The general consensus of the media regarding last night’s debate was that it dealt more substantially with the issues, a phrase I have come to equate with “boring”. The Donald didn’t even spice things up, partially because he has elected to present a lower profile in the debates while remaining his old outrageous self on the campaign trail. And partially because he wasn’t attacked much.
As such I could only stand watching for a few minutes at a time, so I switched back and forth most often to a recording of the TV series Fargo, which is not brilliantly funny like the movie but is grimly gripping.
During the last presidential race I often heard complaints that a key issue to most of us, the economy, was seldom really talked about. It wasn’t but then, truth be told, most of us don’t want to hear about plans for the economy, even if we indicate we want to in polls. We all want a better economy, but we don’t want to hear about detailed plans that will only be pilloried by various “experts” and we laymen won’t really be able to figure them out because it would require a major devotion of time and energy which would likely confuse us more than anything else.
AND WE DO HAVE LIVES. Even me.
And even if it is a great plan, it will die on the desiccated vine of congressional politics, so……what’s the point? This is a good part of the recipe for Donald Trump’s and Ben Carson’s success thus far. They have no plans. They just want us to believe in them as trustworthy successful individuals who can parley that success into making government work better. Given the frustrations we all feel about government, a good share of us are willing to put our faith in their being able to do just that. At least at the moment.
While the candidates touted their various economic plans and directed viewers to their web sites for details, the most important point seemed a sin of omission: none indicated where they would cut spending, despite often wanting to spend more on one or more areas, national defense being the prime example. This implication of greater spending is a weak spot for a party whose identity is based on fiscal conservatism to a large degree, something Rand Paul pointed out. But the others were mostly content to emphasize their spending would be less and serve us better than Hillary Clinton’s would be.
From what I’ve read since the debate it seems all eight presenters at the main debate were judged to have performed reasonably well, even Jeb Bush, who I’ve come to think of as “dead man walking.” Chris Christie is said to have won the preliminary four candidate debate and you may have noticed he has a heart felt video on drug addiction that has gone viral, so his campaign seems to be picking up.
But I would rather not dwell on how anyone is doing in the Republican race as it seems that the chances of each candidate will go up and down like the stock market in upcoming months (for example, in Christi’s case there are still trials pending on bridge gate which still could damage his campaign).
The one thing that does seem clear is that the party is divided enough that most of these candidates will be sticking around for a few months at least, most betting that over time the believe-in-me candidacies of Trump and Carson will gradually lose steam and the race will become wide open at that point. When the music stops who knows who will be in position to crab the one remaining chair?
For those interested in knowing more about the debate, google: We’re finally seeing the deep fault lines at the heart of the GOP nomination battle It’s the title of an article in the Washington Post which I’ve tried to link you to, but the link doesn’t work..
The next Republican debate is five weeks from now. I hope something will attract my interest by then.