Debate 2015

Reagan’s Boots


I like and hate this cartoon. I like it because I believe in the message that Carly Fiorina did win the 2nd Republican debate. I hate it because Republicans are going to love it and use it to further cheer lead for Fiorina. While winning on style, Fiorina was full of crap. Also, just because she’s wearing Reagan’s boots, that’s not necessarily a good thing. I feel kinda dirty.

Fiorina competed on a stage with ten male candidates. Some of them very accomplished, successful and experienced for the presidency. She stood taller than the rest. She was firm and direct with her answers, even if they were ridiculous.

While she should be compared with the other candidates, it’s fair to also compare her to other female Republicans since so few have made an impact. She’s no Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann because Carly Fiorina is not an idiot or a ridiculous person. Plus, Fiorina can articulate a complete sentence. The only thing Palin or Bachmann has over her is that they have held political office. You can’t really compare her to conservative commentator Ann Coulter as Coulter is just a horrible and nasty person in general. Fiorina carries herself with a little grace and class while Coulter is just a human garbage disposal of vitriol.

Let’s get back to the debate and Carly Fiorina:

I don’t like any of the Republican candidates. That said, Fiorina beat all of them which gives her two debate wins in a row. Of course she’s on stage with republicans so you have to take that into account. The other candidates who did a good job were Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.

The problem for Fiorina during the debate was when she defended her business record. Fiorina was CEO of Hewlett Packard and during her term their stock dropped 55% and she laid off 30,000 employees. It’s hard to sell yourself as a job creator when you fire 30,000 people. HP wanted to get rid of her so bad they felt it was worth $21 million to make it happen.

Fiorina won the debate on style. She didn’t win it on facts or for having plausible plans. She smacked down Trump and even made him shut up after he attempted to defuse his insults of her by saying she’s beautiful. She was solid on her knowledge of international issues and the Constitution. But she gave some bizarre answers.

To intimidate Russia and show Putin that a real Reaganesque leader was now in charge, Fiorina will rebuild the Sixth Fleet which is already huge. She’ll rebuild the missile defense plan in Poland which would probably be completed after Putin’s out of power. Plus, how many more warheads do we have to point at Putin to intimidate the guy? She wants to put more troops in Germany…where we already have over 40,000. That’s only 10,000 fewer than she laid off from HP.  Of course all this is red meat to war mongering Republicans. With all her attacks on Iran and wanting to continue an embargo of the country she failed to mention, or forgets, that HP probably violated the embargo by selling Iran computer parts.

She talked about Immigration Reform. All Republicans ignore the fact that President Obama has asked Congress to send him a reform package but they haven’t done anything in regards to immigration.

Her biggest applause line of the night: a riff on the Planned Parenthood tapes that set conservative Twitter afire. “I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, it’s heart beating, it’s legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”

The only problem? Nothing like that happens in the Planned Parenthood tapes. As Sarah Kliff, who has watched all the tapes, wrote, “either Fiorina hasn’t watched the Planned Parenthood videos or she is knowingly misrepresenting the footage.”

She won’t be judged for telling a lie. She’s judged for telling Republicans what they want to hear and what they want to hear are lies. They’re willing to shut down the government over lies.

Fiorina was confronted after the debate on the fact the scene she depicted was not in any of the 12 plus hours of the tapes. She stated she didn’t misspeak, they’re in the tapes and she saw them and shame on Democrats blah blah blah. Just repeat the lie and the masses will eat it up. It’ll work for her.

Fiorina is going to be very formidable and there’s speculation that after her performance she’ll eat into the other candidates’ numbers, most likely Ben Carson’s support.

While we’re here let’s analyze a bit of the other candidates’ debate performances:

Lindsey Graham was at the “Kids Table” debate and he earned some high marks. Mostly he was self effacing and wants to increase drinking among politicians. The other three guys during that debate didn’t stand out and former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore wasn’t denied participating. We keep sending him out of the state to debate and they keep sending him back.

Chris Christie has been a footnote but last night might give him a boost. He directly challenged the other candidates and even smacked down Fiorina and Trump at the same time.

Marco Rubio came through with a solid performance. He may get a bit of a bump but more importantly he’s staving off disaster. He’s going to be a more serious candidate in the future. From what platform I’m not sure since he won’t be a U.S. senator anymore.

Donald Trump was a bit more low key than usual. Most of the audience was establishment Republicans and they’re not his crowd. He didn’t get any wild cheers or support from the audience. He disappeared during talks on foreign policy and even his cheap insults at Rand Paul were flat. Apparently he’s not physically attracted to Rand Paul. He didn’t hurt himself as much as Fiorina probably hurt him. He’s still the man on top.

Ted Cruz was his creepy self. Watching him made me wonder what the hell is wrong in Texas to put Grandpa Munster (without the charm) in the senate? Anybody? He talked about his background and his parents but failed to mention Canada. He also wants to put his wife on the $10 bill. But again, creepy. He also plugged a political cartoon which excited several of my colleagues until we realized the guy drawing those things isn’t a real cartoonist and actually draws talking points for right-wing think-tanks.

Jeb! was the adult in the room. He was as solid as Carly yet had a bit more personality and humor. He even had a little energy to him. He confronted Trump and even slapped hands with him. He improved from his first debate. He also said he smoked pot when he was a kid. His biggest gaffe was saying his brother protected America, totally forgetting September 11, the invading the wrong country, Katrina, Dick Cheney, etc. Maybe it was all that marijuana. Somebody buy the guy a bag of Rainbow Doritos.

Rand Paul did a really good job that will be totally meaningless. He’s an isolationist and this crowd really wants to nuke somebody. He battled Trump. Got insulted by Trump. He insulted Trump in a significant manner. None of this will matter in regards to his campaign. Paul is about done.

John Kasich was on the same stage as everyone else. That’s about it. I forgot he was there for most of the night.

Mike Huckabee was forgettable also. He further showed he doesn’t understand the Constitution. He’s Ted Cruz lite. All the bigotry with less creepiness.

I think Scott Walker fell off the stage. He was barely visible. Didn’t get much speaking time. Didn’t say anything significant. The Koches’ investment is him is as big of a business success as Fiorina’s time at HP.

Ben Carson is the biggest loser from the debate. He had momentum. He’s second in polls. He had an opportunity to increase his numbers and instead he put everyone to sleep. His only high point was schooling Trump in medicine. He also said we shouldn’t have attacked Afghanistan after 9/11 which is something even liberal Democrats supported.

They also asked each candidate to say which woman they would want on the $10.00 bill. Out of eleven Republicans they could only name four women who made an impact in America’s history. Four of them couldn’t even name one, instead saying they want their wife, mother or a non American.

The debate was three hours long which is too long. Screw the polls. They should split the next debate in two like they’re doing now, but pull names out of a hat. Maybe Trump can loan them one.  They can put an equal number of whoever’s left in the two debates. After two debates it’s a waste of time to continue wasting air time on a few of these candidates who don’t have a shot in Hell like Paul, Huckabee, Cruz, or Kasich.