Republicans Clash In Second Debate That Seemed To Last Forever

The Republican candidates for President took to the stage last night for a debate that seemed to last forever and accomplished nothing.

Republican Debate September 16

The fifteen Republican candidates for President faced off last night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in the second debate of the election cycle, and the most notable difference from the first time they met in August was the fact that all of the candidates seemed intent on taking on a fronrunner who, so far, has been almost completely immune from attack:

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — Determined to prove their mettle, several Republican presidential candidates showed new aggressiveness in lacing into Donald J. Trump on Wednesday night, seeking to elevate themselves as leaders of substance and shake up a race that Mr. Trump has dominated all summer.

While moderators at the CNN debate tried repeatedly to pit one Republican after another against Mr. Trump, the candidates fought to break out of that dynamic, with Carly Fiorinaemerging as an especially tenacious combatant who provided some of the few moments where Mr. Trump looked uncomfortable.

The debate covered a broad range of subjects — immigration, the nuclear deal with Iran, same-sex marriage, federal financing for Planned Parenthood — and was more inclusive than the first debate last month, allowing each of the 11 candidates to engage through a nearly three-hour forum that tested their endurance.

Still, some of the most memorable interactions centered on loaded confrontations with Mr. Trump. Mrs. Fiorina called him “an entertainer,” and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky labeled him “sophomoric” in the opening minutes of the debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library here. Mr. Trump drew a stinging assault on his leadership abilities and character from Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, one of several candidates who have declined in the polls as Mr. Trump has soared.

We don’t need an apprentice in the White House — we have one right now,” Mr. Walker said, invoking the name of Mr. Trump’s former reality show. When Mr. Trump sharply criticized his record in Wisconsin, Mr. Walker hit back: “Just because he says it doesn’t make it true. The facts are the facts.”

Another struggling candidate, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, who has been Mr. Trump’s chief target, was initially slow to take him on, but then ripped into him for suggesting that Mr. Bush would be a puppet of his major donors. He accused Mr. Trump of using his enormous wealth to act like a “special interest” by lobbying for casino gambling in Florida when Mr. Bush was governor there.

“Totally false,” said Mr. Trump, who rolled his eyes and feigned looks of shock as his opponents piled on.

“You wanted it, and you didn’t get it because I was opposed,” Mr. Bush shot back.

“More energy tonight. I like that,” Mr. Trump quipped, drawing a look of fury from Mr. Bush, whose low-key manner he has lampooned all summer.

Several candidates tried to connect with voters on a personal level. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey spoke at length about his fears that his wife had been killed in the Sept. 11 attacks and that he might become a single parent. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida spoke about the importance of speaking Spanish in his family, and used national security questions about Russia and Syria to pledge that he had the experience to keep Americans safe. And Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and a social conservative, said he loathed politics as much as many of the voters who have helped him and Mr. Trump emerge as the leading candidates in polls.

“When I entered this race, all the political pundits said, ‘It’s impossible; you can’t do it because you’re not connected with the money,’ ” Mr. Carson said. “We now have over 500,000 donations, and the money is coming in. But the pundits forgot about one thing, and that is the people. And they are really in charge.”

The attacks from Mr. Bush and Mrs. Fiorina were expected, given how harshly Mr. Trump has jabbed at them in recent weeks. But perhaps more notable was that Mr. Walker, too, in an acknowledgment that he has to make up lost ground, repeatedly took on Mr. Trump.

At times, Mr. Trump responded to attacks with gusto, belittling Mr. Paul’s appearance (“I never attacked him on his looks, and believe me, there is plenty of subject matter right there”), bashing Mr. Walker for his collapse in the polls in Iowa (“You went down the tubes”) and treating Mr. Bush — as well as his brother George W. Bush — dismissively.

“Your brother’s administration gave us Barack Obama, because it was such a disaster,” Mr. Trump snapped at one point.

“You know what? As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure: He kept us safe,” Mr. Bush said, drawing strong applause on a night when he often delivered sharp lines with an uneasy, obligatory tone — knowing he had to attack but seeming not to relish it.

Mr. Trump appeared cowed at only one moment, when a moderator noted that he had recently denigrated Mrs. Fiorina’s appearance, saying: “Look at that face! Would anybody vote for that?” (He later claimed he had been referring to her persona.) Mrs. Fiorina was asked what she thought of Mr. Trump’s persona.

“I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” she said pointedly.

Her riposte drew the loudest applause of the debate, and Mr. Trump waited until it died down to reply.

“I think she’s got a beautiful face, and she’s a beautiful woman,” Mr. Trump said as Mrs. Fiorina looked on stonily.

Over and over, the discussion returned to Mr. Trump, who stood center-stage, his shoulders slouched forward, hands on lectern and lips pursed. He gladly took on his rivals, but was unable to bait the moderators into a spat and seemed not to enjoy the evening as much as he had at the first debate. As the night went on, he became quieter and, in an interview with CNN immediately after the debate, complained that it had gone on “too long” and said it had to have been the longest ever held.

In the end, the main stage debate lasted about three hours, which earned it the title of the “Debate From Hell” from Politico. While I don’t know if that counts as the longest Presidential debate ever held, I would imagine that it certainly ranks up there in terms of the length. By the time the entire spectacle was over, it began to seem to as if some of the candidates, most notably Scott Walker, Rand Paul, and Mike Huckabee, had simply faded into the background or even just left the stage. On some level, that was a function of the fact that most of the debate moderators’ questions were focused on the candidates at the top of the field as well as focused on CNN’s already announced intention to use the questions to create opportunities for the candidates to engage each other. While this many have seemed like a good idea in theory, in execution it ended up accomplishing very little other than turning the entire debate into something resembling an argument in a junior high school cafeteria. Carly Fiorina was given the opportunity to go after Trump over the things he had said about her, for example, and while she declined to sink his level, the issue of the Trump v. Fiorina clash ended up setting the tone for all of their interactions as the debate worse on. Bush and Carson were given the same opportunity, and the same thing happened. To be fair, it should have been obvious that this would be where the debate would head when Donald Trump, after given an opportunity to respond to Fiorina in the first question, started out by attack Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who hadn’t even said a word yet. Later on in the debate, there were some times when the candidates actually engaged in real policy debates, but for the most part the tone of the entire affair was set in those opening minutes and neither the candidates nor the moderators really were able to do anything to bring the chaos under control.

The consensus this morning seems to be that Carly Fiorina was the candidate that did the best overall during the course of the debate. Howard Kurtz at Fox News noted that Fiorina not only stated her own case quite well but she also seemed to the candidate on the stage that was best able to score points against Donald Trump throughout the evening. As Dan Balz notes at The Washington Postthough, Fiorina wasn’t the only candidate who managed to score points last night. Jeb Bush also managed to turn in a far better debate performance than what we saw in August, and both Chris Christie and Rand Paul did well on that mark as well. If there were any candidates in the main debate who did poorly, they were Scott Walker and Ben Carson. Walker in particular needed to do something to turn around a campaign that is quickly fading away, and while he got in a few zingers against Trump along with all the other candidates, it’s clear that he didn’t really manage to do that. At some point in the middle of the debate, as a matter of fact, it seemed as though Walker had faded into the background to the point where it was a surprise when he actually responded to a question. Carson, on the hand, got plenty of air time last night but largely used it to prove why he should not be taken seriously as a Presidential candidate. His responses to policy questions were disjointed and rambling, something made even worse by the fact that he is so naturally soft-spoken, and revealed yet again that he simply isn’t up to speed on the issues facing the country. Elsewhere on the stage, candidates like Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz seemed to do reasonably well when responding to questions, but much like Walker they largely faded into the background while the majority of the debate was taken up by candidates like Trump, Bush, Fiorina, Carson, and to some extent Marco Rubio and John Kasich.

As far as policy goes, the night was about what you’d expect from a Republican debate, but there were some notable differences between the candidates. The Iran nuclear deal, for example, was universally condemned. However, there was significant difference on the stage between those candidates, such as John Kasich and Jeb Bush, who said that now that the deal was final the next President would need to work within its terms and those such as Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee who said that they would tear the deal up the day they entered the Oval Office. There was also significant disagreement on immigration issues, especially the birthright citizenship question where Bush and Kasich seemed to be alone in defending the Fourteenth Amendment. Not unexpectedly, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz stood by their defense of Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis and her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but several candidates, including Bush, Rubio, and Christie, pointedly disagreed with them. There were also plenty of other opportunities for the candidates to stake opposing positions on policy issues, but because the debate relied more on substance than style, those moments were largely lost in the cacophony.

Before the main debate had begun, there was an encounter earlier in the evening between the four candidates who didn’t qualify for the main debate but yet were still invited to the debate. For some reason, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, who is polling roughly the same as at least three of the men who were part of this consolation debate, was not invited to the debate and there doesn’t seem to me to be any rational reason why that was the case. Additionally, it still puzzles why Rick Perry dropped out of the race last Friday rather than taking a chance and showing up at this debate. At most, it would have cost him a plane ticket and a hotel room, and given the fact that his campaign was already on its last legs there wasn’t any rational reason not to give it one last shot. In any case, there isn’t much to say about the early debate, because it’s obvious that none of these candidates are going to be around for very long. Former New York Governor George Pataki and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham both did well, I think, but it’s unlikely that either of them is going to see anything like the bump in the polls that Carly Fiorina did after last month’s early debate. Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum, meanwhile, provided ample proof that the polls showing them with 1% and less of the vote are perhaps overestimating the support that either of them deserve. This may be the last time we see any of these four candidates in a debate, so I hope their supporters were happy.

The big question going forward, of course, is what impact this debate will have on the race overall. As I said, it’s unlikely that any of the candidates in the undercard debate will see their poll numbers increase, and in fact it’s likely that this will just be the beginning of the end for all four of them. Over on the main stage, nothing that happened last night seems likely to change the overall narrative of the campaign that we’ve been dealing with for the past two months or more. Donald Trump’s performance was as pathetic and substance-free as usual, and Jonathan Allen at Vox is among those branding him as the loser last night. Vacuous and substance-free is par for the course for Trump, though, and that it hasn’t blunted his rise in the polls yet. While we may indeed see Donald Trump decline in the polls at some point, nothing suggests that his momentum will be blunted significantly in the foreseeable future. Ben Carson may see his poll numbers drop, though, after what can only be described as a disastrous performance on his part. In fact, I think it’s probable that Carly Fiorina will end taking Carson’s place as the chief rival to Trump for now. Her performance in the debate is being widely praised this morning both by Republican pundits and political analysts on the cable networks, and her obvious grasp of the issues was a stark contrast to people like Carson and Trump. Jeb Bush could see his poll numbers rise too, as may John Kaisch, but neither one of them seems likely to go very far as long as Republican voters are obsessing over “outsiders” with no government experience whose only skill seems to be saying things that people like it seems unlikely that they’ll advance significantly. Of the candidates that needed to help themselves the most, Scott Walker failed miserably so we’re likely to see his campaign continue to fade into nothingness. As for the rest, there simply wasn’t enough from candidates like Huckabee, Paul, and Chris Christie for them to make much of an impression at all so it seems unlikely that they’ll see their numbers rise much at all. In the end, then, there was nothing groundbreaking last night, and it’s unlikely that Donald Trump’s momentum is going to be slowed going forward.

Update: NPR has broken down the amount of time each candidate talked, as in the last debate Donald Trump was at the top of the list but the time division was much more equitable this time:

Also, if you missed either debate, you can watch the first debate and the second debate on YouTube.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    Anything that knocks Walker out of the race is ok by me. I loathe that weasel with the white-hot passion of a million burning suns.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    Jeb Bush also managed to turn in a far better debate performance than what we saw in August

    What did JEB! say about his brother?

    “He kept us safe.”

    What is it about Republicans? When did facts stop mattering?
    More people were killed by terrorists on American soil during the Bush 43 Presidency than in the entire history of the United States. That’s keeping us safe????
    I’m not sure how Republicans in general, and JEB! specifically, can be counted on to govern when they are unable to grasp the most basic realities.
    I’m in my mid-50’s so my frame of reference is limited…but it seems to me that Republicans began fleeing from facts and reason during the Reagan administration…and their flight has only accelerated in the decades hence…who knows when or how it ends?

  3. Modulo Myself says:

    I didn’t watch the debate but a quick perusal of objective sources (Weekly Standard, GOP political consultants on Politico) says that Carly Fiorina did well, so I’m guessing that Bush and Rubio are now considered to be toast and Fiorina is the only hope to beat Trump.

    The GOP is the party of people who are both suspicious of all dark-skinned people and under the impression that when a dark-skinned person wants to bomb a school, they will show their teacher the bomb first. American politics at a national level is set-up to allow the first free reign. I’m not show so sure about the second. This kind of stupidity–the kind that every GOP lives in–is really not popular right now.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    Mrs. Fiorina was asked what she thought of Mr. Trump’s persona.

    “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” she said pointedly.

    Her riposte drew the loudest applause of the debate, and Mr. Trump waited until it died down to reply.

    “I think she’s got a beautiful face, and she’s a beautiful woman,” Mr. Trump said as Mrs. Fiorina looked on stonily.

    To me, that was the highlight. Fiorina gave exactly the proper thought on the subject. Trump completely failed in the return volley: his response was condescending.

    Support of Trump is a good measure of how much bull**** people are willing to put up with in order to have some like Trump be a proxy for their anger and frustration.

  5. Stan says:

    During the 2008 election campaign George Will argued that the most important question one can ask of a potential American president is whether he or she can be trusted in handling our nuclear arsenal. With regard to Sarah Palin, he said that the question answers itself. I feel the same way about Trump. In a pinch Congress could thwart President Trump’s immigration policies or his proposal to build the Great Wall of Texas, but it can’t do much about his control of the military. His hand will be on the trigger. That’s a sobering thought, innit?

  6. C. Clavin says:

    @Stan:
    Even worse than that, and I think this is by far the most critical issue in the race, is who is Trump going to nominate to the Supreme Court???

  7. grumpy realist says:

    Good image by Matt Bai:

    No, establishment Republicans remain pretty sanguine that Trump, for all his momentum, doesn’t have much room to grow beyond his 30 percent or so of the primary vote. For that, he’d probably have to become more of a statesman, which is like waiting for a turtle to grow feathers and fly.

  8. Tillman says:

    I think I saw Rubio cracking the shell a bit. Sure, he’s an unreconstructed Cold Warrior, but he didn’t stumble against Trump.

    I’m not sure where everyone gets the idea Bush did that well. Best line of the night (second to Fiorina’s) was Trump’s takedown (paraphrase): “your brother [caused Obama], he was such a horrible Republican president that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t get elected after him.” The applause after Bush’s retort demonstrated the cognitive dissonance in the room.

    @al-Ameda: it is worth keeping in mind the audience for this debate was closer to the party elite than the Fox News debate. Applause was assigned differently which I think threw off a few pundits. Trump didn’t do better or worse this time around in terms of what he said, but the reaction was quite different.

  9. Tillman says:

    Also, who did the lighting for the debate? I feel like bleeding-heart theater techs set those lights up to be hotter than normal so everyone on stage had a lovely Nixonian sheen. I doubt CNN did that on purpose.

  10. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:

    “You know what? As it relates to my brother, there is one thing I know for sure, he kept us safe.”

    I’d love to have JEB! say that in a debate against Clinton.

  11. Modulo Myself says:

    @Tillman:

    I’m more puzzled about the jet. Air Force One–the most generic thing about the presidency next to the ties. Remember how Reagan used to step out of Air Force One and wave? He had a suit on! It was amazing.

  12. Jc says:

    @Stan: Put Fiorina in that category for me. That beef up the military rant, the war mongering mentality she was projecting is scary. How long before we see her out for a photo op hunt in the woods? I don’t feel Jeb did anything to hurt himself too much – To me,for moderates, which will decide the candidate, Jeb, Rubio, Paul and Christie are the 4 I see going long, but all of whom do not impress at all – very sad crop. Where is Huntsman? lol

  13. Pinky says:

    @Modulo Myself: I’d assume it’s the largest room in the Reagan Library.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I loathe that weasel (Walker) with the white-hot passion of a million burning suns.

    As do all right thinking people, including deeply Republican friends of mine in Wisconsin.

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @Stan: @C. Clavin: And of the seventeen of them, oops fifteen this week, at least with respect to SCOTUS, economics, and the environment; Trump’s the least scary of the bunch. Gawd knows what he’d do, but it’s a given the rest would be disastrous.

  16. JWH says:

    Dont’ they look kind of like the Rockette’s lined up like that? But I really, really don’t want to see Donald Trump and Chris Christie do the cancan.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    A good story, even when it’s fiction, has to contain some truth, which is why I found the whole thing rather boring. No one was even in the same room as truth. It was lies being told to credulous morons. 3 hours of inadequate, incompetent, nasty, stupid little men and one woman talking utter nonsense while the real world exists on a completely different plane.

    I bailed out at one point (while still listening) to cook a burger. And at the 2:15 point I bailed out entirely to watch Great British Bake-Off which was doing Victorian-era recipes. Crust is either too thick or it’s not, the bottom is either soggy or not, the flavors either work or they don’t, your bavarois is either set or it isn’t.: reality. A planet with which the GOP is unfamiliar.

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    and that 30% is all that we need to see the Republican primaries turn into an endless race towards the gutter. It’ll ensure that their nomination process drags out forever and encourage them to use all that extra time to destroy each other (and their party in the bargain) before its over with.

    It’s like 2012, only better. Why waste time and resources fighting Republicans when you can get Republicans to fight each other – and destroy each other – instead?

    Christmas came early this year.

  19. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I bailed out at one point (while still listening) to cook a burger. And at the 2:15 point I bailed out entirely to watch Great British Bake-Off

    My wife and I made it through an hour (having hidden all of the heavy throwable objects in advance). Agree completely on the disconnect from reality — I’m reminded of Wolfgang Pauli’s quip about a physics talk he once heard: “That’s not right. That’s not even wrong.”

    We switched over to a 2-hour Nova about the discovery of Homo naledi. Much more interesting, and probably more relevant in the long run.

  20. J-Dub says:

    My main take-away from this debate is that Huckabee may be fatter than Christie now.

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @DrDaveT:
    That is a great quote. I am so going to use that.

  22. Mikey says:

    @DrDaveT:

    We switched over to a 2-hour Nova about the discovery of Homo naledi. Much more interesting, and probably more relevant in the long run.

    My wife and I watched that too. Definitely far superior to whatever the GOP Clown Car occupants were drooling on about.

  23. Stan says:

    @C. Clavin: Not so. Scalia’s half life is less than Strontium 90’s. Not that I think Trump’s a war-monger, but he’s either pretending to be a reckless fool, which is disgusting, or he is one, which is worse.

  24. Tillman says:

    @Jc:

    Put Fiorina in that category for me. That beef up the military rant, the war mongering mentality she was projecting is scary.

    Heh heh.

    Carly Fiorina: I will build 60 new aircraft carriers and in the hull of each one I will entomb a living member of HP’s Board of Directors.

  25. michael reynolds says:

    Well, we need a 600 ship navy to deal with the threat from. . . um. . . wait, I’ll think of someone.

    There are a total of 19 aircraft carriers in existence. 10 are ours. 4 more belong to NATO allies, India has 2, Russia and China each have one. Of course in reality there are only 10 real aircraft carriers, and they’re all ours. Not much point really in having an aircraft carrier when the carrier can’t go anywhere without NATO’s permission.

    The Russian navy is a joke. They lack bases, they lack routes to the open ocean, their ships are coastal patrol craft. Ditto the Chinese navy. With one exception: subs. Russian and Chinese subs are potentially dangerous and we should always be ready to meet that threat, but we are ready.

    Republicans who talk solely in terms of numbers of ships are either fools or liars. We have 227 ships. The Chinese have 370, but our tonnage is three times theirs, demonstrating that the Chinese navy is still a defensive force – mine-layers, coastal patrol craft, destroyers.

    But I imagine 227 vs. 370 will be more than enough to cause Tyrell and Jack and Pinky to get the vapors.

  26. Joe says:

    So Trump repeats the autism/vaccine bullshit next to a man whose biggest claim to fame is being a pediatric surgeon, who is literally asked to respond, and Trump does not get his ass handed to him? That made me crazy. I had no real hopes or expectations for Carson before that, but how is that man polling as a leader of anything!?

  27. al-Ameda says:

    @DrDaveT:

    My wife and I made it through an hour (having hidden all of the heavy throwable objects in advance). Agree completely on the disconnect from reality — I’m reminded of Wolfgang Pauli’s quip about a physics talk he once heard: “That’s not right. That’s not even wrong.”

    My oldest daughter told me that she planned to watch the debate. She lasted about 10 minutes, she couldn’t stand it, and switched to “the Property Brothers,” a Canadian Toronto-based show about real estate home purchase major remodels.

  28. Scott F. says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I didn’t even give it an hour. Life’s too short.

    All the same, I’ve been reading around this morning and I’ve been gratified to see that Kasich is barely being mentioned. Doug doesn’t reference him in a sentence where he’s not paired with another candidate and most of the other items I’ve seen this morning are much the same. NPR’s data show only Huckabee and Walker got less face time than he did.

    Kasich is the only one of the lot who I think can pass as a credible candidate in 2016 and if the Governor of Ohio fades away before then, it’s all the better.

  29. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: WIKI actually lists 38 carriers in the world. But to get that count they include ships down to an 11,000 ton Thai carrier. The largest foreign carrier is the 60,000 ton Liaoning. But besides the ten 100,000 ton CVNs we have nine amphibious assault carriers, LHA and LHDs. At 40,000 tons plus and STOVL capability they’re roughly comparable to or larger than any foreign carrier. And yes, only the Chinese Liaoning and the one Russian carrier could realistically be considered potential enemies.

    Sorry to belabor this, but if you look at foreign ships you really have to count our assault carriers.

  30. michael reynolds says:

    @gVOR08:

    Yeah, it’s a question of whether it’s an aircraft carrier if it only carries helicopters and VTOL planes. But I suspect you’d agree that any single US Navy Carrier Task Force could take on and sink the entire Chinese Navy (setting aside their attack subs which are a legitimate issue) in a long weekend, always assuming the Chinese could get to sea past Japanese, South Korean and ROC land-based and sea-based defenses. In addition to the sheer weight and sophistication of hardware there’s a massive imbalance in practical experience. The Chinese have never run real carrier operations and China’s last successful major naval engagement was never.

  31. michael reynolds says:

    @gVOR08:

    What we probably should be doing is helping ramp up the Indian navy. I like their geography a whole lot better than China’s or Russia’s. We could certainly cede the Indian Ocean to a competent Indian Navy.

    And of course we should continue to push the Japanese to take a more forward-leaning posture. I seem to recall that the Japanese had some success with naval operations in the past. Between Japan, Okinawa (yes, more Japan) and the ROC and South Korea I wouldn’t be happy being a Chinese admiral trying to take a fleet out into open ocean.

  32. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Between Japan, Okinawa (yes, more Japan) and the ROC and South Korea I wouldn’t be happy being a Chinese admiral trying to take a fleet out into open ocean.

    Yes, that’s their problem and why they’re trying to push their naval zone out via artificial islands. Despite ostensibly having an open route to the oceans, multiple islands of other nations sit astride their sea lanes, potentially boxing them in. It’s the same issue Germany, the Netherlands and France had in their contests against the Royal Navy — the British Isles themselves were a giant gauntlet that always had to be run in any war.

  33. Barry says:

    @Joe: “I had no real hopes or expectations for Carson before that, but how is that man polling as a leader of anything!?”

    He’s willing to lie as needed. If the GOP base hated the germ theory of disease, he’d be pointing to broken bones in car accidents to ‘prove’ that germs don’t cause disease.

  34. DrDaveT says:

    @al-Ameda:

    she couldn’t stand it, and switched to “the Property Brothers,” a Canadian Toronto-based show about real estate home purchase major remodels

    It says bad things about my life that I can assure you that the Toronto-based show is “Love It Or List It” (with David and Hilary), not “Property Brothers” (with Drew and Jonathan, in Texas).

  35. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: I think it was Fermi who said, upon hearing of the discovery of the neutrino: “Who ordered THAT?!”

    Oh, and look up the “Pauli effect” if you want a good giggle….

  36. Tyrell says:

    90% of the discussions were irrelevant. The questions and program were planned, scripted, and pre-packaged. The whole thing is to divert people’s attention to non-important issues, away from what will affect people’s lives.
    This weekend the pope comes to the US. Listen carefully to what he proposes, and the reactions of the leaders. The next several weeks may very well be the most important in US history.
    Be prepared. Be attentive and ready. Anything could happen.
    “Don’t go around tonight…I see a bad moon on the rise” (Creedence Clearwater)

  37. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:

    The next several weeks may very well be the most important in US history.

    WTF are you talking about, Willis???
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0-aQPbzCZE

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:
    I can only assume that the Pope, conspiring secretly with the Grand Ayatollah, will push Obama to declare Sharia law and take everyone’s guns. Also their bacon. Then comes the ISIS amphibious landing somewhere on Long Island.

  39. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: Carson would be the one to take everyone’s bacon. Adventists are as anti-pork as any Muslim or observant Jew.

  40. al-Ameda says:

    @DrDaveT:

    It says bad things about my life that I can assure you that the Toronto-based show is “Love It Or List It” (with David and Hilary), not “Property Brothers” (with Drew and Jonathan, in Texas).

    My so-called life is a shambles too. David and Hillary? I also watch them.

    On Drew and Jonathan it seems that we’re both right.
    From Wikipedia (for what that’s worth)

    Property Brothers is a Canadian reality television series that is produced by Cineflix. Identical twin brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott (born 28 April 1978) help home buyers to purchase and renovate “fixer-uppers.”[3] The first season was recorded in Toronto, Ontario.[8] For the third season, the show was recorded in Austin, Texas, for half of the year and Canada for the rest.[7] The brothers returned to their hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia to film in 2013.[9] In 2014, the show recorded several episodes in Atlanta, Georgia, and in 2015 they will be filming in Westchester County, New York.[10][11]

  41. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: You take my barbequed pork spareribs from my cold dead hands…..ditto for bacon.

    Note for today’s ToDo list: find a cat to tape bacon to.

  42. CrustyDem says:

    @Tyrell:

    Somebody is spending to much time listening to Glenn Beck. I made the mistake of stopping on his diatribe the other day and he was in full “there may not be a next president…”-mode.

    Crazy is crazy…

  43. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    They’ll take my bacon when they pry it from my warm, slightly greasy hands!

  44. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist: Mmmmm, bacon…I didn’t have real pork bacon until after I graduated from high school.

    Growing up Adventist meant living in a culinary wasteland…

  45. Dave Francis says:

    To me and millions of Americans who sat in front of the TV through the near three hour debate at the Reagan Library, it really isn’t going to matter who had a better exchange of ideas, whether cynical or just dead air? I’m for Donald Trump and the runner up being Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. The original issue that Trump spoke about in his commencement speech, about the illegal alien invasion, was all I need to know about the man who will be sitting in the White House. The immigration topic played a prominent role in the first round of debates last month, while most professional hopefuls prioritized American workers over illegal aliens. Although the people will be examining to see if politician are optimistic in sticking to their positions and where they stand on the Syrian Refugee crisis?

    Its certain that every President has his specific consultants, and although Trump is poor on many specifics as ISIS, IRAN, budgets, etc, but he will have the greatest experts in his circle of the very best of individuals managing the greatest country in the world. From what he has said, he already has many notable people who have the ability to renegotiate unfair trade treaties, that’s if Trump doesn’t renegotiate them himself? I don’t believe for one minute Donald Trump cannot keep in line Congress on his agenda? I judge that the hardships that Americans have been suffering for many decades will be a thing of the past.

    Overall illegal immigration has been the main commitment of the Obama administration, from the man in the present Oval office signed overreaching executive order that has caused the flood of foreigners, with little allowable enforcement at the Southern border. When the US Border Patrol is manacled to control the regions along our frontier we have little chance to stop the inflow. It is the same with interior enforcement (ICE) to seek out illegal aliens and even worse, the criminal element. As according to the Pew Research Center millions of American workers are unemployed, while 8 million illegal aliens are working; the majority in non farming jobs. In 2012 illegal aliens made up about 5.1 percent of the labor force. About 8.1 million foreigners had jobs, and contrary to popular opinion, many of them were not in agriculture, but in occupations that American labor dominate. This is because MANDATORY E-VERIFY doesn’t exist–YET?

    Although I doubt that the Birthright Citizenship law can be amended and the ‘Anchor Baby’ game will continue with the assistance of Liberal activist judges, unless it can reach the Supreme court for a reading? Nonetheless we do have an effective deterrent, MANDATORY E-VERIFY. This enforcement mechanism is less expensive and not only could attribute to a massive data base of illegal entries, but contribute to the ending the ‘optional’ E-Verify and amending the immigration policy to make it compulsory. By using technology along the border and implementing a biometric entry/exit system to track foreign visitors. No more free passes for employers and if caught with either new or old hires, you could be heading for a prison cell. Obviously they need a extensive recruitment of more deployed ICE agents, to check on who is working for business owners?

    There is a tough E-Verify bill, the Legal Workforce Act, that passed the House Judiciary Committee earlier in this Congress. HR 1147 that would involve major corporations, government agencies, and federal and state contractors to implement E-Verify within six months. Smaller businesses would be phased in over three years. Penalties on employers that refuse to comply with the new E-Verify law would be increased, an important feature since the CATO Institute found that too many businesses blatantly close the eyes to existing law, knowing they will go unpunished by the Obama administration. However this is ONLY new hires, and although this has some resemblance of following the law, it is still open to intentional negligence.

    After the debate that was abrasive as I expected, none of the contenders had explored the illegal immigration incursion as Trump. Other concerns were passed between Carly, Jeb , or any of the others, but Trump held to the main issues that troubles America. He has the answers for Obama’s refusal to Enforce our borders?

    Its suppression of the Rule of Law and damn the edicts of the Constitution, where Obama his concerned. We have a population explosion we can do without; gridlock on our freeways and benefits for illegal aliens going through the roof. Millions of citizen- Americans and legal residents went through the arduous task of being vetted by the FBI and the State Department and paying thousands of dollars for legal Representation. While others are either smuggled or sneak through the non-existent fences along the US/Mexican border, but not to forget the estimated 40 percent that arrives here through ports of land and airport terminals anemically called ‘Overstays’, never to return home.

    When Mr. Trump said he would build a high wall to prevent the illegal alien migrants, I and unknown numbers in the population was elated. It was the first solvable issue, that would make the people more able to breath in congested towns and cities. Employers who stuff their pockets with profits from the cheap labor would not be happy. And would complain to the US Chamber of Commerce spending over a billion dollars to pay off the corrupt politicians, via the lobbyists. They roam the Washington DC beltway, offering substantial payouts for the legislators who would take their bribes?

    But now the Established class in both political parties, now have two contend with 3 outsiders, with Donald Trump taking the lead. Trump is very aware of the money system inside the DC state offices, of the bribes, intimidation and possibly blackmail. “I’ll scratch your back and you better scratch mine”. If you don’t you will be downgraded to some inferior oversight committee on a wasteful issue.

    Trump knows what’s going on as he was already been confronted by a known lobbyists of which he declined a $5 million dollar check. Buying favors has been the occupation of retired politicians, who leave the seat of power and then offered jobs by giant corporations. But being a billionaire in his own right Trump as reported that he doesn’t need ‘Blood Money’.

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @Dave Francis: Considering that the bulk of illegal immigrants are those who have overstayed their visas, you’d do better closing all the airports than building a damn fence.

  47. Guarneri says:

    I must admit it is still good entertainment to watch the one trick pony named Michael Reynolds go on his tirades about how every Republican is stupid, racist, homophobic, [pick your favorite childish label]. A 60 year old man reduced to infantile name calling. Telling.

  48. al-Ameda says:

    @Dave Francis:

    Although I doubt that the Birthright Citizenship law can be amended and the ‘Anchor Baby’ game will continue with the assistance of Liberal activist judges, unless it can reach the Supreme court for a reading?

    “Liberal activist judges”? Update your stereotypes, please. It seems to me that the 14th Amendment, Section 1 – “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. ” – would have to be amended for the so-called ‘anchor baby’ game to be resolved to your satisfaction.

  49. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:

    And as usual, along you come with nothing to offer other than what should, for a grown man, be a rather embarrassing personal attack of zero substance.

    Do you have an actual thought in your wee little brain, Drew? You seem to be growing dumber and more disconnected by the day. I mean aside from your obsession with me?

    I assume you’re backing Trump now. He’s also a bloviating ignoramus who knows nothin’ ’bout ‘nothin. Match made in heaven.

  50. Mikey says:

    @Dave Francis: Man, I couldn’t wade through that War-and-Peace-length comment. Can you TL;DR it for me? “I love Trump because he wants to keep the dirty brown people out?” Something like that?

  51. Pinky says:

    @Mikey: That’s perfect, Mikey. You just said that you’re not going to read something and understand it, so you’ll just assume that it was racist. You could turn that into some kind of slogan and sell t-shirts.

  52. gVOR08 says:

    @Mikey: I’m afraid I skimmed it. What I got was, “I bought Trumps pitch hook, line, and sinker.”

  53. ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky:.. so you’ll just assume that it was racist.

    When citizen Francis supports Trump the Chump, Francis is advocating for Trump’s statement that Mexicans are “rapists”.
    When citizen Francis writes: “Although I doubt that the Birthright Citizenship law can be amended and the ‘Anchor Baby’ game will continue with the assistance of Liberal activist judges, unless it can reach the Supreme court for a reading?”
    He is demonstrating his ignorance re: United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898)
    When citizen Francis writes “…but he will have the greatest experts in his circle of the very best of individuals managing the greatest country in the world.”
    and follows with “…the hardships that Americans have been suffering for many decades…”
    Francis demonstrates his inability to recognize what a blatant contradiction he has penned.
    I did read the entire post. There is more.
    But apparently Francis is worthy of your support Pink.
    Somehow I am not surprised.

  54. Pinky says:

    @ernieyeball: Anyone being attacked unfairly is worth supporting.

  55. ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky:..Anyone being attacked unfairly is worth supporting.

    Anyone advocating in favor of Typhoid Trump’s Mexican rapist claim is fair game and should be called out.

  56. Pinky says:

    @ernieyeball: ‘cept he didn’t advocate for that claim, at least not in that comment. A person can support a politician without endorsing all of his claims. This isn’t humor, Ernie, so I shouldn’t have to explain it to you.

  57. Pinky says:

    @Dave Francis: Dave – I agree with you that immigration is an important issue, and it’s one that I’m glad has been raised. We need to return to enforcing the laws on our books in order to reduce the number of illegal aliens. I like some of the policies you mention. What I don’t understand is why you think Trump is the man who can do it. For every reasonable policy he’s endorsed, he says something nonsensical like making Mexico pay for the wall. That’s pretty nearly impossible to do; it’s very costly to block transfers from one country to another, and it requires nearly a declaration of war. It’s not going to happen. Either Trump realizes that or he doesn’t; either way, it’s hard to see him as a serious candidate.

    You mention that you like Ted Cruz. There’s someone who has a law degree, has actually argued and won cases before the Supreme Court, and has served in the Senate. Even at his feistiest, he understands that the president can’t (and shouldn’t) just make up laws and treaties. He’s far more likely than a President Trump to succeed at implementing the policies you’d like to see. Why aren’t you putting your faith in someone like him? The fact is, the president has to work within the system or become a dictator. The system isn’t perfect, but it”s better than the alternative. Trump doesn’t talk about how he’d implement his policies within the system. He seems to think like Perot, that you can just lock people into a room until they agree with you. That’s just not serious. He says he knows how Washington works, but he doesn’t.

  58. Mikey says:

    @Pinky: He supports Trump’s view on immigration, which is demonstrably racist. I don’t need to read ten paragraphs of explanation why when the reason is obvious in the first.

  59. Pinky says:

    @Mikey: Is the wall racist? E-Verify? What position did Dave take in that comment that was demonstrably racist?

  60. Mikey says:

    @Pinky: Nice shift of context, there. “The wall” is not itself racist, E-Verify is not itself racist, but the motivations behind them are. Trump is appealing to a specific thought process and it is rooted in racism.

    Hence my original comment: Francis supports Trump because Trump wants to keep the dirty brown people out. You know, the people Trump broad-brushed as disease-riddled rapists who are stealing good American jobs.

    But, I’m willing to acknowledge it might be unfair of me to tag Francis as a racist. He may be sincerely concerned with the overall issue of illegal immigration, even that of non-brown people who overstay their visas. If that’s the case, I apologize. I will say he should be careful about hitching his wagon to a racist, misogynist, birther, anti-vaxxer horse.

    TL;DR “if you lie down with dogs, you might get up with fleas…”

  61. ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky:..demostrably racist.

    Typhoid Trump states that Mexicans are criminals and rapists. This characterization is based on racism.
    The wall is to keep the alleged Mexican rapists and criminals out of
    the United States.
    This isn’t humor Pink. Yet it still has to be explained to you.