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This guy wants to be president: first GOP debate live blog

by Eric Ferguson on August 6, 2015 · 10 comments

clowncarSorry for the late notice. I didn’t know for sure I would be able to live blog the GOP debate until a wee bit ago. That’s how it goes when we’re all volunteers here. Probably more readers will see this tomorrow than tonight. I guess they’ll have missed out slightly, poor them.
 
I didn’t get a chance to watch the “kiddie table” debate early, so no comment on that. Though yes, I assume it was just as clownish as the one about to start with the leading candidates getting all the way up in to the low double digits in support.
 
Or maybe it’s the clown car and the clown minivan.
 
Anyway, I’ll be making comments, hopefully an amusing mix of pithy and snarky. Check back, or refresh your browser every so often.
 
Pre-debate blather. Why do presidential debates need to include a “spin room”? At least the name is honest, but why is it needed?
 
What does Carly Fiorina “unleashed a can” mean? The Fox hosts want to talk a bunch themselves. Just go.
 
Yes, I’ll believe millions of people are watching tonight. Many laughing Democrats, and maybe as many embarrassed Republicans.
 
Trump won’t commit to supporting the eventual winner. Please run 3rd party. Please please please!!! Actually, no, GOP please make him the nominee. Rand Paul decides to jump in and grab camera time. Audience boos. Start the clown music.
 
Carson thinks knowing stuff is of questionable value. He was once allowed to work on brains, really.
 
Rubio: if this election is a resume competition, Hillary wins. Hillary is most qualified, per Rubio. He owed $100,000 on student loans just four years ago, but he managed to spend that much on a boat?
 
“Florida called me Jeb because I earned it”? Not because that’s your nickname? One of only two states to earn triple A rating — most already had it.
 
Trump thinks we have too much political correctness, not enough of saying nasty things to women. He and Megan Kelly don’t like each other.
 
Audience cheer Cruz calling Mitch McConnell a liar. If you’re wondering why acting like a prick is a good way to appeal to the Republican base.
 
Christie was ready for the finance question. Left out that zero private sector growth include the Bush years.
 
Walker dodges question on whether he’s too conservative to appeal to women. Brags of taking way their access to health care.

 

Huckabee makes up fake science to justify complete ban on abortion. They’ve got DNA!
 
Paul says don’t arm ISIS allies. Such as who?
 
Kasich has to defend not denying health care to poor people. Just freaking wow.

 
Bush accuse Obama of using immigration as a wedge issue. Let’s win Latinos with a grudging sort of legalization and no amnesty or citizenship. And why don’t we get more Latino votes?
 
Trump asked for proof of his claims about Mexico. Hey, we wouldn’t be talking about Mexico without me! Yes, to Trump that makes sense. Wallace asks again for proof. Good for him. Trump repeats claim, proof-free.
 
Enough question for Trump. Let’s have questions about Trump. Wallace treid to keep Kasich on topic on immigration. Rubio brings up El Chapo building tunnels as scary thing at the border.
 
Walker asked to explain flip flop on immigration. Walker will talk a long time if he has to explain all flip flops. Immigration should give priority to American families — huh?
 
Will someone in the conservative bubble explain to the rest of us what “sanctuary city” is? Cruz says Obama wants to fundamentally transform the country by allowing in lots of foreigners. I’m pretty sure he’s taking an unrelated comment from Obama.
 
911 happened near your state Christie, not in it. Christie wants more of the national security state. Paul attacks collecting records from Americans. Christie and Paul yelling at each other. Christie said Paul blows hot air, Paul reminds everyone Christie hugged Obama. These two don’t like each other.

 
ISIS has growing influence in the US? Cruz blames inability to beat ISIS in 90 days on Obama not saying “Islamic terrorists”. Cruz talks tough with no idea of what to do. Cites murderous dictator as model.
 
Bush blames faulty intelligence for Iraq, not his brother’s cherrypicking. Oh, he prayed for the families of dead soldiers. How nice. Obama’s fault for laving Iraq, never mind Iraq wanted US out.
 
Walker again puts words in the mouth of foreign leaders. He has learned nothing.
 
Carson asked about waterboarding, whines about having to wait so long for his next question. He’s had as many as the others. Dodges question. “We won’t torture”. Why do Republicans find that so hard to say?
 
Trump asked about former support for single-payer, seems to still like it but wants private system. Incoherent.
 
Paul goes after Trump over single-payer. Yes Trump, he heard you correctly. Paul thinks he can speak whenever he feels like it. Fox hosts seem to like candidates yelling over each other, like a regular show. Trump accuses Hillary of using private jets on foundation money. Walker tries to jump in with a Hillary comment. Look at me, please!
 
Huckabee says political class does what donor class wants. He’s right actually. But wants to getrid of the IRS. Like we would not have to reinvent it.
 
Carson wants to require tithing because it’s in the bible. I’m religious. I’m religious. Did I mention I’m religious?
 
Mention of common core brings boos. Bush joins in saying feds should have no role in education. This is because … ?

 
Rubio says education should be local because parents can have influence. I’ll grant that it’s at least a reason. Bush responds, frames the issue of common core as having standards, not federalization of education.
 
How will you take on Hillary? Kasich says be pro-growth and balance budgets. Do what the 1% wants, which is really what the people want, including minorities. We’re a “miracle country”. Carson on same question, doubts Hillary will win nomination, says he’ll educate people about how bad progressivism is. Rest of answer was word salad.
 
Bush challenged on 4% growth claim. No Jeb, left doesn’t say you can’t do better than 2%. Bush says he can get 4% by fixing tax and regulations, end Obamacare, and join energy revolution, whatever that means. Seriously, George was the smarter brother.
 
Walker challenged on economic record, claims credit for lowering unemployment from height of the recession and jobs catching up to recession.
 
Christie defends plan to raise retirement age and cut entitlements. He’s wrong that we’re all living longer. Classic example of janitors have to delay retirement because accountants are living longer.
 
Huckabee blames government for taking money to fund Social Security. No Huckster, Obamacare didn’t rob Medicare. Wants to end Congress’s retirement program. Christie retorts trust fund full of IOUs. Yes, also called federal treasury bonds, the world’s safest investment.
 
Trump asked about bankruptcies. It was legal to screw over creditors, so it’s all OK. He’s right that business uses bankruptcy when it offers an advantage. Somehow not considered a moral issue like personal bankruptcy. So how about making mortgages and student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy? No, that doesn’t come up. Trump says his methods are OK because he got rich.
 
Rubio asked what he can do for small business, says lower the business tax rate, and of course replace Obamacare. Repeal Dodd Frank. Does Rubio have a clue what a small business is?
 
Walker asked what to do if not this deal with Iran, just make no deal at all, make sanctions worse, and magically our allies go along. Paul won’t rule out negotiations. Says Obama gave away too much. Like what? Gets facts wrong on reimpose sanctions. Huckabee complains we got nothing. Yes, except no bomb and no war. Iran burgeoning nuclear power — because of agreement to not build nukes? This makes sense to bubblonians apparently.
 
To commenters, I’m putting in comments as I can, but this goes fast and our comment system is unfortunately broken, so I have to add them by hand. Pretty sure I won’t have time to respond right away.
 
Here we go, the Planned Parenthood videos. Bush said he defunded PP and did other anti-abortion stuff. Will someone ask about Terri Schiavo in his “culture of life”?
 
Rubio denies supporting rape and incest exceptions for abortion bans.
 
Trump challenged on we he became a Republican. Cites Ronald Reagan. Claims he hates concept of abortion. Blames Bush’s smarter brother’s administration for Obama winning in 2008.
 
Bush denies calling Trump a clown. Go on guys, call each other clowns. That’s what the viewing audience thinks already.
 
Trump says violence around the world bad as ever. Despite less war than anytime in world history.
 
Kasich said he went to gay marriage. But for support, he hides behind the court. Cites God’s unconditional love.
 
Paul asked how to stop Christians being prosecuted for opposing gay marriage. Doesn’t give question derisive laughter it deserves.

 
Walker asked about Black Lives Matter, calls for better police training. That’s actually a decent answer in the time allowed.
 
Listening to the backfires of the clown car makes me sadder that in 25 minutes, Jon Stewart hosts The Daily Show for the last time.
 
Trump on Iranian general visiting Russia, he would do whatever the opposite is of what Obama does. Upset Sgt. Bergdahl released. But if Obama left a US POW to languish? He has no idea what he would do.
 
Cruz asked about cyber warfare attacks, makes up crap as usual. No answer on what he would do. Cites hostages being released during Reagan’s inauguration. Yes, Democrats are aware o that.
 
Carson asked what he would have done about Syrian chemical weapons, dodges, probably not admitting he has no idea what the question is about. Can’t fathom no offensive weapons to Ukraine.
 
Walker what he would do if Russia destabilized Baltics, talks about Hillary’s email. Like Carson, thinks we just have t look tougher to Putin. Not a thought of what happens next.
 
Huckabee against transgender personnel in armed forces. Says military is not a social experiment. Complains B-52s are old. Yeah, that follows.

 
Paul asked about Israel, defends opposing foreign aid. Won’t cut off Israel … yet. Foreign aid something like .5% of the budget.

 
Christie wants more defense spending. Implies Israel in trouble because of Obama. Sure, nothing to do with electing a government that’s basically the Middle East branch of the Republican Party.
 
Dear civilized world: I expect brownie points for sitting through Fox News without even being stuck at an airport or auto garage waiting room.
 
Serious question on whether they get a word from God. See my prior sentence. Cruz says he does, and suggests others are just “campaign conservatives”. Kasich mentions yet again his father was a mailman and he believes in miracles. Walker decides to proclaim Jesus is his redeemer. That explains attacking the poor. Rubio says God blessed Republicans with good candidates. Sure, blame God. Carson gets the same question in terms of the racial divide, says he’ll use the bully pulpit. We’ll just be united. Sure, that fixes it.
 
Closing statements, Kasich goes on long after the bell. Admittedly, short bell. Christie had working class parents. My log cabin was smaller than your log cabin. Christie cites going after teachers. Paul says he’s a different sort of Republican, cites going to urban areas. Rubio does the smaller log cabin with extra immigrant added. Cruz sys he’ll go after PP for videos and move embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Carson cites his qualifications … to be a surgeon. But he’s for freedom. Well, that’s good. Huckabee goes after Trump without naming him, then says it’s really about Hillary. Stresses we must be under God. Walker cites going after unions and surviving recall. Bush mentions “energy revolution” again, but I doubt means renewables. Trump wants to beat China in trade and beat Mexico at the border.
 
I hope you all appreciate I missed the first few minutes of the last Jon Stewart Daily Show. I’ll take a guess Trump helped himself by coming the closest to answering a question. Most took advantage of the short time to spout generalities and run out of time being saying anything that sounded specific. Of course, I don’t see things like a Republican primary voter.
 

Comments
 
From Dog Gone: If there was one question I would like to see asked – but know it won’t be — it is this one in the wake of the Planned Parenthood videos:
 
Conservatives have defunded any aid to Africa that included either abortion support or abortion education.
 
If Conservatives really hate abortion so much, given that Israel has one of the most liberal abortion policies in the world, do these Conservatives, in order to stop baby killing there, support cutting aid to Israel over THEIR abortion policies? Per the Wa Po, the Israel government offers women FREE abortions age 20-33. They also offer fertility treatments to which many conservatives object, and lots and lots and lots of free contraception — another conservative cause of opposition.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/israeli-government-offers-women-aged-20-to-33-free-abortions/2014/01/07/99155cc2-77b7-11e3-a647-a19deaf575b3_story.html
But, no — we won’t see that.
 
From JMrst: > Will someone in the conservative bubble explain to the rest of us what
> “sanctuary city” is? Cruz says Obama wants to fundamentally transform
> the country by allowing in lots of foreigners. I’m pretty sure he’s taking
> an unrelated comment from Obama.
 
Um, if I tell you will you accuse me of being in the conservative bubble? It’s a city that has prohibited its police force from coordinating with the federal INS in at least some cases, for example for deporting people arrested on misdemeanor charges.
 
From Dog Gone: NOT in the conservative bubble either.
 
Short definition of sanctuary cities (there are also sanctuary states and counties):
The term sanctuary city is given to cities in the United States or Canada that have policies designed to shelter illegal immigrants. These practices can be by law (de jure) or they can be by habit (de facto). The term generally applies to cities that do not allow municipal funds or resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws, usually by not allowing police or municipal employees to inquire about an individual’s immigration status. The designation has no legal meaning. (Wikipedia)
 
Longer version – in 1996 there was federal legislation that defined the respective roles of federal and state/local government in enforcing immigration law. As in mostly cities don’t have to do so unless they want to do so.
Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. The pertinent section is 287(g);
“Section 287(g) makes it possible for state and local law enforcement personnel to enter into agreements with the federal government to be trained in immigration enforcement and, subsequent to such training, to enforce immigration law. However, it provides no general power for immigration enforcement by state and local authorities.” (Wikipedia again)
 
Some jurisdictions opt to give as little cooperation (mostly in the form of not collecting data on immigrants, or reporting it — a significant savings in costs, and a decision which also reduces certain liability exposure).
 
I will be posting something on this topic next Monday; Jindal for example has called for the arrest of the mayors of sanctuary cities (like San Francisco, were a woman was recently kille by an illegal immigrant). Such arrests would not be legal or constitutional.
 
From Anne Jones: Thanks, Eric, for the play-by-play. You pretty much captured it with some fact-checking along the way. FOX debate hosts asked some good questions but accepted almost every answer at face value. Almost none of the responses actually answered the question. It’s just remarkable. The audience was very distracting. These candidates dodged virtually every question, gave non-answers, slammed the current administration at every turn, or Hillary, threatened war, made glib promises about using the same old approach that tanked the economy to “grow the economy”, and so on, blah, blah, blah. I just hope enough voters are smarter than that. The only entertainment were the fireworks between Christie and Paul. Trump was rather lacking and, as usual, said nothing. Kasich, Bush, and Rubio were the least objectionable, however, the moralistic, self-righteous undertone across the entire field just shows how bound they are to an ideology. It’s as though the recession never happened, two wars of choice can be excused away, and the last six years didn’t happen except for the areas they choose to criticize. Back to the same old playbook. Oh, and Scott Walker (I think it was Walker) has the clinical background to know that there is never a need for an abortion in defense of the life of the mother. This protesting their pro-life credentials gets old when they do nothing to prevent the need for an abortion in the first place. The GOP governors all claimed to have worked miracles in their states as though President Obama’s policies that stabilized and then put us on a forward path had nothing to do with their particular state. Where would Ohio have been, for example, without extended unemployment benefits, pushed by Democrats, not Republicans. Or some of the construction projects. Interesting that Trump excused his disparaging remarks about women as part of the problem of political correctness. I cannot understand how these GOP conservative voters hear anything but word salad when he talks. He’s Sarah Palin with bad hair.
 
The happy hour debate was boring. Some of the commentary seems to favor Carly Fiorina. I hear no substance and a lot of slamming Dems. Her job in particular seems to be to attack Hillary, non-stop. Republican pundits seem to like her. I think she’s mean. Seventeen candidates and nothing new.
 
From Jules Goldstein: The bible seems rather adamant about the need for sanctuary cities. is the religious right perhaps really the irreligious wrong?
 
From Anne Jones: Addendum. If you don’t mind. Any candidate who spouts that neo-conservative stuff about building up the military should read a book called “Skin in the Game” by a retired army major general about the challenges with an all-volunteer military and endless military conflicts. These GOP presidential candidates are completely unrealistic about what it takes to keep the ranks filled with qualified people without a draft.
 
Also, that lie about Iran releasing the hostages as soon as Reagan was elected because they now “respected” us or “feared” us ignores the political situation in Iran during the Carter administration and the story that the Reagan campaign conducted back-channel negotiations with a radical faction in Iran to delay release of the hostages delayed with promises to sell arms to Iran, against the prohibition by Congress, in order to weaken Carter. This was treason and amounted to arming our supposed sworn enemy. Reagan further collaborated with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and it gets more complicated. I think the Democrats make a huge mistake by not going after this stuff. How about Jeb Bush’s fractured fairy tale about the rise of ISIL post-the Iraq war???
 
From Dan Burns: You deserve a lot more than “brownie points” for watching that. I couldn’t do it unless I was generously paid. That that miserable drivel is considered worthy socio-political discourse by much of the populace, in contemporary America, both infuriates and saddens me.
 

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