BY MICHAEL REISIG –
Well, once again the Republicans have managed to prove that ego “trumps” intelligence. In the recent Republican Debates, the American public was presented with far more candidates than needed in order to make an intelligent decision for this nation. As always in politics, there was too much ego and not enough message, (largely because when you have this many people desperately trying to make a mark in 30 seconds, nobody really wins.)
The concept of breaking the debate into two categories was demeaning on one hand and absolutely necessary on the other. (However, after seeing how commanding Carly Fiorina was, she may need to be bumped up to the first string. She left me thinking that her and Hillary would be an interesting debate spectacle, as both are capable of emasculating the average male with just a glance. (That small wicked part of me kept thinking: a small circular arena, black leather, spiked bras and whips, and no teleprompters – now that would be a “debate.”)
Speaking strictly of the second debate, with the 10 top candidates, I felt that through this plethora of desperate hopefuls there were a few that did stand out:
The winner for me was Mike Huckabee. He came across dedicated and surprisingly forceful, yet managed to interject just a touch of humor here and there, which relaxed his audience and made them receptive. I like his ideas on taxes, his support of our only true Mideast ally (Israel), and his absolute distrust of any contracts with any Islamic powers. Ted Cruz was right behind him, and his vow to repeal the nuclear contract with Iran the day he takes office, won him a lot of points. Donald Trump, who had tremendous momentum going into this, lost points by being unnecessarily contentious, and lacking in substance regarding answers to America’s challenges. I like the man and his “no nonsense” attitude, and he is one of the three people in the lineup for president/vice president who might actually save America. But he needs to become less rebellious and more presidential if he is to have a chance.
Marco Rubio did a fine job of defending his ideals and defining his heritage, but he spent too much of his precious time telling about his past and not enough about his future. While he is one of my favorites, he is clearly an Hispanic first. While this helps him in votes, it doesn’t resonate as well with Middle America, which is under siege by Latin America.
Second to Trump, Rand Paul did his best to aggravate his competitors, with little benefit to his standing. (Lord I wish I could get past the idea of having a president that looked like an angry Howdy Doody.)
Until the debate, Ben Carson had been one of my favorites. Carson, who has seemed so forceful in other interviews was surprisingly benign, but his quality of character still stood out. However, if he wants to live with wolves, he will have to show some teeth.
Chris Christie – Let me think… I’m trying to find something nice to say… but I can’t. He is an eastern seaboard gangster come presidential hopeful. He will be anything you want him to be that will get him elected. He’s no more a true Republican than Hillary is an Oklahoman conservative. Sometimes you just look at people and you can see the spark of truth hidden in their eyes, that their mouths never mention – and it isn’t pretty.
With the exception of Rand Paul’s lackluster attempt to ingratiate himself with people of color, there was surprisingly little conversation on race – the elephant in the room. Hardly anyone mentioned the plethora of problems this country faces – in particular the largely self-induced violence and poverty in Hispanic and black communities. (It seems like politicians are constantly looking for a defining word for blacks that won’t offend – we’ll soon be down to “wonderful people with a slightly darker hue who just have terrible luck communicating with police or keeping jobs.)
When it’s all said and done I have to agree with many of the internet pundits – the loser on this whole thing was Fox News and their deliberate, obvious attempts to goad Trump into less than flavorful or propitious responses. It was odd — seeing FOX do the very thing they despise in other news agencies.
In the end I was left with a strange amalgam of hope and fear, and reminded of the quote by Charles De Gaulle: “I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to politicians.”
The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ownership and staff of The Polk County Pulse. Michael Reisig is a freelance writer and published author whose works are reproduced throughout the globe.