This week in politics: The 'against anything that's bad for my mother' edition

The big political news of the week was the third Republican presidential debate, so herewith a few people who moved up and a few who moved down:

Marco Rubio: Up. The Florida senator (in title, if not work habits) was pretty universally acknowledged as the big winner of this contest, mainly for how he eviscerated his former patron, Jeb Bush, when the former governor tried to hit him for missed votes. But Mr. Rubio was strong throughout, expressing his ideas in real-world terms that are likely to resonate with voters. For example, his declaration in discussing Medicare and Social Security that he's "against anything that's bad for my mother." One wonders how this guiding principle of the Rubio administration would apply to, say, nuclear negotiations with Iran.


Jeb Bush: Down. If and when this presidential run doesn't work out, at least we know he has a future in sports betting. He may be tanking in the polls and laying off staff, but hey, his fantasy football team is 7-0.

Ben Carson: Up. Another laconic debate performance, another week of rising poll numbers. Maybe in this crowd, being quiet is the way to go.


Chris Christie: Up. Speaking of quiet, shouldn't Amtrak have put Chris Christie's picture up, Post Office wanted poster style, on every quiet car in the system years ago? That said, he managed to elbow his way into the conversation on Wednesday night, so if Donald Trump falters, he could slide right into the New York-area blowhard slot in this campaign.

Donald Trump: Down. No longer leading in the polls, The Donald didn't suck up all the oxygen in the room. Is it only fun to run for president when you're winning?

John Kasich: Up. His greatest weakness? Blatantly ignoring stupid questions and talking about what he wants to. Or is that his greatest strength? So hard to keep these job-interview questions straight.

Ted Cruz: Up. No Republican presidential candidate ever lost a primary for attacking the media.