If anyone here remembers the Fourth GOP Debate with Fox Business News on November 10, please raise your hand. Ah, that’s what we thought.
Given the passage of time, the intervening events of Islamic terrorism in Paris and Mali, the debate over refugees and the almost daily embarrassments from Donald Trump, it was inevitable the Fourth Debate would not have a lengthy shelf-life. Nevertheless, the issues raised at the debate, and the candidates’ approaches to them will continue to hover over the campaign. So perhaps it is useful to refresh some recollections to better appreciate the next debate (scheduled for December 15 in Las Vegas and to be sponsored by CNN and Salem Radio). Continue reading
We continue to promise to provide a critique of the fourth Republican Debate and what it portends for the progress of the campaign. Before getting to that, however, we felt a need to comment on the responses of Democrats, Republicans and the President to the Paris outrage. Continue reading
We were drafting some comments on the most recent GOP debate and the troubling questions as to the direction of the Party. We expect to post those comments in a day or so, but when the news of the terrorist attacks in Paris began to come in, those comments seemed for the moment considerably less urgent.
Whenever a mass killing in this country occurs, and prompts cries for gun control, those demands are met with a reproach not to “politicize” the event. Yet politicizing—a call for political action—is exactly what we believe is called for in response to such tragedies. So Continue reading
After Hillary Clinton testified before the Benghazi Committee, the consensus was that she had clearly had the better of it. In general, we are inclined to agree with that consensus. In our view, the committee demonstrated once again that such bodies seldom do a good job of interrogating witnesses. Simply as a matter of structure, it is next to impossible to conduct a coherent examination by dividing it into five minute sound bites distributed among questioners with varying skills and levels of preparation and beset by conflicting political motives. Continue reading
In our last blog, we were critical of the format and the performance of the moderators at the debate conducted by CNBC. Since that time there has been extensive discussion and “debate about the debate.” While numerous suggestions have been made by the candidates and various observers, most of them have been little more than tweaking. We have something a bit more radical (or “modest” in the Swiftian sense). Continue reading
We found watching the Republican debate to be, on the whole, a dispiriting experience. Part of the problem lay again with the format and the approach of the “moderators.” We have previously observed that such events are not debates in the usual sense of the word, but are more similar to a joint press conference. The moderators seem intent not so much on moderating, or exploring issues, as attempting to embarrass the candidates or provoke hostility among them.
The New York Times editorial on October 27 was particularly vituperative. The paper’s wrath was captured in the editorial’s headline, “Political Lies About Police Brutality.” After applauding video recordings that have shown excessive, or even reckless, use of force by police, the Times warmed to its point:
Yet the peeling away of secrecy on these indisputably unconstitutional practices is now being challenged by politicians who want to soft-pedal or even ignore police misconduct while attacking the people who expose it or raise their voices in protest against it.
In the wake of the most recent mass shooting, the tragedy in Roseburg, Oregon, we saw the usual flurry of demands for better gun control. No one spoke more passionately on the subject than President Obama and many of us could share his anger and frustration. Yet critics pointed out, correctly, that he proposed no particular legislative action and it is not clear that any of the previously proposed laws that failed in Congress would have prevented either the Roseburg shooting or others with which we are all too familiar. Continue reading
There is a broad consensus that Hillary Clinton won the Democratic “Debate.” We put the term in quotes because the event resembled not so much a debate as a joint press conference. With that qualification, we would not quarrel with the assessment that Ms. Clinton performed well and no doubt solidified her status as a front-runner. It is not that the other participants did poorly: they all seemed knowledgeable and well prepared, there were no egregious misstatements, and the event was happily free of personal sniping. Yet none of the others had the kind of breakout moment that each must have hoped for. All in all, the range of the conversation was, with few exceptions, from center left to far left and the interrogators asked few probing questions to get below the surface.
Given the cornucopia of commentary, we thought the most interesting exercise might be to note some questions that we hope might be asked in the next round. (The questions involve issues that Republican candidates will also have to address sooner or later.) Continue reading
Let’s begin by admitting that there are those who would say that “Republican Moderate” is an oxymoron or perhaps an anachronism. Or that Republican Moderate is just a polite term for RINO. We will not pause to define Republican Moderate, or identify who, in general, would qualify for that description. We will admit that there are fewer than we would wish and we also note that the related species, Liberal Republican, is truly extinct: we are unlikely ever again to see the likes of, say, Jack Javits, Ed Brooke or Nelson Rockefeller. Continue reading