GOP holds another debate
Where man always bites dog
Tuesday, July 17, 2018, 23:30:UTC)(
11 November 2015
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin -- The Republican Party held another debate here on Tuesday, letting candidates again stumble and be savaged by the networks, which can no longer do so merely by asking snide questions, after the meltdown on CNBC.
Only Sen. Ted Cruz took the bait. Last week, he published a desperate plan not just of rosy outcomes but of specific departments to shut down. During the debate on Fox News, he listed them, and fatefully repeated one, as there is just something about the Department of Commerce that deserves to be killed twice. This inspired comparisons to the gigantic brain-fart that killed the career of fellow Texan Rick Perry four years ago, well before he could zero out the Department even once.
But that flub was the only news. Heir-to-the-throne Jeb Bush was due for a fall. The dimmest bulb on the Bush Christmas tree had recently accepted a journalist's trap question: "If you could go back in time, would you have choked the Baby Hitler to death in his crib with your bare hands?" — answering even this with his signature dithering. Christ, even Mitt Romney knew to dodge Stephanopoulus on whether states could ban the Pill. In the debate, however, Jeb reverted to form, merely doing some cute whining about how little time the moderators gave him, and spending none of it touting his fantasy league.
Carly Fiorina was spared further questions about having a ridiculous face for a President, as Donald Trump turned off the dickishness, maybe for good. Ms. Fiorina interrupted several good debates to gush about "zero-based budgeting," as she would not spend billions on anything just because it got billions last year but everyone else would. And Dr. Ben Carson was spared more requests for exact dates and times of schoolyard knife-fights and actually tried to discuss public policy.
Gov. Chris Christie could have brought heft to the debate, but he and Gov. Bobby Jindal were relegated to the Children's Table, where they quibbled about whether the nominee should go after Hillary Clinton, or evangelicals, while basketball broadcasts beckoned on adjacent channels.
Moderators' only trap was to ask what if Bank of America went broke, a chance for each candidate to say the rich have gotten richer under Barack Obama, as would never happen under a Republican. Gov. John Kasich said that only he could wheel-and-deal to keep each of BoA's 3900 branches from turning into smoldering sinkholes and even "find a way" to decide which depositors would get their money out, and which could afford to lose theirs despite federal insurance. Bank bail-outs were key policies of Bush and then Bush, which would have worked except that each was followed by the party being thrown out of power for eight years. Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio appealed to voters who want a President to call them "silly," claiming that no one can enforce the border without storm troopers going door-to-door, though if Commerce is killed, maybe they can do the census too. Indeed, the GOP platform calls for the President to remedy any department's failure by building a second department next door, which will wave in Mexicans "provided Obama makes them learn English and not be a burden on anyone." Each candidate vowed to repeal Obama-care and "replace" it with a gentler Republican package of the same welfare, mandates, and taxes.
And no one commented on how Boehner-Ryan-McConnell have achieved airtight control of Congress — and nothing else. Indeed, Mr. Obama took one of his famous "victory laps," telling an adoring crowd in Havana, "Keystone XL is dead, and Planned Parenthood is alive!" GOP Chairman Reince Priebus took back his vow to boycott CNBC for future debates, and crawled back to beg the left wing network to produce a show that anyone would remember.