Skip to content

Lewyn Addresses America

A little politics, a little urbanism- I also blog 100 percent on urbanism at and

9:07 Trump says he’s against minimum wage increase but I’m not sure he really explains why.

9:08 Carson says every time minimum wage goes up, employment goes down- I suspect that’s not literally true, since minimum wage is one of about a zillion factors that affect wages.  But he does explain the argument against higher minimum wages more coherently than Trump.

9:10 Rubio seems like a pro compared to Trump and Carson.  But after focusing on minimum wage, he goes into laundry list.  But audience is on his side.

Says “we need more welders and less philosophers.”  No, we need better philosophers.

9:13 Kasich tries to come across as grownup, calling for responsible tax cuts.  Not bad but also goes on and on.  Not pithy. But sounds specific. Respectful applause but not as much as Rubio.

9:17 Cruz has three-point plan; not necessarily any more substance than the others but he sounds SO much better, so organized.  Gets well deserved applause.

9:19 Bush, as always, sounds a little less coherent, especially compared to Cruz.  Gets nice applause lines, but lots of ums and uhs and minor slips of the tongue.

9:21 Fiorina tries to seem sentimental and sounds kind of reptilian to me.  Cliches about “big government”, “status quo” blah blah.  Mentions “zero based budgeting” – Jimmy Carter redux?  Also didn’t answer question about how more jobs created under Dem Presidents.  But gets lots of applause for cliche about “take our government back.” (whatever that means).

9:24 Rand Paul tries to blame inequality on Federal Reserve.  Its a complex argument, so I didn’t really get it.   “If you want less inequality, move to a city with a Republican mayor and a state with a Republican governor.”  City part really doesn’t make sense.  Inequality is lower in cities with Republican mayors because such cities tend to have annexed lots of suburban areas, causing (1) more middle class suburbanites within city limits (hence less inequality) and 2) more voters for Republicans.  (2) is a result of (1), not a cause.  As far as governors, it is true that the most unequal states are NY and Ct, which have Dem governors.  Also, the least unequal states are mostly Republican-run western states.  But after that eight of the nine most unequal have Republican governors.  So its complicated.

9:31 Trump given softball on immigration. responds with word salad.

9:34 Kasich calls for amnesty.  Says you can’t deport 11 million people.

9:35 Trump- Ike moved a million illegal immigrants into Mexico.  (Really?  Would love to see post debate fact checking on that).

9:36 Kasich says jobs come in “downstream.” What does that mean?  He’s not very focused tonight.  Saying children “terrified” by deportation, too manipulative.

9:37 Bush says deporting immigrants would “tear communities apart.” Not going to persuade anyone who is not already persuaded.

The Bush/Kasich/Trump argument about deporting immigrants has a first-grade feel. “Can work!” “Can’t too!” “Can!” “can’t!” Its not as boring as first debate but a bit shallow.

9:39 Rubio says world changing fast blah blah blah. Throwing everything in, not very intelligently.  But started well, sounding vaguely like candidate of future.  But keeps trying to throw in every single issue in one paragraph.  Good applause line about “new American century” though.  Tries to be poetic.

9:42 Cruz organized answer on immigration, but completely evades question of what to do about illegals already here, beyond being against “amnesty.”

9:45 Fiorina comes out for the free market.  Zzzzz.

9:52 in defending flat tax (including eliminating mortgage deduction), Carson says “people had homes before the federal income tax.”  Wham!  A good answer by Ben Carson- so bizarre as to be signs of End Times.

9:55 Paul promises huge tax cut (including payroll taxes) coherent but could never pass.

9:56 Cruz coherent as usual on taxes, but suffers from being the third (I think) person in a row endorsing flat tax, causing my attention to wander.   The homogenity of the Republican Party makes debates blah.  I wish we’d had these kind of debates when parties were more diverse; if I could time travel to 1972, I’d try to get the networks to have primary debates.  Could you imagine Wallace vs. Humphrey vs. McGovern vs. Scoop Jackson?  THAT would have been a debate.

10:01 Bush keeps stumbling over words, otherwise OK.  If he was the frontrunner he’d be fine, but he’s just another face in this crowd.

10:02 Rubio says he’s for child tax credit, blah blah. Perfectly nice?

10:05 Paul says tax credit really a transfer payment because its refundable.

10:05 Rubio says its really a tax cut because its offset against payroll tax.  Rubio comes out for flag and family.  Gets big applause;  Paul picked the wrong fight- Republicans are always for military spending.

You don’t beat Rubio by challenging him directly; Rubio is a master of the cliche that parrots what most Republicans think, even if it is not supported by any obvious logic beyond the level of an 8 year old.  You have to beat him indirectly, by outshining him as Cruz does.

10:06 Cruz: “You think defending this nation is expensive, try not defending it.”  Goes after sugar subsidies.  Nice specific hit.

10:13 Paul squashes Trump. Trump attacks TPP because of Chinese currency manipulation, etc. and Paul points out China not party to TPP.

10:21 Carson asked about ISIS, and blathering about Chinese and Russians and then goes back to global jihadists. Can’t decide whether he wants to reignite the Cold War or fight ISIS.  Is he not aware that ISIS may have just bombed a Russian plane? Says we can “take land from ISIS”- easier said than done.  The USA couldn’t keep order against al-Qaeda in Iraq, which was much

10:24 Bush isn’t much better, vague blather about American “leadership.”

10:26 If Putin wants to knock out ISIS, more power to him, says Trump.  HOME RUN TRUMP!!!

10:26 Trump says we shouldn’t be world’s “policeman”- Bush says be “leader.”  Bush incoherent.

10:28 Trump- nobody likes Assad, but we don;t have anyone to replace him.

10:30 Fiorina says Arabs think ISIS is their fight.  I’m not really sure that’s accurate.  But she does get applause appealing to our reptile brain.

10:32 Paul= “Russia flies in that zone at the invitation of Iraq.”  Are we really ready to shoot down Russian planes? As usual knows more than everyone else.

10:32 Trump acts ungracious to Fiorina.

10:34 Rubio- Putin “a gangster” and he only understands “strength.”  Does Rubio even have any idea what he means by “strength”?  He seems to think like a gangster- everything is about toughness.

He has good sound bites but he is intellectually incoherent.  If he thinks ISIS is really important, its important enough to work with the world’s bad guys to fight.

10:38 or so- Kasich throws in so many issues in such a short time that I have no idea if he knows what he is talking about.  I sure don’t.  Kasich just lacks the discipline to be a good debater.

10:47 Cruz says Fed tightened money in 2008- not way I remember it.  A bit weird on monetary policy- is he saying that we tie monetary policy to gold? Isn’t that going to be deflationary.

10:51 After Cruz says he wouldn’t bail out big banks, Kasich says you can’t stand on philosophy in a crisis.  But I’m not sure what Cruz and he are arguing about. Is Cruz against deposit insurance?  Or does Kasich just wrongly think he is?

10:55 Fiorina hollers “socialism” in attacking Dodd-Frank.  Rhetoric, no substance.

11:06 Paul on energy sounds like he’s beginning to focus on running for reelection in Kentucky

11:12 Fiorina sounds like broken record.  She just sounds terrible tonight.

11:14 Bush closing statement limited to VA- sweet, simple.

11:14 Cruz’s Reagan imitation doesn’t do it for me.  Rubio is better at saying nothing; Cruz impresses only when he is actually saying something. 

11:14 Rubio closing statement illustrates why Fiorina so awful- she is full of doom and gloom, Rubio hopeful.

11:16 Carson starts with real problems, then moves to “political correctness.”  Huh?

11:17 Trump ends on a positive note.

Bush articulately praises natural gas- beginning of “third way” strategy on climate change.  But doesn’t natural gas have issues with methane (another greenhouse gas)?

In these sorts of debates, I try to have two pairs of glasses on- one is “who will the media proclaim the winner?” and the other is “who came across well to me”?

On the former, I’m sure the media (esp. conservative media) will declare Rubio the winner because he is good with emotionally appealing sound bites and they love him- and in fairness, he didn’t make any real gaffes (unlike Trump with his ignorance about TPP).

There’s already a preexisting story of Cruz and Rubio rising, and to break up that story they have to massively mess up.

On the latter – Paul good (but foolish to give Rubio a chance to get applause lines).   Cruz so disciplined its scary, a debating machine.  Trump ignorant but sometimes shows alarming common sense.  Rubio insults my intelligence, an empty suit spewing forth Conventional (Republican) Wisdom.  Fiorina and Carson just didn’t have much to say.  Bush seems pretty intelligent on domestic policy, much less so on foreign policy.    Like last debate, a good night for Cruz and Rubio

%d bloggers like this: