As many of those who follow my blog realize, I do not weigh in on a plethora of subjects and certainly not daily, weekly or even monthly. But last nights 2nd Republican Debate has forced me to, once again, comment on reality. Basically, are you kidding me?
First, let me say, I have never seen a more prejudiced and circus-like atmosphere for a presidential debate than that created last night by CNN. Every single question was designed to pit one opponent against another in an endless, almost three hour, tortuous attempt to discredit as many people as possible standing at the podiums. Despite numerous attempts by the candidates to take the focus off of themselves and their past interactions with each other and focus on the issues and problems facing America, the moderators from CNN and their liberal counterparts forced the farce beyond ridiculousness. Shame on CNN for this ludicrous format.
Second, the debate was watched by a reported 23 million viewers. With a reported 169 million registered voters in the U.S. (85 million Democrats, 55 million Republicans and 28 million Independents or other), even though it was the largest audience ever for CNN, that only represents 13.7 % of registered voters. And that is if all the viewers were voters, registered or not. What these people saw, in my opinion, did not represent exactly who these candidates are or what they stand for. What they saw were ten very intelligent men and one very intelligent woman forced into an unnatural arena designed to humiliate them all. Again, same on CNN for this ludicrous format.
Third, I admit to one error in the above statement. Make that nine very intelligent men. I'm sorry, but Donald Trump is a JOKE. How the polls continue to put this man as the Republican front-runner is beyond comprehension. He showed himself to be five things last night:
1.) Uneducated About the Issues - every time the subject at hand was able to be focused by the candidates on the issues (domestic or world economy, foreign affairs, the threat of radical Islamic terrorists, immigration, tax reform, job creation, et al) Trump was either absent from the conversation or offered nothing but meaningless platitudes and empty promises.
2.) Argumentative and Combative - He attacked his fellow candidates both personally and professionally without regard for accuracy or truth. In fact, throughout his campaign the only reason he is getting all the press time he does is because he attacks and belittles every thing and everyone.
3.) Untruthful and Misleading - originally he said that he never declared bankruptcy. This is only partially truthful, if you are talking only about personal bankruptcy, but the facts are, as his fellow candidates were pointing out, accurately, is that Trump and his business interests have declared bankruptcy FOUR times, leaving lenders, and his partners, holding the bag for billions of dollars in losses. Trumps answer to that? It was the lender's fault. Give me a break!
4.) Smug and Arrogant - this is a man of colossal ego, nearly as narcissistic as Obama, and to watch him stand up there, in the center of his (dare I say) peers, sneering and chortling at their responses and responding to their questions and challenges like he is above it all is not only galling but onerous at best.
5.) Has No Plan, No Clue - Donald Trump has absolutely no plan on any subject. No plan for tax reform, no credible plan for immigration reform ("I am going to build a really big wall"), no experience or understanding about our military or how to maximize its effectiveness, no plan for dealing with our allies or our adversaries and no plan for sustainable economic recovery. He has nothing America needs and never will.
It is time for the American public, voters, to wake up and recognize this man for what he is and what he isn't. What he is is summarized above. What he is not is a viable presidential candidate. He needs to drop out and allow serious, qualified presidential candidates take the point. In my opinion that includes every other person on that stage last night, both in the preliminary debate and the primary debate.
O.K., so who were the winners? Marco Rubio scored the highest on my rating scale. Clear, concise, intelligent, informed, passionate and compassionate, Rubio showed me last night he has what it takes to be President of the United States. Second, and right behind Rubio - despite a slow start with her first question - was Carly Fiorina. Forceful, decisive and on point, Fiorina showed the drive and directness that catapulted her to the top echelons of corporate leadership. While her performance in some of those positions might be challenged by some, her successes in the corporate world are still impressive. She was impressive last night. A close third, Jeb Bush. I know, I know. Is it a dynasty, a nepotistic family of perpetual presidents? Who cares. The man is intelligent, extremely knowledgeable, incredibly connected and informed and can express a coherent sentence without pronouncing America like his brother did, "Murica". I actually love Chris Christie, but don't think he can be elected. He belongs in upper levels of government and should be in the president's cabinet. Rand Paul is everything Christie is except too mild-mannered and an isolationist, not the forceful leader we need to protect America at this time. Ben Carson is an intelligent, talented neurosurgeon with good values and a descent tax plan. Too soft-spoken/slow spoken and needs to be in a conservative think-tank, not the Oval Office. He didn't hurt himself last night but didn't help himself either. I was intrigued with Gov. Scott Walker up until this debate. He did not shine and his record isn't strong enough to pull him up. Ohio Governor Kasich is a practical, career politician who knows his stuff, but I don't think he is fresh enough for the American public. Ted Cruz. Brilliant lawyer, too right wing. He has alienated too many people to gain broad party support. Finally, Mike Huckabee. Love this guy, but he is too much in the pocket of the evangelical right to be accepted by the mainstream. He did well last night, but can't make it stick.
All-in-all, I think Republicans have a lot to think about after last night. I saw at least five strong candidates who can possibly make it to the end, which, BTW, is a long way off. A lot can happen between now and election time. But the one thing that must happen NOW, is for Donald Trump to sit down and shut up!
Comments? Let me hear them.