I am only covering the top tier candidate GOP debate. It went on almost three hours and by this point the bottom tier candidates are going to have to work their way up to deserve my time to cover them. Sorry to both Pataki fans out there!
First of all, I want to say that every single one of the republican candidates did a very good job of outshining anyone the democrats have to offer. The worst among them would do a far better job as president than Hillary or Sanders, so based on this debate and this debate only, I would gladly hold my nose and vote for any of them should I be forced to, against any of the democrats. Now we just have to work hard to nominate the right person, so that no one has to hold their nose when they vote in the general election.
I’ll address issues that were brought up and which candidates had anything noteworthy to say about them. It would be difficult to address each candidate separately, because of the back and forth dialogues between them. This debate included a lot more discussion on policy issues than the first debate and was rather long, so I’ll only address those things that stood out.
Early in the debate it was brought up that Rand Paul had asked if we would want someone like Trump, with his kind of character, to be dealing with Putin. Jeb Bush said that you just can’t go around insulting leaders around the world. What stood out here is that although Paul is often right about his stances on going to war, what people hear him say is that he is anti-war. He explains that he just wants to make sure that any war we engage in is done constitutionally with Congress voting on it and then if we do go, we don’t do so “with one armed tied behind our back.” Paul’s problem is that he doesn’t get that message out clearly enough and is often just heard as being anti-war, which comes off as weak to world leaders. If Trump is anything, it isn’t weak when it comes to negotiating and he has consistently been saying that he wants a stronger military. Putin and other world leaders only respond to strength.
Kasich interrupted by saying that he just wanted to get to the issues. It seemed to be an attempt to look like he was the adult in the room, but his stances on the issues later in the debate didn’t seem to make him out to be anything close to conservative. Chris Christie touted his credentials by letting us know that he was a republican elected in New Jersey, a Blue State. I’m not sure that speaks very highly of his conservative credentials, so that may have done him more harm than good.
A little back and forth between Bush and Trump occurred over the issue of campaign funding. Bush is being accused of being a puppet for his donors. Trump made it clear that he wasn’t taking big money donations and Bush tried interrupting him, but failed when Trump quipped that Jeb is showing “more energy tonight! I like that!” Clearly Trump was in control of that conversation.
On Russia, Rubio said that Russia was trying to replace the U.S. as a power broker in the middle east and called Putin a gangster. While a little of this is true, much about Putin is twisted by the media and if you look hard enough you see Obama behind the curtains pointing the finger. Putin is actually looking out for Russian interests. We need a President who looks out for American interests. Putin would respect that. I’m not pro-Putin, I just think he is too easily used as a scapegoat for our own politicians’ failures. Fiorina actually showed more strength on the issue of Russia by saying that we don’t even need to talk to Putin, we just have to build up our military, rebuild the 6th fleet, and missile defense programs in Poland. A peace through strength strategy. However, she wants to arm the Kurds and Jordan. Perhaps we have given muslims too many weapons as it is. Still looking for that being a success story.
Kasich had said, regarding Cruz, that anyone who wanted to rip up Obama’s unconstitutional Iran Deal was inexperienced. This alone disqualifies Kasich as viable. He needs to read the Constitution. He tried back peddling a bit by saying that he thought the Iran Deal was a bad agreement, but he wants to keep it and if they cheat on it, we slap sanctions back on them. There always seems to be a but. If Kasich doesn’t realize that presidents can’t make deals, good or bad, then he has very little time to learn it if he expects to be president. Huckabee made it clear that this wasn’t just a little conflict with Iran and this deal immediately threatens Israel and next the entire Middle East and the U.S. He said that Obama treats this agreement like the Magna Carta while Iran treats it like toilet paper and that we need a president who is willing to rip up this agreement. Later, regarding the Iran Deal Kasich said about Iran, that we do better when our allies work with us. Kasich must not have gotten the memo that Iran is not our ally. Cruz nailed it when he said that we won’t know if they cheat, because the deal is designed to allow them to hide everything and inspect themselves. He pointed out that Obama is violating federal law by hiding many side deals that are part of this deal and not revealing them to the public.
Regarding the state dinner with China, Walker wants to cancel it. Neither Bush nor Paul want to cancel it. It concerns me that Paul would agree with Bush on anything. Paul wants to leave communication lines open. Phones still work, Mr. Paul, even if you cancel a state dinner. Walker said that inviting China to a state dinner is just like giving them a 21 gun salute and that he would love to play cards with Obama, because he always folds.
When Syria was brought up, Rubio reminded us that Obama said his attack on Assad would be but a pin prick. Rubio said that the U.S. Military was not built to conduct pin prick attacks and should only be engaged in endeavors to win. Cruz then said that the number one test for the use of military force should be the vital national security interest of the United States. He proposed that Obama bomb Syria because he couldn’t answer one question: what to do if chemical weapons wound up in the hands of radical islamic terrorists like Al-Nusra, Al Qaeda, or ISIS.
Kim Davis was a brief topic of discussion that only Huckabee really weighed in on with any significance. She was the Kentucky district clerk who was unconstitutionally held in contempt of court and jailed without bail or a charge of committing any crime, because she didn’t hand out marriage licenses to homosexuals. Huckabee said that The Supreme Court redefined marriage out of thin air and that courts have no authority to legislate. He was spot on here, but then drifted off into a fog of constitutional unfamiliarity by saying that the courts can interpret and review law, just not legislate. Well, no they can’t. Not constitutionally. Interpretation is legislation. It’s changing a law at a whim by revising what it says. Huckabee is on the right track, but really needs to tighten up his language here and read Article 3 of the Constitution again to really familiarize himself with it. He also said that accommodations were given to the Ft. Hood shooter to allow him to grow a beard and also to all of the prisoners in GITMO, due to their muslim faith, so why can’t Kim Davis be given an accommodation for her Christian faith. That sort of misses the point that she broke no law in the first place, so no accommodation is required. The issue is judicial tyranny, not religious accommodations. That accommodation would ignore the Kentucky Constitution, which is the law of the land in Kentucky. There is no federal law regarding gay marriage and according to the 10th Amendment, there can not be.
Kasich was upset over the thought of shutting down government over the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. Again, Kasich proves that principle is not what drives him. He thinks that wasting time passing any law that Obama will veto will just cause the government to shut down and God knows, we can’t have a few hundred tyrants in Washington D.C. stop what they are doing for a few days! I’d like to see the government shut down 364 days per year, but that’s another topic. Kasich claimed that even though he wouldn’t put this issue to a vote in Congress, he would prefer the money that we unconstitutionally spend on Planned Parenthood, go (unconstitutionally) to other family planning programs. When did family planning end up as a role of the Federal government in Article 1, Section8? I can’t find it there! Cruz jumped in to remind us that the crimes Planned Parenthood have admitted to on video tape are felonies that are punishable by 10 years in prison. Christie stood tall on this issue and said that he had defunded Planned Parenthood in New Jersey and would send the bill to Obama and force him to veto it as well as other bills like tax reform and repealing Obamacare. Carly went a little off topic and said that on her first day as president, she’d call Bibi Netanyahu to let him know we’re on his side. Then she’d call the Ayatollah to let him know we’re not on his side and that he had better open up for inspections. Oh… and she’d send the bill to Obama and force him to veto it too. Trump showed that he was for unconstitutional federal spending on women’s health, by accusing Bush of not being for it. Bush defended himself by claiming he’d defund Planned Parenthood and divert those funds to other women’s health programs. These guys aren’t getting it. Women’s health isn’t federal business. At least Cruz never said he’d divert the funds to other unconstitutional expenditures. Walker didn’t either and claimed that he defunded Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin.
On immigration, Trump referred to the time he was attacked when he first brought up the topic about building a wall and deporting everyone and then the attackers, mostly media, found out he was right and his idea was very much supported. Christie just buckled and said that we can’t possibly deport 15,000 people per day for 2 years. Trump said that illegals were costing us 200 billion dollars per year. Obviously this 200 billion could make quite a bit of headway in deportations, especially if we employed bounty hunters as I bring up in this article: Yes We Can…Deport All Illegal Aliens.
A little back and forth arguing ensued over immigration and Trump pointed out that Jeb Bush called illegal immigration and act of love. Bush responded by saying that in his book he laid out a comprehensive conservative approach to the immigration problem, but then he broke down whining about how it would split up families. Trump was asked about his remark concerning Bush speaking Spanish to answer questions in an interview and he defended himself. Trump said that if you want to come here, assimilate and speak English. Bush then said that it was respectful to speak Spanish to someone who asks a question in Spanish. Rubio jumped in to defend speaking Spanish, because his grandfather spoke Spanish to him. These pro-amnesty types just aren’t getting it. America is tired of it. Even Carson basically said we should give amnesty only to those illegals with a pristine record. I guess Carson doesn’t know what illegal means. Cruz let us know, that he was the only one on the stage who has never supported amnesty and has fought it every step of the way. For some reason Rubio still felt it necessary to let his pro-amnesty stance show by saying we should do things in order, close the border, monitor entry and exit, set up E-Verify based on merit not on family members in the U.S., and then and only then give amnesty to all the non-criminal illegals. My head almost exploded.
I have been wanting Trump to read the Constitution. He has at least impressed me by showing that he has been working at getting to know the 14th Amendment. When he first attacked anchor babies he was right, but couldn’t articulate why he was right constitutionally. It was brought up again in this debate and he was closer to the point of explaining that the 14th Amendment does not grant protection for anchor babies. Rand Paul saved his bacon by explaining it better as Trump nodded. Three people on that stage were 100% on the right side of anchor babies. Cruz, Trump and Paul. Fiorina was almost there. She said that Obama campaigned on the issue and then let it drop, because democrats don’t really want the problem solved. She said that it’s going to be harder to get rid of the problem, because 2/3 of the states need to ratify an amendment to fix A14. Well, that’s wrong. First of all, it’s 3/4 of the states. Second, The 14th Amendment doesn’t grant citizenship to the babies of illegal aliens, so it’s moot.
Trump and Fiorina battled it out for a bit regarding their past history as business people. Trump brought up Fiorina’s failures and she brought up his bankruptcies, targeting a casino he had in Atlantic City. Trump said that Atlantic City is a disaster and he got out. Chris Christie grimaced. It ended with Trump saying, “Carly can’t run any of my companies!”
On taxes, Trump wants a progressive tax, raising taxes on hedge fun managers and the rich. Pretty much everyone else who spoke wanted a flat or fair tax. No one brought up simply repealing the 16th Amendment and actually solving the problem for real. Huckabee wants a fair tax. Carson wants a flat tax based on tithing at 10% for everyone. Rand Paul wanted 14.5% for everyone.
It got a little crazy when minimum wage was brought up, because Carson was accused of wanting to raise the federal minimum wage. It should be noted that the federal government has zero enumerated authority to set a minimum wage. Carson clarified by saying that he possibly-probably would want to raise it, but have two minimum wages, a starting wage and a sustainer wage. Now we entered the Twilight Zone.
One topic that gave me a chuckle was Rubio’s claim that Trump didn’t know the names of our enemies. During an interview Hugh Hewitt had with Donald Trump Hewitt rattled off names of our enemies and apparently Trump got mixed up with them. Trump brushed this off by saying, it was “Arab name, Arab name…”
The war on drugs was brought up, because Christie said that if he is elected, the party is over in Colorado. He is clearly wrong on this issue, as the 18th Amendment proves. The States had to amend the constitution to outlaw substance use. No such amendment has been ratified for any drugs, so it is purely a state issue, constitutionally. Rand Paul brought this up, not as clearly as I would like, but did point out that it was a 10th Amendment issue. He said that crimes were left to states to police, not the federal government.
The 2nd Amendment was brought up only briefly and Bush just waffled on it. Nothing he said mattered. It seemed as if he didn’t want to talk about it. Rubio said that gun control only affects law abiding citizens, because criminals don’t follow laws.
The last questions of the debate were mostly superfluous. What woman would they replace Hamilton with on the $10.00 bill? What Secret Service Code Names would they want to go by? On the $10.00 bill, the only answer that mattered was Fiorina’s who said she wouldn’t change it and that women are not a special interest group. Too many mentioned Rosa Parks, who wasn’t even the real person who refused to give up her seat on the bus. Rosa Parks was a plant after the real woman, Claudette Colvin didn’t want to be put in the limelight over the issue. Regarding the Secret Service Code Names, they were all pretty boring, but Cruz’s stood out. He said he would choose Cohiba, because of his Cuban roots. Come on now Ted, you do know that it’s America you are running for president in, right?
All in all, the debate was rather benign. No great revelations were made to make any of the candidates stand out and I doubt any of the candidates will jump in the polls immediately afterward except for perhaps Fiorina, because she was a little stronger than I’ve seen her before and CNN did give her a special accommodation to jump up into this tier of the debate, most likely just to have a woman. This gave her more exposure than she previously had. What stood out more than anything were flaws. I won’t give my opinion on who I think are the top candidates, but I’ll name 3 that should drop out now. They are not conservatives. I am not talking about Trump. He hasn’t been a conservative, but he is at least making an attempt to run as one. These three aren’t trying to hide their liberalism. I’m not sure they know how. They are Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich. They just need to go. Let the adults have the stage. Against Hillary, I’d hold my nose and vote for any of them, but I’d be miserable. The debates could either be shorter, or show more of the candidates who actually matter if these three just call it a day and bow out.
AMP (Anna Maria Perez)
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