Recently the first Primary Republican Debate of the ten leading Republican potential candidates in the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election ended.
It was supposed to consist of the ten most popular Republican candidates out of the 17 attempting to run for the presidency. The top ten were chosen based upon the last five national poles. But the fifth pole tied the percentage of the 10th and 11th candidates, making the number chosen eleven. Consequently Fox News, who ran the debate, skipped the 5th pole and used a 6th pole that did not have a tie in the last place and ended up with ten potential candidates.
Fox News, the official new arm of the Republican Party, devised the format of the debate that was not really a debate. It consisted of questions addressed to specifically candidates. And these questions were not always friendly, particularly many of those aimed at Donald Trump who was the most popular of all the candidates.
Probably because of intense outside pressure, Fox held a separate session for the losing or less popular seven candidates earlier in the day. They treated them obliquely with contempt, using a large empty stadium and calling them by their first names as the Fox commentators asked them questions. It was going along with popular pressure in a put-down fashion.
It should also be noted that Fox News sold the candidates a lot of advertising space for the candidates to make themselves popular among national Republicans. Because Republicans watch Fox News nationally this was the only way the candidates could sell themselves to the general Republican public. Fox devised the method and certainly profited from it. Interestingly the one exception here was Donald Trump. He apparently was known to everybody and needed no additional publicity.
The main event in the evening, which was probably watched by more people than any other broadcast in the history of television was hardly a debate. It featured three of Fox’s leading commentators asking specific questions and quickly moving on to another participant with another question. All the speakers seemed well prepared and their answers, even though generally dealing with the topic of the question, did not really answer it. There was only one instance of a follow-up question and the answer given still did not reply to that specific question.
The leading Republican candidate for the presidency in terms of being the most popular among Republicans was Donald Trump. I suspect the overall assumption among the millions of TV watchers was that he would blow his cool at some point and verbally erupt at someone or something. The closest he came to that was with one of the Fox commentators, Megan Kelly, when she asked him about some of the negative statements he has made about woman.
The candidates attempted to define themselves and denounce President Obama and the Democratic Party. President Obama was denounced as a week and failed president who essentially did everything wrong and bowed to the Iranians in giving them everything they wanted in order to become the leader of terrorism around the world, giving Iran the money to finance this process and allowing them to develop in order to become an atomic bomb nation. And all these positive statements were made, I got the impression, without even bothering to read a draft of the 100 plus page agreement. Most of these candidates practically or directly guaranteed we would go to war with Iran if one of them was elected.
It seemed as though the forthcoming election was all about them, the individual Republican candidates, and not about the disaster they could bring about if elected. Most practically stated that they would straighten out all the world’s problems. Their implied method was that they would do this by the use of military force if necessary. They seemed to also not know that the United States is one of six nations that negotiated the treaty with Iran over a two year period, that if the U.S. rejects the agreement it will likely be the only one of the six nations on the United Nations Security Council to do so.
Basically what was heard in the debate was demagoguery. They, the Republicans, have taken no responsibility for any of their past actions and blame everything on President Obama and the Democrats. My response to all this is: Get real!
Mostly by implication and sometimes directly, the ten hopeful Republican candidates for the 2016 Presidential Race blamed President Obama for virtually everything wrong in the society today.. It was as though the Republicans have done nothing to bring about the problems or conditions that exist today. They would do away with Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) and the Dodd-Frank banking reforms that came about after the 2008 economic crash, or anything else. I suspect if the weather was inclement it would have been Obama’s fault.
The Dodd-Frank Banking Reform Law was a washed down version (Washed down because of intense bank lobbying.) of what a finance committee, headed by Paul Volker, a former Federal Reserve Chairman, had proposed in order to do away with the causes that had brought about the economic disaster of 2008 which could have sent the nation into a depression far deeper than the Great Depression of 1929. Today many banking executives feel economically inhibited by some of the few things they can no longer legally do and would like a totally free hand again.
While most of the participants in the so-called debate stated that they would do away with the Affordable Health Car Law, which incidentally has greatly reduced the rate of medical costs by slowing down the rate of medical cost increases, only one of them, Donald Trump, seemed to have a plan for its replacement. He would, he said, make the insurance companies for its plan members function on a national instead of state level and for those who could not afford to buy insurance he implied obliquely that he would have the government provide a single payer plan for them. Would he be able to do this if elected? An interesting question. Especially if Congress retained its Republican majorities in both Houses.
Of the faults of Obama as a failed president, one by implication was the National Debt. After all aren’t the Republicans the party that espouses a balanced budget?
Since 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency, the Republicans controlled the presidency for 20 years and the Democrats for 15. The country had Reagan for 8 years, Daddy Bush for 4 years, and Bush Jr. for 8 years. The two Democratic presidents were Clinton and Obama, each for 8 years.
Reagan started with a National Debt of $1 trillion and raised it to $2.8 trillion, almost tripling it. Ever since President John F. Kennedy had lowered taxes during his administration and the government had then collected far more in revenue than it had before the decrease in taxes other presidents had unsuccessfully attempted to do the same thing. Reagan cut taxes, especially for the well-to-do and upped government spending, particularly military spending. He believed, wrongly, that the Soviet Union was far ahead of us militarily and that we had to catch up and get ahead. He introduced the concept of “star wars” and other science fiction type concepts which our scientists were supposed to develop.
What President Reagan inadvertently did was to force the U.S.S.R. to militarily keep up with the United States and that brought them to the edge of bankruptcy and to the fall of the Soviet Union.
But what Reagan did for the United States was to almost triple the National Debt to $2.8 trillion. George H.W. Bush with his inept diplomacy actually encouraged Iraq’s Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait and then he organized operation Desert Storm to liberate them. This and his other actions cost the U.S. Government an additional $1.55 trillion. Bush Jr. by engaging in two military operations (wars), one totally unnecessary, added another $6.1 trillion to the National Debt bringing it to $11.8 trillion. And at the same time President George W. Bush also lowered taxes, particularly for the rich. In fact today anyone earning over $400,000 a year pays no taxes on any amount over $400,000. Welfare for the very well-to-do.
What has happened is that taxes for the upper 1% has been gradually cut in half or more and the ever increasing deficit has been used to force cuts in services for the middle class and the poor while the middle class with gradual inflation has found its income tax bill increasing. Currently the Sequester, a law that automatically makes cuts across the board yearly unless Congress passes a bill stopping a part of it like certain cuts to the military for that year is enacted, is slowly decreasing funding for most programs including the military that is now at the lowest point of readiness than it has been for many years. So far these cuts, which the Republicans insist on having, have been largely invisible. At some time, probably around the end of this current year or at the most next year, many of them will become blatantly visible and the blame game will begin between the two political parties, with the Republicans, who have brought it about, screaming the loudest.
Under President Bill Clinton the deficit actually decreased slightly. President Barak Obama inherited a heavy recession from Bush Jr. and had to spend quite a bit to avert a greater economic decline than the Great Depression. Among other things he bailed out the banks, who by their irresponsible behavior had brought this negative economic condition about, and the auto industry. And, with phenomenal negative interference from 2011 on by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, President Obama has brought the economy back from the Republican induced total disaster. In this process he has increased the deficit but he may end his last year in office with a surplus paying down a small percentage of the Republican induced debt.
Taken together the three Republican presidents over their 20 year tenure raised the National Debt 13.5 trillion dollars and left the nation on the edge of a greater depression than that of 1929 which persisted for over ten years. Electing a Republican president will probably mean another war in the Middle East with Iran. That will make three separate wars being fought there and the national deficit will shoot up even more.
In the various questions and answers discussed during the debate, with one exception, the economy was not mentioned. Jed Bush stated that he can achieve 4% economic growth over his 8 year tenure as President and create 19 million new jobs. He would do this by simplifying the tax code, repealing the 2010 Health Care Law, reducing regulations on the oil and gas industries and putting people in the country illegally on the legal jobs tax rolls. While Climate change was not mentioned Jed Bush’s proposal would worsen the conditions that bring it about. Student loan debt and affordable college were also not mentioned. Gun violence in the United States was also ignored.
In terms of the War on Women, Scott Walker was against all abortions: rape, incest, and even where birth could terminate the life of the mother. He felt that the medical profession, in every case, could save her life. Mike Huckabee wants a Constitutional Amendment giving the fetus full protection before the law from conception on. Apparently the question of choice for women is nonexistent. Marco Rubio wants no exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or incest. These men know absolutely what is right for all women; but they will not have the government share in the responsibility for raising or providing for any of these women or children.
The solution to illegal immigration was Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall between Mexico and the United States and have Mexico pay for it. Apparently he doesn’t understand that a goodly percent of illegals come from all over the world including Canada. Technically he would need fences on all areas where the United States borders on another country as well as a careful check upon all visitors to the country and how long they are legally allowed to stay in the U.S.
Among the ten candidates none stood out as a dynamic leader. If anything some of their comments tended to insult a large part of their audience. Donald Trump kept rationalizing about the disadvantages of being “politically correct,” as if it were some sort of disease. He justified his verbal abuse of women by naming one.
As I’ve stated, what was most significant was what was not mentioned, global warming was one example. Bush, if he were to become president, could do away with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). That could create jobs because adding the additional pollution to the United States and the world would probably create a multitude of new jobs.
What came to my mind as I watched the performance was the phrase “Myth & Reality?” These people were prefabricating and defining conditions that did not exist. They were creating a situation where verbally everyone would live “live happily ever after” if one of them were elected to the presidency. Well some people just like them had been elected to the presidency in the past and many people, both Americans and those we were fighting, died or were maimed for life and the National Debt rose like a hot-air balloon. What we must remember is that they are pandering to the extreme right of the Republican Party in order to be chosen as the Republican candidate in the primary elections. Whoever gets chosen will still have to defeat the Democratic candidate in the general election. Are they purposely lying or stating nonsense? Or do they actually believe the myths they are espousing? That’s an interesting question.
In any case what is needed is reality. If that so-called debate is the best they can do then it becomes everyone’s duty to vote against all or any of those self-important candidates, particularly if they want to see their version of changes within our society.