Thursday, October 29, 2015

Third Republican Debate-Little Substance on the Economy, Big Attack on the Media

A Ted Cruz missile hit the moderators at the University of Colorado at the 3rd Republican Debate.  He appropriately pointed out the tendency of media folks to ask very pointed questions, not necessarily aimed at substance.

That said, most of the Republicans, rather than talk about their economic policies, chose whenever possible to attack Barack Obama's economic performance.  Their attacks began even in their answers to the opening question about what was their biggest weakness.  For the record please note that President Obama's economic record includes a reduction in the unemployment rate from more than 10 percent to a little over 5 percent, while knocking a trillion dollars off the federal deficit.  That's trillion with a "t".  If that's failure, then sign me up for failure.

So Cruz is right about silly gotcha questions from the media, but he is disingenuous at the least to imply that Republicans didn't have the opportunity to present their economic policies.  And all of their tax policies mean huge tax cuts for wealthy individuals, with cuts from the top 39.6% rate to anywhere between 10 and 15%.

Other takeaways are that we can see Bush's limitations more than ever to the point that one really isn't sure that he's the "smarter" brother.  Rubio has not been effectively challenged, but will be.  His very rehearsed pomposity may not wear well over time.

Trump communicated well and demonstrated good timing while the moderators failed to pin him down on policies.  He also pounded the one reasonable person on the stage, John Kasich, pretty soundly.  His connection to Shearson is not good for him.  Christie is appalling in his negativity which shows his degree of desperation to climb at least past Paul and Huckabee.

Note:  I have to admit that I was very wrong about Ben Carson's future.  I completely underestimated his appeal to the evangelicals in Iowa and so he's doing well.  Still he was out of his depth in talking about the economy.

Note 2:  January 3, 2016.  It does appear that I was just a little early in predicting the inevitable fall of Dr. Ben Carson.  We'll see what happens in Iowa in a few weeks, but I think it's clear that in terms of his reputation, he should have stuck to medicine, even if he sold fewer books.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Iran Nuclear Deal is the Right Deal--For Everyone

Opponents of the Iran deal are simply not using logic.  The deal, worked out between the leading nations in the world and Iran, provides the best assurance that Iran will not be able to develop a nuclear weapon.  More than that, it is the only option, short of war, to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

All known sites and sources will have automatic inspections.  That in itself is a quantum leap ahead of where we are now in limiting Iran's nuclear program.

Although Sen. Barbara Mikulski cast the 34th, veto-proof vote to support the deal, those Senators who opposed the bill (Republican and Democrat alike) should be noted and held accountable in their next election.  Sen. Schumer's opposition to the deal, for example, should disqualify him from the Democratic leadership post in the Senate.  ALL senators must do the right thing for America, no matter what the vote count.

Finally, many non-politicians (as well as politicians) in Israel support the deal.  They can see, logically, that their country gains a huge security advantage by having inspections.  They also know that if Iran should cheat, all of the options that we have now to deal with Iran are still available.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

First Republican Debate: New Faces, Old Ideas

The August 6, 2015 Republican debate in Cleveland, Ohio was entertaining, but not exactly inspiring.  It had its moments of conflict and humor, but in the end, what did we learn substantively about the Republican field?  We learned that they all want to repeal Obamacare, de-fund Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion-related healthcare activities (federal funding of abortion is already prohibited by law), and reject the deal with the Government of Iran to halt its nuclear program.  New faces, but the same old thing, negative, negative, negative.  Real quick how did each fare?

1.  Kasich probably did the best.  At least he showed the common sense to accept Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.  But there’s a war-loving streak in him that you will see all too soon.

2.  Ted Cruz despite his extreme rightwing views and supercilious attitude, didn’t miss a beat.  Haughty, but fluid throughout the debate.

3.  Mike Huckabee, another extreme rightwinger, managed to get his views out quite smoothly and with some humor.

4.    Chris Christie, thought to be dead in the water, breathed some life into his candidacy, taking on Rand Paul effectively and otherwise giving a reasonable accounting of himself.  Still there was a tinge of him re-inventing himself as a conservative and not all that convincingly.

5.  Donald Trump was thin on substance, but did the right thing from the beginning as negotiator-in-chief by not promising to rule out a third party run.  Had he done that, he would have forfeited his negotiating position.  His answer on his bankruptcies was stellar, characterizing the losers as not very nice people.  He did go too far in his answer to Megan Kelly, however, and surely turned off some voters.

6.  Marco Rubio by several pundits had a very good night, maybe second or third best.  But his answers were very canned and stiff and holier than thou.  A baby-face who tried to memorize his way through the debate.  He’s definitely a Tea Partier and does not support exceptions to abortion even for rape and incest.  Not sure there’s really much intelligence there as he’s given credit for.

7.  Jeb Bush seemed flat and fumbling for the most part.  His answer that the Iraq war was a mistake spun off into blaming Obama for ISIS.  He took it as a burden to call families who had lost soldiers in the war, as plain a display of self-centered elitist mindset as you’ll see.

8.  Rand Paul scored a few points, but looked rather wobbly even on the attack against Christie and Trump.

9.  Scott Walker really looked uncomfortable and unsure of himself, nodding robotically at anything Ben Carsons said.  The opposite of how he looked at CPAC.

10.   Ben Carsons was smug and completely out of his depth.  Probably won’t see him again on the stage.

The term wasn’t used in the debate, but the neo-conservatives are alive and well in the Republican Party.  The monolithic rejection of health care reform and diplomacy prove it.