It’s that time. I’m a huge politics junkie, and as a Democrat who has never been a party line voter I watch every debate. The first GOP debate was a circus, and I expected more of the same last night. I have an image of America, the image that I believe can make America great again. I’ll even take a minute to spell it out before I start talking about the debates.
It’s an image of equality for women. We live in a world where women make less money, suffer from fewer opportunities, and live in fear for the violation of their rights and their bodies. We live in a world where, in some places, women can’t drive, they can’t vote, they can’t choose their husbands. All of these things are unacceptable. I desire nothing more than a world where my daughter is treated as the equal of every man she meets. I am a #HeforShe, and if you’re not, forgive my bluntness, but you’re wrong It’s an image of equality for minorities. The United States incarcerates 2,306 African Americans out of every 100,000. They make up 40% of the prison population, yet only make up 13% of the country’s population. Justice is not as blind as it needs to be. Are there other factors of which I am probably too ignorant to understand? Damn skippy. I have never lived a day of my life as a black man in America. I do understand that every person should be equal in the eyes of not only the law, but in the eyes of their fellow man. Martin Luther King Jr. said it for me, long before I was born. “I look to the day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” It’s an image of a government that helps to train the most technologically advanced and educated work force in the world, by providing a free secondary education to every person who wants one. The average college student comes out of school with nearing $30,000 in debt. The economical effects of this are disastrous. Those students make an average of $45,000 right out of college, but crippling student loan debt means they are buying fewer houses and fewer cars. Saddled with crippling debt they are postponing their lives. In 2004 this country had less than $400 billion in student loan debt. Now that number is $1.2 TRILLION, and 17% of that debt is held by people who are over 50 years of age. They’ve been out of college in many cases for two decades and are still paying for it. It’s an image of a government that provides health care to every citizen. The American Health Care “system”, owned and operated largely by private companies, requires twice the number of administrators than any other health care system in the developed world. There are ten administrators for every doctor in this country, and their sole goal it to make the health of the American citizen a profitable enterprise. On a per patient count the administrative costs of private insurance are greater than that of Medicaid, Medicare, and the VA...combined. If every penny were removed from private insurance companies today and every American received access to health care, we would SAVE money in year one, in administrative costs alone. Don’t believe me, go check the numbers with Physicians for a National Health Program. It’s an image of an America where no child misses a meal. According to the USDA more than 15 million children in American live in a household where they do not have access to enough nutritious food. This impacts their entire lives, as mental and physical growth is predicated on their ability to be properly fed. A child who does not receive breakfast, and does not know if they will eat dinner, is a child who struggles in the classroom, and thereby is set on a path of lifetime poverty. It’s an image of an America that opens its arms to people who want to come here and pursue the American Dream. Our immigration system is broken. Do you know why we have record numbers of Hispanics immigrating from Mexico without following the legal channels? It’s because they’re broken. Prior to the civil rights movements of the 1960s the immigration laws in this country were downright racist, making it very difficult for people who weren’t of Western European descent to come to America. With the immigration changes following the civil rights campaigns we placed a per country limit on immigration, and gave them all the same number, so despite some of those countries having vastly larger population; Mexico, China, Philippines, India, they are given the same maximum immigration number as Nauru, Monaco, and Lichtenstein. We need a comprehensive immigration reform plan that better allocates resources to bringing people to this country and making them a legal part of it. It’s an image where the overwhelming might of the US military allows us to make the world a better place without actually having to use our military. There’s an old saying...Republicans want a large military and to keep it home. Democrats want a small military and to send it everywhere. The men and women who choose to wear that uniform should have the best equipment, the best training, and the best support, that money can buy. They should leave our shores only in times of great need; direct threats to the safety of ourselves, our allies, or innocent people. They should have the ability to accomplish any mission without the hand-holding shenanigans of politicians, and to do it as quickly and as safely as possible. Then those brave sons and daughters of this country should come straight home. It’s an image where public safety personnel are treated with the respect they deserve. In any occupation there are bad apples, and it is right and true that those people should be called out for their evils. It is not right that any man or woman who puts on the uniform and works in their community should be the target of criminals. Police officers and firefighters should not to have to fear for their lives that a sniper will take shots at them, or an unseen assailant may ambush them as they get lunch. This in unacceptable. It’s an image of a country with a completely reformed criminal justice system. Too many people in this country are incarcerated for non-violent crimes where the only victim was themselves. I believe in drug and addiction treatment programs. I believe that violent criminals should do longer sentences than they currently are. I believe that if your drug or addiction problem turns you into a violent criminal that you will do the time for your violent crime. I believe that any attempt on the life of an officer of the law, or any other public servant, should be punishable by life in prison. I believe we should better treat the mentally ill, the addicted, and the impoverished, to better set them on the path to productivity. That’s my image for America. It’s lofty as heck...too bad. If we don’t inspire ourselves, we can never inspire the world. FDR asked for 50,000 planes over four years. We responded by building nearly 300,000 planes over five years, about 200,000 of them combat aircraft. In 1961 JFK said we would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. He wasn’t alive to see it, but when Neil Armstrong stepped off that lunar module on 20 JUL, 1969, his goal became reality. If you want to inspire greatness, you must aspire to greatness, and that is what we are sorely lacking as a nation. Let’s get to the debate. Eleven GOP contenders were invited to the big stage, and they delivered exactly what I expected, a catastrophe of backwards thinking on a scale of epic proportions. Against the backdrop of President Reagan’s Air Force One, the eleven candidates were at times human, at times funny, and at times came across as sane human beings. Mostly though, I was afraid. First, let’s get this out of the way. I thought this was one of the most poorly moderated debates in television history. Candidates were speaking over one another, the host had no control, and his experts appeared to have been there as stage props. Sad to say CNN, but you punted this one. There were so many people up there I’m going to talk about them each a little individually. The Donald - On the defensive for the first time in this campaign, Donald got attacked by Jeb for remarks made about his wife, by Carly for remarks he made about her appearance, and by everyone else when he didn’t have a clue on foreign policy or national security. He finished the night by saying that a Trump presidency would mean mean we have “more of everything.” I don’t know what to think of that, but it scares me. Dr. Trump also took time to tell us how we’re doing vaccines wrong. He’s no longer opposed to them, but he wants us to do it differently. Bush 800 - Maybe I’m wrong, it just feels like there have been eight hundred of them. Jeb tried to get Donald to apologize to his wife...which is like asking California if you can borrow some of their water. He also stood up for his brother for the first time in this campaign, saying “He kept American safe.” It might have been a nice sound clip last night, but the Dems are going to hammer him with statistics he doesn’t want if he comes off the clown car intact. For the first time he looked like a candidate though, rather than a prop up there. He’s erred by naming many former compatriots of his brother and father to his national security teams, but he says you have to do that if you want Republicans with experience in those roles. Carly - This women legitimately frightens me. She might be somewhat correct on foreign policy, if you read things she’s said in the past, but in her desire to move from outsider to legitimate candidate she is playing the blame game at a rate that is mind-boggling. She challenged Trump on the remarks he made about her, and when he backtracked them she looked non-plussed. She attempted to engage other candidates on economic issues and ended up having her record tossed at her. In case you were wondering shares of HP fell 45% during her tenure. During that time Dell went up 11%, and Lexmark, a primary competitor in printer race went up 29%. Carly is running on her experience as an executive, and it’s really not good. She also reiterated last night that she is dead wrong on a women’s right to choose. Scott Walker - The Wisconsin Governor attacked Trump early for his corporate bankruptcy, and got attacked for the damage he has done to the Wisconsin economy. Walker claimed he balanced the budget...well, no duh, Wisconsin has a balanced budget amendment, he has to submit a balanced budget. Someone made mistakes along the way though, as he ended up with debt at the end of that year anyway. Walker was largely unimportant beyond that, until it was time to deny climate change again. The Governor has gutted clean energy programs and environmental oversight in Wisconsin. Marco Rubio - He’s the son of a Cuban immigrant. I know because he answered every question with some reference to that. Despite this he wants to deport everyone. When he engaged Donald on his lack of experience, Donald fought back with Rubio’s voting record in the Senate. Let’s just say he doesn’t vote often, he’s missed a third of them.
Mike Huckabee - He defended the clerk in Kentuky, and said he’d require an anti-abortion litmus test for Supreme Court Justices. He was mostly irrelevant coming in, and got more so. Ted Cruz - Teddy railed against Planned Parenthood, railed against the Iran deal, called his support of Justice Roberts a disaster (since Roberts dared to uphold the Affordable Care Act) and accused the Republicans of surrendering. Ben Carson - Benny shouldn’t have gotten on the jet that brought him here. As the most scientifically educated person on that stage he somewhat fell in line with Trump on vaccines, continues to deny climate change, and generated no faith in his ability to lead with his foreign policy answers. Rand Paul - The Kentucky Senator (I have to start like that when I finish this line) declared himself an outsider...really dude? You’re a Senator...and your father...oh well, let’s move on. He came out hard against the wars in Iraq and the war against ISIS. John Kasich - Kasich reminds me of a fuddy-duddy grandpa who might have smoked too much weed in his youth. He agreed with me on compassion for drug offenders, expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in Ohio, creating jobs and saving money. The thing I’ve enjoyed most about the Kasich campaign, and he showed it again last night, is that he’s not willing to sling mud at the other candidates. It’s also why he’s largely irrelevant.
Chris Christie - If I have to hear one more time about his appointment as a US Attorney on September 10, 2001, I might scream a little. Let’s fix that timeline right now. According to the White House he was called on 10 SEP and told they planned to nominate him if the vetting process went well. He was actually nominated 7 DEC and sworn in on 17 JAN, 2002. Why does he keep misstating this? Oh yes...politics. He had one of my favorite lines of the night thought “A Christie Presidency isn’t about me,” he said, looking right into the cameras, “it’s about you!” This from the man who comes across as so self-centered that I dont know what to make of him? Yeesh. Wrap The end of the debate came with some silly questions about Secret Service codenames, which Huckabee punted and Trump made a laugher out of. It came with questions about the woman who deserves to be on the ten dollar bill, where Susan B came up, Rosa Parks came up, and several candidates proved they couldn’t name a woman they weren’t related to. Carly called it pandering, and reminded people that women aren’t a special interest group, they’re the majority of America. Finally they asked what the world would look like after their presidency. I still am not sure any of them answered the question, instead they talked about what they would do. The takeaway I got is disturbingly simple. All eleven of them would do some combination of these things right away. 1.) Overturn Roe v Wade. 2.) Deport twelve million people. 3.) Repeal the Affordable Care Act. 4.) Go to war. Sounds just great...silly ass Republicans. Within an hour of the end of this debate I received multiple political e-mails. President Obama reminded me these people are crazy, and to donate to the Democratic party. The RNSC asked me who won the debate. I have bad news for the RNSC...the Democrats won this debate. The Republican party continues to pander to an extremist base that is making it impossible for me to take them seriously. 41% of Independents identify as moderate. 36% of Democrats identify as moderate. Those two groups make up 72% of the voting electorate...and the Republicans continue to push them away...