Initial impressions from GOP debate
Everyone knew this debate could be pretty entertaining with reality TV star Donald Trump in the field, and The Donald didn’t disappoint. There’s no point in rehashing all of his comments. Needless to say this clown show isn’t good for the Republican Party.
Putting the Trump show aside, here are some initial observations:
– I was impressed with the questions from the Fox panel of moderators, and frankly I didn’t expect that. Sure, some of the questions were bizarre, and the Facebook participation didn’t help, but the moderators asked very tough questions, which is what you’re supposed to do. GOP partisans will likely complain, which means Fox actually approached this correctly. Fox also found ways to get real discussions going between candidates who disagreed on some issues.
– Marco Rubio showed off his political talents and should get some favorable coverage, but he also came out against rape and incest exceptions to abortion, which will be a huge problem for him if he ever makes it to the general election. For that reason it was a bad night for him.
– Scott Walker was less impressive, which surprised me. His answers will probably please GOP primary voters, as Walker know how to tick off talking points. But he comes across as a smarmy politician as opposed to the next leader of the free world. I thought he’d be the biggest threat to Democrats, but now I’m less concerned. Also, he went one step further than Rubio by saying he also didn’t agree to an abortion exception for the life of the mother. Seriously!! This could be fatal to his general election campaign.
– John Kasich impressed me. He has a reputation here in Ohio for having a temper and sometimes being a bully, but he focused on optimism, growth and inclusion in his answers. He’s going with a positive message and does a good job of weaving his credentials and accomplishments into his answers. He should start getting more attention after this debate. Still, once people take a hard look at his record in Ohio, they may conclude his economic achievements in Ohio have more to do with President Obama’s policies like the auto bailout.
– Jeb Bush didn’t impress me at all. Is he out of practice? He’ll never have a good answer for the Iraq War.
The stupidity of cable news
Is there a better example of the stupidity of cable news than the “black Santa” episode? Frank Rich cites this example in his article about the decline of FOX News.
There ain’t no sanity clause,” Chico Marx told Groucho. There is also no Santa Claus. And there was no sanity in the Santa fracas that became an embarrassing liberal-media fixation just before Christmas. For those who missed it, what happened was this: A Fox News anchor, Megyn Kelly, came upon a tongue-in-cheek blog post at Slate in which a black writer, Aisha Harris, proposed that Santa be recast as a penguin for the sake of racial inclusiveness. After tossing this scrap of red meat to her all-white panel of prime-time guests, Kelly reassured any “kids watching” (this was nearing 10 p.m.) that “Santa just is white.” (For good measure, she added, “Jesus was a white man, too.”) Soon and sure enough, Kelly’s sound bites were being masticated in op-ed pieces, online, and especially on cable, where a passing wisecrack best left to the satirical stylings of Stewart and Colbert became a call to arms. At CNN, one anchor brought on Santas of four races to debunk Kelly. BuzzFeed reported that MSNBC programs hopped on the story fourteen times in a single week.
Of course what Kelly said was dumb. But the reaction was even dumber. Every year, Fox News whips up some phantom “war on Christmas” plotted by what the network’s blowhard-in-chief Bill O’Reilly calls “secular progressives.” This seasonal stunt has long been old news, yet many in the liberal media still can’t resist the bait. You had to feel for the NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker, who was drafted into filing a Kelly-Santa story on the Today show for no discernible reason other than that she is not white.
When this supposed “national firestorm” (as Al Sharpton inflated it on his MSNBC show) finally died down, only two things had been accomplished beyond the waste of everyone’s time.
FOX is and always has been a propaganda machine. MSNBC saw a business opportunity in going hard left and thus has become a mess. CNN has sucked for years, and adding an entertainment executive like Jess Zucker can only lead to more mediocity. Where’s Will McAvoy when we need him . . .
Bloomberg gives big to Senate Democrats
Mike Bloomberg made it very clear he was going so spend his fortune on causes her cares about, promising to bounce the check to the undertaker. With a net worth of aorund $30 billion, that gives him quite a bit of money to spend. With that as a backdrop, we now have news that Bloomberg gave $2.5 million to Senate Majority PAC which is formed to help Senate Democrats keep their majority. This is a serious commitment and signals that Bloomberg will be very active in this and upcming election cycles, giving the Democrats a powerful money source to counter the millions being spent by the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson.
The mess at CNN isn’t getting better
Jon Stewart continues to have a field day with the idiocy at CNN.
19-year old takes on war on science
The silliness of some conservatives seems to have no limits. We have people building museums showing cavemen living with dinosaurs, and of course we have Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, who is obsessed with finding ways to let teachers inject creationism into the classroom. Now he has to go up against a pissed off 19-year-old kid.
For Zack Kopplin, it all started back in 2008 with the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The bill made it considerably easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into the classroom. Outraged, he wrote a research paper about it for a high school English class. Nearly five years later, the 19-year-old Kopplin has become one of the fiercest — and most feared — advocates for education reform in Louisiana. We recently spoke to him to learn more about how he’s making a difference.
Kopplin, who is studying history at Rice University, had good reason to be upset after the passing of the LSEA — an insidious piece of legislation that allows teachers to bring in their own supplemental materials when discussing politically controversial topics like evolution or climate change. Soon after the act was passed, some of his teachers began to not just supplement existing texts, but to rid the classroom of established science books altogether. It was during the process to adopt a new life science textbook in 2010 that creationists barraged Louisiana’s State Board of Education with complaints about the evidence-based science texts. Suddenly, it appeared that they were going to be successful in throwing out science textbooks.
Jindal got some press after the 2012 election for saying that the GOP should stop being the “stupid party,” but he’ll have his own stupidity to address if he decides to run for president.