Posted by: minnow | September 20, 2015

About the Debate

WPTV-CNN-GOP-Debate-9-16-15_1441963868746_23822409_ver1.0_640_480[1]What is so attractive about Donald Trump? Vaudeville compared to Broadway?  The saddest part is, the uninformed public (and let’s face it that’s a pretty big group) is drinking his cool-aid.  If people don’t become informed, we will discover we’re watching a tragedy, not a comedy. The reveal in Act V will be: the only person Trump is interested in helping is Trump. But, by then we will have past the tipping point and the American public will be taken to the cleaners in a whole new way.  Please take warning.  This man is dangerous. Combined with a media drunk on spectacle, we have the makings of the perfect storm.
I wrote the above paragraph over a month ago.  So, imagine my surprise when a couple days ago while the GOP contenders held their second presidential debate a young person I know posed this question: How is Trump still in this race?  This op-ed by Michael Girson of the Washington Post The Wreckage of the Summer of Trump, raises the warning flag.  Several of the candidates who shared the stage with Trump made attempts to counter Trump’s bluster, but the most successful, Carly Fiorina, doesn’t have a prayer as the Republican party’s nominee, not because she was fired from Hewlett Packard, but honestly because she’s a she.  Sad story in the 21st Century.
My analysis of the second 2015/16 GOP debate:

Fact check Cruz regarding Iran. He has it wrong.

Rubio praised by some for trying to excuse his absenteeism from the Senate by saying he learned early on both side of the isle don’t accomplish anything admitted he no longer wants his job.  I suggest the Senator he do a better job in the position he has if he plans to use it as a stepping stone to the job he wants.  You need to show up for the presidency.

Rand Paul simply did not speak enough.  Of all the Republicans on the stage, he is the most level headed with regard to foreign policy.  His answers were well reasoned.  For example, he would look at whether or not Iran has complied before tearing up an agreement America has already signed. Other than not being hawkish enough for a Republican, his biggest problem remains, he is unknown and likely to remain so.

Carly Fiorina was impeccable both in what she talked about and how she spoke (as long as you’re a conservative Republican). Personally, I don’t agree with her hawkishness and her facts about the infamous Planned Parenthood video are a bit shaky.  Still, she clearly articulated what she would do. She, too, did not get enough time. Ultimately, I doubt Republicans will vote for a woman to be president anytime soon.

I appreciated Gov. Kasich’s attempt to play playground monitor, however unsuccessful.  His most best decision was to separate himself from the herd who would strike down the Iran deal on day one .  Kasich argued that we should wait until the Iranians failed to comply and then take action–sounds reasonable and presidential.

One of Jeb Bush’s problem seemed to be his last name.  Defending his brother with regard to 9-11 he declared, “There’s one thing I know for sure, he kept us safe.”  In fact, 9-11, the biggest terrorist attack on US soil since WWII, happened on George W’s watch. We weren’t more safe.  President Bush lead our nation into Iraq on a hunt for weapons of mass destruction he knew weren’t there.  We weren’t more safe. His decision resulted in two costly wars in terms of human life, economic security, and the DE-stabling of the entire region.  We weren’t more safe.  Those words from Jeb Bush will haunt him much longer than the comment Trump tried to hammer him with concerning women’s health.

Like Kasich, Chris Christie played playground monitor. His approach was less successful when he reprimanded Fiorina and Trump for spouting off about their resumes. It was more successful when he urged the whole group to quit quibbling over Planned Parenthood.  He also skewered Hillary Clinton for her stance.  Christie’s worst statement of the evening came after Dr. Carson spoke about 9-11.  Christie said,

While that might have been a fine idea that Dr. Carson had [using diplomacy to find the culprits of 9-11], those people were out to kill us.  I stood in that region … and every time a plane went over head…people’s heads jerked to the sky because they thought it was happening again.  You do not need to go through subtle diplomacy at that point.  That can be handled later on.  What you need is a strong American leader who will take the steps that are necessary to protect our nation.

Unfortunately, while Gov. Christie attempts to play the patriot card  history bares witness to the truth.  Storming in with our guns blazing and no plan for what to do after the shock and awe have worn off, fails us every time.  We are still paying for our lack of level headed diplomacy and are likely to continue to pay if one of the true contenders is elected.

As for the remaining candidates, I cannot recall a single thing Scott Walker said.  Huckabee, on the other hand, was quite  passionate.  He used much of his time defending a woman who took an oath of office but then refused to fulfill her duties.  His willingness to apply his version of Christianity to the rest of the country should give us pause; it is strictly prohibited in the First Amendment.  Finally, Ben Carson spent the debate as a silent observer despite coming into it in second place.  Even in his area of expertise, he failed to shine.  While Carson didn’t technically concede to Trump when talking about vaccines and autism, his demeanor did. And, although his points were often spot-on, he came across as weaker and less confident than the other contenders.

Over all, the debate lacked substance.  In part, blame the list of questions.  Far too much time was spent on war, immigration, and infighting. While a couple candidate mentioned jobs and the economy the only question that came close to addressing either issue was about the minimum wage.  Scratch education off the list of topics, equal pay, campaign finance reform, poverty, renewable energy, racism, or the national debt.  If these candidates and this media represent the best we have to offer, thoughtful Americans ought to be worried.

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