It was amazing, it was painful, it was mean and it was in many cases dirty. No, I am not talking about a heavyweight boxing match …… this was the alpha and sometimes beta male brawl that was the Republican debate last night and the knuckles were bare….. the gloves were off. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz had a Spanish-off at the Republican primary debate in South Carolina on Saturday night. The two tall Anglos insulted and heckled each other all night long the alpha treating the beta as though he was a “gurl”. One got mad at the other for “talkin’ bout his Mama”. You know you don’t talk about a man’s “mama” or “famly”!
For the first time, the Iraq War was on the table and up for debate. And so was George W. Bush. His brother was there to defend him and Marco Rubio found the opportunity to win some favor with the mentor, Jeb! Bush, whom he previously dissed badly in his quest to become the second President of the United States with very little experience and a thin resume’ of accomplishments.
The crowd was revved up and ready to scream “boo” at anything Trump or Cruz said. The made a whimper at anything Kasich said but screamed in uproar and approval anytime Jeb! or Rubio uttered a word. It was slightly amusing. Oh yeah, and Ben Carson said a couple of things here and there. At one point I think he lost his place with one thought but I can’t remember what that thought was. I think the audience was packed with people sympathetic to the two gentlemen from Florida.
In addition, there was the question of Trumps occasional usage of profanity. Ummmmm maybe in that crowd the smelling salts and the fainting couch had to be used if a “cuss word” rolled over the tongue and through the lips of …. someone…. but according to a study by one of the major newspapers….. “cuss words” are “on the linguistic menu” for the common folk…… artistically embellished and slavishly used.
You know the only thing missing from this match was the bikini clad woman walking across the ring with the holding up a board with the announcements. Other than that it was a real rhetorical smoker.
So, let me give you my take:
. Donald Trump: Whether or not he “wins” this one, the only discussions going on in the Republican Party are the ones that are initiated by Donald Trump. From immigration to campaign tricks; from the “donor class” to media bias….. We have been able to witness the embarrassment of many of the “luminaries” of the pundit world, not only realize they have gotten it all wrong but also “double down” on their mistakes. This has fueled the need for each candidate, especially Jeb! Bush to attack. But then again, Trump is the big “alpha dog” and when you have your “crew” on the “ready”, like Jeb! does, it is a bit easier. Mom, Bro and a slew of sympathetic pals are there with “help”, attack ads and favorable press all have the “backs” of anyone willing to take on the two “insurgent” members at the top of the ticket – Trump and Cruz. Look, predictions of Trump doing damage to his own campaign have been almost comically wrong over the past six months. Trump knows his voters — , up to and including the fact that many have disdain for the Bush family. But the Bush name still carries weight among South Carolina Republicans…. so we will see how this plays out. Finally, Trump might just have turned the debate upside down when he said that George W. Bush was not only wrong about the war in Iraq but that he lied about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in the country. Jeb Bush fought back but he never does it very convincingly. He grins when Trump is mocking him and he stutters when he launches a counter-attack.
. Marco Rubio: Marco speaks Spanish fluently. And he is a Foreign Policy expert. This morning, for example, I saw a retired Air Force officer praise Marco Rubio’s foreign policy experience. Rubio is a one term senator from Florida who missed a great deal of important votes. The Times reported that because of fundraising demands, Rubio has missed a slew of Foreign Relations hearings and classified briefings. “In January, he missed an intelligence briefing on ISIS and two other classified briefings to attend fundraisers in California. In April he missed an Intelligence Committee briefing to go to Texas to raise money. And in September, he missed a Foreign Relations hearing on the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.” At best he is the valedictorian of foreign policy in that he has read about it.
. Jeb! Bush: “How ironic, given how poisonous the Bush association was supposed to be, that Jeb is now counting on affection for his family to save his candidacy. Read more at: “http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/14/opinions/republican-debate-south-carolina-stanley/ Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida blasted Donald J. Trump for insulting the Bush family and ridiculed the idea that Mr. Trump could be commander in chief during a contentious and sometimes nasty Republican presidential debate in Greenville, S.C., on Saturday, a week before a crucial primary in the state. With Mr. Trump leading in the polls in South Carolina and elsewhere after his victory in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, he was a ripe target for his Republican rivals, especially Mr. Bush and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who are under intense pressure to halt his political momentum. But the vitriol was so intense that it seemed to surprise even Mr. Trump, a combative figure who had not been so roundly pummeled at a debate before. Bush attempted to defend the rest of his family — particularly his mother, Barbara Bush, who has recently hit the campaign trail to support her son’s presidential run — from Trump’s attacks. In fact he spent a great deal of time defending his family members. He is a good son/brother. One interesting exchange:
Jeb! wasn’t going to take the attacks against his family lying down. “I’m stick and tired of Obama blaming my brother for all of the problems he’s had. I could care less about the insults Donald Trump gives me. It’s a blood sport for him, He enjoys it and I’m glad he’s happy about it. While he was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe and I’m proud of what he did.”
It was at that point that Trump interrupted, pointing out that 9/11 happened while George W. Bush was in office — and was greeted with a round of angry boos. “I lost hundreds of friends when the World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush.” Wow. What a low blow!
. Ted Cruz: “Why do you lie?” Trump asked him. Trump flatly called Cruz the “single biggest liar” on stage while Cruz told him not to interrupt. Earlier, Cruz and Rubio hit each other hard on immigration, with Cruz decrying the “Rubio-Schumer amnesty plan” and Rubio accusing Cruz of lying.
Things got personal when Cruz pointed to an interview Rubio did on Spanish-language television as evidence he would not rescind executive actions taken by President Obama.
“I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn’t speak Spanish,” Rubio shot back. After which Cruz went all “Tony Montana” on Rubio and started yelling at Rubio in Spanish. ‘That’s how you want it? Right now, say it — in Spanish, if you want,’ Cruz said en Espanol. Cruz fully admits his Spanish is really Spanglish, and that he’s lousy at it. One of the main reasons he refused to debate Dewhurst in Spanish in 2012.
Then, citing “a disturbing pattern,” Rubio argued that “Ted Cruz has just been telling lies.” He said his colleague “makes things up” and has supported legalizing undocumented immigrants already in the United States.
In all honesty, they were both fibbing a bit…… At the time Cruz had offered an amendment to the bill that would have stripped out a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants living in the country, but left legal status language intact. Cruz has said this was a ‘poison pill’ to kill the bill, of which Rubio was a sponsor, while Rubio suggests it was proof that Cruz supported giving illegal immigrants a legal status.
. Ben Carson: He said something, spoke a bit about religion but was really not part of this in any way.
. John Kasich: Painted himself as the “good guy”. The “positive guy”, the “friendly guy”, the sympathetic guy, and the “grown up”. I don’t remember anything he said. Kasich may also do well in some of the northern, more moderate states running March 1, such as Massachusetts — he earlier earned the endorsement of the Boston Globe — and Vermont.
Oh well ……. in coming attractions….. we have yet another debate in a couple of weeks….. at which point when we see them pulling off their rings and applying Vaseline to their faces ….. the fight will be on..