Republican Debate; Not Exactly Cordial

Last updated on July 17th, 2023 at 06:09 pm

Other than what I heard from the moderators of the Fox News Thursday night debate and my local newspaper headline of “Trump commands center stage”, I ‘ve not heard or seen any other opinions on the Republican presidential debate. These are strictly my thoughts and opinions.

Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, was the setting for the Republican Presidential Debate. The feds are currently suing Quicken for alleged underwriting mischief between 2007 and 2011. Perfect venue for a Republican gathering.

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I must confess that I thought the Fox panel for the main debate did a good job. Moderator Megyn Kelly was almost combative a few times and often demanded responses to the actual questions asked. Panelist Chris Wallace also kept the candidates on track and was not afraid to challenge certain answers.

The three-hour High Noon face-off technically began at 5 PM ET. Ten candidates made the final cut. They participated in the prime-time 9-11 PM feature presentation. The seven leftovers were relegated to the 5-6 PM slot.

The sad sack seven consisted of both recognizable and “who dat?” names. If you follow politics at all, you should know surnames Santorum, Graham, Jindal, Perry and probably, Fiorina. Of less certitude would be Pataki and Gilmore, a couple of former governors. I watched the five o’clock irrelevance. Perry repeated his claim that he created 1.5 million jobs as governor. He forgot to point out that Texas led the nation in minimum wage jobs at that time. Crappy jobs, lowest possible pay, few benefits. Bye Rick.

Fox anointed Carly Fiorina as winner. I guess calling Hillary Clinton a liar is a prerequisite to such a declaration. Frankly, corporate successes (and failures) aside, Fiorina called to mind a modern-day Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians. No matter; the nominee isn’t emerging from this grouping.

Right after the initial hour of the new Project Runway (yes, I watch Project Runway), I braced myself for the main event. Modern-day Ponzi, Donald John Trump, was assigned the power spot of number one, the center podium. He was flanked by Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Doc Carson, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie and host state Governor, John Kasich rounded out the debaters.

Before the debate, Trump promised to play nice with his nine opponents. He didn’t. I couldn’t get past Trump’s pre-debate promise to appoint Sarah Palin to a cabinet post. AARRRGGHHH!!!

Speaking of Ms. Palin, Trump was called out by Kelly for his history of sexist comments about women. Comments that included calling women, fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals and always referencing women’s looks. Trump shrugged off the charge by saying it was “Only Rosie O’Donnell. Kelly insisted other women were included. “You once told a contestant on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees.” Kelly closed with questioning whether that was the temperament of a man we should elect president.

Without missing a beat, Trump said a major problem in America was being “politically correct.” He dug himself a deeper hole by addressing Kelly dismissively, “If you don’t like it, I’m sorry.”

Trump will never be president. What will keep him viable for a while are comments like, “If you give politician money, they’ll do anything you ask them to do.” As an example he said he gave Hillary money and she came to his wedding (his third, I believe). Even prior to his mostly absurd answers, the big arena crowd didn’t greet him with any more cheering than they did for Bush and Walker. His act is already wearing thin. If it weren’t for the presence of Dr. Ben Carson, Trump would have been the most uninformed candidate in the room. Carson actually thought Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve for nearly two decades, was the Treasury Secretary. His response, when this was pointed out by a panelist, was “What’s most important is having a brain; so I’ll figure those things out.” Uh, don’t let the door hit you in the…!

There were other shots across the bow. Rubio told Rand Paul he does nothing to improve the party. Paul had a nasty exchange with Trump. Christie, who seems like a really petulant guy, had some mean disagreement on entitlements with Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister and evangelical through and through. Christie pretty much matches the stereotypical ‘Joizy’ wise guy. He wouldn’t be a pleasant occupant of the oval office. Jeb Bush said Rubio was not fully qualified. On the plus side, Bush denied multiple reports he told a donor that Trump was a clown, buffoon and an a’hole. Hey, truth is the best defense.

The two-hour debate did yield the critical issues that Republicans are going to slam the electorate with for the next 15 plus months. Leading the parade; all things Muslim. Iran and the nuclear agreement, ISIS and the right-wing blood lust to send our young people anywhere in the Middle East to be killed and maimed. Look into the eyes of some of the candidates and it’s frightening.

The most likely candidate to get us into war within weeks of his arrival in DC is Walker, “We need national security that puts steel in front of our enemies.” Christie is right there as well. He wants a huge population of armed soldiers. Pastor Huckabee doesn’t want any transgender soldiers darkening military tents, ever. To Reverend ‘H’, the military is not a social experiment, it exist to “kill people and break things.” Be advised, Christie.

How about that comment from a man of God: “Kill people and break things” and throw in hatred for someone different than you for good measure. Cruz warned that anybody joining ISIS had just signed their own death warrant. Even the all but ignored Carson got in on the act when asked about water-boarding. “What we do is our business.”

The remaining imperative issues riding the Republican Presidential Nomination Train are “Obamacare” repeal, attacks on education and repeated references to anti-abortion and Planned Parenthood. Abortion will be the primary social issue for the next election. Gay-bashing doesn’t quite do it anymore. The economy will be front and center, blaming the president and democrats for a lack of manufacturing jobs when Republicans greased the path to cheapo overseas labor and greedy manufacturers fled to China and any other ‘pennies an hour’ foreign venue every other hour. A ‘fair tax’ was mentioned a fair amount of times. Ask yourselves why the super wealthy are salivating at the prospect.

Virtually ignored were trade pacts, TPP, TTIP and TiSA, alternative energy, race relations, taxing the wealthy and any and all issues of vital importance to progressives and the American people.

The closing question would be appropriate for a theocracy: “Have any of you heard from God on what you should do?” Cruz, Kasich, Walker and Rubio are apparently guided in their political decisions by God, himself. We don’t know about the others, since the moderator artfully steered the candidates in another direction.

My final scorecard; Bush, Walker, Rubio and maybe Kasich survive. Rubio and Kasich did themselves the most good. Trump may still pull some numbers, but the only question that remains is whether he’ll mount an Independent run. All the others, 5 and 9 o’clock, will pack for home sooner or later.

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