My thoughts: Texas Republican Presidential Debate

I’ve just finished watching the debate and haven’t read any commentary or follow-up yet, but just wanted to post my thoughts while they were fresh in my mind.

I’ll start with candidates, then a few key issues. FYI: I may update this later to add more content, but here’s the first draft.

Trump

He was the front-runner coming in to this debate and I think he’ll be the clear winner. Honestly I thought he did HORRIBLE in the SC debate, but apparently I was in the minority. The viewers obviously overwhelmingly disagreed and he won that one. Using the revised court of public opinion as precedent, I think that means he probably nailed everyone else’s coffin shut with this one.

Yes, there were the normal Trump moments where he and another candidate went at each other like children, but compared to his other debates I think he did better than I expected. He actually hammered some of his points this time, which he usually doesn’t do. It’s taken me time to learn his points are broad and he keeps them that way intentionally, but anyone with a modicum of understanding of the current political and economic landscape should be able to fill in the missing gaps without him wasting the rest of his sixty-seconds on it. I think that’s his strategy and I think it worked for him tonight.

Rubio

I felt sorry for Rubio tonight. I’ve been personally rooting for him to come up and surprise me. I liked him in the beginning and was hoping to see some stronger standings from him in the debates, but I think he suffers from a little bit of Ben Carson-Syndrome in that he expects these debates to be fair and equal. They’re not. I’m learning that. He couldn’t attack Cruz very well tonight, though he desperately wants to make himself the GOP candidate to oppose Trump and well, he didn’t do that tonight. His attacks on Trump, though probably honest and accurate, didn’t come off well. They didn’t come off like a seasoned politician. They came off more like I’d think they would if I were trying to take down Trump; frustration mixed with ineptitude at not being able to get at this guy he so badly wanted to unseat. Unfortunately I don’t think he did very well. I like some of his policies on things, but I don’t foresee him as a contender.

Cruz

Maybe I’m wrong, but I read tonight as Cruz ignoring everyone but Trump and making his case to the GOP delegation, not the public. Ok, there at the end, he spoke to the people, but his arguments tonight were geared towards different ears than ours. I think he successfully nailed his position as #2 in the GOP’s overall mind. He spoke at length about Trump this this 40 years ago. Trump did that 30 years ago. Trump did this 4 years ago. Well, Trump wasn’t ever a politician so in the mind of the public he could get away with it. Trump admitted that he gave to BOTH sides of many political teams. He’s a businessman and he hedged his bets. Now he’s running as a politician, so yammering on at what he did eleven years ago doesn’t do anything for the voters watching. It DOES remind the GOP watching that Cruz has stuck by his guns and has two decades of solidly reaffirming his positions time and time again on issues. I think that worked for him.

Kasich

Where was THIS guy the entire time during the Kasich campaign? Tonight he actually stood up and fought a little. I fear it’s too little too late. He’s got too small a percentage to be a real contender and it’s a shame because based on tonight, I would vote for THAT guy I saw tonight, but I wouldn’t have voted for the Kasich I saw in previous debates. Tonight he showed his clear understanding of foreign policy and he’s got a winning history with both DC and Ohio to shoulder his statements. He’s already done what he’s saying he’ll do, so he only has to say he’ll do it AGAIN, not invent a way to do it the first time. Had THIS politician been standing on stage in previous debates, I think the stage would have been arranged differently. As it is, he can’t beat out Cruz, and I doubt he can beat Rubio.

Carson

Poor bastard. Go home.

I mean Dear God, I can’t stand to see this guy beaten any more pathetically any more. It hurts to watch. At this point Carson can ONLY serve the GOP’s best interest by stepping down and firmly planting himself in someone else’s camp to swing votes for them. Maybe he could give enough impetus to Kasich to make him a viable candidate for the #2 position, but I doubt he carries enough sway to matter against trump unless he swung hard for Cruz to make him Trump’s main competitor. He might could bring enough of a percentage over to make the GOP work hard for their next choice of nominee but I doubt it.

And the whining thing? He actually asked someone to attack him just so he could get a chance to speak. It doesn’t matter that he’s right, or that he showed class in following the rules, though I DO give him major props for staying within the buzzer and honoring the rules.

Carson is probably a GREAT man, and I could learn a lot from him, but if you think these debates are raucous and full of child-like temper tantrums, how the hell is he going to handle Kim Jong Un, or China, or Russia? He has persistently shown one character trait – that he’s soft on the outside. He may be made of iron on the inside, but no one will ever know. I wager he walks away after this. He owes it to the party to. He has absolutely no chance in hell of winning the nomination. I feel for him. I do, but  he’s out. The graceful thing to do now is admit it and push his supporters to whomever he feels can do the best job in his stead, based on the available choices.

And the pleading “these hands” speech at the end? Stop it.. I’m crying over here, and not with empathy, but with pity at the fact that THOSE are going to be your closing political remarks forever. Ouch. Good thing he’s a doctor. Maybe he can heal those wounds.

Major Issues:

Apple vs FBI

I knew this was going to wind up in the debates and strongly wanted to see what the candidates had to say about the issue, seeing as its topic one I have strong feelings about myself. What I found was disturbing; none of them had the slightest idea about the core topic. Trump blew through it.. ok… smart man. No one noticed because he blows through everything that way so it was lost in the noise. Rubio on the other hand just started spouting off knowledge… it should matter to the reader that every word out of his mouth simply reinforced the fact that he had no idea what was involved in this case. In truth, he’s got other things on his mind right now I’m sure. If that’s the case however, he should have stayed silent. I know more about that particular issue than any candidate up there and none of them were close to the heart of it in their answers.

Canada

What the hell? She tried to hit trump with a wild card about building a wall in Canada? He didn’t even sweat that one. You just gave trump another point with that question. What am I going do to about Canada? Nothing. It’s freaking Canada, not to mention it would take a wall four-thousand miles long. How about I just build a wall in the south and stop all the drugs going into the US and Canada too while I’m at it! (That’s where he could have used that line about making Canada help pay for it. lol)

Israel

I can’t remember. I’m going to have to go back and play it again to be sure.

North Korea

I love how Wolfe tried to get Kasich to come out and plainly say he would assassinate a head of state. Kasich handled that one pretty well and he had the best handle on North Korea out of all the delegates I think. “I think we all know what regime change is without having to spell it out.” lol. That’s politician for “Yes, I plan to kill the little bastard, but I’m sure as hell not going to say that on national, make that international, television. Next question please!

The Wall in Mexico

This was another class act. THIS is what puts Trump at the top with the people’s hearts if not their minds. Former Mexican president Vicente Fox was quoted as saying “I’m not paying for that fucking wall. He can pay for it. He’s got the money! (referring to Trump.) Trump handles it like we all would like to THINK we would, even if only silently to ourselves, except he did it out loud for the world to see. Oh he’ll pay for it. Not only will he pay for it…. it just got ten feet taller! If this had been a one-topic debate that’s where he’d have dropped the mic and walked off stage. It’s done.

Say what you want, but he’s got the showmanship people are craving. It’s not the bullying and the talking over other candidates people will remember. Its phrases like that one that make people literally get off the couch and clap for the man in their own living rooms.

 

Final Predictions

Like it or not, I think Trump is going to emerge as the GOP candidate that’s going to face Hilary in the general election. The nomination might possibly go to Cruz, but I can’t currently see it. The smart thing to do for the GOP would have been for either Rubio or Cruz to offer to run as Trump’s VP, or for one of them to concede to the other (probably Rubio to Cruz) and have them run as a P/VP set but it’s too late for that now. That would have to have happened before tonight’s debate for it to be viable I think.

As it stands now, Trump can’t nominate Rubio as his VP because he’s spent too much time calling him a choke artist. He can’t nominate Cruz because he’s spent all night call him a liar. Before tonight, he could have taken either of them as potential VP candidate and assured the nomination in a landslide but it’s too late for that maneuvering now.  It’s kind of like that scenario in high school with a gang of guys about to fight. Everyone’s standing around for what might be a free for all. You can always walk away or join me, but once I start swinging I can’t stop until you’re down for the count. It has to be a fight, and if we start it, I have to finish it. Trump’s blows tonight weren’t specific and weren’t political. They were personal and brutal. Rubio chokes up. He can’t handle being thrown off his game. Cruz lies lies lies. (In truth, I have no idea whether Cruz lies or not. It’s not been something I’ve spent time researching yet.) Cruz spoke to the GOP, not the people. I think that was calculated, but I think that was a mistake. I think we’ll find short term GOP support for Cruz goes up, but popular support for Trump rises ever higher, which means GOP support will HAVE to sway to conform to their base.

Overall, it’s a bad year for the GOP. I’ve spent more time this election paying attention to the candidates than anytime in my life because I think this next President will make or break this country I love so very much. Sadly, the republican party is decidedly fractured over their candidates and that’s something the democratic party is going to use to sway voters their way. Hell, even their own political party can’t get behind them until they have no choice… why should you, America? I can see the Hilary headlines already.

What about the rest of you out there? Thoughts? Opinions? All are welcome.


One thought on “My thoughts: Texas Republican Presidential Debate

  1. Kudos Tommy, as always. I was glad to see your comments on the Apple issue. I too was shaking my head and the obvious lack of knowledge on the issue that they all showed. Donald did a great job with it, as you noted. Others in my home did not really know the issue and when I nutselled it for them, they too thought the candidates made fools of themselves in their knee-jerk, uninformed answers.

    Someone asked about Kasich as VP ….what about Carson? Would he offer a “balance” to the ticket with Trump? I’m not sure but as someone stated last night, Trump has certainly been taking up for Carson a lot lately.

    Thanks again. I always enjoy your thoughts.

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