January 29, 2016 Trump-less Republican debate
before 9:10 Missed half the opening statements.
Rubio- too red-meaty for my taste. Scores Obama for wanting to make America learn like someplace else. Like its terrible to learn from others. Rubs me the wrong way. Yuck.
Christie- not very substantive but emphasizes experience nicely. Nice style.
Bush- calls Bush the Elder “the greatest man alive.” Emphasizes transparency. Likable as always.
9:13 Paul emphasizes differences with Cruz- NSA, Audit the Fed (Cruz missed votes).
Cruz responds “I had to be in New Hampshire but I supported the bill.” Nice parry.
Rubio- Blathers about how he is for a “strong” America. (meaningless). He is so irritating when he screams.
Paul- Let’s use the Fourth Amendment, let’s use the name on a warrant. Has a few really loud supporters.
9:16 Kasich- “we are up 400K jobs since I became governor.” Isn’t that true in every state? Comes out against division- always a better general election argument than a primary argument. Invokes newspaper endorsements, like Republicans want a media-approved candidate. Has run such an incompetent campaign- not that other candidates haven’t failed, but I can see what Kasich is doing wrong.
9:18 Carson says its important to be able to think out of the box. Vague statements about “different solutions.” Carson’s problem isn’t that he ran a bad campaign- its that he’s selling a hopeless product, which is to say himself.
9:19 Wallace asked Cruz if he’s really a dove. Cruz emphasizes ISIS, accuses Obama of “degrading” military. Says he’s for “1100 air attacks a day” while Obama launching “15 to 30.” Says (falsely) O. not arming Kurds. Not sure how this is going to work with a guerilla group. Cruz didn’t really answer question did he?
9:20 Rubio says Cruz has never voted for a defense budget, and quickly segues to how much he hates ISIS too.
Had some computer difficulties for awhile, so missed 8 minutes of blather.
9:30 Bush says he’ll train Syrian Sunni force to take out ISIS. Like that worked out so well with the Iraqi army.
9:30 Cruz has cute line aimed at Trump- “If you guys ask one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage.” Says moderator has had too many attack questions= “Rand, attack Cruz…; Marco, attack Cruz..” Nice.
9:32 Rand comes out against bombing both sides of the Syrian war- if we defeat Assad we’ll give ISIS all of Syria. Go get ’em! (This sort of literacy is why I’m for Rand).
9:33 Kelly asks softball, asks whether jihadists protected by 1st Amendment. Rubio says, quite properly, that criminal conspiracy not protected by First Amendment. goes on about ISIS’s sophistication. Blah blah blah.
9:35 Paul talks about border security, suggests more scrutiny of refugees. Says Rubio opposed his amendment because he would oppose any conservative amendments. (Wonder what was really going on)
9:36 Rubio agrees we should vet people, says “Rand’s amendment was not right way to do it.” (Wonder if Rubio remembers what Paul is talking about).
9:37 Christie says we don’t need profiling, we need law enforcement. Not sure what he means. Says if you see something suspicious you call cops. But how do you decide what’s suspicious?
Says Obama “made law enforcement the enemy.” A bit overdone. Promises to stop terrorism.
9:41 Kasich says we will win against ISIS, and we’ll do it like the First Gulf War, with troops and regional powers. He’s running for the 1992 nomination. Does he have any idea how different a guerrilla/terrorist war is from the 1991 Gulf War? But sounds optimistic and reassuring- like the music more than the words.
9:43 Bush says something about VA, sounds like he knows what he is talking about.
9:44 Paul gives shout-out to Ferguson, notes abuse of fine system.
Am looking at pundit twitter feeds on Slate. As usual, most of them are in the tank for Rubio. The man could convert to Islam on stage and the Republican pundit class would declare him the winner.
My computer messed up again and I apparently missed ten more minutes.
10:02 Kelly asks tough question- didn’t you say “path to citizenship” is same as amnesty? Rubio responds that his path to citizenship isn’t the same as other people’s path to citizenship. As William Jefferson Clinton would say, It all depends on the meaning of the words “path to citizenship.” Promises more border security blah blah blah, comes out against Obama executive orders.
Bush praises Rubio for supporting path to citizenship, says Rubio “cut and run” from his proposal.
10:05 Rubio says we can’t do anything until we get illegal immigration under control. How do you do that? Seriously? Also says Bush favored path to legalization, not path to citizenship.
10:06 Rubio sounds robotic-says “put illegal immigration under control” again and again and again. I don’t really have any faith in Rubio’s magic wand on this issue. As long as the United States will be worth moving to, we’ll be arguing about this decades from now. Then again, if anyone can make the U.S. a place that exports people instead of importing them, its Marco Rubio.
10:10 Paul and Cruz and moderator all get into beltway-ease tangle. All I can say is: huh?
10:11 Cruz gives shout-out to Iowa activists- says essentially, the sort of people who you KNOW are tough on immigration are with me. That seems credible to me, but I am not sure it is credible to nonactivist audience out there.
10:11 Rubio gets ugly with Cruz.
10:12 Christie- this is why you need to send someone outside of Washington. “I feel like I need a Washington-English dictionary converter. ” Christie 1, Rubio 0, Cruz 0!!!!!!!
10:15 Carson asked question about immigrant entrepreneurs, and he responds by saying he’s against ISIS. Yawn.
10:15 Bush says country should be “aspirational.”
10:15 Rubio says no country is as generous as America. But we are a sovereign country and has to choose who comes in. Says immigration should be more merit-based and less family-based. Well put!
10:20 Rubio avoids question by invoking Jesus as his Savior. Ick. Nice line about Hillary pardoning herself, throws mud about Benghazi.
10:22 Wallace hits Christie hard on Bridgegate. Christie responds investigations prove “I knew nothing.” Not sure this is reassuring.
10:27 Kasich gives good sounding answer about Medicaid. But realistically, Rubio and Cruz are front runners because they are good at red meat. Kasich isn’t.
10:30 Christie pivots from accommodating a court clerk in Kentucky to ISIS and religious liberty. Nicely done.
10:31 One respect in which Rubio is like Obama – he is at his best when he says “America is great blah blah blah”. Flaunts religion but not in a divisive way.
10:35 Carson asked: What if Putin invades Estonia? Carson says do military exercises in Baltic states. Says we should give Ukraine “offensive weapons.” Carson says low prices keep Putin contained.
10:36 Rubio asked about Iran deal – hasn’t Iran got all the benefits from the deal already? Rubio rants about how evil Iran is. Says he will cancel deal with Iran- “they can do business with Iran or they can do business with America.”
10:38 Kasich- if they violate agreement, he slap back sanctions, but we need to be laying groundwork with allies. If they develop nuclear weapon we have to take it out. Says “the opportunity is there” because Europe is “under threat.” Yes, but the threat is from Muslim immigration (and ISIS) , NOT Iran.
10:40 Christie asked about Libya- emphasizes Hillary messed up Libya. Says same thing as Kasich- work with allies blah blah blah. It seems to me that the “Arab allies” can’t be bothered with ISIS; the only people who seem to mind ISIS enough to fight it are people that the US isn’t getting along so well with – Iran, Iraqi Shiites, Russia.
10:47 Paul mentions Clintons have taken millions from Muslim regimes who treat “women like cattle.” Are those the same ones that his rivals think we can work with to fight ISIS?
10: 48 Like when Bush says other Arab nations are “as threatened as we are.”
10:52 Cruz talks straight on ethanol. Not sure I understand what Carson said next.
10:56 Closing statements, finally!
Paul- Mentions debt. You mean Republicans still care about that stuff? Who knew?
Kasich- seems to be running for 1976 Republican nomination. Calls for positive, optimistic conservatism. Blah.
Christie- 9/11 again? Governor, you’re no Rudy Giuliani.
Bush- didn’t say anything. But seemed less hesitant tonight than in earlier debates. If this Jeb Bush had been running a few months ago I might still have a chance.
Carson- quotes from Constitution preamble. In other words “I’ve run outta stuff to say.”
Rubi0- American is great! Yay! Light “dimming” after seven years of Obama. Like Obama, he’s a great 4th of July speaker and reminded me of it in his last few seconds. For President… not so much.
Cruz- kill the terrorists, abolish Obamacare. Goes straight to the substance- excellent closing, whether you agree with him or not.
Any winner? The media (by which I mean, the Republican chattering classes – the Dems are focused on their own primary) will say Rubio w0n because they always say Rubio won, and even I have to admit he had a better debate than last week. But generally I think the other candidates (excepting Carson) did better than Cruz and Rubio, who just seemed to be slinging mud at each other.