August 8, 2015
For What It's Worth ... My Debate Analysis
Yet I was one of the 24,000,000 people who tuned in to the Republican Primary Debate, perhaps hoping that I would see some sign from God that He's changed His mind about letting us reap the rewards of our sinful ways... not that we don't deserve whatever is in our future. However, I didn't receive any heavenly vision, and none of the men on the stage threw down a staff that turned into a serpent and exclaimed "Follow Me!"; but I did make some interesting observations:
• Let's start with the elephant in the room ... Donald Trump. It seemed quite apparent from the opening salvo, that the Fox News moderators had their marching orders: attack Trump. They tried to make him look divisive by pointing out that if he runs as a Third Party candidate, it will most likely split the vote, and hand the victory to the Democratic Party. The intent was clear ... marginalize him.
In an attempt to point out his perceived arrogance and, possibly, to alienate the female vote, Megyn Kelly did a pretty good job of showing off her own ego and conceit. It was apparent that she dislikes Trump, and by repeating some of his alleged name-calling of women, she came off as unprofessional and vitriolic. I wonder who gave her that assignment?
But in the end, the Donald gave a good show -- and it was just that, a show. He gave no substantial solutions to America's problems, and no definitive answers to how he would run the country. The rhetoric was eloquent and forceful, but I never heard how he would accomplish his lofty goals. Unfortunately, by the results of the exit polls, there are still millions of Americans who are enamored with his politically incorrect attacks against the Washington establishment. I would at least hope that if these people are planning on voting, they will take a little more time to consider that he's merely tapping in to the frustration in the country, and look beyond the sound bite to see if there is any substance to him. It's hard for me not to wonder if somehow he's figured out how to profit from all this showmanship. And I'm still not convinced he's not the fox in the hen house (if you know what I mean).
• I found it interesting who was asked repeated questions, and who must have been chomping at the bit, wondering if they were going to be allowed to take an active part in this debate. One such candidate was Ben Carson, and I found him refreshing and a decidedly non-Washington contender. He would obviously need some schooling on the duties of the President, but he kind of reminds me of the citizen-servant in that old Jimmy Stewart movie, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. He is suggestive of the original intention of our Founders that normal citizens would get involved in serving in our government for selfless reasons; not to enrich themselves.
I was extremely impressed with his heartfelt closing statement; that he would "pick up the baton of freedom, because freedom is not free, and we must fight for it every day. Every one of us must fight for it, because we’re fighting for our children and the next generation."
• I liked Ted Cruz's ideas, but not his delivery. The endless pauses drove me crazy ... too coached, and too unnatural. I've read that he was the best debater in law school, and that's what I felt I was watching -- a debate team competition. Just talk to me, Ted ... let go of your "debate mode" and have a conversation with me.
• Rand Paul seemed to have a "small man complex", pouncing on the other candidates (especially Chris Christie, who was just too much of a politician). We get it, Rand. You want us to see you as "a different kind of Republican" -- the one who will not cower from standing tall for the American people; which is something the Republican Party has lacked throughout the last 8 years. But it came across a little too caustic.
• Jeb Bush seemed dazed and confused; doesn't have the killer instinct of his big brother.
• John Kasich shows promise and held his own; Mike Huckabee was a smooth talker (the consummate politician); sailed through any real scrutiny of his endorsement of Common Core; and Scott Walker handled the land mines laid out for him on his former position on abortion without missing a step.
• Marco Rubio was the pleasant surprise of the night for me. Always articulate, he looked like a statesman; like someone who would be proud of representing this country, and someone I could be proud of. He still remembers what it was like to live paycheck to paycheck, and to owe massive student loans; yet he's been a quick learner of how to deal with Washington politics. The real question remains... is he for real? Can he resist the pressure that will (or has been) put on him to "play ball" with the puppet masters?
Of all the candidates who invoked God that night, his remarks touched me the most. Not that I felt the others were insincere, but Rubio acknowledged that this nation has been extraordinarily blessed. And you could hear the emotion in his voice when he said, "[we need to] pass a law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States... And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not. And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live."
There was so much more to this debate that I haven't even mentioned.... immigration, the economy, our veterans and the VA, the tax code; over-regulation and small business, just to name a few. There wasn't a real loser in the bunch, as far as being able to present a confident and impassioned strength. The field was strong and they're ready for the opposition. It was almost enough to give me hope that we still stand a chance with the right man in office. It was almost enough to make me think this election still matters and that the process will be fair and honest.... almost. There is a lot that can happen in the next 15 months, and only God knows what the outcome will be. I just pray He will be merciful.
Psalm 33:12 "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage!"