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!”
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.
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.
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)