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The 9/16/15 Reagan Library Republican debate

Posted by John Reed on

I watched most of the two debates last night.

Graham did not have a good answer for Jindal’s accusation that Graham is one of those Republicans who went to DC and turned native. Graham tried the usual excuses.

Trump has suggested that energy is the key. If so, Jindal wins. Jindal for the next cabinet.

Santorum is too stupid to be president. He is such a religious nut that he cannot comprehend the Constitution separation of church and state, the separation of powers, and the primacy of the Supreme Court in deciding what laws mean. Pataki explained it to him, but he either did not comprehend, or pretended not to. NO point in having him take the oath of office when he said at the presidential debate that he would ignore it.

Pataki should be in the next cabinet.

Walker and Kasich read their resumes whenever they are called upon.

Huckabee has Santorum’s understanding of the Constitution—and willingness to adhere to it. They both sound like Christian jihadis. JFK almost did not get elected president because Protestants said he would favor the Pope over the Constitution. Huckabee and Santorum loudly vow they will favor the Bible over the Constitution. That would be a high crime to use the impeachment language of the Constitution.

Carly is way too cold, stiff, rehearsed, controlled, guarded. I suspect she would be a good Treasury secretary. Maybe a good president, but she is more one who would work in the back, not at the counter meeting customers. She supposedly won the debate. The polls will tell. When a person is that controlled and guarded, it makes me think they know something about themselves that they are desperately trying to keep the rest of us from knowing. Not scandal but just that they feel they have to prevent us from seeing the real them to win the election.

Trump seemed lessened, although he revealed a new side high-fiving Jeb and trying to high five Carson. He also came off self-mockingly well choosing “humble” as his secret service code name.

Trump said vaccines cause autism. That is absolute rubbish. There were two medical doctors there—Paul and Carson. Each was asked what he thought. Both said autism is not caused by vaccines and that it has been irrefutably established by study after study. I would add, too many studies because of endless political pressure from vaccine kooks.

Trump then said he was not anti-vaccine, but that he thought they gave too many in too short a time to children. Paul and Carson sort of agreed that might be true, but the fact that autism was not caused by too many in too short a time was not clearly differentiated. I think viewers may have come away thinking too many too short a time causes autism. No one knows what causes autism except that we have damned sure known for a long time that it ain’t vaccines.

Trump’s argument was the usual post-hoc-ergo-propter-hoc anecdote. He knew a child who got vaccinated, then got a fever, then was diagnosed with autism. Carson later explained it. You get vaccines early in childhood. Those who get autism typically also do so early in childhood. But correlation is not causation. The incidence of childhood autism is a coincidence with childhood vaccines, not a result of vaccines. Briefly, the studies found that the incidence of autism was the same whether the kid got vaccinated or not. The kooks need to start paying for the studies if they demand more—but for God’s sake don’t let them choose the doctors who perform them.

Chris Christie and Trump are themselves on stage. Christie for Attorney General.

Carson would probably claim to be himself, but he seem extremely controlled like Carly. Carson for VP if he cannot get the nomination.

Jeb for Secretary of State.

Walker for Labor Secretary or head of NLRB.

Rubio is slick and polished, but he is a pure politician. Rubio for coming back when he grows up, maybe accomplishes something.

Cruz for best actor. But we know he’d like to direct.

He could also be Attorney General or Secretary of Defense.

I found the extreme self confidence of Rubio and Fiorina on defense off-putting. I did a tour in Vietnam. Neither of them spent a day in uniform. They talked about military force with the most extreme self-confidence. What the hell would they know about it?

I also oppose the opposite politician shtick: a promise that “I will listen to the generals.” God help us. The generals who last won a war all died in the 1960s. I”d rather have Rubio and Fiorina than a listen-to-the-generals draft dodger.

The U.S. military is SNAFU. The U.S. military in war is even more SNAFU. What we need is a commander in chief who understands that and who understands that the generals are not the answer. Rubio and Fiorina looked like they just memorized stats on the military. Buch of bullshit.

Graham says he served 33 years in the military. Actually, more accurately, four years in the Air Force and 29 in the Air Guard and reserves. He also was a military lawyer, not John Rambo. He claimed that meant he understood the military then proved he did not by advocating boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq—in the 10,000 to 30,000 range. The last time boots on the ground were decisive in a U.S. war was in Europe in the 1940s. We had about eight million boots on the ground then. 30,000 is just enough to take lots of casualties, but have little or no effect on the civil wars in those countries. That is actually worse than Obama’s policy if you can imagine.

The debaters generally were unable to stay mad at each other over the there hours—except for Carly and Rand. They are so tough and always-on-message to the point of seeming robotic or mean.

Trump often comes off as gratuitously mean or casually mean. But he listens to the questions and can think on his feet. Most of them could other than perhaps Walker and Kasich.

The moderator was a jerk. His whole shtick was “let’s you and him fight”—apparently a ploy to keep the ratings up. I have in the past said that “let’s you and him fight” seemed to be a unseemly high percentage of media questions toward public figures. CNN put in the classic example of that in this debate. The candidates should have rejected it. Most were too dumb to do so.

Trump should have carried out his threat to not participate. What happened to the tough negotiator?


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