Thursday, September 17, 2015

Debate #2

Random notes.  FYI, I wasn't able to watch the whole thing, or the under card:

  • Usually I don't watch such things and Kid Sandmich took noticed and inquired about why I was watching this one.  I hadn't thought of it, but then realized (and related) that while debates are usually just a series of scripted talking points designed for the question that they're being asked, Trump has changed that.  Since Trump violates the gentlemen's agreement that everyone respect everyone else's canned answers, the candidates have to give, well, "more real" answers.
  • The most interesting thing in the debate for me occurred right at the beginning.  The moderator explicitly stated that candidates would not be given more time unless they were called out by another candidate.  The moderator then (after intros) went to Trump who almost immediately called out Rand Paul for having no business being on the stage since he was the lowest polling candidate, to which Rand was able to give a nice long retort.  Why did Trump do this?  Because he meant to.  Rand Paul for SecDef?  Who knows....
  • Along those lines it was interesting that Carson and Cruz didn't slam Trump all that much either, hmm.
  • I thought that for the most part even the weakest candidates improved their lot.  Again, I thought that Cruz, Rand, and Walker did the best because of selection bias, but even the odious Marco Rubio and ¡Jeb! came off much better than they deserved.  The exceptions to this seemed to be Trump who felt that he had to play his cards close to the vest in a defensive maneuver and Carson who probably should have done the same and kept quiet a time or two.
  • I think Trump needs to change his 'bankrupt' talking points.  His point is fair: business units go out of business all the time, even the small place I work at has gone through that, repeatedly.  He just needs to take the focus off of him (yeah, fat chance) and restate it as just being the normal course of capitalism that not all ideas work out.  On the other hand, he closed in too late to press his point about Lucent in regards to Fiorina.  Fiorina's vendor financing scheme and dubious accounting nearly sunk one of the great American technology manufacturers.
  • Criticism of W. Bush ran through portions of the debate.  It's safe to say that no one is going to win running on his record.  However, as I've stated before, the post-Iraq war debates are easy to have now because Saddam is dead.  Without the threat of a hegemon in the Middle East (with Saddam arguably the only one who could fill that role) people are free to have whatever opinion that they want.  W. Bush's gift in this area was allowing people to be intellectually lazy in this regard.  Again, Trump came too late with a real criticism: W. Bush's crap economic decisions.  W's tag team with Wall Street and government rent seekers blew up the economy and only a fountain of cheap credit continues to mask the problem (while turning the U.S. into even more of an oligarchy).  Only the absolute corrupt ineptitude of King Putt makes W look good by comparison.
  • A couple of candidates mentioned, in name, Western Civilization.  Interesting that.  I'd like to see someone call them out and see if they think that importing a bunch of Islamic rabble from the Middle East is good, or bad for Western Civilization.
  • A few points continue to nag at me.  First is the repeated deference to Israel.  Israel is a fine place and I have nothing against them, but they're still a foreign country, not the 51st state.  They're a free thinking and determined people with military superiority and a suite of nukes. They're perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and at this point in time my bet would be that Israel will outlast many other places in the West and East.  Secondly, the whole "What Would Reagan Do?" line of thinking that continues to dog conservative thinking in general.  It's not bad to use the past as a guide, but Reagan was such a creature of his time and it's illogical to think that magic can somehow be bottled and used again (in fairness the Dems did this for decades in regards to FDR, it didn't exactly work out for them though).
  • My guess would be that the next debate (looks like a CNBC debate next month?) will have a trimmed roster.  My hope is that Rand can stick around while Huckabee/Firiona/Kasich/Christie go down to the undercard, however I'm prepared to be disappointed.
How about them Dem debates?  Looks like the first one is in...January?  And one of their few debates isn't even English, nice.  Looks like the plan is to hide Hillary until the election, not the worst strategy I suppose.

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