I watched the first republican nominee debate last night. I thought I would document my impressions of the debate, but I find that the 24 hours after the debate are much more interesting than the event itself. I mean, really, who cares about a debate on a friendly network over a year before the election? What I learned after watching the main card debate about the prospective candidates, if quantified into a number, would be hovering around zero. I mean, I did my civic duty. I downloaded the fox news app so I could score the debates in real time. I decided to hit thumbs up if the person gave an answer with actual substance, or a semi-specific plan of action, regardless of whether I agreed with the plan or not. I gave a thumbs down if they addressed the issue in generalities and platitudes. I scored a dodge if they couldn’t even muster that much and just spoke without even addressing the question at all. By this measure, my very unscientific scorecard only had 3 candidates in the positive at the end. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. I couldn’t tell you any specifics about what I scored them on, it doesn’t matter. I have learned a few things in the last 24 hours though. 1. I don’t have my thumb on the pulse of the American people, or republicans specifically. 2. Debates don’t matter. What a candidate says matters less than how he says it.
I have mentioned several times in the past that people look at politicians in a similar way that they view professional sports teams or professional wrestlers. The butthurt following this debate proves that point in no uncertain terms. I’ve read things that I can hardly believe. People are blaming the moderators for asking tough questions of the candidate they like, not giving their candidate enough talk time, giving some candidates preferential treatment and who knows what else. To be clear, I think the moderators did a pretty good job. I think they knew that being the first debate it had to be both fun and informative. They asked every person on the stage a hard question. People were even upset at the post-debate analysis because Debbie Wasserman Schultz was allowed to give the democrat response. As if Megyn Kelly was in charge of booking guests. When I say upset, I mean upset to the point of unfollowing her on social media. To be fair, they started hating her when she asked Donald Trump a question about his feelings on women after citing several quotes that make it apparent he does not respect them. At this point Trump threatens Megyn Kelly by saying something to the effect, I could be really mean to you if I wanted, but I won’t right now. Now, for some reason, she’s the bad guy! During the debate, Trump openly admits to bribing officials to get what he wants, both republicans and democrats, using the government as an enforcer to get out of debts and I kid you not, when asked about what he would do differently than the current administration with, blah, blah, blah… gave the answer “I would do it so differently!” You’re waiting for more, no, that was his answer, I swear…the whole answer. This is the guy that according to The Drudge Report, won the debate. By a landslide. On the other side, Rand Paul, who was the only one who gave several real answers, was the big loser, because people didn’t like his tone. I’m not defending Rand Paul, just pointing out that it is quite apparent that substance does not matter.
When I say that debates don’t matter, it’s not entirely true. I don’t know a whole lot about a bunch of candidates and maybe I could learn something about them from this format, but I doubt it. A debate a year before the elections however, literally does not matter. They could have answered the questions with mouths full of Fruit Loops and the outcome would have been the same. People tuned in by the millions to watch Donald Trump speak. In 8 months half the field will be gone. No one will remember any of the debates in a year and a half. There is never any new information to be discovered during a debate. Everything you need to know about anybody running is common knowledge well before they go on stage. What people react to during debates are things like likability, looks and a good speaking voice. They must seem “presidential”. A good example of this is Ben Carson’s closing address. He spoke of being the only candidate to separate conjoined twins, operate on a fetus in the womb but hoped he wasn’t the only one picking up the mantle of freedom. This was proclaimed to have been a brilliant close, a master stroke, saved his debate! I’m sorry, but what about any of that has to do with any semblance of a plan to reduce the size of government? Isn’t that a republican ideal? It made him likeable. It sounded great. It proves he is a good doctor. What does that have to do with being a good president? Campaign for Surgeon General! I’m not hating on Dr. Carson, I’m not. He seems like a really good guy. He actually cares, but results matter more than intentions.
Are we as a nation are we so far gone into reality TV, pop culture and celebrity game shows that we can’t separate real life from fiction? We can’t separate real answers from gibberish? We are judging presidential candidates by the same criteria that we judge a contestant on America’s Got Talent. It’s sickening. On the other hand, what do I know? I’m probably crazy.
I would hate to offend anyone, so if I didn’t mention your favorite candidate by name, I’m sorry. I wasn’t intentionally giving him/her less print time. I promise not to ask a democrat what he thinks. I don’t use focus groups. I shoot from the hip, say it like it is, not PC. Enter buzzword here.
Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism.
A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, a capitalist economy subject to stringent governmental controls, violent suppression of the opposition, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.