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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

 
The dull debate

by digby

Mr. Trump, as the leading presidential candidate on this stage and one whose tax plan exempts couples making up to $50,000 a year from paying any federal income taxes at all, are you sympathetic to the protesters cause since a $15 wage works out to about $31,000 a year?

TRUMP: I can't be Neil. And the and the reason I can't be is that we are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily. There is nothing that we do now to win. We don't win anymore. Our taxes are too high. I've come up with a tax plan that many, many people like very much. It's going to be a tremendous plan. I think it'll make our country and our economy very dynamic.

But, taxes too high, wages too high, we're not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can't do it.


The Donald also reiterated his plan to deport 11 million people and take them deep into Mexico and drop them off in the middle of the desert or something.  He elaborated today saying that he would for a "deportation force" to get that done.  I'd imagine they'll have some very snazzy uniforms.
And Ben Carson informed the US Intelligence agencies that the Chinese are actively participating in the Middle East conflicts. (His spokesman Armstrong Williams explained this morning that his information comes from unofficial sources the government may not know about. #AlexJonesprobably)

But those were the highlights of the weirdness and the rest was pretty much boilerplate wingnut. Anyway, I wrote about it for Salon this morning:

Last night, the Republican presidential candidates gathered in Milwaukee to talk ignorantly about the economy and scare the kids about the dystopian hellscape Hillary Clinton promises if she ever embeds her evil talons in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue again. They argued amongst themselves, but mostly in civil fashion (with the exception of Trump who shushed Carly Fiorina for interrupting and got booed for it). The moderators were good little boys and girls throughout.
The kiddie debate was a little bit sad without Lindsey Graham to breathlessly remind us that terrorists are coming to kill us all in our beds, but Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee made up for it by providing Bobby Jindal with the chance to be Baby Ted Cruz and rail against them as big spending Governors who aren’t real conservatives. Christie, for his part, indicated that he believes he is uniquely capable of taking on Hillary Clinton because he knows how to beat up on … Democrats. In fact he seemed so obsessive about her that she might consider issuing a restraining order. (To paraphrase Joe Biden, every sentence was a noun, a verb and “Hillary Clinton.”) And Rick Santorum opined that the government should do more to ensure that women get married, which was bracingly medieval.
The main event was a little more exciting, with John Kasich deciding that it was time to commit political suicide and officially become the Job Huntsman of 2016. Jeb Bush did his usual potted plant impression while Trump  and Carson vamped their way through the proceedings, as they usually do, thereby solidifying their frontrunner statuses once more. Fiorina and Paul were energetic and forceful — and completely irrelevant.
If you combine the two debates you can easily see the divisions that plague the GOP. Christie, Huckabee, Kasich and Bush are all governors or former governors with pretty impressive records. Unfortunately for them, they are also politicians who remain wedded to reality, at least on some levels, and in today’s Republican Party that makes them weak and vulnerable. Kasich decided to finally just let his freak flag fly and he showed himself as the curmudgeon he is by being as rude to the wing-nuts as they are to the party establishment.  They did not like it one bit. If Frank Luntz’s focus grouphas any  validity (a big if, to be fair), Kasich was roundly loathed by just about every Republican watching the debate. (The focus group’s main complaint was that he is a liberal.)
The other candidates are all running, to one degree or another, as outsiders and that status seems to allow them tremendous leeway with the facts. The jousting over the immigration issue showed this most starkly:
TRUMP: Maria, we’re a country of laws. We either have a country or we don’t have a country. We are a country of laws. Going to have to go out and they will come back but they are going to have to go out and hopefully they get back. But we have no choice if we’re going to run our country properly and if we’re going to be a country. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KASICH: Well, look, in 1986 Ronald Reagan basically said the people who were here, if they were law-abiding, could stay. But, what didn’t happen is we didn’t build the walls effectively and we didn’t control the border. We need to. We need to control our border just like people have to control who goes in and out of their house. But if people think that we are going to ship 11 million people who are law-abiding, who are in this country, and somehow pick them up at their house and ship them out of Mexico — to Mexico, think about the families. Think about the children. So, you know what the answer really is? If they have been law- abiding, they pay a penalty. They get to stay. We protect the wall. Anybody else comes over, they go back. But for the 11 million people, come on, folks. We all know you can’t pick them up and ship them across, back across the border. It’s a silly argument. It is not an adult argument. It makes no sense.
TRUMP: All I can say is, you’re lucky in Ohio that you struck oil. That is for one thing. (LAUGHTER) Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him. “I like Ike,” right? The expression. “I like Ike.” Moved a 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country, moved them just beyond the border. They came back. Moved them again beyond the border, they came back. Didn’t like it. Moved them way south. They never came back.  (LAUGHTER) Dwight Eisenhower. You don’t get nicer. You don’t get friendlier. They moved a 1.5 million out. We have no choice. We have no choice.
KASICH: In the state of Ohio, the state of Ohio, we have grown 347,000 jobs. Our unemployment is half of what it was. Our fracking industry, energy industry may have contributed 20,000, but if Mr. Trump understood that the real jobs come in the downstream, not in the upstream, but in the downstream. And that’s where we’re going to get our jobs. But Ohio is diversified. And little false little things, sir, they don’t really work when it comes to the truth. So the fact is, all I’m suggesting, we can’t ship 11 million people out of this country. Children would be terrified, and it will not work. (CROSSTALK)
TRUMP: …I built an unbelievable company worth billions and billions of dollars. I don’t have to hear from this man, believe me. I don’t have to hear from him.
That exchange perfectly illustrates the fundamental division among Republicans. On the one hand, you have some people speaking in fairly lucid terms about a problem and others engaging in absurd hyperbole. According to Luntz, the Kasich-Bush line on immigration was extremely unpopular, but the debate audience applauded both of them. (It’s likely because debate audiences are often filled with party functionaries, aka “the establishment.”) But of course, the talk-radio right will have none of it. Some might be persuaded to abandon Trump’s deportation plan, but there is no room for a path to citizenship. The fact that Bush explicitly used that language following Trump’s scrap with Kasich will almost certainly doom him (if he wasn’t doomed already).

Read on. I delve into the Rubio-Cruz cage match in some detail which is where I still think the race may be headed.

All in all,it was a dull affair. But the next time someone complains about Democrats getting softball questions in debates, remind them of this one:

First off, Dr. Carson, to you. You say you are in favor of a tax system, I guess akin to tithing, sir, with a flat tax rate of up to 15 percent because you said, if everybody pays this, I think God is a pretty fair guy. So tithing is a pretty fair process. But Donald Trump says that is not fair, that wealthier taxpayers should pay a higher rate because it's a fair thing to do. So whose plan would God endorse then doctor?

And no, the debate wasn't changed to the 700 Club at the last minute. That was Neil Cavuto of Fox Business News.



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