Here’s a detailed rundown of my thoughts following the debate tonight. I’m going into some pretty significant detail, so there won’t be a question for where I stand.
Overall, the moderators had pretty decent questions, and for the first little while at least, were pretty fair. Martha Raddatz started interrupting and arguing with the candidates, even going so far as to deliberately (from my view) twisting Jeb’s words and malign his position (concerning the draft for women). I wish the moderators would learn to shut up and stop trying to participate in the debate and stick with moderating it. Still, I would say that this was one of the most substantive debate’s we’ve had, even beating out last week. It helps to have a shrunken stage.
I think that Ted Cruz was the strong winner, though almost everyone did very well, especially Jeb, Chris, and John.
Marco Rubio Lost, and I’ll go into the detail a bit, I think.
Donald J. Trump showed more humility tonight than he usually does, and was less whiny than normal (though he couldn’t help to complain in his closing remarks); still, he spoke primarily in platitudes and arrogant claims (I will win; I’ll do it; believe me; etc) without going into any significant substance. Despite usually putting Jeb in his place, I think he lost his major, typical exchange with Jeb; Trump looked petty (as usual), unreasonable, and uneducated on the issue, which is amusing considering that the issue was eminent domain, one of his most understood topics. (Side note, eminent domain is designed to use property taken from private citizens, giving them fair market value, for public use property, i.e. roads, power lines, canals, etc. – however, Trump is in favor of using eminent domain to take property from one individual in order to give it to another or to a business (his, usually), claiming that businesses are of more worth to the community than are individual property rights, and thus that eminent domain can legally be used in this manner. The case discussed involved an elderly woman who lived where Trump wanted to build a parking garage for his limousines, as it was close to one of his hotels; she refused to sell, and he attempted to use eminent domain to force her from her home. He, rightly, claimed that he didn’t take her home, but that was only because the courts sided with her. He has, however, successfully used eminent domain in other cases to build his own properties. This is clearly a violation of property rights as guaranteed by the founding documents.) Jeb argued, successfully, I think, that Trump’s use of eminent domain violated individual property rights, trump tried his usual tactics of silencing the opposition, hurling insults rather than contending facts, and while this has usually silenced or kowtowed jeb, it did not tonight, making trump look like a bully and a loser. It was fun to see him booed by the audience (to which he responded by attacking the audience, as is his typical response to anyone who would question him).
Trump remains one of the worst candidates to run for President in our long history, discounting the rule of law and the founding documents in order to further his own personal brand and increase his own pocket book. He continues to lie, cheat, and steal (the improper use of eminent domain) to get his way. many in the US view this as ‘winning,’ but to give a strong man power without regard to how he will accomplish his promised results is dangerous to the extreme. This is literally how Hitler gained power, as well as Castro, and any number of other mass-murdering psychopaths. Trump’s mass of zombie like followers is just as terrifying as he is. He has defended their violence (http://thinkprogress.org/…/donald-trump-black-lives-matter…/); he as tried to physically harm those who would protest against him (http://thehill.com/…/265172-trump-tells-security-to-confisc…); and has literally called for his followers to physically harm those who would disagree with him (http://www.express.co.uk/…/Donald-Trump-urges-fans-beat-the…). Historically, the same methods were used and supported by Hitler (the brown-coats) before he instituted marshal law and killed them all. Why do we ignore history in favor of this man? His actions show that he is quite evil, and I haven’t even begun to discuss the fact that his most ardent opponent on his positions is himself. He’s changed his mind more times than John Kerry. But even if his positions were consistent, conservative and constitutional, his actions would still make him #NotThatGuy
John Kasich I’ve spent a lot of time making fun of the Fruit Ninja behavior, but I actually think that he might have tourettes (taking in the tick in his face as well), in which case, I actually feel bad for making fun of him. In the Iowa debate, for the first time, I felt like John was sincere. This take-away continued tonight. Further, I felt like his performance was the best tonight that it has ever been, and I found myself able to listen to him without yawning as much. However, John’s insistence that his is not moderate is not consistent with his history, nor with his (amusing but accurate) declaration that he should be running as a democrat (seriously,http://www.cbsnews.com/…/john-kasich-jokes-about-democrati…/)
John may be sincere, but his lack of conservative values, his ignoring the constitutional principles that bind the federal government, and his desire to grow government make him #NotThatGuy
Jeb Bush – I’m convinced that Jeb is a good man, and there’s a lot to be said for that. Ignoring his deer-in-the-headlights look (which I didn’t notice tonight) and his increasingly desperate attempts to feel important and needed, (http://www.nbcnews.com/…/jeb-bush-asks-n-h-audience-to-plea…), tonight’s debate was, hands down, his best to date. He, for the first time, successfully stood up to Donald Trump, to the point (as I’ve already mentioned) of winning the exchange (in my opinion). Because of his success as the governor of Florida, I’d almost support him if… well, no I wouldn’t… like the other progressive republicans on the stage, he’s in favor of growing government and ignoring the constitution… and he’s a bush which, even if the other problems didn’t, would still make him #NotThatGuy
Dr. Ben Carson is one of the most admirable men in the race, but he sadly under performed again in this debate. He clearly fails to understand significant portions of policy both foreign and domestic. His cowardice in regards to Trump in the past (failing to defend himself when Trump called him a pedophile) followed by his dishonest complaints against Cruz this week (we literally don’t have a single case of a person who caucused with Cruz having been duped out of caucusing for Carson, yet he insists that the ‘dirty trick’ played by cruz cost him several points in Iowa’s results… yet he still out-performed his polls), anyway, his complaints are inconsistent with his past evangelical calls for honesty in the political narrative. Further, his recent actions have called into question his ability to budget, to run any organization, or to handle criticism or inaccurate reports; all of which are critical skills for the chief executive of the United States. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the issues surrounding the media created ‘cruz/carson feud,’ I’d suggest this article, which, while not favorable to carson, is (I beleive) an accurate review:https://www.conservativereview.com/…/carson-needs-to-look-i…)
Dr. Carson has fallen significantly in my view. While he has brought to the republican stage the moral conscience missing by many, and while his story and history is nothing short of miraculous and inspiring, his recent dishonesty, inconsistent grudge holding, and his failure to gain the necessary understanding, but to rely only on his ability to make quick decisions and to pick knowledgeable advisers, combined with his sketchy lack of campaigning in the early states (what is he doing with his significant campaign finances, if not campaigning, seriously?) shows me that if he will ever be capable of holding the highest office in the land, it’s not now, placing him (for the first time) in the category of #NotThatGuy
Chris Christie did very well tonight. He kept coming at Marco, which is understanding considering how well Marco has been doing this last week, and how quickly he’s risen in the polls. He hasn’t been exactly honest about Marco, and I don’t think he was right in some of his criticisms tonight (though he was spot on concerning Marco’s frequent speaking in 30 second sound bites without actually saying anything), nonetheless, he got under Marco’s skin tonight and really took him to task.
Chris is the kind of fat, gravy-on-his-shirt guy that I suspected would hold the most sway following the Obama presidency (being so well put together and never speaking without first poll-testing his speeches), sadly for Chris, the Donald filled that roll with his anti-PC language… and unfortunately for us, because while Chris is no conservative, nor friend of the constitution, he’s not nearly as dangerous as the Trump. However, he’d do us no favors either, growing government, limiting rights, and filling Supreme Court positions with activists rather than constructionists (http://www.nationalreview.com/…/christie-type-judges-are-li…). He’s great at debating, mainly because he is good at controlling the discussion, which he invariably keeps as far away from conservative conversation as possible (because he invariably gets destroyed in these areas). Despite the fact that I like him, he is clearly #NotThatGuy
Marco Rubio is a fabulous speaker. He’s young, energetic and attractive. He’s well spoken and clear. He is, in short, the perfect politician. However, he lost the debate for a couple of reasons: 1st, he had the most to lose – Trump’s followers aren’t going anywhere, and since Rubio is coming in 2nd in the polls (and only recently, as he’s risen quickly) his support in NH can be swayed away from him. In short, he got the brunt of the opposition tonight in the same way that Cruz did last week. 2nd, because he allowed himself to be flustered (seriously flustered) by Christie. He continually repeated himself, particularly on the losing issue that Obama knows what he is doing (a point that shouldn’t be easily dismissed: I think Rubio is right on this point, but he clearly lost the argument on it), and he got caught speaking in 30 second stump speeches that sound great but say nothing (thanks again to Rubio). Despite my believe that he and Trump did equally poorly tonight, Trump won’t lose much if anything for the poor performance, but if we don’t see Rubio fall in the polls, I doubt we’ll see his growth continue.
Marco’s support of the gang of 8’s attempt at amnesty a few years ago stands as one of his biggest friction points with traditional conservatives. However, as I’ve said before, this is less a problem to me than it is for many others. Being on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, he is intimately familiar with the rising concern of ISIS and other Islamist factions and the threat that they pose to the safety and security of the United States, however because of this concern, he willingly calls for the unconstitutional use of general warrants (not called that) in regards to personal cellular and internet data.
A small point is this: The founders included the 4th amendment specifically to prevent the use of General Warrants which involved the representatives of the King entering the homes and businesses of private citizens looking for evidence that they had committed a crime (mind you, this without suspicion that a crime had been committed, just looking for any crime) – the 4th amendment specifically protects people from warrantless searches in all their effects (this includes cell and internet data), AND specifies that a warrant cannot be granted without probable cause (that is, a substantiated belief that it is more likely than not that a crime has been committed). These warrants are specific (I mean, VERY specific) and are therefor the exact opposite of General Warrants.
Marco has consistently condemned Obama for his unconstitutional, unilateral action against the second amendment rights of the American People, but he hypocritically seeks to take similar action against the 4th amendment rights of the American People. I don’t doubt that he has compelling evidence from his senate committee that leads him to this conclusion, but if he wants to strip us of our rights, I would like him to seek a constitutional amendment repealing the 4th (which he won’t do, because he would be run out of town on a rail). This hypocrisy, combined with his consistent condemnation of those who voted to limit the unconstitutional actions of the NSA make Rubio #NotThatGuy
Ted Cruz won tonight’s debate because he consistently, clearly argued his points without the need to rest on ad hominem attacks against his opponents. He missed some of his normal awkward charm, but made up for it in humility and clarity. He also successfully pointed out that one can win with constitutional conservative values, even when those values are unpopular (Using Iowa and the farm subsidies, that he opposed them and the people of Iowa support them, and they still supported him)
Ted stands unique, having not just a basic understanding of constitutional power and authority of the Federal Government, but, having successfully defended the constitution multiple times before the supreme court, he has a history of fighting for the constitution. There are some who have doubts about Ted’s honesty, or trustworthiness. I think that these mostly likely come from Cruz’s awkward, robotic feel.
The Savior taught us that “by their fruits, ye shall know them,” when examining whether Ted is an honest or trustworthy person, we must simply look at the fruits of his honesty. What are the fruits? his history and record, combined with his word – does he and has he done what he said he will and would? There are some on the debate stage who’s integrity is demonstrably lacking (Trump and Clinton are excellent examples of this), but few challenge Ted’s record, in fact, his most consistent complaint is that he won’t ‘make deals’ because of his devotion to his principles. There are, however, 2 or 3 points of concern on this issue. Allow me to look at them:
The first is his stance on the ‘Gang of 8’ bill – Ted proposed an amendment that would forbid illegal aliens from receiving citizenship, but the amendment did not deny them the ability to stay in the US. Rubio insists that Ted was in favor of amnesty, barring citizenship, or else he wouldn’t have proposed the amendment. Rand Paul implied the same (though, the comment looked hesitant, like he knew he was being untruthful, if you ask me). If Rubio is correct, this would be a problem for Cruz, as he ran on an anti-amnesty platform, and decries any form of amnesty now: so has he flip-flopped on the issue? Ted claims that he inserted the amendment in order to clarify the bill (the writers insisted that they had no intent to grant citizenship to illegal aliens) – if they writers were being honest, they would have no issue including his amendment into the bill to be more clear. If they were being deceitful, they would oppose the amendment. Further, if the amendment was included, the bill would be able to accept the support of many Republicans (who might be willing to address immigration reform, but would never accept a path to citizenship), However it would come at the cost of most democrats (who wouldn’t support a bill that didn’t include a path to citizenship.) Ted’s amendment is, therefore, viewed by many as a ‘poison pill,’ or an amendment meant to kill a bill – Ted denies this, and insists that the amendment was meant simply to clarify the promised intent of the bill’s authors (which included Rubio). The amendment was not accepted because the original authors were, in fact, being dishonest, and really wanted a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The ‘Gang of 8’ bill ultimately failed. Ted’s behavior is, to me, at least, consistent with Ted’s anti-amnesty stance, and is not evidence of dishonesty or a lack of consistency. Megyn Kelly, who is well known for her hard but fair challenges of the candidates, and who is not known as a Ted Cruz supporter (I really have no idea who, if anyone, she supports), drew the same conclusion following the Fox News Debate last week – “I looked back at your record a lot to see, did Ted Cruz really want legalization or didn’t he? I think the record supports you that you did not want it. It does.” (http://www.redstate.com/…/ted-cruz-support-amnesty-concede…/)
Next, Ted is accused of sending out deliberately dishonest flyers to the people of Iowa (this accusation comes primarily from Trump). an image of the flyers can be found in this news story (http://www.theblaze.com/…/see-the-public-shaming-mailer-cr…/) – personally, I receive mailers that look like official crap all the time. I seriously don’t understand why this is an issue at all. Does it lack some taste? maybe. Does it violate law? all the experts say no. Does it show a lack of integrity? not even remotely, so I move on.
Finally, the recent issue of Ted “stealing” Dr. Carson’s caucusers by telling partial truths or by lying? Here’s the facts, and some of these oppose CNN’s narrative, but they are the facts nonetheless – CNN tweeted that “Ben Carson will likely speak at his victory party in Iowa before caucus results are in so he can catch a flight.”Followed by a tweet that “Carson won’t go to NH/SC, but instead will head home to Florida for some R&R. He’ll be in DC Thursday for the National Prayer Breakfast.”
Despite a clarifying tweet immediately after this one, which read “Ben Carson’s campaign tells me he plans to stay in the race beyond Iowa no matter what the results are tonight,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash discuss Moody’s report on air:
Tapper: Thanks, Wolf. Well, CNN has learned some news about the man who, at least according to polls, is in fourth place here in Iowa. Now, Dana, a week from tomorrow, we’re all going to be doing this again for the New Hampshire primary. So almost every single candidate is going to be going directly from here to New Hampshire to campaign–except for the man in fourth place, who a few months ago was in first place here, Dr. Ben Carson. What have we learned?
Bash: That’s right. We should say that our Chris Moody is breaking this news, that Ben Carson is going to go back to Florida, to his home, regardless of how he does tonight here in Iowa. He’s going to go there for several days. And then afterwards, he’s not going to go to South Carolina. He’s not going to go to New Hampshire. He’s going to come to Washington, D.C., and he’s going to do that because the National Prayer Breakfast is on Thursday. And people who have been following Ben Carson’s career know that that’s really where he got himself on the political map, attending that prayer breakfast, and really giving it to President Obama at the time. And he became kind of a hero among conservatives, among evangelicals especially.
Tapper: But it’s very unusual–
Bash: Very unusual.
Tapper: –to be announcing that you’re going to go home to rest for a few days, not going on to the next site. Plus, he’s already announced that he’s going to be coming out and speaking at 9:15 local and 10:15 Eastern, no matter whether or not we know the results, because he wants to get home and get ahead of the storm.
Bash: Look, if you want to be President of the United States, you don’t go home to Florida. I mean, that’s bottom line. That’s the end of the story. If you want to signal to your supporters that you want it, that you’re hungry for it, that you want them to get out and and campaign, you’ve got to be out there doing it too. And he’s not doing it. it’s very unusual.
Tapper: Very unusual news that CNN has just learned. CNN’s Chris Moody breaking the story. Wolf, back to you in Washington.
Blitzer: Very significant news indeed, guys, thanks very much.
Just minutes later, Cruz’s campaign sent an email to a few key organizers that “the press is reporting that Dr. Ben Carson is taking time off from the campaign trail after Iowa and making a big announcement next week. Please inform Caucus goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted Cruz.”
Ted’s campaign claims that it did not know about the tweets, but that it was working off of the news report from CNN. Further, Carson’s actions (leaving Iowa before the results were in, irrespective of the results; flying to Florida for a few days; ignoring the next 2 states before going to the Washington Prayer breakfast, which is not a campaign stop – in short, that he would not be campaigning for the next week leading up to the next state primary, combined with a significant shrinking of Carson’s campaign staff, which also happened this same day, and the previous week’s mass defection of Carson supporters to Cruz) All indicate to any reasonable person that Carson’s campaign was over – an assertion that I still believe, despite his strong showing in Iowa and his participation in tonight’s debate.
Cruz supporters took this information and ran with it – they began telling others that Carson was out. They began tweeting this out.
Carson called these actions ‘dirty tricks’ – but this fails to recognize several things: first, the CNN story was not wrong – Carson has not campaigned in New Hampshire, nor does he intend to go to South Carolina, and he did take time off in Florida immediately following the Iowa Caucus. Next, and perhaps most importantly, There is literally NO indication that anyone was deceived into caucusing for Cruz instead of Carson – if there were those people, wouldn’t they come forward “hey, I was told that Carson was out and that I couldn’t support him!” It is possible that some were persuaded to change their support because of this information, and because it appeared to them (as it does to me) that Carson is actually ending his campaign, but just hasn’t announced it yet – but THAT IS THE POINT OF THE CAUCUS METHOD – to persuade, convince and get others to change who they support. If anyone did change their support, it seems that they are solidly changed.
Finally, Cruz called Carson to apologize, telling him that he didn’t know (until Carson ‘clarified’) That Carson was staying in – Carson asked for a public apology, which Cruz humbly gave just the next day. Carson ‘accepted’ the apology, but insists that “no actions have been taken to correct the problem. That I cannot accept.” – He is calling for Cruz to terminate the leaders of his campaign, which Cruz refuses to do because they were simply acting upon a news story (which turned out to be accurate) and inferring that Carson was out based on what was reported in that report.
Trump has jumped forward calling for Cruz’s votes in Iowa to be nullified, suggesting that Cruz defrauded the people of Iowa, an accusation based in nothing but Trump’s thin skin, but that (sadly) Dr. Carson has been silently allowing. Carson over performed the polls, as did both Cruz and Rubio (all by similar amounts) while Trump under performed. Karl Rove argued that Cruz stole nearly 5 percent of the votes from Carson (which would have meant that Carson’s vote tally would have been nearly double his polls, with no indicator on why he increased, particularly since he didn’t do that well in the debate)
Ultimately, the conclusion that some have made is that Ted lied in order to ‘steal’ votes (though, again, convincing others is exactly what caucusing is about) – but there is no one who has come forward saying that they caucused for Ted rather than Ben because they were deceived – the result is that there would have been NO significant change if things had not played out this way. But the important part: did Ted lie? I’m not convinced that there is any evidence to support the idea that he did. Was ted tricky and false (precious)? It doesn’t appear to me that he was. Was Ted underhanded? No – he was organized and on top of the news that would help him. Did Ted’s campaign take votes from Ben? I hope so, and from Rubio, and Trump, and Bush, etc – that’s what a caucus is for – to convince others to change their votes.
So the long of it is this: Ted’s record doesn’t show him to be dishonest. It does show him to be well organized. It does show him to be principled (something that I admire, though others, like Jimmy Carter, dislike); it does show him to have a strong passion for the Constitution of the United States, and ultimately that’s what I’m looking for.
Finally, Carly Fiorina didn’t make the debate stage, but she should have, because she outperformed several of the people on tonight’s stage in Iowa. Jim Gilmore didn’t make it either, but he didn’t deserve to – and he’s still #NotThatGuy
I’m down to 2 people left in the republican party that I would vote for – Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. Sadly, I don’t see a path for victory for Carly. If these 2 fall off, I’ll have to look more seriously at the other parties. I couldn’t vote for Bernie Sanders because he’s a democratic socialist, which is an inherently anti-constitutional view, and because socialism is seriously evil, maybe I’ll write about that someday… nor Hillary Clintonbecause she’s a closet communist… and she’s just full on crazy evil.
Does anyone have any other candidate recommendations?