Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Republican Debate

Well if you missed this last Republican debate here's what you missed...

Not surprisingly, the debate centered around security.  I couldn't help but think about Tom Cruise's advice in Knight and Day about if they keep repeating the words safe and secure, it means they're going to kill you.  Well, for how often each of the candidates repeated those words in regards to limiting freedom or adding government controls, or even, in the case of Carly Fiorina, allowing private companies to monitor your activities, I was feeling a little less safe.  The topic of security eventually shifted from immigration to a very strange debate on the relevance of dictators, whether we should or should not talk to Putin, planned cyber attacks against ISIS and the Chinese, before finally dissolving back into immigration.

As for the debate itself, Marco Rubio really seemed to shine in the early stages, but faltered in the end as his policies didn't seem to have quite as much to them.  Jeb Bush came out a little stronger in this debate but visibly struggled in his opening and closing and had quite a showdown between himself and Trump.

Trump, on the other hand, was all over the board, silent in the opening, he seemed focused on painting himself as someone who had been in politics for years before running for office, his scathing demeanor attacked candidates, moderators, the crowd, and cnn alike, until finally, he moved to an almost triumphant condescension and benevolence to the other candidates.  It really was a performance to behold.

As for the other candidates, Fiorina seemed stuck on the notion of privatizing government and getting rid of bureaucracy, keep on that subject, and we could have our next Nixon.  Rand Paul didn't get a lot of time on the air, but he was the only candidate to even mention another topic other than security - the economy.  Chris Christie came out looking a little like a tavern brawler.  He referred back time and time again to how he had fought terrorism and had got the job done.  I'm sure it seemed like a good idea looking at how many congressional candidates there are, but it also came off looking a little like he wanted to side-step the legislative branch. Ted Cruz held his ground but spent most of the night attacking and fending off attacks from Rubio.  Everyone learned John Kasich can't talk without his hands, while spending most of the night bashing Obama and the Democrats for the recent climate deal and lack of leadership against terrorism. Oh, and of course, Ben Carson kept up the subtle Messiah references throughout his speech with a scant sprinkling of how a doctor could be a good political leader.

As for some interesting moments:

  • Bush started it off opining that it would be a great idea to arm the Kurds! (Carson later added his voice to this)  Of course no one brought up Turkey, and I have a feeling they don't think Turkey gets a say.
  • Cruz then jumped in the ridiculousness defending his earlier statement that Muslims are peaceful by referring to the great, peaceful Indian Muslims.  Makes me wonder if he knows why British India was divided.
  • Then Fiorina jumped in with her rants about getting the private sector in government to get past bureaucracy, how very democratic.
  • Trump, of course, couldn't resist joining the madness with wanting to build a wall and deport all the Syrians that have entered the country.
  • Christie then jumped in about giving the NSA more spying powers, which was then waylaid by Bush, who said they shouldn't even be talking about FBI domestic monitoring.  Why? Are they hiding something?
  • Then there was a debate between the moderators and Cruz about whether you can carpet bomb terrorists without hitting civilians in a city.  Cruz seemed to think bombs in large cities only hit terrorists.
  • Of course, Rubio wasn't getting any of the action, so he piped in that the only way to combat ISIS was to create our own force of anti-ISIS Sunnis....Good luck there.
  • And then, perhaps the golden moment of the debate, Trump said we should attack families of known ISIS members, and Bush attacked saying Trump wasn't a serious candidate to propose such measures.  The shouting match was on, which...kind of reminiscent of the debate, no one won.
  • Then the debate descended into madness as the candidates hypothesized about the necessity of dictators, and whether we could stymie Putin's international policy by just plain ignoring him.
  • Carson jumped in next saying we should update our energy trading policies (I sure hope he realizes gas is $35/barrel right now)
  • And the wild bear Christie rounded out the debate by saying we should use cyber attacks to publicly embarrass the Chinese.
  • And let's not forget these hands...

All in all, it was an interesting debate, but highlighted some real problems in the Republican Party.  I think most people went home scratching their heads on who they want to support, if anyone at all.

And I've also decided Fiorina wouldn't look out of place in a Cruella de Vil costume or Ted Cruz as Dracula.

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