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Friday, August 7, 2015

Fox News GOP Debate!!

                                 Full Debate Video

After watching the debate and having some dinner, I decided to sit down and sum up my thoughts on the first debate in a post. I've already had conversations on here and via text about the debate and felt it would just be easier to put all my thoughts into one post rather than in pieces in responses or in a number of posts. It also helps me to gather my thoughts and gives me notes to look back on too. This will be a long post. While this debate wasn't a game changer for anyone, it was a big eye opener in other ways - one being just how powerful the "establishment" is and their attempts to control this primary. Here's my personal thoughts:
This debate did little to change my opinion on any of the candidates and didn't help to sway me in deciding which candidate I will end up supporting but it did change something for me in a big way - the way I look at the RNC/establishment and Fox News. In the time I have been out of the political loop, so to speak, when my medical issues caused me to step away from my work in politics after the last Presidential election, my views on the Party have greatly evolved. Even before stepping out of politics, I was already becoming disillusioned by some of what I saw and experienced through my involvement in the Party but these past few years have really cemented that. Maybe I wasn't drinking the kool-aid anymore too and that helped. To me, as someone who has worked for both parties in my adult life, there really isn't a lot of differences between the two parties anymore in all reality, esp in how things get done, the agenda, the control, and the disfunction that exists behind the scenes. In many ways I don't think either Party really cares about what is best for this country most of the time, at least not as a priority, it's become about what is best for their Party, their politicians and their power. I have shared before my dilemma as of the past few years and how I have considered switching my party affiliation to "decline to state" for awhile as I was so frustrated with the state of things and this arouses some of those feelings again. While I haven't picked a candidate, I like what Trump says and what he has done, because he rocks the boat. He isn't afraid to offend and he isn't afraid to take on the tough issues that are killing this country. He's forcing the "establishment" to deal with things they don't want to deal with. He's not a polished politician saying what people want to hear and he's not worried about being PC or kissing the butts of the party elite that have done as much damage to the GOP brand as the Democrats have done. The establishment wants rid of him any way they can and as quick as they can and his popularity threatens their control. The threat of him running as a third party is even worse.
With that said, what we saw tonight is Fox News doing the bidding for the RNC and the establishment. From the first question of the debate, which was a trap for Trump, it was a set up to set a negative tone for the debate for Trump in a room full of establishment/RNC types. If he pledged not to run as a third party, the RNC would have leverage to go after him and one of their biggest concerns eased. They would have much more room to push him out without the threat of his third party run and with the pledge to hold over his head should he change his mind. It would be suicide for Trump and would be in stark contrast to what he has been standing for, which is not catering to the establishment and what they want. He did the only thing he could do - say he wouldn't take the pledge. To some who are so into their Party that was probably shocking and even more so to an audience stacked with RNC establishment types, and then look at the "focus groups" set up with the same types that Fox News reported on after the debate. I just wish more people would see the bigger picture, the agenda and the control that takes place with these types of events. Everything isn't "fair and balanced" when it comes to power. I watched as certain candidates had questions launched at them in a harsh, attacking manner, while the golden boys of the establishment were thrown softballs for most of the debate. I understand bias but in all my years of politics, I've never seen such a blatant example of an agenda in a debate as I saw tonight. And worse it was done by a so-called conservative news station which prides themselves on being "fair and balanced, in a GOP primary debate no less. Trump wasn't the only one on the receiving end of it - Cruz was another one. It was so obvious what was going on and thats what made it so shocking. Then after the debate, Fox News tries to make Megan Kelly out to be a victim in it all, which is laughable. As a woman, I was more offended/embarassed by Megan Kelly's performance as a moderator, than Trump's comments, and even more so when later on she tried to play the victim in how he came after the "female moderator". I lost a lot of respect for Megan who acted more like a scorned woman than anything, I lost respect for Fox News, and I once again see what is wrong with the GOP. For me, I am more about my country, not about Party loyalty anymore, and I respect someone more who would say they will stand up against the Party and do what they need to do, then fall in line and let the Party control them. If anything this debate tells me that while I am conservative, I care less about Party loyalty than I once did.

As for the candidates themselves. I'll give a quick run down. (this is only of the candidates in the main debate as I didn't get to see the earlier one):

Chris Christie - My opinion went up. I liked how he went after Rand Paul and wasn't afraid to do it. I've always liked how he isn't afraid to be more brash or in your face. He comes on personable and on the national stage is one of the more recognizable figures.

John Kasich - I almost forgot he was in the race. He said a few good things but nothing that made him stand out except that the crowd was in his corner as he was in his home State.

Ben Carson - I've always been interested in what he's had to say but never took his candidacy very seriously. I like what I heard tonight - esp loved his closing remarks. He set himself a part from the rest - even by the pace in which he talked was more like a doctor than a politician. He's a very smart man who seems to speak common sense - but can he raise the money? I'm interested in hearing more from him.

Mike Huckabee - I've always liked the guy and had the privileged of hearing him speak a few years back at an event at the Reagan Library. He's a likable guy, I agree with him on many things. I like what he had to say tonight, but I don't think he could beat Hillary. And if I remember his record correctly, he was bit of a big spender as Governor which would be a bad record to run on and not a good thing for the country if his Presidency would go the same way.

Marco Rubio - I've never really understood the appeal with him. He's not bad but I've never been thrilled about him either. I guess I would call my feelings lukewarm. Tonight didn't change that for me. I didn't dislike like him, I didn't love him either and didn't hear anything for me that changed that.

Ted Cruz - When he first announced I just shook my head. I just was not a fan. He was another one I just couldn't understand the appeal of. I felt he was too conservative for a general election. My feelings haven't made a big turnaround but I will say he's grown on me a bit. I think part of it is in how he's handled Trump and the RNC/establishment. I think he's been targeted even more by the establishment, and even in this debate, because of that. I still think he's a bit too far to the right to win the moderate vote but i at least find him more appealing than I did before, at least as someone who is standing up, albeit in a different, less abrasive way than Trump.

Rand Paul - Anyone who has seen my posts about Rand Paul through the years, or his father, know where I stand. I have a great dislike for Ron Paul and the whole Paulista movement and that is from personal experience with the group. While Rand isn't as crazy as his dad, he's not as mainstream as he's been trying to lead people to believe lately. On his foreign policy and national security stances alone, I could never support him and what I saw tonight didn't change that one bit. He's probably the only candidate in the race that I can say for sure will not be my pick.

Scott Walker - I have a lot of respect for what Walker has done for Wisconsin esp when it came to public employee unions. He has the experience but he's never lit a fire under me so to speak where I feel at this time I can jump up and support him. Just something missing for me, what, I'm not sure. I think his performance was good - nothing to me that was a standout nor a big negative. I'll wait to hear more.

Jeb Bush - I really want to like this guy. I'm a fan of his father and his brother - I do have issues with his brother when it came to spending but support him completely still on foreign policy and national security. Jeb just comes off too polished for me. Unlike his brother, W who would crack me up and who had a big personality whether you liked him or not, Jeb just seems so monotone. I give him the chance and he just always falls flat. He just doesn't give that spark that I'm looking for. I also am very concerned that he is the golden boy for the RNC/establishment. As much as we need to turn a corner from Obama and the Dems, we need change when it comes to the way the GOP has ben doing business. I worry that while he may be on the right side of the aisle, it may be more of the same with not addressing the tough issues that we need to with him as President. I work about immigration issues and how tough he will be on that. I don't think he had any standout moments tonight.

Donald Trump - He remains my favorite for the reasons I stated above. He is making people talk about important issues, he isn't afraid to say what needs to be said and he isn't afraid to offend. This has also put a bullseye on his back from not only the Dems but many in the GOP. We need someone like him - not just for the GOP but for the country. Do I think he should be the nominee? I don't know. I have my concerns about him too. One concern I don't have is the argument that he is a narcissist. Sorry, if you have spent anytime in the political world and haven't realized that a majority of politicians holding office are narcissists, then you have to be asleep. Politicians just cover it better. Some would be shocked by how different some are behind closed doors when the camera is off. Many probably would give Donald a run for his money in the ego category. To even have the guts to run for such an office, there has to be a good ego in the mix there. Some just bigger than others. Trump is rich and he's successful - two things we seem to demonize in this country anymore - but for me they are things to be proud of and good for him for being arrogant enough to promote his success.

A note on those who were in the second-tier debate: I can't comment on the content as I didn't see it but out of those in that debate I am interested in hearing more from:

Carly Fiorina - I had the pleasure of talking with her many times during her Senate run here in CA when I worked on her campaign in Los Angeles leadership and as a media surrogate for her here in LA. She was always well spoken and came off with a warmth that Meg Whitman (the GOP gubernatorial candidate that was running at the same time) didn't have. She was good at connecting with people. I remember introducing my mom to her at a post-debate party - my mom being a fellow cancer survivor. She took the time to talk to my mom, engaged, was warm and genuine. Not something you see often from politicians. On the flip side, how she left her Senate campaign, owning staffers money for years until she announced her presidential run, wasn't good. And while I think she would have been fantastic as a Senator, I just don't know if she's ready for the Oval Office but I'm interested in hearing what she has to say.
The only other one I'd be interested in hearing more from would be Bobby Jindal, the rest, I'm not too interested in. I am not a Santorum fan much in part due to the 2012 presidential primary, I'm not a Lindsey Graham fan, nor Pataki. Perry - well I had high hopes from him last time and since then I've just lost interest in him. Jim Gilmore - I'm sorry but who is that? Ok yeah I know he was a Governor of Virginia, but lately?
Further note on the debate as a whole, while I consider myself both a social and fiscal conservative, who is pro-life and a Christian, I personally cringe whenever the questions go to the social issues or religion. First off with religious questions, I'm all about God being a part of the discourse but it seems whenever there are questions about God in these things, the questions are always structured in a way to bring about sound bites than can be used to make candidates look extreme. "Has God talked to you lately". I believe God talks to us, but when you have a candidate saying that God is telling him to run or what to do in an election, those are the soundbites that come back to bite candidates in the general election when they are twisted to make them look extreme or that they are pushing their faith on people. The question tonight was one of those and it bothered me. I understand this is the primary and geared towards the base but still. There could have been a much better question on faith given then the one they did. Then to the issue of abortion - I am pro-life but I also realize that abortion will never be outlawed completely. It's sad but it's reality. How many years has it been since Roe vs Wade? We need to get a candidate into office on other issues, not this divisive issue that the GOP loses on outside of their base. Then when he/she is in office, they can take measures to at least limit abortions, esp late term abortions, or to cut funding from places like planned parenthood who are doing things that go even beyond the abortion issue itself. But highlighting the abortion issue only gets turned on the GOP in the general to look like they are against women and women's health. Many might disagree with me but how can you think this time will be different after it's a losing issue each national election for the years, and puts the GOP on defense instead of offense?
With all that said, like I mentioned earlier, I have not picked a candidate yet whom I will support in the primary. Some may say, "well, it's early", but for a politico like me, I usually have a favorite before anyone officially announces and had I still been working in politics/able to, I would already be on a campaign. So it's odd for me to be so unswayed at this point. Sad really. My guy last time was Newt Gingrich and how I wish he would have run again this time. While I don't know who my pick will be, I do know that this country needs a desperate change in direction. We need a strong leader who will tackle the tough issues, not just push them off to the next President or blame Congress as to why he/she can't do anything. The US being a super power and world leader is not a given. Many countries before us have been world leaders and took a great fall. To be a world leader the US needs to be the leader, both here in the US but for the rest of the world. With the issues facing this country now and down the road, we don't have time for another filed presidency. As the famous Reagan quote goes "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."

~Felicia Tweedy