While I’m fully aware that both sides have their flaws, there are still a lot of differences between the two major political parties in this country. And after watching last night’s second GOP presidential debate, I have never been more proud of the fact that I’m not a Republican. That debate was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever witnessed.
First, until the field is reduced down to about 5-6 candidates, these “debates” are pointless. I can’t count how many times last night CNN’s Jack Tapper asked a specific question, only to have the candidates often avoid answering, typically going off on some completely unrelated tangent.
Hell, 90 percent of the entire night consisted of each candidate personally attacking President Obama, each other, the Iran deal, Planned Parenthood, immigrants or the Supreme Court. I sat in front of my television for over 5 hours and I can’t tell you a specific plan any of these candidates has other than a couple of references to a flat-tax. Which, by the way, is nothing more than a huge tax hike on the poor and middle class while massively cutting taxes for the wealthy.
Oh, and apparently Sen. Ted Cruz believes the George W. Bush-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts and Ronald Reagan-appointed Anthony Kennedy are now liberals, because they dared to interpret the law as it relates to our Constitution when it came to the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage bans. You know, they should have just sided with Republican propaganda concerning both issues.
But it’s really a testament to the sad nature of the GOP when the “winner” of the debate (at least according to most political pundits) was Carly Fiorina, essentially because she presented herself well. Forget the fact that practically nothing she said had any sort of substance, or the fact that she basically said that if she were elected president she would likely end up starting WWIII with Russia – who cares about those facts. As long as you’re a candidate who can memorize talking points well, then deliver them in a confident manner, getting your facts straight simply doesn’t matter.
Apparently, to be a “strong presidential candidate” one must only possess the ability to speak well during a debate. It doesn’t matter really what you’re saying, just as long as you say it with a certain panache.
Though my favorite part of the evening came after several of the candidates had been bashing President Obama’s foreign policy (a common theme of the evening), prompting Tapper to point out that it was congressional Republicans who refused to give the president the ability to take further action in Syria. That’s when (and I’m not joking) they began trying to blame him for the fact that they wouldn’t vote to give him the ability to do more in the war-torn nation.
It was like watching two anti-Obama propaganda trains collide head-on. On one side it was the, ‘President Obama let Syria spiral out of control, which has empowered ISIS’ rhetoric colliding with the, ‘Well, as congressional Republicans we didn’t give him the authority to do more because we don’t trust this president’ side. They were literally trying to claim that President Obama hadn’t done enough in the Middle East – while simultaneously admitting that their party refused to give him the power to do more. Though, aside from a couple of candidates saying they’d put U.S. forces back in the Middle East, almost none of these clowns pointed to anything specific that he’s done wrong or they would have done differently.
I sat back most of the night befuddled at the sideshow I was witnessing, often thinking to myself, “How the heck can anyone support any of these people?”
While neither Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders are perfect candidates, at least both are running on something. During the democratic primary race we’ve seen each candidate come out with huge ambitions to fix our health care system; make education more affordable; reform our flawed prison system; profess their desire to raise our minimum wage; protect women’s rights; and to do something about stopping the record amounts of money corrupting our government thanks to the Citizens United ruling. A novel concept, right? Presidential candidates running on what they plan to do – not just against whatever their opponent says they want to do.
And I’m not even including Joe Biden, another solid candidate who has a legitimate shot at winning the nomination if he decides to run. (Sorry Martin O’Malley fans, 2016 isn’t going to be his year.)
As a progressive, I feel absolutely blessed to be so lucky. You’re telling me that the “worst” Democrats will do for 2016 is either Clinton, Sanders or Biden? I’ll take that all day. While I’ve been vocal about my skepticism that Sanders can win in the general election, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to vote for him if he were to become the nominee. In fact, I’d be proud to vote for any of the three (if Biden decides to run) candidates.
Meanwhile over on the Republican side, the four leading candidates are:
- Donald Trump: An arrogant, bigoted sexist billionaire who spends 70 percent of his time telling everyone how great he is. Not only that, but he flat-out admitted last night that he doesn’t know much about foreign policies and the threats the United States faces globally – but he’ll “learn about them” before he’s elected.
- Ben Carson: An admittedly brilliant neurosurgeon who has absolutely no qualifications to actually run for president much less get elected.
- Carly Fiorina: A woman who laid off thousands of workers during the same period of time she was buying several private jets as CEO of HP – who then proceeded to nearly run the company into the ground. She was ultimately fired in 2008 for being absolutely terrible at her job.
- Jeb Bush: The brother of George W. Bush, one of the worst presidents in United States history – enough said.
Those are the leading GOP candidates. Just let that sink in for a moment.
The second debate was tough to watch; it was disorganized and way too long. Even as someone who follows politics closely, less than halfway through the debate I just wanted it to end.
Like I said, after watching that circus I’ve never been more proud of the fact that I’m not a Republican. While I know most conservatives won’t be embarrassed by last night’s GOP debate, I’m embarrassed for them. I truly do feel sorry for anyone who is so blinded by ideology that they would support anyone standing on that stage.