Not Sure Where to Put This – Two Debate Thoughts
Like however many million Americans, I watched last night’s Presidential (it should be noted that’s a political distinction, not a descriptor of the participants’ demeanor) Debate with a fair amount of shock and horror. It quickly became — almost literally — the first d–k-measuring contest in presidential politics history. Lincoln-Douglas it was not and likely will never be again.
The fact that the exercise turned into a crude, vile shoutfest is a simple reflection of one candidate’s participation in the process this year. Of course that candidate is Donald Trump. He has sunk the election process into the worst possible high school student government election — filled with little more than shouts and personal insults. Unfortunately other candidates — especially Marco Rubio — have followed suit. In fact, it was Rubio who started the “size matters” campaign conversation with what is likely a first of its kind d–k joke at a campaign appearance.
I detest Trump. I think he’s dangerous in a way no other candidate in my lifetime has been. A country that elects Donald Trump President gets exactly what it deserves. Follow me on Twitter for daily reflections on Trump and Trump supporters. That said, we get to official Debate Thought 1. Shockingly, maybe accidentally, near the end of the debate Trump made a reasonable, coherent and honestly important point.
Campaign-long Trump foil Megyn Kelly tried to trap Trump in a standard debate gotcha moment. The question went something like, “Mr. Trump, you used to believe this. Now you say you believe the opposite. Which is it.”
From there Trump went two directions. The first was to simply say he got more information and changed his mind. He followed that by asking something to the effect of if I believe something and decide I was wrong, what I am supposed to do, continue being wrong forever?” In the school of modern political activity, where orthodoxy is king and seemingly never existent consistency is demanded, this was a shocking moment. And an important one. That it came from Trump sort of stopped me in my tracks.
The second came when Ted Cruz hammered Trump for talking about compromising. Trump’s response was actually pretty solid. He pointed out that sometimes you have to compromise to get anything accomplished. This is anathema to modern Republican thought, where compromising is to be avoided at all cost and must be punished. This wasn’t always so. Republicans love to hail Ronald Reagan. Reagan never once had a Republican House of Representatives. One of the things that made Reagan and then-Speaker Tip O’Neill so great was that the two of them could work out their differences and settle on something that worked well enough for both sides. This is also known as getting things done. It shouldn’t be compromise Republican voters get upset about. It should be folding and getting nothing in return.
All that said, I still think Trump is an idiot and a danger to the country and can’t see a single decent reason to vote for him. That he made two coherent points in that sea of nonsense is either miraculous or an accident.
The second thought centers around John Kasich. I thought Kasich won the debate despite more limited time to talk than the other three. He sounded like a grown up surrounded by screaming teenagers. He made reasonable, coherent points and went the full two hours without embarrassing himself. You wouldn’t think that would be an accomplishment at a Presidential debate, but apparently it is. Twice he was asked specific policy questions and responded with specific way that he solved those exact problems as Governor of Ohio. Despite all of this the Twittersphere largely yawned…or worse.
After the debate, I stumbled upon this tweet:
Kasich can’t get nominated. Period.
Republican voters are rightfully angry & Kasich’s “Can’t we all just get along” liberal crap won’t sell
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) March 4, 2016
This is from a former Congressman and current radio host. In less than 140 characters it tells you exactly what is wrong with the Republican party today.
John Kasich is a budget balancing, union disrupting, unapologetically Pro-Life candidate. In the debate he made clear that he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman. He even indicated a preference that bakers and photographers and the like who don’t want to participate in gay marriages should have a little legal protection. The only difference between his position and Walsh’s — I presume — is that Kasich had the audacity to add the idea that even if that’s what you believe, maybe you shouldn’t treat people who don’t believe the same thing as you like crap. How dare he?
Kasich’s position is incredibly similar to one that I have espoused numerous times when guest hosing Leland Conway’s show on NewsRadio 630 in Lexington. It goes something like this: “Don’t be jerks to each other.” If that makes Kasich a liberal, then I guess I am too. If that makes Kasich unfit to be a Republican, maybe we both need a better option.