Last night’s Republican debate was noisy, rude and quite unhelpful for anyone in the party who maintains a serious interest in important issues. (Are there more than a handful of politicians and voters in the party who fall into that category?) It really amounted to a travesty and seemed once again to demonstrate all too clearly that not one of these candidates is remotely qualified to be President.
In the first place, no matter how crazy we believe Donald Trump is and what a ghastly chief executive he would be — even as that threatens to become a possibility — the truth is there’s very little difference in craziness between Trump and his two challengers, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Their policy positions, in spite of loud, meaningless insults hurled last night, are strikingly similiar.
On the matter of immigration, Trump wants to build a wall and deport 11 million illegal immigrants. Cruz wants a wall and wants to make the deportations permanent. Rubio has nothing else to offer and keeps vacillating on his positions.
The budget plans for the three candidates are whack-a-doodle and by nearly all economists’ estimates would substantially increase the national debt while benefitting mostly millionaires and above.
To cope with ISIS, Cruz wants to bomb the shit out the terrorists. Trump and Rubio want boots on the ground to destroy them. Neither of the three seems to have a clue as to how this might be realistically accomplished.
All three want to abolish Obamacare. Yet no one has a workable plan to replace it beyond generalities about interstate insurance purchases and health savings plans. Sick people are in deep trouble if one of the three makes it to the White House.
Rubio and Cruz want to do away with funding for Planned Parenthood and demand investigations, ignoring the facts that PP has been investigated on the federal and state level and been found innocent of any wrongdoing. Trump, to his credit, says he would support PP’s non-abortion health services for women. Rubio and Cruz denounce even that.
I could go on. But the point seems clear: Trump, Rubio and Cruz are philosophical brothers and differ only in some specific matters of carrying out their beliefs. I believe they are way out of touch with the American electorate, as differentiated from the Republican base, who are the mostly far-right unhinged. They create huge volumes of noise — the debate was coarse evidence of that — but it is very hard to see their largely extremist views prevailing beyond the primaries.
And one important note: today’s Trump endorsement by Chris Christie, quite unexpected, may prove to be quite significant, representing a mainstream Republican endorsement for the candidate thought to be the enemy of the GOP establishment. That is really big news, to my mind, bigger than anything that came out of the debate.
And, oh yeah, Ben Carson and John Kasich were in the debate, too. Katich mostly spoke mush, and Carson talked about fruit salad, whatever that means.