Sunday, August 9, 2015

What Did We Learn From the Republican Debate?

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What did we learn from the Republican debate?

We learned that people are interested. The Fox debate garnered one of the largest viewing audiences ever....24 million....for any type of program.

We learned that having Donald Trump on the stage probably contributed greatly to that number.

We learned that Fox News is more interested in creating headlines for their network than helping Republican voters make informed choices about their candidates.  Most of the questions seemed to be "gotcha" questions, either meant to catch a candidate off-guard and put him on the defensive or to pit one against another. The Fox trio seemed to me to be inquisitors rather than reporters trying to garner honest information regarding policy differences.

This was especially true of Donald Trump. It started with the first question trying to elicit a promise not to run as a third-party candidate and moved on to his quotes about women and finished by asking - "when did you become a Republican?" And naturally, being who he is, he faced them head-on, coming across as crass, boorish and arrogant in doing so.

That's what I thought anyway but viewers didn't necessarily agree with me. In the first poll after the debate, from NBC, Trump was judged the winner. Here are the first seven winning percentages according to those polled: Trump (23), Cruz (13), Carson (11), Fiorina (8), Rubio (8), Bush (7) and Walker (7). So, it's Trump by double digits. Take that, Megyn!

We learned in the first gathering....a forum I guess it was called....of what Fox judged to be the also-rans, that Carly Fiorina won big. I'm not a Carly Fiorina fan by any means but she did give clear, concise, commonsense (for a Republican) answers although she needs to work on smiling more. Mostly what I remember about the others was that Lindsay Graham, cannot wait to start bombing somebody, anybody! Pataki and Gilmore were too nice and soft-spoken and mainstream....they don't have a prayer in a Republican field. Rick Perry...I might have slept through his cameo. There were two more but I can't remember now who they were.

In the Big Show, we learned that Republicans just can't manage to look like they give a damn about any woman who doesn't have a fetus in her womb and then it's only for the duration. Most of them want to ban abortion without exceptions for rape or incest or in some cases, even to save the life of the mother. The rest weren't quite as openly demeaning about females as Trump but almost. To Republicans, women are simply lesser beings who should keep their mouths shut and let the men make the decisions because, you know....men (that would be white, straight, Christian men, of course).

We learned that they also don't have much use for African-Americans, Latinos, gays or poor people although they all vied with one another to show that they had definitely been poor people and knew what being poor was all about. Bush and Trump must have felt like they were at a real disadvantage in that discussion.

We learned that, next to Iran, Planned Parenthood is the greatest threat the country faces.

We learned that Scott Walker and Jeb Bush are just flat boring.

We learned that John Kasich was the adult in the room and had enough self-assurance to allow himself to show compassion among a group where compassion was in short supply.

We learned that Republicans are mostly against things...unless it is lowering taxes on the rich.

We learned that Marco Rubio is an appealing young man who needs to season for another four years. (Isn't it the Republicans who have always complained about electing an inexperienced, one-term Senator?)

We learned that you'd be lucky to come up with one witty sense of humor if you put all the Republican candidates together.

We learned that Chris Christie was, in fact, not appointed prosecutor by George Bush the day after 911, as he stated he was.

We learned that Mike Huckabee is a religious extremist and Ted Cruz is just an extremist, period.

Well, I could go on but that's enough for now.

Winners and losers? Well I'm a Hillary-supporting Democrat liberal so I thought they were all losers, including Fox who turned what should have been a serious debate into reality t.v. If I absolutely had to vote for one of them, which thank God, I don't, it would be John Kasich.