That Wasn’t a Debate, It Was a Two-Hour Republican Presidential Ad Sponsored By Fox

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republican-presidential-debate-fox-businessAnother debate is in the books and this one was easily the worst one yet, by far. This wasn’t a debate, it was nothing more than a 2+ hour Republican presidential campaign ad sponsored by Fox Business. Moderators didn’t control the candidates, challenge their lies or even require that the questions asked were actually answered. Furthermore, even at 8 candidates, there were still far too many people on one stage.


The feeling I always walk away with after watching these things is that I just watched presidential candidates who spent 2+ hours pandering to far-right blogs. These folks don’t have serious ideas to address the issues facing this country. They’re just clowns hoping to stand out on an overly crowded stage, competing with one another to win the hearts of minds of people who believe Jade Helm was a plot by the Obama administration to confiscate guns or a red coffee cup signifies that Christians are under attack.

While every candidate needs to seize every moment they’re given to stand out, no candidate had more on the line tonight than Jeb Bush. If his campaign was going to have even the slightest chance at hoping for an unlikely comeback, he had to make a huge statement tonight. He didn’t do that. The bottom line is, Bush isn’t a good candidate. He comes off weak, unsure of himself and desperate. I really can’t see anything he could possibly do that could save his campaign at this point.

Donald Trump… was Trump. He got exposed a couple of times when John Kasich ripped into him on immigration and Rand Paul pointed out that – after Trump had gone on a 2-3 minute anti-China rant concerning the TPP – China isn’t even a part of the deal. Donald Trump is nothing more than a live action Drudge or Breitbart headline. It’s an absolute joke people take him seriously.

Ben Carson, I really don’t know. To this day I still don’t get why anyone supports this guy. A good chunk of the middle of this debate centered around the Middle East and national security and Carson never once tried to speak up – the only candidate who didn’t. While his supporters will certainly make excuses for him, I personally think it’s because he knows that if he tries to speak out on these complex issues, his ignorance about them is going to be exposed. He seems to be employing the tactic of sit back, be quiet and hope nobody notices.

Paul, to his credit, came in with his strongest showing thus far. Unfortunately for him, that’s not really saying a whole lot. While he might get a small bump, it won’t be anything that’s going to suddenly make him a legitimate contender for the GOP nomination.

Carly Fiorina was exactly who she’s been in the first three debates. Well spoken, confident but hollow. She had a couple of strong moments, but I think conservatives are tiring of her in general. I would look for her to stay around 3-4 percent in the polls; if she does get a bump, it won’t be back to the levels she was at just a few weeks back.


Marco Rubio was solid, but he also didn’t really do anything to stand out. He faltered fairly badly when Paul pushed him on being a “true conservative” after he defended his desire to provide a tax credit so families can deduct child care expenses. He seems to do well when he’s allowed to speak unchallenged, but struggles whenever he faces a pushback from an opponent. That doesn’t bode well for someone who wants to face either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in the general election.

John Kasich did his best to interject some semblance of reality and sanity to this “debate,” but it was ultimately pointless. Conservative voters don’t want to be told the truth, they simply want to be told what they want to hear. While it’s highly unlikely that I would ever vote for him, Kasich is the only one of these candidates who seems to basing any of his policy issues on actual reality rather than right-wing fan fiction.

If there was a “loser” to this debate I would say it was Ted Cruz. After gaining a good chunk of momentum from the third debate, he was mostly absent during this one. Instead of establishing himself as that “third candidate,” he didn’t say or do anything that I think would push him ahead of Rubio. Then again, with Cruz, it’s always the same thing. If you’ve heard one Ted Cruz speech, you’ve heard them all. All he does is repeat right-wing talking points over and over, while almost nothing he says is actually true.

But when it’s all said and done, the fourth Republican “debate” was mostly a joke. The moderators rarely pressed any of the candidates on the nonsense they were spewing. Even when one of the candidates refused to answer the question asked (which was often), rarely did they get called out on it. While I wouldn’t say the “debate” was out of control, it was clear the moderators sat back and let the candidates say and do whatever they wanted. As I said earlier, this wasn’t a debate – it was a 2+ hour Republican presidential campaign ad sponsored by Fox Business.

The truth is, these GOP debates do nothing more than remind me why I’m not a Republican. It’s still hard for me to believe that there are tens of millions of people who take these folks seriously. From Donald Trump acting like a 14-year-old bully, to the pyramid-denier Ben Carson, it’s shocking to see just how far the GOP has devolved from the days of the last great Republicans: Eisenhower, Roosevelt and Lincoln.



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Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Malone

    “It’s still hard for me to believe that there are tens of millions of people who take these folks seriously. From Donald Trump acting like a 14-year-old bully, to the pyramid-denier Ben Carson, it’s shocking to see just how far the GOP has devolved from the days of the last great Republicans: Eisenhower, Roosevelt and Lincoln.” KUDOS! EXCELLENT closing!

    • Edward Krebbs

      Ya gotta love, though, the Trumpster on TV today in a flurry of emotion on how he told another candidate to let Jeb speak (and he repeated it multiple times in a row in his public performance today).

      Funny thing is that I wasn’t aware that Trump was in charge of the debate. Sounds like him jumping in and trying to take credit for the lack of discipline from the moderators (whose job specifically DID include letting candidates speak).

      In other words, jumping in where he has no authority / showing that he’ll have trouble working within the limits of a parlimentary system (as opposed to everyone on the board room cowering in the corners to escape his temper). And that has worked so well for the USA – such as invading Iraq. SMH !

    • FD Brian

      the fact that Trump and Carson lead the polls just proves that the republicans and their views are totally messed up. Republicans are more concerned with paying lip service to stuff that sounds good but can’t be done, Kasich is the only actually telling these idiots what can actually be done, for Christ’s sake they voted to repeal the ACA a zillion times but are too stupid to realize that it will just be vetoed. Fucking govern or get out of the way .

  • spruett15

    I totally agree with you, Allen. Two hours of Republican talking points (lies) with no pushback or any semblance of reality. It’s sad to see what this party has become. Their little bubble is bound to pop soon. This was FOX for phuq’s sake…pure pandering and propaganda.

  • spruett15

    I totally agree with you, Allen. Two hours of Republican talking points (lies) with no pushback or any semblance of reality. It’s sad to see what this party has become. Their little bubble is bound to pop soon. This was FOX for phuq’s sake…pure pandering and propaganda.

    • strayaway

      Cruz came out with what sounded like a better tax plan – no individual taxes up to $36,000, 10% thereafter, end corporate subsidies if I heard him right, 16% import tax.

      Trump opposed the Obama’s TPP. Paul wants the Senate to have a 2/3 vote on the TPP instead of the simple majority vote scheduled in compliance with the Constitutional treaty requirement.

      Trump questioned why Germany leaves situations like Ukraine to the US and contributes little to the common defense itself. Trump: “We can’t continue to be the policeman of the world.””I don’t like Assad. Who’s going to like Assad? But, we have no idea who these people (“moderate rebels”), and what they’re going to be, and what they’re going to represent. They may be far worse than Assad. Look at Libya. Look at Iraq. Look at the mess we have after spending $2 trillion dollars, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all over the place…””We should’ve given big chunks to the people that lost their arms, their legs, and their families, and their sons, and daughters”.

      Paul: “I think it’s particularly naive, particularly foolish to think that we’re not going to talk to Russia. The idea of a no fly zone, realize that this is also something that Hillary Clinton agrees with several on our side with, you’re asking for a no fly zone in an area in which Russia already flies.

      Russia flies in that zone at the invitation of Iraq. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but you better know at least what we’re getting into. So, when you think it’s going to be a good idea to have a no fly zone over Iraq, realize that means you are saying we are going to shoot down Russian planes. If you’re ready for that, be ready to send your sons and daughters to another war in Iraq.

      I don’t want to see that happen. I think the first war in Iraq was a mistake…”

      (CHEERING) (APPLAUSE)

      All kinds of reasonable things had you listened.

  • disqus_f38NTqCuog

    And the Democratic debates consist of ‘what’s your favorite color’. Real strong argument there, enjoy the last year of ‘Kool aid’.

    • FD Brian

      no it actually doesn’t. You should probably bone up a little bit before you spout off on shit you know nothing about or you can head to the little kids table and discus how come the jello taste so good.

      • disqus_f38NTqCuog

        Amazing facts there in your rebuttal but it is what is expected by low I.q. Hillary apologists. Just denigrate and don’t bother with a fact or two.

      • FD Brian

        maybe you should watch a debate or 2, I’ve seen lots of debates and they are much more than what you have stated, I don’t need proof to prove you’re a fucking moron, you proved that yourself, fucko.

    • Progressive Republican

      Who asked that, and to whom was that question addressed?

  • mucklucky

    I haven’t heard any Democrat address this country’s deficit, or offer any solution to decrease spending… just raising taxes and increasing social programs like free college.
    Nothing is free. Most of those who are rich got that way by working hard and taking chances that could have cost them everything. Most of those on welfare never applied themselves in school and are not prepared to enter the workforce at anything other than a common laborer. No one’s fault but their own… public education has been available to everyone for over 50 years.

    • FD Brian

      spending has decreased by a substantial amount and the last presidents to do that are democrats and the last president to actually balance a fucking budget was democrat, so you should probably do a little research before you come here and write some shit that you know absolutely nothing about. And the majority of people with welfare benefits do actually work.

      • Progressive Republican

        Then he wouldn’t be a conservativ… ah. Gotcha.

      • mucklucky

        You must be referring to the budget that the Republicans passed back when they were cutting welfare. However, currently welfare/SNAP is at record levels… You ain’t so smart RU?

      • FD Brian

        you should probably google a chart on government spending. Do I need to do that for you since you obviously are unable to find accurate information. Do you think the welfare would be so high had the Republicans not fucked up the economy?

    • jooooo

      Over 50 years? Um … did you just crawl out from the cave?

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