Nel's New Day

December 16, 2015

GOP Presidential Cage Fight

Filed under: Presidential candidates — trp2011 @ 8:26 PM

At times, last night’s debate among nine GOP presidential candidates seemed a bit like a cage fight, especially between Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The NSA surveillance program? Cruz voted to curtail it and Rubio supported it. Intervention in Libya? Cruz argued against U.S. efforts to create regime change in the Middle East, and Rubio wanted regime change. Immigration? Cruz accused Rubio of helping Chuck Schumer to pass the 2013 legislation that included a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. Even Rubio’s renouncing of his earlier position didn’t stop Cruz although he would not say what he would do with 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

One long debate among several candidates was whether the U.S. should kill innocent family members of terrorists.

Donald Trump said that the U.S. has to do kill innocent people to protect the United States. He thinks that it will stop the terrorists because “they do care, believe it or not, about their families’ lives.”

Ben Carson called killing innocent people “merciful”: “You have to be able to look at the big picture and understand that it’s actually merciful if you go ahead and finish the job rather than death by a thousand pricks.”

Rand Paul said that killing innocent people is illegal as long as the U.S. is part of the Geneva Convention.

[As Hillary Clinton pointed out: “The candidates on stage talk tough—but they won’t even support legislation preventing suspected terrorists from getting guns.”

Twitter lit up over two ignominious mistakes. Chris Christie plans to “stand across from King Hussein of Jordan” and tell him that he has a friend. Hussein died over 16 years ago. Pronunciation-challenged Ben Carson referred to the hapless RNC chairman as Reince Pubis. This follows Carson’s earlier reference to the Hamas as “hummus.” Other extensive Twitter discussions concentrated on which candidate kept coughing into his microphone and what Donald Trump’s heckler said.

“Political correctness” was frequently blamed for all the problems of terrorism. FBI Director James Corney singled out Ted Cruz because of Cruz’s complaint that nothing had been done about the most recent mass shooting after the couple had openly discussed their plans on social media. Corney pointed out that the couple had never posted plans on the Internet. The Senate Intelligence Committee also contemplated investigating Cruz about whether he gave out classified information during the debate. After a few hours discussion, however, the committee announced that there will be no inquiry.

Other debate moments:

Ted Cruz finally backed down from bombing the entire ISIS caliphate to focusing air campaigns where ISIS troops are located. (That’s what President Obama is doing right now.)

Marco Rubio suggested that Syrian refugees are not fleeing oppression.

Ben Carson complained that he wasn’t getting enough questions and then wouldn’t answer the first one he got when Wolf Blitzer asked him how he would evaluate whether a mosque or school is “anti-American.” He did give a semi-cogent explanation of how to treat Russia’s Putin, but the question was about North Korea.

Chris Christie blamed President Obama for the bomb hoax that closed the Los Angeles schools yesterday.

Donald Trump claimed, “ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet, and it was our idea… I certainly don’t want to let people who want to kill us use our Internet.”

Ben Carson, when asked about dictators in the Middle East, said, “No one is ever better off with dictators, but there comes a time when you’re on an airplane, they always say, ‘In case of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down. Put yours on first and then administer help to your neighbor.’ We need oxygen right now.” (This is the man who complained about President Obama’s legal executive orders—far fewer in number than thoseGeorge W. Bush issued.)

Carly Fiorina said, “If you want something talked about, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”

Chris Christie declaimed, “We would shoot down the planes of Russian pilots if they were stupid enough to think that this president is the same feckless weakling that the president we have in the Oval Office is right now.” (Rand Paul responded, “I think that if you’re in favor of World War III then you have your candidate.”)

Running for governor in blue New Jersey, Chris Christie said that President Obama’s response to Superstorm Sandy had been “outstanding,” coordinating with the administration had been “wonderful,” and “the president has been all over this and he deserves great credit.” He told Fox News the president had done a “great job for New Jersey.” As he runs for GOP presidential candidate, Christie calls the president a “feckless weakling.”


From the first debate:

Rick Santorum said that women are capable of fighting on the front lines and that he could reverse the Pentagon’s decision for this to happen. He claims he has studies … (In the past, Santorum accused women of bringing emotional, not physical, strength to combat situations, and that rape victims should “make the best out of a bad situation” by not having an abortion.” His problem with feminists, as he wrote in It Takes a Family?  “Radical feminists have been making the pitch that justice demands that men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace.”)

Mike Huckabee spoke about youth: “You know what I think we ought to tell young people? We aren’t going to give you anything. We’re going to give you the opportunity to get off your butt and go serve your country and secure your freedom. Because if you don’t, nobody else is.” He doesn’t want to reinstate the draft, but he wants to persuade more young people to enlist by reinstating the GI bill. “You give something to your country, your country gives something back to you. We need to ask young people to step up and buy their own freedom.” (Huckabee never enlisted in the military.)

Factchecking the debate shows that many of the false statements were made about other candidates. Other falsehoods came from the accusation of “political correctness” and incompetency. False also was Fiorina’s claim that good generals quit because the president didn’t like what they said, especially her example of Gen. David Petraeus. He resigned after caught giving classified information to his mistress. Gen. John Keane resigned six years before Obama took office, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal  left after his disparaging comments about Vice-president Joe Biden went public. As the AP reported, “Republican Debaters Go Astray.” And Adam Johnson listed ten “misrepresentations” of fact, including Chris Christie’s false claim that he became U.S. Attorney General the day before 9/11, a comment that he frequently makes.

This chart shows the veracity problem of several GOP leaders:

Lie chart

The oddest news about last night’s GOP debate was the way in which Rand Paul was included. CNN set up highly specific criteria—which it didn’t change—and then arbitrarily allowed Paul on the “big stage” for the sake of being “inclusive.” In this segment, Rachel Maddow explains how Paul didn’t technically qualify. CNN has a pattern of disregarding its own rules: four months ago, it allowed Carly Fiorina to be on the main stage although that time the network changed the criteria at the last minute. .

For the fifth GOP debate, CNN needed fodder to ramp up the ratings, and the network found it in fear and war-mongering. Terrorism was the only topic; even the Paris agreement about climate got only one short mention—and then it was negative. The discussion of terrorism in the U.S. focused on the Muslim couple in California who killed 14 people with nothing said about the Christian man who killed three and injured another nine at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic.

Candidates argued for taking out dictators, destroying Iran, shooting down Russian planes, starting cyberwar against China, spying on everyone, and above all putting far more money into the military—including nuclear weapons. Ted Cruz blamed President Obama for lacking the solution to defeating ISIS because he would not “utter its name.” Marco Rubio said that Syria wouldn’t have problems if the president had not “led from the behind.” Carly Fiorina blamed the Boston Marathon attack on using the “wrong algorithms.” John Kasich advocated “punching Russia in the nose.” And on and on.

Rand Paul was sometimes the voice of reason when he said that past efforts in regime change led to the failed states and violence where terrorist groups thrive. “Out of regime change you get chaos,” Paul said, “from the chaos you have seen repeatedly the rise of radical Islam.”

Donald Trump sounded like a Democrat when he called the Iraq War “a tremendous disservice to humanity” that achieved nothing whatsoever, except to leave the Middle East “a total and complete mess.” He added:

“We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, if they were there and if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems — our airports and all the other problems we have — we would have been a lot better off.”

If you missed the debate—or want to experience it again—here’s the transcript complete with snarky comments that are likely to appear in television advertising throughout 2016.


1 Comment »

  1. Great title!


    Comment by Lee Lynch — December 17, 2015 @ 12:31 AM | Reply

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