It’s easy to see why Fiorina has done so well. She may have never held office, but I’m now convinced we can’t dismiss her as a personality-driven protest vote. (I’ll let you decide for yourself who that description applies to.) What struck people about her most in the debate was not just her poise and spunkiness, but the depth of her knowledge and thinking about the big issues. There were only two candidates on stage, for example, who could really tell you exactly what was going wrong in the Middle East and exactly what they would do about. And believe it or not, there are a lot of us who think that’s kind of important for someone who wants to be commander-in-chief…

Note to Trump supporters. When we’ve been saying all along that we wanted a more serious candidate, this is what we meant. You insisted that by “serious” we meant: in line with the Beltway conventional wisdom. What we actually meant was: based on detailed knowledge and thinking. What we meant was: not just declaring that the US will be strong, but also being able to name the enemy’s strategy and priorities, and to name specific measures that the US can take to thwart that strategy.

When it comes to countering Putin, Trump is sure that Putin will be impressed with him and that they’ll get along. After all, he’s Donald Trump! And that’s it, that’s the whole of his strategy. Rubio and Fiorina could name the specific reasons why Putin would take them, and the United States, seriously.