GOP Debate: Trump Was the Winner

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke2/1/16
Perhaps it was a first: a man winning a debate by not showing up. That’s my take, anyway, that Donald Trump prevailed at Thursday night’s GOP debate. Although, something curious did happen after the event that gives me pause for thought, but more on that later.

The debate served to draw a significant and sharp contrast on today’s top (or almost so) issue, immigration — between Trump and the rest of the field. When the Fox News moderators showed Marco Rubio on video repeatedly saying he wouldn’t support amnesty, even by another name, and then Megyn Kelly pointed out that he went on to be part of scamnesty group the Gang of Eight, it was a stake-through-the-heart moment. Even more amusingly, Jeb Bush chimed in and tag-teamed with Kelly; he emphasized that not only did Machiavellian Marco support the amnesty, but repeated at least twice that Rubio asked him to support it as well. Bush said that he did so and that what Rubio did was the right thing, but then castigated the Florida senator for cowardly retreating from his position. So there you had one guy trying to wriggle out of supporting stupidly disastrous policy being cornered by another guy who was proud of his stupidity. I guess it’s what happens when a wholly resistible force meets a thoroughly movable object. But three things occur to me:

1. I now completely believe the reports about large non-indigenous snakes invading Florida.

2. Oranges aren’t the only mandarins in the state.

3. Trump should send Bush a check (if I didn’t know better, I’d think Bush signed on with the Trump campaign).

Video of Senator Ted Cruz supposedly supporting the Gang of Eight bill also was played, and, even though Cruz said he was manipulating the Democrats at the time, I suspect it didn’t help him with the voters. Cruz explained his position better in an interview with Kelly after the debate than he did during it, pointing out that he was exposing liberal hypocrisy. To wit: the Democrats claimed they just wanted to “bring people [illegals] out of the shadows,” so Cruz introduced an amendment that would remove the promise of citizenship from the bill but allow for “legalization.” The idea was, “Okay, if emigration from Shadowville is all you want, legalization will do it.” But the Democrats balked, said Cruz, saying they’d kill the bill if it had such an amendment. This put the lie to their claims, proving (again) that what they’re interested in is importing undocumented Democrats, as 70 to 90 percent of the illegals will vote Democrat upon being naturalized.

Nonetheless, understanding that kind of political maneuvering takes attentiveness and sophistication, so it’s hard to imagine the video of Cruz helping his cause.

Most striking, though, was the complete dislocation from reality exhibited by all the candidates on terrorism. The night was heavy with talk about building up the military and fighting Da’esh (ISIS), and securing our open back door to Mexico was mentioned. And rightly so. Yet not one candidate would second Trump’s call to suspend Muslim immigration, and some, such as Bush, criticized the idea. Of course, the phenomenon is understandable. Westerners are awash in immigrationism, multiculturalism, religious-equivalence doctrine and stupidity (but I repeat myself), and a fault common to man is that a building has to fall on him before he’s able to break free from established thinking patterns. But here’s the reality:

We suffer from a collective delusion.

FACT: Terrorism today is a Muslim phenomenon, meaning, virtually all the terrorists now bedeviling the West are Islamic jihadists. And it’s just a numbers game: if over time we admit one million Muslims and just one-tenth of one percent are terrorist-minded or will become so, that’s 1000 dangerous jihadists.

My figure is likely conservative. But the point is that if this were the 1970s, when the Weathermen were planting bombs, and we knew that a certain class of prospective immigrants shared their ideology, would we admit them? Look, here’s the reality:

We’re under no obligation to accept any class of immigrants — or any immigrants at all. Where is it written that the U.S. must be the flophouse, soup kitchen and doormat for the world? If immigration doesn’t benefit the host country, guess what?

It doesn’t happen.

Period. Full stop. We don’t have to explain it. We don’t have to apologize for it. We don’t have to feel bad about it. And if it’s questioned, our only response should be, “So when did you become a traitor?”

The issue of Muslim immigration came up when the debate moderators played a video from the YouTube audience, from a “Muslim” young lady who lamented the rise in anti-Islamic feeling in America. I have her descriptive in quotation marks because she was quite Western, exhibiting a sartorial splendor that would inspire a beating by Da’esh and speaking perfect English. She said that the anti-Islamic sentiment would only encourage Muslims to become terrorists, and Bush chimed in and agreed.

This is lunacy. It’s this inane, projection-inspired idea that unless we’re truly, amazingly, unbelievably nice — bend over backwards and prove to the world what lovable, harmless little fuzz balls we are — well, these jihadists are really, really gonna’ get mean.

The truth is quite the opposite. Bush et al. should watch this interview with Dr. Nicolai Sennels on the “psychology of Islam and Muslims.” Dr. Sennels is a Danish psychologist who for years worked in prison with Muslim youth. Among other things, he points out that Islamic culture is radically different from what you’re used to: Muslims view displays of anger and violence as synonymous with manliness, and they respect shows of force.

And if you react to aggression with passivity and kindness, they view it as weakness and hold you in contempt. They not only will think you can be vanquished — but that you deserve to be.

One might also want to ponder this German study involving 45,000 young people; it found that while increasing religiosity among Christian youths made them less violent, increasing religiosity among Muslim youths actually made them more violent.

Wake up, you people in the Bushes; it’s later than you think.

Now we come to the curious post-debate happening. Pollster Frank Luntz conducted a focus group, and one question concerned their feelings on Rubio; you know, the guy not only proven via video to be completely dishonest, but who supported a culture-rending scamnesty bill. When Luntz asked how many in the group had planned on voting for Machiavellian Marco coming into the debate, about three people raised their hands. And after the debate?

Forty to fifty percent of those present did.

Beam me up, Scotty. It just renews my faith in my lack of faith in the average voter. But the explanation probably lies with a study some years back showing that if a person is articulate and eloquent, he’ll sway people regardless of what he actually says. It’s style over substance, and the slick-talking, eye-candy Florida python has the former in abundance.

Having said this, my guess is that Rubio only swayed some undecided low-info voters, and it certainly won’t be enough to change his fortunes. As for the biggest presence on stage Thursday night, it was a man who wasn’t even there.


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59 Responses to GOP Debate: Trump Was the Winner

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Trump undoubtedly benefited by not receiving the sort of treatment Rubio and Cruz got, which may be why he decided to duck out. He also was helped by the debate becoming Rubio vs. Cruz, with very little piling on the missing man. On the other hand, this probably was good for viewers, many of whom (including me, Elizabeth, our friend Lisa Major, and many of the bloggers on the Town Hall open line) thought the debate was better for his absence.

    As for the Muslims, there are many estimates as to how many terrorist acts are committed in the US, and by whom, with liberals in particular eager to blame white males for most of them. One reasonable figure I’ve seen is that Muslims commit about half of the domestic terrorism — but they only make up 1% of the population, so they obviously are far likelier to be terrorists than anyone else. Adding in all the other problems (e.g., Rotherham and Cologne), Trump is right.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      One reasonable figure I’ve seen is that Muslims commit about half of the domestic terrorism

      What cause or causes is being forwarded by this other half? I wasn’t aware of any widespread, ongoing movement (other than Islam) that regularly uses terror as a weapon. Maybe the Tea Party is a large part of that other half. Seriously…Who are they talking about?

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Well, with most of the vote counted, Ted Cruz has been declared the winner. As one of only 2 candidates running against the ethanol subsides/mandates, he was a very worthy winner, and it’s especially interesting that he ran well in the rural areas where this would theoretically have hurt him the most. (The other opponent, Rand Paul, ran fifth, a little behind Ben Carson.) Rubio and Trump are fighting it out for second place. Interestingly, the turnout was large enough that Trump should have won according to all the pre-vote projections. But that’s why we vote instead of simply relying on poll results.

    According to entry poll results, Trump fared poorly among late deciders, which suggests that Iowa voters weren’t pleased by his decision to duck out of the debate. He only got 6% of voters selecting who matches their values, with Cruz leading handily; his attack on “New York values” played better in Iowa than in NYC and Versailles-on-the-Potomac.

    • Bell Phillips says:

      That Comrade Sanders came so close to beating Shrillary is really interesting. That would seem to indicate a pretty high level of disgust among the other half of the population

      What I can’t comprehend is the Rubio thing. If there is a Rubio supporter lurking around here somewhere, seriously, please, could you explain your rationale for that choice?

      I’ve been pretty bummed out about all this lately, so I’m feeling pretty happy with a Cruz win right now.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      According to entry poll results, Trump fared poorly among late deciders, which suggests that Iowa voters weren’t pleased by his decision to duck out of the debate.

      I suspect Trump’s personal attacks on Cruz cost him in middle-America Iowa. Middle class Republicans don’t mind Rep candidates attacking each other, but they generally don’t like ad hominem attacks.

      This is probably particularly true in this cycle as the outsiders are very popular and neither will do each other any good by dirty accusations.

      Overall, I think middle America wants Republican candidates to fiercely attack Hillary, not each other. I wonder if Donald will learn this?

      That being said, I still think the nomination is Trump’s to lose. He is way ahead in N.H., but S. Carolina might become interesting.

      • Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

        Mr. Zu, I agree that the debate ducking was not the prime reason for Trump’s demotion to #2. All hail Tim, but I always look at such suggestions with the same gimlet eye I cast on stock market gyration explanations. We must remember that poll data sucks, to use the most straightforward vernacular. Who knows what voting propensity lurks in the heart of man?

        That being said, I’m sure encouraged by Cruz’s victory. He courteously avoided the lure of Big Corn, presented his conservative cases, and prevailed.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          This morning I have been reading about the aftermath of Iowa and it seems Trump was going around calling Iowa and Iowans dumb as they had not picked a Republican winner for many years.

          I cannot help but suspect this did not endear Donald to a lot of those benighted Rubes. Calling your potential voters dumb is not a winning strategy as Donald should have figured out. After all, he is running as an outsider and against the GOPe which has called its voters idiots and Rubes for years. Hasn’t he figured out that we don’t like this and that is one of the reasons he is able to run strong during this election cycle?

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I cannot help but suspect this did not endear Donald to a lot of those benighted Rubes. Calling your potential voters dumb is not a winning strategy as Donald should have figured out. After all, he is running as an outsider and against the GOPe which has called its voters idiots and Rubes for years.

            I think Trump’s ear is always tilted to the Eastern corridor and media. Listen, I understand the veil that “conventional wisdom” can be. Trump is very very liberal on many things but doesn’t see it because the bubble he lives in (a quite big one, it may be) sees all of these ideas as normal. Europe is now choking itself on this new normalcy. But add a lot of bluster behind your views and you can sort of anoint these views as conventional wisdom, if not common sense itself. The expectations is that all normal people believe this stuff and only silly people believe otherwise. This tactic is likely as old as time and the Left has made great use of it while the GOP Establishment have been their whipping-boy eunuchs, unable to forward a contrary vision.

            And taking a whack at the supposed hayseeds in Iowa isn’t going to harm Trump in the big states. If one thinks of him as a Progressive Republican — possibly in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt (who I wouldn’t doubt is his model) — then his big, bold, brash, New York ways make sense. There are many snobbish Californians (and that’s all they really have left these days) who will like Trump for sneering at a midwestern state. And I do agree that in more open primary states that Trump will do much better. Trump is playing not just to the base. He seems to be campaigning as if he were in the general election already, at least to some extent.

            And I thought at the time that it was a very bad move to attack Ted Cruz from the Left. That’s not going to do him much good. This shows that Trump isn’t half as smart as he thinks he is. Had he saved his venom for Hillary, Bill, Obama, Kerry, etc., he’d probably have won Iowa.

            But haven’t we seen this before? Although Trump hasn’t shied from attacking Hillary, which is good, it’s been the standard for the GOP to be lustful in their attacks on conservatives. Trump is not a conservative. He is right (in rhetoric) on possibly the most important issue facing us (the watering down of our culture by illegal immigrants and legal Muslims). But he’s wrong about a whole lot of other things…because he’s first and foremost a liberal New Yorker. To the extent that he’s proud of this country, he’s not fully Leftist. That’s good. And when dealing with this whole crop of candidates, you’re left to pick and choose. Cruz is the best, but even he is hardly perfect, particularly on immigration.

            • Bell Phillips says:

              I’m solidly in the Cruz camp, but he is far too enthusiastic about legal immigration for my taste.

              I don’t know what to think about the Carson tweet, but I was *VERY* disappointed by the campaign mailer thing. That just screamed sleazy politician.

              I’m still happy for the win, though.

            • Bell Phillips says:

              Et Tu Ted?

              Here’s an article on Cruz’s campaign manager:
              https://newrepublic.com/article/127717/ted-cruzs-howitzer

              I won’t feel too bad for Hillary if this guy gets his shot at her, but I like to imagine that you can win an election without this kind of crap.

              Maybe that’s delusional thinking, but if I was on the fence for another candidate, this kind of thing would put me to the other side.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        This is something I read a while back, that Trump might be hurt by attacking fellow outsiders (Carson, Cruz, and Paul). Voters are happy to see him mock the insiders (such as Bush), and even happier to hit Hillary (which he does; note that he did more than anyone to make the deployment of her “husband” a risky move). In the end, we have no way of knowing what precisely led to Trump grossly under-performing. But he was attacking Cruz well before the final pre-Iowa debate and it hadn’t hurt him yet.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Watching some clips from Fox about last night’s results, it is absolutely laughable the way they, especially Krauthammer, have gone all in for Rubio. In an interview with Megan Kelly, he spent most of his time on how big a deal this was for Rubio and Trump would now have problems. He played up Rubio to the point of silliness. He barely mentioned Cruz’s victory. If one had did not know it, one would have thought Rubio had won the thing.

    It was also something of a joke the way the Fox people took every opportunity to point out that Trump missed the last debate (on Fox) and whether this hurt him. Of course, everyone at Fox said it did. Nothing like self-promoting. I wonder do they think people do not notice this type of thing?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I noticed that too. Rubio was certainly a big story, running way ahead of his poll results (for whatever those are worth) and nearly catching Trump — but after all, Cruz ran almost as far ahead of his polls as Rubio did, and actually won. Iowa has pretty much made this a 3-man race.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      It was also something of a joke the way the Fox people took every opportunity to point out that Trump missed the last debate (on Fox) and whether this hurt him.

      More evidence that the conservative (so-called) media is largely corrupt.

      Here at ST we call them like we see them. Cruz won. Good. I’m a Cruz guy. But Iowa means relatively little in the primary scheme of things. Trump got second. Not surprising considering the way he openly insulted Iowa voters. I’m going with the conventional wisdom about Rubio which is that he was the biggest winner in that the Establishment GOP and their lackeys (such as Krauthammer) will rally around him as the anointed Establishment candidate. I think that’s the take-away, as well as a very strong ground game by Cruz in Iowa.

      Good for Rubio, I suppose, but the corrupt pseudo-conservative media has obsessed on the supposed ceiling that Trump has. But the real ceiling, at least this election cycle, is for the Establishment candidates. The Cruz/Trump/Carson coalition is much larger than the Establishment one.

      Still, let’s remember that this is the America that nominated Romney and McCain and twice voted an America-hating Marxist into the highest office in the land. Anything could happen. Rubio is a near perfect mix of faux-youthful vigor combined with Establishment duplicity.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Rubio is a near perfect mix of faux-youthful vigor combined with Establishment duplicity

        I still think the “Eddie Haskell” sobriquet suits him.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          LOL. Yeah, Eddie Haskell.

          Although Rush was just gushing all over Rubio as a worthy conservative, should he gain the nomination. Me, I just don’t see it.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Reading the various commentaries on the caucuses, I noted some relevant points. One was that the Trump and Cruz results were at the edge of the margin of error of the polls. This is a reminder of one of the inherent liabilities of modern polls — even when done well, their margins of error often exceed the projected margin (this is especially easy because the margin applies either way to each candidate, so that it actually applies double to differences between candidates).

        Another important point is the Cruz data/turnout machine. A Town Hall columnist compared this to how the Conservatives in Britain defeated Nigel Farage in his home constituency. For those who are interested, the link is:

        http://townhall.com/tipsheet/andrewalker/2016/02/02/trumps-failure-in-iowa-was-all-too-predictable-n2113551

  4. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I am beginning to foresee irreparable fissures forming between the outsiders in the campaign.

    The Carson people are accusing the Cruz people of dirty tricks and saying this just shows Cruz is another dirty politician. I have not followed this, but think if any Carson voters were fooled by this they should put on a dunce cap and go stand in the corner. Give me a break. Even if the Cruz people came and said Carson was pulling out, which is not what they did, why would anyone with a lick of sense believe such a thing? I mean this happened just before the people started caucusing. I do note that Fox is running with this story on their webpage and this is in line with their overt support of Rubio.

    More importantly, the Trumpkins are coming out of the woodwork attacking Cruz. What they lack in reason, they make up in vitriol. I have been following some blogs where the various attributes of candidates are discussed and have been sorely disappointed by the level of comment by the Trumpkins. There is rarely a sensible thing to be found in such strings. If these strings are indicative of the Trump supporter then we are in for a long campaign.

    I have, of course, thought of the likelihood that much of the mud slung between the Cruz crowd and Trump is actually being thrown by Democrats claiming to be Republicans and conservatives.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      It’s an old trick, cf. the seminar callers Rush used to face. (I still remember the caller — he replayed the beginning to make sure people realized it — who started with “I’m a di- — a Republican.” Was she calling herself a dipshit? Or was she about to admit that she was a Democrat when she was supposed to pretend to be a Republican. The agent provocateur is an old police-state trick (they used it against Randy Weaver, with ultimately tragic results). And you may also recall that some Democrats were very open about seeking people to make racist comments as fake Tea Partiers.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I’m pretty sure I heard a seminar caller on Rush today. Someone claiming to bleed Ronald Reagan had such vitriol for Cruz. I didn’t buy it for a moment but thought it strange that Rush made no comment.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    George Neumayr has another interesting and readable article: Panic at the GOP Yacht Club. I like his description of Rubio:

    Her only hope at this point is that Republicans sabotage Trump and Cruz and give the nomination to Rubio, who would prove an underwhelming candidate. He has his good points but he still seems like an inexperienced and philosophically shallow fortysomething who can’t pay his credit card bills.

    The New Hampshire primary is next Tuesday (I think). The gathering conventional wisdom is that if Trump doesn’t win this, it’s a sign that his poll numbers are clearly inflated. I expect he’ll squeak out a close win over Cruz (5 points or so). Rubio will likely climb a little having garnered more of the hard-core establishment crowd. Christie is out and Jeb! can’t be far to follow.

    Trump’s bellicose criticism of Cruz likely didn’t help him in Iowa. Apparently Iowa leans more toward motivated Christians and conservatives. I’m going to go against the “bubble bursting” theory and say that Trump did better than he had any reason to believe he could in Iowa. No ground game. Not really much of a conservative or Christian. No ground game. Criticisms of Cruz from the Left. Saying that he could deal with Pelosi and Reid. I think those things, rather than skipping a debate, hurt him.

    But assuming Iowa is still kinda-sorta the same place whence Radar O’Reilly sprung, the cruder, more vulgar, more juvenile 49 other states await….the same states that tend to prefer the Obama types.

    One thing I think we could find happening is that Cruz will slowly gain ground (perhaps Rubio as well) as the Trump bubble doesn’t burst but slowly deflates as this billionaire gets bored with the entire business and puts even less effort into articulating coherent ideas and his becomes the campaign of “whatever.”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Yes, New Hampshire is next Tuesday. South Carolina is February 20, Nevada is February 23, and a week later is the SEC primary. Note that for all the hype about bad polls, Trump was only a few percent below, and Cruz a few percent above, their expected poll results. Only Rubio’s gain was significantly beyond the margin of error, which is one reason why such a big deal was made of his performance. (The other reason is a pro-Rubio bias, of course.)

      That’s a good point, that the big 3 all ran as Tea Party Christian conservatives. So did the next 2 (Carson and Paul), thus adding up to nearly 90% of the vote.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        The overall dynamic I’m detecting, Timothy, is the a lot of Trump supporters are wearing tin foil hats. The Establishment GOP types will likely coalesce quickly around Rubio. Rand Paul just announced that he is out of the race. I think it’s all but over for everyone but Trump, Cruz, and Rubio. And if there is a ceiling, the toughest ceiling probably belongs to Rubio because I think it will be harder for him to scrape off Trump or Cruz votes than it will for Cruz, for instance, to gain from Trump (or vice versa should “momentum” be a factor and a likely strong — in electoral count — frontrunner emerge).

        Rush just reported that Sarah Palin has said something like “what a lying so-and-so Ted Cruz is.” Palin is begin to wear on me.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          The overall dynamic I’m detecting, Timothy, is the a lot of Trump supporters are wearing tin foil hats

          If the Trumpkin bloggers one encounters on the web are representative of Trump’s potential voters, we are in for trouble. A bigger group of know-nothings would be hard to find. It is truly a sad commentary on our political culture that these types exist in, apparently, large numbers. I see little difference between these people and leftists. Neither need worry of being accused of using facts or reason when “discussing” politics.

          If anyone thinks I am overstating things, I simply ask they go to sites such as Breitbart, The Daily Caller, FoxNews and many others. Hell, I even run into the Trumpkins over at Asia Times.

          Palin is begin to wear on me

          Now you see why I have been less than a Palin fan for some time. One of the reasons I pointed out her disaster of a family is that we need to look at the whole person when judging our leaders. She has either tried to be a good parent yet pretty spectacularly failed in this role or she didn’t value her role as a parent above personal ambitions. Either way does not speak well of her. I suspect it is the later.

          And her comment about Cruz being a liar is disingenuous at best. She knows Cruz, she was a big supporter of Cruz and they are both politicians i.e. neither would likely win any ethics awards.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            If the Trumpkin bloggers one encounters on the web are representative of Trump’s potential voters, we are in for trouble. A bigger group of know-nothings would be hard to find.

            I’m seeing the same thing in the comments section. Trump can do no wrong. I suspect most of the Trumpkins are liberals or libertarians. I do understand there are many ticked off conservatives who are supporting him because of his stance on immigration/the Muslim horde and his opposition to political correctness.

            I think if Cruz continues to show strong, 80% of those conservatives now supporting Trump will move to Cruz, especially because Trump has shown himself to be such an uncouth blowhard in regards to Cruz. But no one would bemoan him doing the same thing to Obama, Hillary, or Bernie Sanders. Those guys are the enemy, not Cruz.

            I didn’t ever suppose that Trump was anything but a classless act. But this was alway in the context of being bent over and rammed from behind by all the well-dressed, nice-talking GOP Establishment men. I don’t mind if a guy is a little brash and rude if he’s heading in the right direction.

            But when Trump says he can work with Pelosi and Reid, that nobody likes Cruz, well…as they say, especially in the case of Cruz, you can define your character by who your enemies are. We don’t want anyone “crossing the aisle” and making deals with the Democrats. Of all the things Trump has said, this is one that will just kill him with conservatives.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Now you see why I have been less than a Palin fan for some time.

            Palin can still articulate the conservative message almost better than anyone today who is not in talk radio. And she has been governor. She has been actively supporting some good conservatives. She’s done a lot of good. I don’t expect anyone to be perfect.

            But she’s really started to shade toward the whole pointless big-top circus where conservatism is a sideshow meant to sell books and gain speaking fees and very little else. I mean, I don’t care if Ted Cruz just ran over my puppy, if the point is to pull America back from the brink, it’s ludicrous for her to support Trump over Cruz. But from the Barnum and Bailey angle wherein “conservatism” is basically a for-pay entertainment industry, she made the right choice…for now.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Santorum is planning to reassess his position, and will probably drop out in a couple of days. Christie and Kasich will likely quit if they don’t do well in New Hampshire. No telling what Bush will do, since he still has plenty of money.

          Polls have shown Trump beating Rubio in a 2-man race, but Cruz beating Trump. What they would say now is another matter.

          Incidentally, Marco Rubio broke the record for GOP votes in the Iowa caucuses (Dole in 1988 and Huckabee in 2008 each just topped 40,000). And he finished third, although some people seem to be unaware of this. Think of that.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Rush is pretty insistent that Rubio is a conservative, not an Establishment Republican although he admits the eGOP would love to acquire him.

            I honestly just don’t see anything but eGOP with Rubio. It’s unlikely he would go after Hillary with any gusto for fear of a perceived “war on women” while we learn, yet once again, all about his family history ad nauseum. To me he just looks like another Romney or McCain.

            Hopefully Santorum will put his energies behind Cruz.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Back in the late 60s and early 70s, there were “law-and-order liberals” who didn’t accept the pro-criminal sympathies of other liberals but were reliable liberals otherwise (mostly this meant on economic issues and racial discrimination). I would say that today we have “amnesty conservatives” such as Rubio.

              Incidentally, I noticed that Rush also used Trump’s complaints about Iowa as proof that he isn’t an Establishment Republican. Good point, but it is the sort of thing a Democrat would do. (So is ducking a Fox News debate.)

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                LOL. Amnesty conservative. That’s it perfectly. Add that to the official ST lexicon, Mr. Librarian.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              I heard a woman call Rush today telling him that Rubio was always for amnesty, but had changed his story when pressed by Florida voters when he ran for the Senate. She said he lied about this to get elected and then went back to his original stance when he formed the Gang of Eight.

              In reply to her, Rush gave a smart-ass reply and went to break. Immediately the commercial break was over, Rush came back and walked back his smart-ass remark saying he was just trying to be funny in the 3 seconds left before the break.

              I think Rush perhaps realized that he is coming close to losing a large percentage of his audience.

              Unfettered immigration is perhaps the biggest single point motivating the base. And this has been tied in with terrorism. So if Rush doesn’t get it that Rubio has disqualified himself with his Gang of Eight shenanigans, then Rush is not as smart as I thought.

              Unlike the pundits, I am convinced that if Rubio is the nominee, the party will split. At the very least, millions of Reps will not vote for him and the Dems who support Trump are not even on the cards.

              We are in an odd situation where the only candidates who have a chance are a populist blowhard and an old fashioned conservative. But both claim to be pretty hard-line on immigration and amnesty.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                I think Rush perhaps realized that he is coming close to losing a large percentage of his audience.

                Rush kinda-sort is an Establishment Republican if only because he no longer calls a spade a spade. If you can’t look at Megyn Kelly and call her just another news presenter and faux journalist then you’re not doing your job.

                I’m not sure why Rush believes that Rubio is a genuine Reagan conservative. Maybe he is, but I don’t see it. And I agree with you that if Rubio is nominated, we’ve got a loser on our hands. I’ve prefer Trump myself. With Rubio I know I’m being lied to. With Trump I hold out hope that he’ll do the right thing on two or three key issues. while “crossing the aisle and giving Harry Reid a reach-around” the rest of the time.

                For me it’s Cruz or Trump. I’ll vote for Rubio. I wouldn’t stay home. But it would be with the expectation that we’d be voting in another eGOP political eunuch.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                I got the impression when Rush started on this a few days ago that he was basing it on his own personal encounters with Rubio.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I think Tom Trinko has a fairly balanced article about Trump: Donald Trump: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

    For one thing, this tough-talking New Yorker just comes off looking like a pansy and sore loser when he says the Cruz stole the election. Given Trump’s general behavior, I think it’s clear he’s too unthoughtful, petty, and mercurial to be Commander in Chief. But if we want to turn the office of the Presidency into a reality show, Trump’s your man.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      That does seem a fair analysis, especially his strength of attacking Hillary where everyone mistakenly thinks she’s strong. I would love to see a Republican hit the Democrats’ war on women, and cite Muslim rapists in Europe as a reminder of what they seek to bring here. But Trump is the only one who wants to shut down Muslim immigration even temporarily; the rest have forgone that attack.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        One caveat I have is that I don’t see Trump as any more unprincipled as the Establishment Republicans. He just doesn’t have the filter of the others. He doesn’t hide his duplicity as well. Somewhat like a spoiled child, he just says what’s on his mind and if he doesn’t get what he wants, he cries foul.

        I’m no more enamored of this kind of behavior than when it’s wrapped up in a polite smile. The eGOP has had the long knives out for conservatives for some time even while claiming fidelity to conservative values. That is, I’m not off of Trump because he’s impolite, a bit vulgar, or even mercurial. They all are to some extent.

        Trump’s growing problem is his hostility to conservative reason. Cruz is not the enemy. Certainly he’s a rival and I don’t expect any candidate to be beyond criticism. But to hit Cruz from the Left shows you deep into Trump’s character (or lack of same). And his blustering boast that “everyone hates Cruz” and that Trump will work with Reid and Pelosi does little to distinguish him from business-as-usual Establishment Republicans.

        Deeper down, he reveals himself to be of poor character in the way he went after Ben Carson. With all this in mind, his hits on Hillary seem less driven by ideology than just the willingness of a man to crash everything and everyone around him to achieve power. We’ve had enough of that already.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          I believe Trump is hurting himself with the whining and attacks on Cruz. Perhaps he cannot help himself, but if that is the case, it is a bad sign.

          My single biggest concern with Trump is that he would nominate his sister to the Supreme Court or ask her advice for a candidate for the S.C.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I believe Trump is hurting himself with the whining and attacks on Cruz. Perhaps he cannot help himself, but if that is the case, it is a bad sign.

            I totally agree, Mr. Kung. His stock in trade is being the bold, confidant, take-the-world-by-its-tail ubermensch. But his whining and excuse-making about his loss in Iowa instead paints him as a very small man indeed. I don’t doubt that the hardcore Trumpkins will stay loyal. But he is not doing what you and I said he should do months ago: lay out a coherent political philosophy. By all means, be the brash personality. But so far he is not showing that it is anything but skin deep, a mere slogan and a red hat. He’s living off the vapors (powerful they may be) of his celebrity. That cloud could disperse rather quickly.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Brad,

              Although Trump did put out a couple of good policy papers early on, he has not put out much of anything for some time. This is foolish. Trump is risking looking childish.If he backed up his bluster with concrete policy statements he might be able to carry the day. But winging it will not cut the mustard over the actual primary months.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Deeper down, he reveals himself to be of poor character in the way he went after Ben Carson.

          I have few doubts about Trump’s character. His single most pronounced trait is his self-regard. That does not bother me so much as anyone running for president must have a pretty large ego. (Including the increasingly annoying Ben Carson.)

          But one must be able to, occasionally, put one’s ego to the side, if one is going to make rational decisions when trying to solve most large problems. Reality must be given precedence now and then. Is Trump able to do this? I think he probably is because to build a company such as his, he certainly had to bend to the will of others at some point in time. He had to make that choice between attainment of a goal or the pleasure of satisfying his ego.

          The big problem with Trump is that he is a deal maker and is probably emotionally driven to make deals even if they are not always the best deals. He sees deal making as a virtue in and of itself.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            He sees deal making as a virtue in and of itself.

            That may be so. I wonder if that plethora of essays in National Review touched on any of this. I doubt it. And one of the problems of the eGOP is that they are deal-makers. As this (or some other) article noted, it is the ability to “rise above principle.” The eGOP has that in spades. And if Trump is centrally a deal-maker as you say, then “making a deal” is the point. And that means he is basically morally and politically rudderless, as many suspect. How is this so different from Romney, Jeb, Dole, or McCain? In the face of committed ideologues such as Pelosi and Reid, Trump would be yet another eGOP deer caught in the headlights, aiding and abetting yet another turn of the ratchet toward Communism.

            I expect Trump to do well in “open primary” states whereby (as I understand it) anyone can vote. You don’t have to declare being from one party or the other. I acknowledge that Trump’s innate pragmatic liberalism (go along to get along) is a vote-getter. He’s attracting a lot of liberals who otherwise would never look at a Republican. It’s ironic the National Review and others so hate him because Trump is taking to the logical extreme the eGOP idea of “diversity,” of “going along to get along,” of “the big tent that excludes no one.”

            As you’ve stated often, Mr. Kung, all of these guys are politicians, including Cruz. But some are more honest than others. Some have better principles than others. Although Trump *might* build a wall and halt the importation of Muslims, as president he could so overwhelm us with other liberal stuff that at the end of the day we might feel it just wasn’t worth it. And it’s a very big if that Trump would build a wall or halt Muslim immigration.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Note that after all the harsh things he said about Carson (one of which Cruz parodied in the last debate), Trump praises him hyperbolically (Trump is a master of hyperbole, so no surprise there) in order to hit Cruz over passing on the initial CNN report that Carson was taking off for several days after Iowa (which is what the actual broadcast at least implied). He even whined about a fraudulent win even though Carson did as well as his polls and no one so far (as Rush pointed out today) has claimed to have switched away from Carson over the report.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            As the primaries proceed, I believe Trump’s hyperbolic flip flopping will begin to erode his support.

            After a while, hyperbole begins to wear on people and Trump will lose credibility. Only one thing can be the worst, biggest, etc and the constant use of this device will make the boy who cried wolf look tame, by comparison.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Supposedly he is good at making deals. But I do think that after you’ve given the girl flowers and candies, at some point she expects more. She doesn’t want to live on a diet of sugar and sweet-smelling things.

              So Trump has dined out far too long now on generalities and little more than various forms of attempted character assassination. Wasn’t there a commercial that said “Where’s the beef?”

              And then you have that clip of Jeb Bush asking his audience to applaud for him. Has the entire political class turned tone deaf to what a good leader should do? I think Cruz continues to be the little engine that could. And my old brother thinks Rubio will now be the nominee. But I don’t think he understands how much the eGOP is disliked, as much as Rush tries to paint Rubio as a Reagan conservative.

              Still, who knows?

              • Timothy Lane says:

                That was a Wendy’s commercial from the 1980s, which Mondale recycled (though his aides had to tell him about it, since he wasn’t familiar with it — a consequence of full-time campaigning, I suspect) into an attack on Gary Hart’s new ideas.

  7. Timothy Lane says:

    This would be a good place to bring up last night’s New Hampshire debate. I didn’t watch, and from what I’ve read it’s just as well. ABC botched the introductions with the help of Carson and Trump (who were slow to come on stage), forgetting to call John Kasich. One of the other candidates had to do the job. Then, too, Martha Raddatz sees to have been auditioning to be the Fire Witch’s press secretary and appointed herself a one-female-dog wrecking crew (especially against Cruz). Mary Katharine Ham seems to have done a good job, though most of my information comes from her colleagues, so one has to be a bit careful there.

    As for the candidates themselves, most seem to have given some good answers. Cruz handled the inevitable question about the Iowa-Carson flap well, though no one even yet seems to have asked if anyone has ever found a single voter who left Carson over the report. Rubio was quite right to point out that Barry Screwtape Obama knows what he’s doing, but when challenged by Christie as too scripted he proved the point by repeating his statement 3 more times (to Christie’s mockery). Some bloggers at NRO saw this as his Dan Quayle-James Stockdale-Rick Perry moment, but I doubt it will prove that disastrous. (How many people were watching, after all, and for how long? This could be especially relevant for those like Cruz and Rubio who shone best in the later portions of the debate. Rubio gave a very nice pro-life answer — over 2 hours after the show started.)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I didn’t watch. Had they been given airsoft guns that they could shoot at each other, then I would have tuned in for sure. The mere verbal jousting holds no charm. Only two people up there would even marginally connect their words with action, and that is Cruz and Trump. We already know who Rubio is.

      David Sowway and Janice Fiamengo have have a good article on the roots of the defeat of the Conservative Party in Canada. It sounds like a mirror image of the GOP in America: They get elected and then do nothing.

      If Rubio is elected president, you can expect more of the same. They will do nothing substantive because they don’t actually believe in conservatism and America, as founded. I think Trump is genuinely ticked about the invasion of illegal aliens and might do something. Cruz might do a thing or two as well. But the rest is just meaningless rhetoric.

      And as for Carly not making the debate and the hullabaloo for her to be in that debate, one commenter aptly said:

      Yes, when women can’t compete they must be pushed to the finish line. It promotes diversity.

      Expect Eddie Haskell to continue to talk a mile a minute, Trump to be Trump (whatever that is…anyone really know?), and Cruz to keep chugging along as the Little Engine That Could.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        NRO had an article briefly summarizing an Eagle Forum article compiling Marco Rubio’s repeated blatant lies about his Gang of 8 monstrosity. The only conclusion is that at least on immigration (and if it’s true, it’s probably true on other issues), Rubio is every bit as honest as Slick Willy, Slick Hilly, and Slick Barry. The link to the original Eagle Forum piece is:

        http://www.eagleforum.org/immigration/rubio-record.html

      • Bell Phillips says:

        I saw this somewhere yesterday. When I tried to find the source again, it just seemed to be one of those unattributed things floating around on the internet, so here it is.

        Things that I trust more than Rubio:

        • Mexican tap water
        • A wolverine with a ‘pet me’ sign
        • A mixed drink made by Bill Cosby
        • A straight edge shave from Jodi Arias
        • A “Coin Toss” at a local Iowa Caucus
        • An elevator ride with Ray Rice
        • A night out with Aaron Hernandez
        • Brian Williams memory
        • A cigar offered to me by Bill Clinton
        • Pete Carroll coaching decisions
        • Loch Ness monster sightings
        • OJ Simpson showing me his knife collection
        • Pinocchio
        • A North Korea “Satellite” launch
        • Hilary Clinton’s investigation into Bengazi
        • Prayers for peace from Al Sharpton
        • MSNBC’s news reports
        • Gas station Sushi
        • A Jimmy Carter economic plan
        • Bill Clinton’s claim he never had inappropriate relationships
        • An Obama Nuclear deal with Iran
        • Michael Jackson’s Doctor
        • MeCHA, La Raza, and LULAC’s claim they’re not racists
        • A Jeffery Dahmer dinner invitation
        • Obama’s investigation into the IRS Targeting Scandal
        • The Boy that cried Wolf
        • Harry Reid’s exercise equipment
        • Tying Anthony Weiner’s shoes
        • The direct number to the State Department in case of a riot
        • A factory packed parachute
        • A kiss from Judas
        • An Afghan wearing a backpack
        • A Supreme Court decision
        • Keeping my healthcare plan
        • A North Korea trial by jury
        • A BIC pen that doesn’t leak
        • Flint Michigan water supply
        • Electronic Voting Machines
        • A business proposition from the Nigerian Minister of Finance
        • A week old tuna fish sandwich found on a filthy city bus

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I watched a good portion of the debate last night.

      The mix-up with the introductions was worse than you think. I believe Carson was correct in believing he should have been next on the list when he walked out, but the reporters really screwed up. It appeared to me that Trump was being polite waiting for Carson to be introduced even though Trump’s name had been called. ABC looked like complete idiots with this intro.

      As to the debaters, I believe Trump won. This was his least aggressive debate. I think he must have gotten the message that his attacks on Cruz were hurting him. He only gave a couple of light jabs at Bush and Cruz. His best work was hitting the RNC and donors in the audience.

      Cruz made Raddatz look stupid and petty. He apologized again to Carson which probably helped him with some who were unhappy with the Iowa affair. His was the most substantive contribution to the debate.

      Carson was his usual comatose self, except when he replied to Cruz’s apology by saying that “he didn’t want to savage Cruz” which he immediately proceeded to do. I don’t think this helped him. As the supposedly “pure” candidate, he cannot get away with this like a Trump could.

      Eddie Haskell, as usual, avoided answering any question directed to him and then proceeded to play back a recorded message which had obviously been focus-grouped.

      Cristie took Eddie Haskell apart on his not answering questions and his repetitive focus-grouped 25 second clips. Eddie Haskell rebutted Cristie’s accusation by replaying his 25 second pre-recorded focus-grouped clip, several times. I think Rubio was hurt by this.

      I can’t much remember what the rest said, except John Kasich came from a poor background.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I understand Kasich did a lot of smiling, too, though the bloggers on the Town Hall open line didn’t think he has a good smile. But he tries, I guess — or maybe he’s just trying. Very trying.

        Some commentators think Rubio’s repetition of a talking point even after Christie mocked him for repeating talking points will be his “oops” moment. We shall see. The synoptic media made a big deal out of Perry’s slip; so far they haven’t with Rubio. Isn’t the liberal notion of objectivity wonderful?

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Mr. Kung, thanks for a splendid wrap-up of the last debate. You sound similar to another article I read on the subject. People who are not smarmy apologists can still parse reality. I appreciate what I think is your rather objective assessment.

        Speaking of smarmy, I consider Ross Kaminsky to be yet another The America Spectator writer who is rather lame. Still, speaking of objective, one can appreciate his uncommonly frank assessment of his former love-child, Rubio, in Rubio’s Debate Disaster:

        But well before then the die was cast: Marco Rubio had taken arguably the most important debate of his career and instead of using it to cement his position as the leading alternative to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz he proved accurate Chris Christie’s recent criticisms of him as being the “boy in the bubble.”

        Rubio showed the effects of a candidate so effectively shielded by his handlers from hard questions and so over-prepared and scripted that he was unable to adjust to a debate that did not unfold as he had expected.

        One commentor wrote:

        Repeating the same canned oratory four times before the same audience proves he is capable of Rote learning, but obviously incapable of actually thinking, reasoning and making good judgement calls.

        I’ve read a whole bunch of funny comments. Some have called him the GOP’s Secret Robot (or something like that). Again, we were talking about this aspects of Rubio months ago. Catch it here first, folks. We have the sharpest people on the net.

        And Carson. Yikes. Get off the stage before you ruin your reputation as a brilliant and good man who might be out of his element in a presidential race. No shame in that. But the time to get out will surely be after New Hampshire.

  8. Timothy Lane says:

    AS midnight approaches, Trump has clearly won New Hampshire, with twice as many votes as Kasich and about 3 times as many as Cruz, Bush, or Rubio (who seem to have finished in that order, though it remains close). Christie may be about to drop out, and Fiorina and Gilmore should. Ir would be interesting to see if any of the Republican others (who got 35 times as many votes as Gilmore) finished ahead of Gilmore. Rand Paul, for example, actually got one of the midnight votes. Rubio clearly was hurt by his debate botch-up, though Christie doesn’t seem to have been helped by exposing him.

    Sanders stomped Hillary, and then proceeded to bloviate for 30 minutes fresh from the bull pasture. I note that FJC, which cut away from Cruz’s over-long victory speech in Iowa, stayed all the way through Sanders’s equally over-long victory speech here.

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