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 has a good answer for the Iraq War.
Donald Trump (L) speaks to members of the media after a meeting with Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich at Trump Towers on 5th Avenue in New York, December 5, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Burton (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS BUSINESS)
Newt Gingrich spent some time today kissing the ring of reality TV star and goofball birther Donald Trump. Meanwhile, establishment conservatives like George Will are recoiling in horror watching these clowns hijack the conservative movement.
This past weekend, George Will actually suggested that conservatives ought to take a second look at Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman given the prospect of Newt or Mitt Romney as the GOP nominee. Yes, he’s desperate. Rick Perry sounds like George W. Bush after downing a 12-pack, and Huntsman is stuck in single digits in the polls after trying to run as a moderate.
But Will has to turn somewhere, as he has no use for flip-flopper Romney and he can’t stand Newt. With his usual rhetorical flair, Will eviscerates the former Speaker:
Gingrich, however, embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive. And there is his anti-conservative confidence that he has a comprehensive explanation of, and plan to perfect, everything.
Granted, his grandiose rhetoric celebrating his “transformative” self is entertaining: Recently he compared his revival of his campaign to Sam Walton’s and Ray Kroc’s creations of Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, two of America’s largest private-sector employers. There is almost artistic vulgarity in Gingrich’s unrepented role as a hired larynx for interests profiting from such government follies as ethanol and cheap mortgages. His Olympian sense of exemption from standards and logic allowed him, fresh from pocketing $1.6 million from Freddie Mac (for services as a “historian”), to say, “If you want to put people in jail,” look at “the politicians who profited from” Washington’s environment.
His temperament — intellectual hubris distilled — makes him blown about by gusts of enthusiasm for intellectual fads, from 1990s futurism to “Lean Six Sigma” today. On Election Eve 1994, he said a disturbed South Carolina mother drowning her children “vividly reminds” Americans “how sick the society is getting, and how much we need to change things. . . . The only way you get change is to vote Republican.” Compare this grotesque opportunism — tarted up as sociology — with his devious recasting of it in a letter to the Nov. 18, 1994, Wall Street Journal (http://bit.ly/vFbjAk). And remember his recent swoon over the theory that “Kenyan, anti-colonial” thinking explains Barack Obama.
Gingrich, who would have made a marvelous Marxist, believes everything is related to everything else and only he understands how. Conservatism, in contrast, is both cause and effect of modesty about understanding society’s complexities, controlling its trajectory and improving upon its spontaneous order.
Most people would agree with Will, as Newt is widely regarded as a mean-spirited buffoon. But in today’s Republican Party, the fear and loathing caucus calls the shots, and contempt for Obama and the left is by far the most important quality. In that area Newt is unmatched and he has a long track record, so his flaky deviations from conservative policies are more easily forgiven by those eager to see someone stick it to Obama in the debates.
Perry is toast, so Will won’t get his wish there. As for Huntsman, Will and other writers like Erick Erickson of RedState.com have been pointing out how conservative Huntsman is when it comes to policy. Yet Huntsman shows more contempt for the far right than he does for Obama, and that’s why he’s been going nowhere. Perhaps he can change the tone of his campaign, but he has mocked conservatives for not believing in global warming, and stuff like that will make it difficult for him to win GOP primaries.
The Donald Trump circus is gearing up again. This time the Donald posted a video on YouTube to mostly take aim at the GOP to make excuses for why he ended his fake campaign.
You have to watch it. He basically threatens to run as an independent at the end if he doesn’t like the GOP nominee, so he’s determined to stay in the news.
It starts with the absurd allegation that the GOP made a terrible deal with Obama during the lame duck session, even though this occurred BEFORE he started his fake campaign began.
He then moves on to a stinging critique of the Ryan Medicare plan. In this section the DNC couldn’t have written it any better. Trump says the GOP has a “death wish” with Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system, and in this respect he could be come the GOP’s worst nightmare. The Ryan plan was always political suicide, so in this respect Trump actually has a point.
But then he goes on to take a cheap shot at Eric Cantor. I personally think Cantor’s insistence that any disaster relief for the tornado victims be offset by other spending cuts was politically stupid and insensitive. But Trump of course goes over the top and basically accuses Cantor of not wanting to give “any money to the tornado victims.” This is typical Trump bullshit, but now he’s aiming it at the right. I wonder how all those tea party folks who bought into Trump’s disgraceful attacks on Obama and his birth certificate feel about this clown now?
Businessman and possible Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce Expo luncheon in Nashua, New Hampshire May 11, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
Naturally, many people thought this was baked into the cake from the beginning. Donald Trump is a publicity whore. We all knew that. What we didn’t know was how stupid he could sound when he opened his mouth about topics other than real estate, reality TV or beauty pageants.
He completely embarrassed himself, probably doing great damage to his brand along the way. He also did some damage to the Republican Party, showing how gullible many GOP voters can be when it comes to topics like the birther issue. We saw how a carnival barker could shoot up in the polls just by running his mouth, and the rest of the field came across as very weak in the process.
Fortunately, Trump was humiliated by President Obama before he made his inevitable announcement that he wasn’t running. Even prospective GOP voters finally saw through his bullshit as his poll numbers plummeted after Obama released his long-form birth certificate and then had Osama bin Laden killed.
“In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden President Obama’s approval rating jumped to 56 percent, his highest in two years. Which shows there is literally nothing he can do to please the other 44 percent.”
“Conspiracy theorists who are claiming that we didn’t really kill bin Laden must be reminded that they didn’t think he did the crime in the first place. Come on, nut jobs, keep your bullshit straight: The towers were brought down in a controlled demolition by George W. Bush to distract attention from Hawaii, where CIA operatives were planting phony birth records so that a Kenyan named Barack Obama could someday rise to power and pretend to take out the guy we pretended took out the towers. And I know that’s true because I just got it in an email from Trump.”