2016 Republican Debate – How I saw it

GOP 2016 candidates

Here is my take on the first Republican Presidential Debate for the 2016 election. I just want to make a brief statement about what stood out for each candidate in the debate if they are in the upper tier.  For most of the lower tier candidates, nothing ground breaking or new seemed to present itself.  Most have pretty good reasons for being in the lower tier, so I’ll just address those reasons where they lack any actual contribution to the debate.  Starting with the lower tier, I’ll just mention each candidate in order from left to right as they appeared on stage.

Jim Gilmore is not a conservative.  He is somewhat right wing and a better governor than most of the Democrats Virginia has elected, but not by leaps and bounds.  He has been too quick to accept federal funding in Virginia, for instance in fighting the war on drugs.  I’m tired of the federal government dangling federal funding carrots to get its way on issues it has no constitutionally enumerated authority to be involved with and states perpetuating this practice by accepting it.  Gilmore thinks that Roe V. Wade should be repealed.  While the right idea on Roe v. Wade, it shows that he doesn’t understand that SCOTUS can’t legislate, so it isn’t law, and therefore can’t be repealed. Nullification by ignoring it is what states should do.  He also doesn’t want to prohibit first trimester abortions.

Lindsey Graham is simply a liberal.  He should be running against Hillary for the Democratic nomination.  He along with Marco Rubio, John McCain, Robert Menendez and Chuck Shumer were part of the Gang of 8 who were trying their hardest to push amnesty for illegal immigrants.  It doesn’t get much more anti-American than going against the American people in favor of foreign criminals.  Lindsey Graham is not even a consideration for this election campaign.

Bobby Jindal is a nice guy.  He made a cameo appearance on Duck Dynasty.  He is also very pro-life.  As a matter of fact, I can’t find anything substantial that I really disagree with him on in his voting record.  He wants to take the handcuffs off of our military in fighting ISIS and Islamic terrorist groups and that is probably the highlight of his debate performance.  Of all the candidates in the lower tier, Bobby Jindal is one that I could easily support moving to the upper tier in place of Chris Christie.  The one thing about Bobby Jindal that just irks me is how quickly and easily he capitulated to the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage by saying we have to obey the Supreme Court.  No we don’t.  The Constitution doesn’t say we have to obey the Supreme Court.  It also doesn’t grant the Supreme Court the authority to legislate or throw out laws it doesn’t like.  With that one disappointment aside, I still think he stands head and shoulders above Christie.

Rick Perry is about as likeable a guy as one could be.  I think the media treats him unfairly, possibly because they are afraid of him, so never give him enough air time unless it is to replay his gaffs.  On almost every issue Perry appears to be a conservative by every measure until we come to illegal immigration.  He seems to play hot potato with the immigration issue.  One day he is for giving in state tuition to illegals to attend college and the next he wants to defend the border.  But then he is against a fence and just wants to use Texas Rangers to patrol the border.  Illegal immigration is an enormous problem and not being firmly on America’s side on the issue is why Rick Perry is in the bottom tier.

Why is Rick Santorum back?  Another nice guy who is right on many issues, but simply doesn’t know the Constitution very well and doesn’t respect the rights it guarantees.  He claims to be pro-4th Amendment, yet is also pro-Patriot Act.  The two are oil and water.  The Republican Party needs someone who can articulate the outright unconstitutionality of the entire Patriot Act and push to revoke it.  He also supports raising the minimum wage when there should be no federally mandated minimum wage in the first place.  His voting record proves it.

I don’t honestly know enough about Carly Fiorina.  Has she ever read the Constitution?  I have no idea.  It’s difficult to find her stance on many issues and not just because she has no voting record.  She hasn’t even told anyone where she stands on many issues.  What little there is out there does show promise.  She does have a fire in her belly.  Her heart seems to be in the right place and she doesn’t present herself as a liberal at all, which is a great start even if she isn’t well educated on the Constitution.  Learning more about it could be easy for her.  I want to see more of her and would gladly give her Jeb’s spot in the upper tier.

George Pataki has no business being in this race unless he wants to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate.  He is a pure liberal.  He is unapologetic on being pro-abortion.  He supports the Equal Rights Amendment.  He says yes to hate crime legislation, which is absolutely unconstitutional.  He believes in man made global warming and wants mandated climate change regulations, even supportive of the Kyoto Treaty.  He wants the unconstitutional Environmental Protection Agency promoted to a cabinet level department.  To top it all off, he is very anti 2nd Amendment and supports gun control legislation.  This guy is a nightmare.  He would be Obama 2.0.

With the exception of wanting to hear more from Bobby Jindal and Carly Fiorina, the bottom tier candidates don’t stand out as remarkable.  The top tier candidates made more of an impression during the debate.  We got to learn more about them whether in a positive or negative way.

Chris Christie blew it in his argument with Rand Paul over 4th Amendment Rights.  Apparently Christie didn’t get the memo that people are fed up with having their privacy intruded on by the federal government with such agencies as the NSA and TSA.  While all of the viewers of the debate probably had the image in their mind of Chris Christie hugging Obama, it was great of Rand Paul to remind us, especially during a Bill of Rights argument.  It is clear that Christie values government authority over the rights of the people.  His place in the top tier should end at this point.

Marco Rubio began his Senate term with great expectations from conservatives, but he blew that when he joined the Gang of 8 to fight against Americans in favor of foreign illegal invaders.  He has been trying to walk that back, but he won’t be able to.  He didn’t simply make an errant statement regarding illegal immigrants in the past, he actively pushed for outright amnesty.  Conservatives aren’t going to easily forgive that, even if he is very good on all of the other issues.  He did a great job of slamming Hillary Clinton and he understands how the American Dream works.  He just has a history of trying to offer that American Dream to the wrong people, the Dreamers, AKA illegal aliens.  Overall, he still outshines most of the bottom tier candidates.

There aren’t many people who are kinder and gentler than Ben Carson.  He is a truly remarkable man by every measure, except for his knowledge of the Constitution.  He has vastly improved on that in the last few years, though, which is nice.  I didn’t like his earlier stances on gun control, such as “semi-automatic weapons being ok in the countryside, but not in cities,” but he appears to be legitimately coming around. He has always been right in his heart, but is starting to connect that with our rights in the heart of our founding doctrine.  Every time I hear him talk, he appears more knowledgeable and less likely to be caught off guard.  Without a doubt I want to see him at some level of government.

I was happy to see more from Scott Walker and looking forward to seeing more.  For one second, when Megyn Kelly asked him which new middle eastern partners we should have, I thought he was showing signs of not knowing about the middle east.  He said, “I don’t know about additional ones, we need to focus on the ones we have.”  I thought it was avoiding the question, but it turned out that it wasn’t.  He nailed it by showing quite a bit of knowledge on the ones we have and why we need to focus on them.  His record in Wisconsin is the focus of national attention.  He took on unions and won, vastly improving the economy in his state even against the battle of a recall election.  Being elected three times isn’t an achievement in and of itself, but doing so in a 4 year period when only two elections should have been necessary, makes a bold statement.

Donald Trump certainly didn’t disappoint anyone if they expected him to be himself!  He does not have a solid conservative record and probably isn’t very well versed on the Constitution.  It is clear that he would be a benefit to the country economically, but it’s other areas that conservatives are concerned about that are still a mystery.  He is saying a lot of things that the people have been hungry to hear and perhaps he has matured in his views over time.  Megyn Kelly certainly had a bone to pick with Trump, but he wasn’t having it.  It seemed as if the longest, most sustained audience applause of the entire night was after Megyn asked him about calling women fat pigs and he said, “only Rosie O’Donnell.”  His ability to kick sand in the face of political correctness is refreshing and should be a lesson to all the rest of the candidates.

Jeb Bush should just voluntarily hand over his top tier position to Carly Fiorina.  Probably more than anyone in the debate, he gave up his positions on policy issues.  He doesn’t hide the fact that he is for Common Core education.  He is pro-amnesty.  He supports background checks on gun purchases, which violate the 2nd, 4th, & 5th Amendments.  Jeb, like other Bushes, want people to think they are conservative, when they really aren’t. He made this comment in the debate, “If you apply conservative principles in the right way, you create an environment where everybody rises up.” That annoys me, because it suggests that there is a wrong way to apply conservative principles.  It says that he either doesn’t really understand conservative principles, or just wants credit for saying “conservative” more than anyone else.

I was really surprised by Mike Huckabee.  He was better than I had ever seen him and I appreciated his reference to the 5th & 14th Amendments regarding the rights of unborn human babies.  He is a good Christian, which garners him points.  Where he falls short is in his past stances on issues, such as being very much for the federal war on drugs, which is not only unconstitutional, but creates more and more felons out of people who haven’t committed any violent crimes.  He also wants federal funding in various other aspects of our lives that the federal government has no business in, such as fatherhood initiatives for families and ethanol mandates in our gasoline, which he claims is for national security.  He has signed laws banning smoking on private property, a clear violation of the same 5th and 14th amendments he brought up in the debate.  Nothing about his debate performance was truly negative, but then this debate didn’t really get very deep into policy matters.

Ted Cruz has the most conservative voting record of anyone on that stage.  I would like to see him take a lesson from Donald Trump to be a little more outspoken and less concerned with what the media thinks if a republican candidate is too brash.  The questions he got seemed a little unfair, in that they were not main stream, popular issues.  While other candidates were given softball questions on Planned Parenthood and Common Core, Bret Baier asked Ted Cruz about cyber warfare, definitely an important topic, but one that certainly doesn’t get much media attention and is relatively boring to the casual observer who isn’t very well informed.  It’s a topic that is probably not easy to make headlines talking about.  With that said, Cruz knocked it out of the park, proving that he wasn’t going to be caught off guard and was fully aware of the current events involving the Russian and Chinese cyber warfare attacks on the U.S.  Being able to answer questions on lesser known topics and have all the facts, says a lot.

Rand Paul shocked me.  Second only to Ted Cruz in constitutional conservatism, he has always fallen short in the minds of the average republican or conservative in his isolationist tendencies.  While we do give far too much to foreign aid, almost all of which should be cut off, like his father, he has taken that to an extreme by including Israel.  It is in our nation’s interest to ensure Israel’s safety, so that foreign aid has merit.  This debate is the first time I learned that Rand Paul has changed his stance on aid to Israel and on that I have no choice, but to commend him.  He has never struck me as a liar, so if he changed his mind and says he means it, I don’t have a reason not to believe him.  He says he changed his mind on amnesty as well, having supported it at some level at one time and then walked it back later on.  His walking it back seems to have been permanent, so far.  I think he did better than I expected and I give him bonus points for his reminder that Chris Christie is an Obama hugger!

John Kasich just isn’t what we’re looking for.  He’s just an old fashioned person who believes in traditional marriage, but attends gay weddings.  Trying to pander to everyone never works out.  He then supported socialized medicine using the excuse that it costs less to give people with mental health issues a pill than it does to lock them in prison.  What?  Why lock people in prison over a mental health issue in the first place?  How about leaving them alone and taxing people less, so they can take care of themselves and their family?  People who are taxed less give more to charities which do a better job of helping out than government does.  Lock them in prison if they commit a crime and leave them there for their entire sentence.  Using one broken system to excuse another broken system is disingenuous.  John Kasich is not a bad guy, he just isn’t a conservative guy either and cannot be trusted to repeal Obamacare.

So there you have it.  That is my take on the Republican candidates in the first 2016 Presidential debate, which was much more of a meet and greet than a debate.  We got to know a little more about the candidates we already knew and a lot more about those who were less familiar.  There was very little actual debating and not much about policy.  Many of the candidates did a good job in proving that it will be well worth hearing more from them. Some of them showed us that they have no business in this race and should drop out now, so that our time is better spent vetting the remaining candidates who appear to have more to offer.  We can argue over who won or if anyone won at all, but we can all agree on the ultimate loser, which is Rosie O’Donnell.


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  1. Thanks for the write-up. Always nice to read additional takes on the candidates.

    Do you think after Trump’s confession to buying politicians with donations to campaigns there is evidence for an inquiry into bribery? It might remove both Trump and Clinton from the running, and many other politicians from office. Or is that just business as usual and we let it pass?


    • Oh, they’ll let it pass for sure. I don’t blame corporations for the bribing, I blame government for allowing it. They are the ones violating the Constitution by accepting bribes.


  2. Hard to disagree with any part of your analysis, although I might have put a little more emphasis on style in addition to the all important issue of substance. I only mention this b/c even the most constitutionally correct candidate can get lost in the swirl of political rhetoric w/o an agreeable presentation. I tend to agree with Rand Paul on a whole host of issues, but I cringed watching him roll his eyes and smirk during his exchange with Christie. I’m guessing a lot of this GOP herd will be culled before the next debate, which should make it easier for us to focus on the most qualified.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup! That’s why I haven’t made a decision yet. Being the most conservative isn’t going to help if you can’t get that message across effectively.


  3. Thanks for your review. Well wrtten & appropriately stated.

    I always like to hear ‘straight from the candidates’ mouths’
    There’s way too much misrepresentation of individual’s principles & values.
    Statements & Voting Records are valuable info.
    This is one of the best early ‘debates’ that I’ve seen.
    Fox asked the questions the viewers wanted. Can’t argue with their success.
    Trump’s poplularity is sad commentary on American society as a whole.
    Sep. 16th seems a long way off at the moment being hungry for more meaningful info.

    Are you familiar with the Conservative Review’s Presidential Candidates Comparison?
    If so, what are your thoughts.

    One thing for sure; America needs a Uniter.
    It would be wonderful if the system would allow ‘We the People’ to choose that individual, rather than have another shoved down our throats using fear & ignorance as means to gaining power, control & wealth.

    Thanks again, for your courage & patriotism!

    “It’s hard to soar like an Eagle when you’re flying with a bunch of Turkeys.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much. No, sorry, I am not familiar with the Conservative Review’s Presidential Candidates Comparison. Never heard of it. I am very curious, but literally just heading to bed.


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