Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Who won the GOP presidential debate last night? ... by gimleteye

Republican Debate Last night
Why not? Let's jump in here. But first, a nod to the Miami-Dade County Commission that rejected outright a zoning change sought by the last building boom's political mafia -- Neighborhood Planning Group -- to build outside the Urban Development Boundary. The commission, led on zoning changes by our unreformable majority, lost by a single vote out of the thirteen commissioners (requiring a supermajority).

I was among the activists calling for the supermajority vote requirement on zoning changes outside the UDB way back in the early 1990's. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, since gone to the dark side, was the young proponent of that measure that incurred the wrath of the Latin Builders Association. So far as I can tell, it was the last time that Javier Souto voted with citizens on a critical zoning process issue. Anyhow, as Miguel de Grandy once lectured me, "Elections make a difference", and in this case one election made a certain difference: removing Lynda Bell in favor of Daniella Levine Cava.

Yesterday's vote was, perhaps, durable but cautionary, too: politics are not just a contact sport but a reminder that if you don't "do" politics, politics will "do" you.

So who won the GOP presidential debate last night? I can say with some assurance who did not win: Republican voters. The "Everything Is Bad" Party could scarcely find traction on any point of national defense and security, with candidates getting lost in the fine points of optics, of attempting to shape presidential ambition to sound bites. Enough, already.

We saw candidates disproving their own points: Marco Rubio's 'if we vet 999 immigrants and 1 gets through (to throw a bomb or shoot an automatic rifle), we have failed' and 'we have to give the national security apparatus every tool to surveil internet users'. We also saw Ben Carson veering off into scary analogies, stumbling on equating pediatric brain surgery to a justification -- or not? -- for carpet bombing civilians in Syria. In that case, the mind he opened a view to was his own. Carson might be a great surgeon and a competent administrator, but in this campaign he has nowhere to go from here.

Amongst the candidates -- Carly Fiorina, for example -- the fury against President Obama -- by now, it comes across as political mad cow disease or a virulent case of rabies -- all sense is lost. Not a single candidate wanted to hit the "pause" button to reflect on the great failure of the George W. Bush Jr. policies to unite Sunnis in Iraq or to empower the Iraqi army to protect "democratic" movement in that destroyed nation. To make it all Obama's fault requires shredding history into tiny pieces.

The only candidate among Republicans who is ready to criticize his own party is Rand Paul. Paul makes sense except for hard-line positions -- also baked into the right wing Republican meme -- that government is always the problem and cannot be the solution.

The Jeb Bush camp is struggling to come to terms with the bright fact that American voters will not elect another Bush to be president in 2016. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio: in a word, scary.

Finally, from last night's performance it is clear why Donald Trump is leading the pack among likely Republican voters. Trump is a protest vote against their own party, a party of "values" that over the past thirty years has failed to protect those values voters. The GOP wanted to defend those values voters, but its policies consistently produced results that ran counter to the interests of its own followers.

What Donald Trump is saying is, in effect, that his brand is better than the GOP brand. So far, among GOP voters, the polls confirm he is right.


Anonymous said...

"Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in a word: Scary."

You got it.

Anonymous said...

It was a very good debate. Best line:
"Anyone on this stage is a thousand times better than Obama or Clinton"

Anonymous said...

Demonize Clinton. Hell, it worked against Obama. And produced, what? Nada. Zip. Zero. Go back to your hole and leave the rest of us alone.

Anonymous said...

The US has never been as racially divided as it is now with our current POTUS.

Anonymous said...

It was a very substance-heavy debate.

Anonymous said...

Above said scary. What scares me is that I think the pundits are correct; Trump and Cruz will fall away leaving Rubio the front runner and that means there is the real possibilty that JLL will be at the right hand of POTUS. They all have their baggage of bad guys; the difference here is that we know Marco's "bad guy" and to imagine his ilk near the pinnacle of power is beyond mind boggling.

Anonymous said...

Who is JLL? Is that code for David Rivera?

Anonymous said...

Rubio attacked Cruz for voting against annual bills to authorize military spending, but missed one of those votes on Oct. 7, 2015.

Marco Rubio attacked Ted Cruz during Tuesday’s CNN debate for voting against the annual bill that authorizes military spending for the following fiscal year, but Rubio missed this year’s vote to campaign in New Hampshire.

“Three times he voted against the Defense Authorization Act, which is a bill that funds the troops,” the Florida senator and Republican presidential candidate said. “It also, by the way, funds the Iron Dome and other important programs and I have to assume that if you vote against it in the Senate, you would also veto it as president.”

One of Cruz’s “nay” votes came on Oct. 7, in a vote Rubio missed. The bill passed 70-27, despite Rubio’s absence.

Rubio, who also missed a procedural vote that led to the bill’s passing, told CNN at the time that, while he would do “everything possible to be present for any vote,” being a presidential candidate meant that he was going to miss some.

“When I miss a vote, it’s not because I’m out playing golf. We’re out campaigning for the future of America where I believe I can make more of a difference as president than I could as a senator,” he said.

Anonymous said...

JLL is a very well known and effective lobbyist if you like that kind of result. Represents FPL, the Homestead Speedway, numerous developers and is close with the County Mayor and Miami Herald. You figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Are you referring to Jorge Luis Lopez? If so, I believe you are far from the truth. Jorge Luis is a strong and vocal supporter of JEB.

Anonymous said...

I not only read this post yesterday, but I read today's post and I am able to follow directions.

cyndi said...

These guys are idiots. i have friends in the Middle East. One a neuropsychologist in Bahrein. I spoke to friends from outside the US. All they see is the bad stuff. These idiots are making enemies of everyone.
They hate President Obama because he is so grounded and rational. All these guys want to do is scare people and the media helps them out. Makes for great ratings when everyone can watch the TV from under the bed. Who needs to go out. We can order Pizza and presents from the internet.
I don't even think they understand the history of the middle east.
I want a job where I don't show up and the pay check does. Rubio should be fired.

Anonymous said...

I read your damn post!