It was certainly different, as everything has been in our current, breaking all the rules election cycle particularly concerning the GOP field, but even this was a departure from the first debate; it was as if, as Hardball’s Chris Mathews pointed out, the backdrop of former president Reagan’s Air Force One behind them, seemed to remind debate participants, audience members, present or at home, the purpose of the exercise was to pick the next leader of this nation, not just some good political theater worth watching. Dawning sober realities that didn’t keep the debate from sounding like, more often than not, 10 guys, 1 woman in suites squabbling similar to children in a sandbox over toys or despotic leaders of decades passed dividing up territories on a map, to hell with the innocent people involved, especially when detailing their foreign policy strategies, listening to the two business leaders on stage argue back and forth about their records. Or straight out of the gate hearing Donald Trump, surprise, surprise, question Rand Paul’s place on the stage at number 11 and getting 1% in the polls; most shocking that he would fade away and disappear for a full 40 minutes during the 3 hours or that Marco Rubio would be as well versed as anyone in the foreign affairs effecting the United States and the globe in the coming years of the near future. Predictably Carly Fiorina gave another break out performance helping her surge in the polls, Ben Carson got more talk time and showed more of his thoughts on policy certainly not hurting himself, Jeb bush and Chris Christie holding their own yet not expected to move their poll numbers significantly. Easy winner of the night Ms. Fiorina firing off quick, sharp, commander-in- chief–esque answers; noticeable loser, Scott Walker giving another lack luster performance analysts marking several missed opportunities tied with Donald Trump called everything from looking tired to disappointing one critic for being, what he called, unrepaired. In other words, Trump came with a shtick his fellow GOP rivals came with a plan, Trump came with a shtick others came with issues, Trump came with a shtick others came with solutions, like them or not and there is plenty of reasons not to like them, to the issues weighing on the minds of the American people, specifically American republicans, the politically undecided, issues effecting America as a global entity. Trump this time came with prearranged answers, came with a sound bite while others became the sound bite by having something meaningful, relevant to say, not just provocative. But again it was what happened post-debate that almost became more important and we don’t mean the post-debate spin room comments; no, for Trump it was a next day rally in Rochester New Hampshire where he took questions from the assembled audience there and he failed to correct or oppose a questioner who stood up and said a whole lot in a few short sentences beginning with, “we have a problem in this country it’s called Muslims, we know our current president is one, we know he’s not even an American- birth certificates man, they have training camps right here in America where they want to kill us— finally getting to his actual question— stating, so my question is when can we get rid of them?” Trump’s response, apart from nodding along with the man, joking towards the start of the question when president Obama’s religion, heritage was mentioned we need this question right now, to say he had heard that from several people assuring that audience member he would be looking into it along with a lot of other things, setting off a firestorm. For Ben Carson it was, I guess one could say a sort of reaction to Trump telling news outlets he didn’t think a Muslim should be president; when asked if faith matters, if a candidates faith matters he said if it was congruent with American values then no, if it was incongruent then yes, reiterating a Muslim should not be president despite the unadulterated fact there isn’t a Muslim running in the 2016 race. His comments causing serious political operatives to call for him to drop out, political pundits at the same time asking if he is calling for a religious test to be administered to those wishing to hold office, those wishing to hold the highest office, something expressly forbidden by the constitution. For Scott Walker it was his lack of money and campaign problems forcing him to announce his withdraw; the 2016 field claiming another casualty after former governor Rick Perry also ran out of money and announced his campaign’s end.
Trump seeming to understand his mistake at the rally hastily exiting at its conclusion, going a step further cancelling a republican event for the next day citing a business deal he had to sign in person, attempting to make it clear it had nothing to do with the huge rally flub or the backlash it generated. However, when he did speak out the following day, he lit up his twitter feed saying among other things it’s not his job to defend president Obama, bluntly stating president Obama would not defend him. Yet when president Obama has been forced to speak about Mr. Trump or made a joke in lighter moments about him, think the Whitehouse correspondents dinner, the basis for whatever was said was rooted in the truth, remarks Trump had uttered, actions Trump had taken. No, there is no call for Donald Trump to constantly and continuously defend the president, he is running to take his job after all, but there is a responsibility to defend the truth; leaving the president’s heritage and religion out of it, if you must still cling to your bither notions, the idea he could be Muslim regardless of repeated claims otherwise, that commenter said plenty of accompanying things deserving a staunch rebuttal. The “problem” in this country is not Muslims, Muslim Americans or people who practice Islam peacefully; the problem is radical Islamic, extremist terrorists, for starters. Remember the questioner only said Muslims, no qualifiers, not details, no elaborations; secondly, there are zero, read carefully, zero, terrorist training camps on American soil housing terrorists that want to kill us. All training camps are somewhere in the Middle East with at least an ocean between us and them; what ISIS, ISIL and the rest are doing is using social media to encourage radicalized members globally, including here, to carry out lone wolf attacks wherever they are in the name of jihad. A problem that takes a whole lot more complicated strategy than “getting rid of” all Muslims in America; lastly deconstructing the questioners comment, what did he mean by that? Because, we certainly aren’t going to deport, expel every Muslim American from our shores; neither are we going to facilitate some sort of mass execution, assassination of Muslims simply due to the fact they are Muslims. And to suggest such a thing is one kind of craven, to say nothing when someone appears to suggest it is a whole other ballgame. Nor can we buy the Trump campaign line he barely heard the question, as alluded to, he was nodding along with the man throughout his rant, made a joke out of needing the question; hard to believe too he was only responding to the portion that talked about terrorist training camps when his response was, we’ll look into it. A-you thought the only part of his question needing an answer was the part regarding terrorist training camps, not the blatant race-baiting crap about either expelling or exterminating the Muslim population in America, a good number of them born and raised American citizens who have committed no crime and have no ties to terror, terror groups; B- you conveniently forget president Obama did show his long form birth certificate proving he was born here, not in Kenya, he’s been seen in church more than you have with far less the excuse, whatever he has done he didn’t mock anyone’s faith except the extremists, like you did Mr. Trump, referring to catholic communion as having your little wine, little cracker? How about reminding the public it doesn’t matter your faith, your religion, there is a difference between Muslim and terrorist; the president, whatever you want to say about him, is no terrorist? There is also an understood responsibility to control things at an event you are in charge of rather than remaining silent, doubling down, echoing another person’s incendiary statements well after they were put out there on national television; candidate Trump going so far as to perpetuate them in a preview of a 60 Minutes interview with CBS’ Scott Pelley asking a question of his own in part, “you’re telling me we don’t,” saying the 9-11 hijackers didn’t come from Sweden. Trying to imply the entirety of the Middle East and its people are terrorists, except the Christians he wants to remember and bring up when he dramatizes what ISIS has done in beheading them, for political points or effect, either one. The former denying Pelly’s assertion, channeling many observers, it was a testing moment of leadership insisting it wasn’t; those same observers, they were right to compare it to John McCain’s 2008 response to a nearly identical question were he rightfully and skillfully, classily defended his political colleague showing gravitas worthy of a potential commander in chief, gaining nothing himself, where ‘The Donald’ failed miserably. But then again Trump couldn’t adequately answer a far more basic question when a younger audience member explained having gone to school, getting her masters and facing employers saying she was either over qualified or under qualified asking, what if anything, he planned to do to help her and people like her, prompting his usual answer about bringing jobs back from Japan, China and elsewhere. Few noticing he didn’t answer her question, his “solution” bringing back all the jobs in the world from China, Japan will do nothing to change the business culture here that refuses to hire the “overqualified” for “lesser” work fearing how quickly they will exit the company when something better comes along; dimes to doughnuts says the “under qualification” she has is a lack of degree field experience no one wants to give thanks to the extinction of the internship/apprenticeship. And the business guy in the debate, forever tooting his own horn, like Scott Walker the night before and Mike Huckabee long before that, challenges Americans to raise their education and skill levels never wanting to discuss raising the minimum wage; they will endlessly talk about the lagging economy under president Obama yet won’t call out the business community to change how they do things, won’t tell them if they want workers to reinstate the internship/apprenticeship as standard practice, won’t call them out for their “purple squirrel” must have the perfect candidate tactics, won’t tell them if you need workers for X jobs go to your middle, high schools, colleges, tech schools, trade schools and say so, make sure there are programs to train them, things that would actually help the young degree holder and close the 300 million jobs, jobs gap in this country.
Ben Carson’s exclamation a Muslim should not be president is just the latest in a long line of bizarre, scary comments coming from a person who seriously wants to be leader of the free world; his top eye popping, controversial statements similarly traverse political correctness likening America to Nazi Germany saying we live in a Gestapo age where people are afraid to say what they believe; correction, they know they will be called out as jerks, bigots, homophobes, sexist if they just blurt the first thing that pops into their heads sans placing any filter on their mouth for concepts like tact, rudeness, or, a little thing called accuracy. Obama care in Carson’s mind constitutes the worst thing sense slavery despite the 6 million people and counting it has given health insurance to, rules implemented reigning in insurance providers from dropping people the second they get sick, denying people coverage, even children, his area of expertise, with preexisting conditions. An unsurprising stance out of the mouth of a candidate who called president Obama a psychopath based on his clean white shirt, tie and suit coat linking it to why psychopaths are successful, they look good. When asked why he believes being homosexual is a choice, while decrying marriage equality, its likening to civil right 50-60 years ago, Carson cited the many men who go into prison straight and come out gay. As if being raped in prison, as if being coerced into sex in prison to avoid varying degrees of bodily harm, even unto death has anything to do with your sexual preference; dido with men who have gay sex in prison out of boredom and men are the only option available. They are clear, straight forward indicators of the obvious, abuse and limited sexual choices not a permanent statement of sexuality. Not to mention whether or not being gay is a choice is irrelevant to the fact that in a nation based on freedom, based on choice at its most fundamental level, from our laws to our elected, by the people for the people officials, a choice you personally make about who you sleep with, who you are attracted to should not find you discriminated against at every turn, because someone doesn’t like what you are doing, finds it against their belief system; hints why gay marriage has been successfully compared to civil rights, because we are infringing on LGBT civil rights otherwise. Mr. Carson’s comments on abortion prove a profound ignorance of women, women’s issues and reproductive medications, abortion procedures; now that is hardly different from the rest of the GOP field on any given day, except here is a man who is a pediatric neurosurgeon, in an adjacently related field he should know a little more. He has separated conjoined twins at the head and had them survive, knows the exorbitant cost coming with any such procedure, has logically seen many types of families, family makeups in his practice, rich, poor, in between; still he can’t, judging by his own statements, differentiate between emergency contraception routinely given to sex assault victims in the ER and RU486 the actual abortion pill, hoping women post rape go to the ER and receive the latter, in his mind solving the raped women who ‘need’ an abortion problem. Not empathizing with rape victims who may be too fearful to go to the ER, may be in shock, not fully understand what happened as rape, not be thinking rationally due to trauma and thus end up with a pregnancy they don’t want, shouldn’t be forced to keep, to satisfy his distortion of values. Even attempting to co-opt both the controversial, much discussed Planned Parenthood videos and the black lives matter movement into the higher rates of abortion among African Americans, not poverty, discrimination in other areas than the ‘active campaign by Planned Parenthood facilities purposefully placed in black neighborhoods to control that population,’ jobs, education, not an abysmal lack of sex education actively supported by the GOP. Never mind black lives matter is a movement about stopping the senseless death of black and brown persons at the hands of rouge police and rouge police tactics, improving police community relations to that end and the Planned Parenthood videos don’t display what conservatives have jumped to the conclusion they display; we don’t need to talk about other contributing factors impacting black lives because ‘the number one killer of African Americans is abortion,’ fact not in evidence. Summing up Ben Carson you have his rhetoric on a Muslim should not be president words finally jolting the public enough to say wait a minute, who is this guy and what did he just say, where before, because he too was well dressed, looked put together and spoke mild manneredly, a direct contrast to, can’t help but hear him, Trump only the closest listeners caught on to just how extreme Mr. Carson’s views actually are.
Carly Fiorina hands down took the night nailing her fellow business rival on comments he made disparaging her face, asking via Rolling Stone magazine, would anyone vote for that, going into some detail about how she would handle Russian president Vladimir Putin, increasing our military presence, war games in the Baltic states sending him a clear message of strength, how she would revise the Iran deal prior to going forward including speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu letting him know America stands with him, insisting to the Iranian leader 2 things, immediate release of the 4 U.S. hostages and anywhere any time inspections or no deal. Wowing both present and viewing audiences most when she vehemently spoke out against Planned Parenthood challenging president Obama and Hillary Clinton alike to see the graphic footage of a baby having survived an abortion heart beating, legs kicking and hearing someone say ‘we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain’ passionately explaining why she believes, like her fellow republicans on that stage, it’s worth shutting the government down over to stop federal funding to a gruesome facility calling it a statement about the character of this nation. But should she have indeed won the night based on her performance, her ideas, her plans for America; hold the phone, don’t think that’s the end of the story, fact checkers hours after the debate flagged Fiorina’s impassioned speech on Planned Parenthood technically true yet completely twisted to an agenda. The much debated Planned Parenthood videos firstly salaciously edited even those claiming to be the long form full footage, secondly nowhere in them do you see anyone talking about harvesting any brains and the live baby footage is edited in from an anti-abortion group, source dubious and unknown, housing zero evidence it had anything at all to do with Planned Parenthood, as the fact checker said, misleading. Another edited in piece of footage was from the website of a woman who had a stillbirth at 17 weeks; stillbirth being a fetus, baby, child, however you want to classify it, delivered, “born” dead, having died in the womb, technical definition prior to 28 week is a miscarriage, 2 things that have nothing to do with abortion, abortion facilities. Chris Mathews (starting at 20:50 in video 3 below) has a word for what had been done regarding those videos inserting things into footage to change the context, propaganda; his guests moved past what some commentators were saying about her, using the words liar, delusional, putting forth she was exactly what their creators hoped she would be, confused by what she saw and where. What she actually saw being stock anti-abortion footage available on YouTube. So of course she has seen the footage, of course she has seen what was done to these poor innocent babies, but like she stated to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos regarding his references to her business record, there is no way to tell what she was watching or from what year. Further, don’t we, the American people need a commander- in- chief who can tell the difference from factual video and propaganda; don’t we deserve a commander in chief who will better investigate what they see before vowing to take irreparable action effecting millions? Definitively not worth shutting down the government, risking people’s, by the thousands, rightfully earned paychecks something Ted Cruz, already shut-downer in-chief as a senator, jumped in on asserting those videos show Planned Parenthood workers confessing to multiple felonies elaborating it is a felony with 10 years jail time, what they were doing. While he too is correct it is a felony to sell body parts, redundant though it is to readers, that’s not what’s in the Planned Parenthood videos; money slated to change hands was instead about processing, handling, storage eliminating profit from the equation, meaning also there was nothing to confess to and legal experts are still out as to whether any laws were broken based on what is on the videos. Let’s also not forget the purpose of giving the fetal tissue samples, talking about money for processing exc. isn’t some backroom, human cloning, horror movie style illegal experimentation rather research toward treating, curing some of the most devastating diseases; fetal tissue it’s worth mentioning would otherwise be discarded as biohazard to begin with. Carly Fiorina has other problems too, analysts calling her out on everything from her record at Hewitt Packard to her trying to seem an exaggerated American success story coming up for secretary to be CEO; reality is her father was dean of Duke law school, she worked as a secretary during summers off from Stanford for college room and board, pocket money, post getting her undergraduate degree in history and philosophy, nearly 2 years of restless wondering including teaching English in Italy, she attended Maryland business school, went on to work for AT&T on a management track, totally removed from the rags to riches portrayal on her website in her book Tough Choices. Carly Fiorina who completely dismisses the other 5 nations participating in the negotiations for the Iran deal the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia when announcing what she will do regarding the deal, ignoring the consequences that sanctions will be lessened if she does so, those other foreign powers with greater economic interests in Iran committing to said sanctions on the condition of it getting Iran to the diplomatic table where they could negotiate Iran stalling it’s nuclear program indefinitely and things could get back to economic normal for than sans the nuclear threat; if that doesn’t happen with a republican in the Whitehouse, sanctions will fade and Iran again be unrestrained-oops. Carly Fiorina who thinks your only criteria to support women’s rights is to be a woman according to a confrontation with a Planned Parenthood supporter who asked her why she was against women’s healthcare, naming her statistics wrong and when asked how she could be called a supporter of women’s rights considering her position on healthcare, Fiorina’s almost flippant response was ‘I am I woman.’ But she’s who won the night; she’s who’s moving up in the polls along with her fellow policies outsiders, never held an office Trump and Carson. God bless America; sadly the plea of sane people is got help America, because no one else will, not even itself.