Posted by: minnow | November 1, 2015

The Republicans

GOP Debate number three is in the books.  I’ve tried since Wednesday to watch it.  But, NBC–interested in $$ more than informing the public–decided the only available access on the evening of the debate would be via cable (I would if I could but where I live I can’t, so…) or by paying them for online access. Even after the fact I had trouble.  I started to watch it Saturday, got interrupted, and Sunday when I went back to the site my access was blocked on copyright grounds.  Same story when I tried to access clips.

The little I heard Saturday didn’t impress me much but that really isn’t the point, is it?  HONESTLY, SINCE WHEN IS THE POLITICAL PROCESS ONLY AVAILABLE TO THOSE WHO CAN PAY FOR IT?  And, aren’t the debates generally understood as part of the political process?  And, since when are news outlets more interested in money than informing the public?  When CBS is able to rake in $250,000 per 30 second ad during the debate, is charging their viewers really necessary? Enough said.

With opposing personality types but similar “run against the establishment” campaign strategies, Ben Carson and Donald Trump continue to be one and two in the polls. Carson actually inched ahead in the latest CBS poll, according to RealClearPolitics.  The RNC however, wouldn’t pick either as its first choice candidate.  Unfortunately, Rubio and Cruz who rank third and fourth in most polls, aren’t the old guard’s favorites either.  The only other Republican with a chance of the presidential nomination, and undoubtedly the RNC’s first choice, is Jeb Bush.  But, with his poll numbers declining, the RNC is stymied.

During the debates, Bush’s biggest problem has been he’s too nice, too polite.  Then, when he tries to get tough, he gets tough about the wrong thing.  Like Kasich (my personal first choice), Bush is not  debater material.  Although he told the audience his greatest weakness is impatience, my assessment of Bush is, he’s too methodical.  He is not quick witted or flippant and thus seems slow compared to his opponents.  In the age of instant gratification and sarcastic come backs, Bush’s poise and polish doesn’t fair well.

I predict (barring an unforeseen disaster) Marco Rubio will ultimately receive the Republican nod next summer. He’s overcome his missed votes by seeming feisty.  A relatively fresh face, he’s  more palatable to the anti-Washington crowd.  Additionally, many of Rubio’s policies ought to appeal to the pocketbooks within the GOP. For example, he plans to solve our budget problems by freezing spending on everything except defense.  And, his tax plan gives the wealthy almost twice the cuts he gives to the middle.  His personal narrative plays well to the working class, in spite of personal financial problems which might otherwise make him less attractive.  Finally of the religious candidates, Rubio is the least offensive and therefore less likely to stir up vehement opposition from progressives.

Should a possible Rubio presidency scare anyone?  Probably, but a Trump or Carson presidency should scare us more!  In Trump’s own words he doesn’t forgive those who slight him.  And, to disagree with him is to slight him.  Taking that attitude into foreign affairs would spell disaster.  As for Carson, his flat tax might sound good in theory but it cannot cover the budget costs unless it’s at least 28%.  In order to cover current spending, Carson’s flat tax would raise taxes on couples making $150,000 or less a year while lowering taxes on couples making $230,000 or more.

In other news: The RNC has decided to reevaluate all future 2015-16 GOP debates. They’ve called the moderators in Wednesday (10/28) night’s debate biased and several of their questions rude.  I read through most of a transcript of the event to find out what the candidates were asked that so offended them?  Honestly, I’m a little baffled.  In the first question Quintanilla asked each candidate to reveal his or her greatest weakness and explain what he or she was doing about it.  I don’t know how many job interviews these candidates have experienced, but in every interview I’ve had that question is on the list.  Every person on the stage dodged the sincere nature of the question.

John Harwood then made the harshest jab of the evening when he said,

Mr. Trump, you’ve done very well in this campaign so far by promising to build a wall and make another country pay for it, send 11 million people out of the country, cut taxes by $11 trillion dollars without raising the deficit, and make Americans better off because your greatness would replace the stupidity and incompetence of others.

Trump heartily agreed. Then Harwood asked, “Let’s be honest.  Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?”  Trump immediately objected to the way the question was asked but failed miserably to explain how the implicated was inaccurate.  The facts of the matter are Trump cannot accomplish what he claims he will do.  Trump knows it.  The other candidates on the stage know it.  And, the moderators know it.  Yet some how the moderators are at fault for trying to shine a light on the facts and expose the fantasy nature of Mr. Trump’s assertions.

Becky Quick asked Carson to explain the math with regard to his flat tax.  Because he couldn’t, the query made the rude questions list.  Also on the list was one to Rubio.   Quintanilla asked him why he doesn’t finish what he started in the senate instead of missing so many votes to run for president.  The question caused Rubio to go on a tirade about what the Washington he-is-a-part-of hasn’t accomplished, while deflecting the point of the questions: that he isn’t doing his job. When Quintanilla attempted to refocus the conversation, Rubio took the opportunity to cry bias and bash the media. A question from Quick to Ms. Fiorina also made the top 10.  It came with a stock market analogy which suggested a CEO whose stock values had been cut in half might not deserve to be “hired” for an even more important job.  When Cruz was asked about his problem solving abilities he joined Rubio’s deflection method and picked up the media bashing mantra.

All in all, what I would label hard hitting and pertinent, the RNC evidently calls rude.  And though the candidates’ answers held little substance it was not for lack of effort on the part of the moderators.  Our politicians need to be asked tough questions, not just about what they want to do but also about how they plan to do it!  If they can’t take the heat them maybe they need to step away from the fire!

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