Observations On The CNN-Telemundo GOP Candidates Debate

1.  I heard that National Anthem rendition on my car radio, and thought, “That can’t possibly be as off-key as it sounds, can it?” Then my various singer friends started howling on Facebook. I don’t know why debates are now treated like ball games, but there are thousands upon thousands of singers, male, female, and juvenile, who can sing the anthem well, and a lot better than Dina Carter did last night. There’s no excuse for getting someone who can’t stay on pitch.

2. Ben Carson prompted me to throw a magazine at the TV with his fatuous “we won’t solve America’s problems by trying to destroy each other.” It’s a competition, you fool. Someone should have shown you how ridiculous your wasteful candidacy was months ago, and you wouldn’t be clogging up the process now. If Donald Trump, a viper in the nursery, wasn’t ahead, Reagan’s admonition not to attack fellow Republicans might be a wise and ethical practice. Now, it is the equivalent of pacifism during World War II.

3. That was weak, incompetent moderating by Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash, allowing Trump to speak over Rubio and Cruz who were doing a good job pointing up his hypocrisy and corruption. As usual, Trump’s rebuttals weren’t rebuttals at all but distracting attacks, pitched to the gullible.

  • Rubio said, correctly, that Trump criticized Mitt Romney for talking about “self-deportation” in 2012, while Trump is talking about self-deportation now.  Trump said: “I criticized Mitt Romney for losing the election. . . . He ran one terrible campaign!”  No, actually Trump criticized Romney’s self-deportation policy specifically.
  • Rubio said Trump is the only person on the stage who’s hired people from other countries for “jobs that Americans could have filled.” Trump replied, “I’m the only one on the stage who’s hired people! . . . You haven’t hired one person in your life!” It’s completely irrelevant to the issue, just another deflection.
  • Cruz pointed out that Trump contributed to the three Democratic Senators and two of the  Republican Senators he now accuses of pushing “amnesty.” Trump retorted that “I get along with everybody; you get along with nobody,” an ad hominem attack that ducks a legitimate criticism.

4.  Trump had one brilliant, perfect, Presidential and appropriately tough response to ex-Mexican President Vicente Fox who swore Mexico would never pay for Trump’s “fucking wall.” (We have heard increasing vulgarity from media figures like Chris Matthews, President Obama and others, and now the breakdown in official civility has crossed our borders. Yes, I blame Donald Trump, and as he grandstanded about the “disgusting” word used, someone should have had the wit to note that he has personally lowered the standards of leadership discourse more than any figure since the Nixon tapes were released.) Trump’s response: “The wall just got 10 feet taller!”

Excellent.

5. Trump’s answers about health care were complete authentic frontier jibberish. First he said that he would keep the individual mandate. Then:

DANA BASH: OK, so let’s talk about pre-existing conditions. What the insurance companies say is that the only way that they can cover people is to have a mandate requiring everybody purchase health insurance. Are they wrong?

TRUMP: I think they’re wrong 100 percent. What we need — look, the insurance companies take care of the politicians. The insurance companies get what they want. We should have gotten rid of the lines around each state so we can have real competition. We thought that was gone, we thought those lines were going to be gone, so something happened at the last moment where Obamacare got approved, and all of that was thrown out the window. The reason is some of the people in the audience are insurance people, and insurance lobbyists, and special interests. They got — I’m not going to point to these gentlemen, of course, they’re part of the problem, other than Ben, in all fairness.And, actually, the Governor too, let’s just talk about these too, OK? Because I don’t think the Governor had too much to do with this.But, we should have gotten rid of the borders, we should have gotten rid of the lines around the state so there’s great competition. The insurance companies are making a fortune on every single thing they do. I’m self-funding my campaign. I’m the only one in either party self-funding my campaign. I’m going to do what’s right. We have to get rid of the lines around the states so that there’s serious, serious competition.

BASH But, Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: … And, you’re going to see — excuse me. You’re going to see preexisting conditions and everything else be part of it, but the price will be done, and the insurance companies can pay. Right now they’re making a fortune.

BASH: But, just to be specific here, what you’re saying is getting rid of the barriers between states, that is going to solve the problem…

TRUMP: That’s going to solve the problem. And, the insurance companies aren’t going to say that, they want to keep it. They want to say — they say whatever they have to say to keep it the way it is. I know the insurance companies, they’re friends of mine. The top guys, they’re friends of mine. I shouldn’t tell you guys, you’ll say it’s terrible, I have a conflict of interest. They’re friends of mine, there’s some right in the audience. One of them was just waving to me, he was laughing and smiling. He’s not laughing so much anymore.

Hi!

Look, the insurance companies are making an absolute fortune. Yes, they will keep preexisting conditions, and that would be a great thing. Get rid of Obamacare, we’ll come up with new plans. But, we should keep preexisting conditions.

This literally makes no sense at all; it’s just blather. In a court, I would ask the stenographer to read that back to the jury. It is meaningless. Anyone who claims Trump is more than a buffoon should have to explain why that is an acceptible explanation of how to address the uninsured.

6.  This exchange was equally outrageous:

CRUZ: Donald, true or false, you’ve said the government should pay for everyone’s health care.

TRUMP: That’s false.

CRUZ: You’ve never said that?

TRUMP: No, I said it worked in a couple of countries…

CRUZ: But you’ve never stood on this debate stage and says it works great in Canada and Scotland and we should do it here.

TRUMP: No, I did not. No I did not.

CRUZ: Did you say if you want people to die on the streets, if you don’t support socialized health care, you have no heart.

TRUMP: Correct. I will not let people die on the streets if I’m president.

CRUZ: Have you said you’re a liberal on health care?

TRUMP: Excuse me. Let me talk. If people…

CRUZ: Talk away. Explain your plan, please.

TRUMP: If people — my plan is very simple. I will not — we’re going to have private — we are going to have health care, but I will not allow people to die on the sidewalks and the streets of our country if I’m president. You may let it and you may be fine with it…

CRUZ: So does the government pay for everyone’s health care?

TRUMP: … I’m not fine with it. We are going to take those people…

CRUZ: Yes or no. Just answer the question.

TRUMP: Excuse me. We are going to take those people and those people are going to be serviced by doctors and hospitals. We’re going to make great deals on it, but we’re not going to let them die in the streets.

CRUZ: Who pays for it?

RUBIO: Well, can I just clarify something?

BLITZER: Gentleman, please.

RUBIO: Wolf, no. I want to clarify something.

BLITZER: Gentlemen please. I want to move on.

RUBIO: This is a Republican debate, right? Because that attack about letting people die in the streets…

BLITZER: I want to talk about the economy.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Gentleman, gentleman. All of you have agreed — Senator Cruz…

TRUMP: You know what? Call it what you want.

CRUZ: It’s a yes or no.

TRUMP: Call it what you want, people are not going to be dying on the sidewalk.

First, nobody is “dying on the sidewalk” under the current system or past systems. It is an utter, complete, straw man. Second, Trump was lying. He has, in the past, approved of national health care. Third, a system that just takes care of anyone who is sick will either go broke or cost a lot of money. “We’re going to make great deals on it” is not an answer nor a policy. The moderators had an obligation to make Trump answer the question.

7. One more time, Trump said that he would pay for his tax cuts without exploding the debt by eliminating “Waste, fraud, and abuse.” Only true low-information voters with the political acumen of a brie cheese wedge don’t know what “waste, fraud, and abuse” means, and has always meant. Translation: “I got nothing. I’m faking it.” It is shocking that after decades of politicians making this claim, anyone still falls for it. Bernie Sanders is also using this scam.

8. The Apple-FBI controversy. Ugh. All of the candidates continued to say, as they did before the debate, that the government should be able to force Apple to unlock its iPhone. In doing so, they confused the issue, misstated it, and seemed to support a precedent that undermines Constitutional principles. Kasich said Obama should have brought Apple and the government into a room and “locked the door” till they reached an agreement on the iPhone. Huh? What powers does he think the President has?

9. I couldn’t hold my commentary on the infuriating question about whether Republicans “get” that they have to support unlimited illegal immigration or be punished with electoral defeat. It’s here.

10. Reading the Facebook comments of my generally left-wing friends (theater and law, you know), as well as the links they posted today from mostly leftish pundits, I finally had it with all the “Kasich is the only adult in the room” snarking, and mockery of the GOP candidates’contentious exchanges.  I did what I usually won’t do, which is indulge in “somebody is wrong on the internet” rants, but really, this is not to be borne.

Kasich is staying above the fray, which is just cowardice. He deserves no praise for that. I have debated with someone like Trump, who insults, deflects, interrupts and changes subjects. It is like arguing with a child, and it is impossible, impossible, to do it and maintain much dignity. Your choices are to let him get away with lies and rationalizations, or get down in the mud and wrestle. Kasich chose, irresponsibly, to stay above it all and go, “Tut tut tut! How unfortunate.” Well, he, like any other responsible citizen, has an obligation to try to explain to Trump’s Idiot Brigade why The Donald is completely unqualified to lead, with deficits in character, training and ability. Say what you will about Rubio and Cruz, and I don’t want either of them to be President, but at least they are willing to get their hands dirty, because if they don’t, Trump will be nominated. Kasich looks good to Democrats who want Hillary to have a lame opponent, and Republicans who don’t understand what the dynamics are. He’s not an “adult,” he’s a patsy.

And he still says “Guess what?’ every time he speaks…!!!!

As for mocking the Republicans for actually having an honest competition for the nomination rather than a sham worthy of the Politburo as we are seeing in the other nominating process, Democrats have a lot of gall. That party has failed its duty to the public even worse than the GOP has. At least the Republicans made a good faith effort to find a worthy candidate, though failing spectacularly. The Democrats just rigged the process for Hillary, who has neither the track record nor the character to justify it. Because she is so weak, even a ridiculous, over-aged, non-Democrat with math-challenged policies is threatening to foil the coronation. Still, he isn’t trying to win the debates. He refuses to attack Clinton where she is most vulnerable–her pimping for Bill and her risking US security by her inexcusable e-mail practices—and she won’t attack his absurd policies and statements because she doesn’t want to alienate the Bernie Babies. The debates on the Democratic side are phony from start to finish, so of course they are relatively neat and clean. Put Donald Trump on the stage with Clinton and Sanders, and see what it would be like.

The Republican debates are democracy at work; the Democratic Party are courting totalitarianism. How dare Democrats be so smug?

___________________

Facts: Washington Post (Transcript)

25 thoughts on “Observations On The CNN-Telemundo GOP Candidates Debate

  1. Trump is a snake oil salesman, almost every word that comes out of his mouth is nothing but blather, bar room bull shit, actual lies, intellectual dishonesty, or dog whistles.

    It seems that I’m out of intelligent options for the 2016 election.

    I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

    • You really think the RNC is rigging the primaries behind the scenes?

      You literally fulfill my expectations of leftists:

      If they accuse Republicans of doing it, there’s a 98% chance Democrata are already doing it or have set the conditions to do so.

      • Texagg, no, of course I don’t think they’re rigging it. I just think that democracy shouldn’t have to look like a food fight. The victim of a shitstorm like last night is civility; and civility is necessary for democracy.

        • Which would you take:

          The slightly rambunctious and occasionally uncivil idea-fest that demonstrates the versatility of one group, or the perfecty civil excellently mannered theater-act to ensure that only one narrow ridged set of ideas is forced from another group?

            • As the hypothetical given to you increased the severity of both options enough for clarity’s sake, you did pick the former. Now, given the actual conditions, the GOP debates fall closer to the former and the Democrat ‘debates’ fall closer to the latter.

              As honesty is a guiding principle, it’s safe to assume you then prefer the GOP debates to the Democrat ones.

              • Well, nice try, Texagg, but I think we just see this one differently. I see a lot of distance between Hillary and Bernie, passionately but politely fought out; and carbon copy policies in many terms in the GOP, which perhaps accounts for the intensity of personal animosity on the stage.

                I can see how you might see more distinctions within the GOP and less in the Dems, and maybe you do have a higher tolerance for disagreement than I do. But to me, it’s just a degree or two of negativity too far.

                  • “We” established no such thing. You drew two artificial ends of a theoretical spectrum, one intentionally more attractive than the other, then completely arbitrarily asserted that one represented the Dems and one the GOP. Not an ounce of objectivity in that, just assertions. I can assert the opposite. So where does that get us?

                    If you want to try for objectivity, you might draw historical parallels. For example, I might say that was the least civil debate in fifty years. That I think is a fair statement, though you’d be perfectly welcome to say it was the only honest debate in fifty years. You’d be welcome to say it, and you’d be well outside several standard deviations of normal opinion. Which, in turn, may not bother you in the least, and that’s fine too.

                    My point is at least we’d be having a fact-based discussion instead of one based on a theoretical straw man that goes nowhere.

                    • Iowa: Bernie and Hillary fought it out to a statistical tie, Hillary ahead by .2 of a percent, so obviously the delegate count should be close, if not equal, right? Bernie got 21 and Hillary got…. 29? Huh. Math. Maybe reversing that 77 cent thing. Ok. Well how about New Hampshire? Where Bernie whomped Hillary by 23 points! Bernie got 15 delegates, and Hillary got… 15? Huh. Math, Nevada had Hillary ahead by 5, so following DNC math, Bernie should be ahead by about 8 delegates right? Nope. Bernie 16, Hillary 23.

                      But the DNC isn’t a fixed race, right Charles? Tex’s scenario is unrealistic, right Charles?

                      My point Charles, is that you don’t get to talk about the shitstorm that the RNC puts on while ignoring or defending the corruption in the DNC. Any party that has “Superdelegates” is estopped from pointing out any problems with anyone else’s process until that is addressed.

                    • Well, depends on how they set up their delegating methods. I’m not sure how it works, but one way voting can work out that way is if delegates are geographically based:
                      Candidate A Candidate B
                      Region 1: 100 99
                      Region 2: 100 99
                      Region 3: 100 99
                      Region 4: 100 99
                      Region 5: 99 100

                      Candidate A takes 4 of 5 regions with only 50.15% of the vote.

                      That’s just one way, but again I don’t know what system the Democrats use…

                    • They flip coins Tex! I mean, it’s not like anything important is on the line, right? But seriously, it all boils down to superdelegates.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016

                      Charles would like us to casually gloss over that so we can get back to the RNC’s clown show. The difference is where the relative problems comes from. The thing is, the clown show is a feature of the voters. Trump is a pompous bombastic ass, and because he’s having success despite being a pompous, bombastic ass the other candidates are getting their feet wet. It’s… embarrassing. But fully driven by voters. If the voters weren’t rewarding the behavior with support, it wouldn’t be happening. Meanwhile, on the left side of the tent, the DNC is literally fixing the nomination, actively disenfranchising their voters.

                      Of the 712 Superdelegates, 455 have pledged to Hillary, about 430 of them before a single vote was cast in the districts they live in, giving Hillary about a fifth the delegates she needed for the nomination before a single vote was cast. 700 people voting with the same power of 700,000 citizens? No one in the DNC, or who supports the system as is, gets to whinge about anything the RNC does being ‘undemocratic’ while they still have superdelegates. Period.

                  • PostScript: the day after Marco Rubio accused Trump of wetting his pants and having a little weenie; and Trump hems and haws over condemning David Duke.

                    You suggest “Any party that has “Superdelegates” is estopped from pointing out any problems with anyone else’s process until that is addressed.”

                    Fine – go tell it to the Democratic party. That’s got nothing to do with me.

                    Meanwhile, I feel perfectly free and entirely justified to call the current state of the GOP dialogue a foodfight, shitstorm, and an insult to professional wrestling.

                    • “Fine – go tell it to the Democratic party. That’s got nothing to do with me.”

                      Fuck off Charles, you’ve been a DNC posterboy for years. This conversation literally started with you calling the RNC process undemocratic:

                      “If this is democracy at work, then what the hell is professional wrestling?”

                      To which Tex replied with:

                      “If they accuse Republicans of doing it, there’s a 98% chance Democrat[s] are already doing it or have set the conditions to do so.”

                      Which must have stung, being so pertinent, eh? The RNC’s process IS Democracy in Action, and it’s messy. The DNC’s process literally gives a 20% boost to the party elite’s anointed one.

                      Unless I read your comment completely wrong. Voting Republican this cycle? In which case, I’m sorry.

                    • I now believe that it’s unfair take Charles comment as partisan, as it is just a fairly common criticism—from both sides— of the ugly theater of that last debate.

                      I do dislike the criticism badly when it comes from smug Democrats, who, as you say, have thoroughly rigged their own process—I felt the same way about the “clown car” smear, as if having more candidates rather than less was somehow shameful. (It is shameful when you have one, it’s Hillary, and her sole opposition is a joke.)

                      Please cool it with the Uckfay Offway stuff. I don’t need another outbreak of Meatshieldism.

  2. Jack I think your mostly correct on your analysis save Kasich. I don’t think there is any reason for him to engage Trump at this point. He is staying on message and letting the population know what he would do. Engaging Trump is not something that results in substantive debate, it does nothing but drag him down, maybe up the way things are going, to Trumps level. I normally would think it would be a good idea for a candidate polling so low to drop and let someone else who is qualified to gain support. Of all of them Kasich is the only one left who is qualified. I think Rubio with some more experience may be a great candidate down the road but he is so volatile that I think there is a good chance he self destructs.

    • Nope. If he has credibility, then he is obligated to use it, If he lets Trump alone, then he is tacitly accepting him. If Kasich were charismatic, or a good speaker, or didn’t twitch or DIDN’T SAY “GUESS WHAT?” six times every debate, then he could play the stalking horse, but he’s not a compelling figure, and he is only unelectable if its Sanders. He’s behind in OHIO, for heaven’s sake. He’s a weak version of Romney, a Republican for Democrats. Yeah, I think he’d be the best President of the bunch, but not if he can’t and won’t try to stop Trump. At some point the alleged adult has an obligation to discipline the kid that’s pissing on the rug. He’s run out of time.

  3. “As if the main object were to talk fast and not to talk sensibly “
    — Henry David Thoreau.

    There. I’ve been trying to remember that one since Trump first jumped on board without a ticket. It doesn’t add to the discussion but it does help to remind me that it is Democracy’s way to give him a free ride. Fingers crossed that America can put him off before this metaphor ends.

      • I just knew there would be a word to cover it, and you come up with two — Thank You! I’m so glad I never heard of Duane Gish before.

        This sheds new light on the ethical analyses of Blitzer and Bash then since it is virtually impossible to halt someone going at a gallop and he cannot be otherwise dismounted. The only thing to do is follow up post hoc with the Marshall March, step by giant step, until you can unseat the clown, point by point yourself. For my part, I continue at a walking pace, following those who follow Jack’s jumps.

  4. Re: The National Anthem. You high light a problem that’s been around ever since “the Nashville Sound” went mainstream. That’s not so much an off pitch rendition as a “country-fied” rendition. All the pointless quavers. Really dumb. But ubiquitous and I’d even say, corrosive. More dumbing-down the culture.

  5. I think tonight I just watch my local universities baseball team’s game from the stands. Aside, from a few poorly disciplined kids that I’d love to yell at, it will undoubtedly be much better for my blood pressure than listening to Bernie and Hillary lie.

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