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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The BIG Debate

Category: GOP Presidential Candidates
Posted: 08/07/15 18:54

by Dave Mindeman

Yesterday's GOP debate had its moments, but if the GOP wants to take the ideas expressed there into a general election, they are going to lose.

The ideas on immigration, the assault on Planned Parenthood, the clear support for more troops on the ground in the Middle East....it was all a bunch of pandering to the extremes in the GOP. And it will put the eventual nominee in a general election hole.

But as for the individual candidates, it is hard to fathom winners and losers. Donald Trump got questions that were personal. I doubt his answers will hurt him any - he seems impervious to that. But it does look like the Fox network has decided to get tougher on "The Donald".

There was also a lot of talk about Carly Fiorina emerging from the early debate as having such a strong debate performance. I didn't see anything unusual, except maybe for more pointed attacks on Hillary Clinton. Of course, that would please the conservative talk show circuit, so maybe that is what the buzz is all about. The praise was mostly manufactured, but that might be enough to give her a bump. I'm still confused about what her actual credentials would be - she lost a California Senate seat run by a large margin and as the CEO of Hewlett Packard, she ran the company into the ground and got herself fired.

Mike Huckabee was doubling down on his extremist rhetoric. He clearly wants to defy the Supreme Court and undo the social construct of the country. I can't believe that he is presidential material.

John Kasich is still the most reasonable Republican on the stage...which is probably a low bar, but he stands out on policy positions. And he shows a willingness to compromise on legislative positions that will never happen with the others.

Scott Walker didn't exactly stand out. He got a few one liners in, but if you look at the actual time speaking on stage, Walker was actually near the bottom. He still uses his confrontation with unions as a badge of honor, while stating that he can get things done at the same time. And I have yet to see his convoluted statements about his horrible record in Wisconsin being challenged....and they should be challenged.

Ben Carson is a mystery to me. He offers a lot of conservative tag lines but is really weak on actual policy....completely useless on foreign policy. Yet he seems to continue with a stable polling number. What does he have to offer? I really wonder about that.

Chris Christie tried to stay relevant. His argument with Rand Paul on public surveillance was probably a draw...and probably didn't help either of them much. Christie is another governor with a horrible state record to stand on, but, like Walker, he keeps trying to spin it. The bluster was lost in the shuffle.

Rand Paul was the most combative of the group. He took on Trump and Christie, but he came off more as an angry crank, than a statesman. He does stand out as the only candidate that opposes foreign intervention. That message may not work in today's GOP.

Jeb Bush didn't seem like much a front runner candidate. He was tentative, seemed unsure of himself, and didn't stand out at all. He looks like a candidate hoping to tread water.

Marco Rubio got some buzz for his performance. To me, he seems almost plastic. He is articulate but doesn't really say anything. He has an immigrant message and talks of the American Dream, but opposes giving that same opportunity to others. He is careful to the point of pandering.

And then there is Ted Cruz. I can't look at or hear Ted Cruz without thinking about Joe McCarthy. He looks like him and sounds like him. Cruz is the ultimate flamethrower and loves the heat. Nothing about his debate performance is going to alter perceptions about him. He needed more.

The debate gets a lot of attention but this is only the beginning. There are still too many candidates to make any assumptions. And the threat of Trump going to an independent candidacy looms large over the GOP right now. If Trump is looking at how the GOP treats him as an excuse to make the big run, he certainly got ammunition at the debate.

The next series of polls will be interesting to watch.
comments (2) permalink

GOP Debate: An Event With No Possible Explanation

Category: GOP Presidential Candidates
Posted: 08/06/15 19:09

by Dave Mindeman

So the Republican Presidential debate is today.

It is difficult to define this phenomenon. You have 17 candidates. You have a conservative news channel deciding which 10 can take the stage. You have more talk about personalities than policy. And you have to wonder whether all of this hype is truly worth it.

Pundits tell us that not making the debate stage will end many of the candidacies. I doubt it.

Pundits tell us that Trump is the key to watch. Hey, he is one of 10 people. Even he can't dominate the air time all that much. And frankly, I think he's going to keep it low key.

Pundits are busy explaining to us why Trump is dominating the polls. And the real answer is that they have no clue. The Republican base is just not explainable with logical terms.

So, there you have it. One debate with endless analysis to follow.

I'll chime in on twitter at @newtbuster.

Get out the popcorn and watch the circus unfold.
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Really? Donald Trump Is One Of Us?

Category: GOP Presidential Candidates
Posted: 08/04/15 04:32

by Dave Mindeman

There is one aspect of the media coverage of the GOP Presidential race that I cannot get out of my head.

During a "focus group" that talked about Donald Trump and had Trump appear in front of them....one of the women was asked why she supported Trump. And her response amazed me. She said:

"Because he is one of us."

I am flabbergasted that anyone, no matter how delusional, would say that. Donald Trump is not "one" of anybody. How could you possibly relate to him? He is a billionaire...an arrogant one at that. He has never been on a subway or a taxi or a light rail train. He has limos and private jets for transportation.

His meals are cooked by gourmet chefs. He never has to work an 8 hour day or do overtime. He has nobody to answer to. His hands have never been dirty. I'm not sure he has ever dropped a bead of sweat.

His only knowledge of Mexican-American citizens is that he may see them working as laborers for one of his businesses. If he works a business deal with the country of Mexico, he does it through lawyer intermediaries.

Donald Trump has had very little to do with "us". For most of his business career he has avoided "us". For the first time in his life he is wearing a baseball cap....but only because he is selling it. Besides, it looks ridiculous as part of his basic Armani suit ensemble.

Donald Trump is NOT one of us. His crude talk and dismissive attitude toward certain people may be something some of "us" would like to be able to do without consequences. But only he can get away with it - and most of the people who support him may have similar prejudices, but they have to hold their tongue, because they would pay a price.

Donald Trump will never be able to relate to the average American. And for the most part, truth be told, he doesn't want to. The "little people" are only a means to an end. In this GOP field, he senses an opportunity for power. Power is the only thing that Trump wants and the only thing that he has to actually work for....scheme for....put together a strategy for.

This he understands. He does not understand us.

And, really, why would he need to.....or care?

If his supporters really think that Donald Trump is one of us...and he takes that to the Republican Convention, than Reince Priebus better get ready to do another "autopsy" and this time get a medical examiner.
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