additionally, I appreciate how Shane tweets other writers’ stories to help them gain traction and offer them praise. His page certainly isn’t just his own work/opinions.
  3. Jackie Kucinich (@JFKucinich): Jackie Kucinich, who is a senior politics editor at the Daily Beast and a current Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service fellow, has a great Twitter account in that she mixes humor, politics and her own opinions masterfully. For example, she directly tweeted to Mayor Bowser for her lack of preparation in light of the snow storm, and isn’t afraid to engage in professional “Twitter debates” with those who may not agree with her. She’s funny and very smart.
  4. Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade): Rachael writes for Politico and is currently covering all-things Hillary. She is on top of all of HRC’s campaign developments, and in that way, her Twitter is a great place to go for Hillary updates, but Rachael’s page isn’t constantly serious. She has an approachable, casual tone mixed in with her updates.
  5. John Cassidy (@JohnCassidy): John is a staff writer at the New Yorker and writes about things relating to economics and politics. He has retweeted other interesting pieces relating to his area of expertise, for example, a story on the triumph and failure of John Nash’s game theory, and has also written thoughtful and quasi-creative analyses on political developments like Michael Bloomberg’s potential presidential bid.
  6. Sarah Mimms (@SarahMMimms): Sarah is a Georgetown grad and spoke to my Intro to Journalism class last spring. She has covered Congress for 5 years, previously for the National Journal, and will soon start a new job at Vice. Similar to Jackie Kucinich, she is another very funny, intelligent and engaging female reporter on Twitter.
  7. Eliza Collins (@elizacollins1): Eliza is a University of Oregon (Go Ducks!) graduate who now works at Politico. She posts interesting tweets as a way to direct readers to her articles, and she also tweets informative campaign updates on things like polls and other developments. Her Twitter is well-managed, but nothing particularly special.
  8. Ben Wallace-Wells (@benwallacewells): A political writer for The New Yorker, as well as a contributor to New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Mother Jones, I followed Ben Wallace-Wells for updates on his latest pieces. While he certainly keeps up with political news, I appreciate his analysis and insight into seemingly un-newsworthy stories, for example, Marco Rubio’s natural political talent, which has yet to propel him to the head of the GOP field. Wallace-Wells has also done some interesting stories on Romney from the 2012 campaign, and currently has a piece on the aftermath of Freddie Gray pinned to the top of his Twitter page. His Twitter definitely showcases his sense of humor, which works so well since he writes for the New Yorker and is able to write about political news in less conventional way. The only downside to his page is that when he isn’t posting about his work, his tweets seem a little random and irrelevant, which ultimately just clogs his followers’ main feeds.
  9. Henry C. Jackson (@henrycjjackson): I subscribe to Politico’s 2016 Blast, which is always written by Henry C. Jackson, so naturally I saw it appropriate to follow him on Twitter. Although the blasts he writes are very informative and intelligent, his Twitter, which is still obviously politics-based, is a little more light-hearted and less news-oriented. Similar to Wallace-Wells, his tweets can be kind of random at times.
  10. Teddy Schleifer (@teddyschleifer): The main concept behind Teddy’s page is similar to that of Rachael Bade’s, although he covers Ted Cruz for CNN instead of Hillary. Unlike Rachael’s tweets, Teddy’s posts are always fairly direct, to the point, and without fluff. That being said, I enjoy a more casual, humorous tone similar to that of Rachael’s.

Hello, It’s Me

headshotHello, my name is Taylor Harding, if you couldn’t already tell from the layout of this blog. I’m a sophomore in the College at Georgetown University, where I plan to study government and journalism (“plan” is the optimum word here, as I can’t remember to whom I’m supposed to submit my major declaration form, so I am still technically undeclared). I was born and raised just outside of Portland, Ore., and no, I don’t particularly enjoy Portlandia, although I do not judge those who do.

Ever since I was young, I’ve been captivated by news and journalism, whether it was the local news station playing as my mother cooked dinner, or scanning my father’s copy of the daily paper as he drove me to school. That being said, I never pursued this interest until I reached college. Now, I’m a staff writer for the news section of The Hoya, I’ve written for The Caravel, an international affairs newspaper, and I am a marketing executive for Thirty Seventh, Georgetown’s fashion and lifestyle blog.

My passion for writing extends beyond the journalism realm, however. I have a great love for creative writing, particularly essays and fiction. Between my obsession with politics and a pure passion for writing in its many forms, I hope to one day find a career at the intersection of it all. Something like VICE, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair or The Atlantic comes to mind, although beggars can’t be choosers.