Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Impressions: Latest Debate

Last night's debate was the last Republican debate of the year.  Which is like their little Christmas Present to us.
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Here are my two cents on the whole thing:
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Jeb Bush is running during the wrong cycle.  I am not sure there would ever be a good time for him to run, but this might be the worst.  He is cerebral and steady (although not demonstratively smart). After a calm and thoughtful President Obama, cerebral and steady is the last thing the GOP wants.  They want a screaming Id.
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Chris Christie is this year's Rudy Guiliani.  Everything Rudy said could be boiled down to "Noun + verb + "9/11"; everything Christie says can be boiled down to "I + verb + 9/11"  He is going to try to ride that to a win in New Hampshire and he just might do it.
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The Republican base is scared and freaked out.  And I don't mean that metaphorically.  Between the right wing news and these candidates, you would think there is a Islamic Jihadi terrorist hiding under every bed.  And, somehow, if Obama only said the magic words We are at war with Islamic Terrorism, it would clear up like zit in the night.  I don't understand it.  They were terrified of Ebola in 2014, they were terrified of Gay marriage in 2004.  For a gun packing, tough talking bunch they seem to be motivated primarily by fear.
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Rand Paul - and sometimes Donald Trump (!) - seem like the only ones that have put two thoughts together at the same time to see the consequences.  Everyone else wants to do 2 things from day 1.  1st ) tear up the treaty with Iran and confront Iran everywhere  and 2nd) simultaneously destroy ISIS.  The fact that we are fighting ISIS with Iran is unmentioned.  Tearing up the treaty with Iran would antagonize ISIS' biggest enemy.
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Carly Fiornia has enough knowledge to be destructive.  She consistently mentions just enough truth to be scary.  For example she is huge on stopping payments to Iran or China or Russia and she says "We have the capability to do that now."  Which is true.  But only because it costs a ton to set the systems up.  The US has a monopoly on the transfer of money.  But once we use it politically someone else can build an alternative system and undermine our standing in the world.  We have only used this power when the UN and other countries agree, because it is an artificial monopoly that greatly benefits US interests and institutions.  If we abuse it, China (or Japan or the EU) could easily set up an alternative monetary transfer system and US business would lose that cash cow.  She sounds smart, but she is scary.
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Mark Rubio is a good debater.  A little stuck on his talking points, and not great at thinking on his feet, but if he knows what is coming up, he is a great little debater.  When he is challenged effectively, Ed noticed that he tends to respond by talking quicker and throwing out enough words so that that hopefully a few stick.  He gets nervous then and it isn't pretty.  And CNN tried to cut away when he grabbed the water bottle but we saw a few shots.
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Ted Cruz is scary to me.  He has Trump's ability to tell a lie and never back down.  He doesn't sound like he believes the lies, but he doesn't sound like he believes anything.  So he is equally smarmy no matter what he says.  I think it is creepy and disqualifying, but since he now leads Iowa and evangelicals are pledged to him, I may be in the minority here.  He seems a little like the pervy Uncle at Thanksgiving - you know the one that says inappropriate things like "Wow, Katie is all grown up now, isn't she?"
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John Kaisch.  Lose. The. Karate. Chop. Hands.
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Ben Carson =

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