The Pits

Which is what we hit last night in the eleventh Republican candidate debate.

A few not so random thoughts:

The debate was held in Detroit, a city of hard times and bankruptcies. Homes held together by food stamps and spit. Schools barely literate themselves. Unemployment at twice the nation’s average. In Flint, natural resources poisoned. Jobs farmed to foreign nations in huge quantities.
Wouldn’t we think that a caring political party, eager to make new inroads in areas where previously it has not been successful, would devote some time, questions, and ideas to urban problems? We would. Fox and the Republicans wouldn’t. A gigantic opportunity squandered.

Following the hugely embarrassing meltdown at the Houston debate, wouldn’t we think that Fox and the candidates would be eager to get the debates back on solid, substantive grounds, if only in order to assist viewers and listeners with information and reality, which is what these meetings are supposed to provide?

So what is the first question from the moderators about?

The size of Donald Trump’s “hands”.

From there it was all downhill.

Whether one intends to vote Republican or Democrat is immaterial. We were, in the main, presented with schoolboys seeing how far they could urinate.

In our view, Donald Trump held up remarkably well. He certainly lost no adherents. Despite the fact that he is far from the most qualified candidate, and at the moment is under assault by nearly every quarter of the Republican Party, he stood up straight, used words the general public could understand and uses, and even demonstrated occasionally that he was capable not only of thought, but also of rethinking. True, he couldn’t resist “Little Marco,” but last night “Little Marco” couldn’t resist playing to the balcony, either.

Rubio did himself no favors by being the class cut-up. Once again he proved he is too young, unseasoned, simply not ready to lead the country in any meaningful direction. We do not doubt his sincerity and patriotism. We doubt his maturity and skill. By the end of the evening we wanted to hear not another word from him. He cannot be schizophrenic and win. Half the time he thinks he’s cute, and half the time he thinks he’s ponderous with goals, propositions, and piety. We have no doubt he could get a date from any sixteen year old girl in the country. But the US just at the moment is not looking for a boyfriend. He’s blank on taxes, empty on ISIS, educationally confused, unable to decide what he wants from immigration.

No more so than his compatriot, Ted Cruz. Would you trust this man to sell you a used car?

And last night we saw Cruz in his McCarthy mode. Banking on speaking fast and confusing issues, he accused Trump of speaking off the record to the editorial board of The New York Times, of telling it that what he says on the stump is not how he would, in fact, govern. This accusation was based on hearsay. But like Joseph McCarthy, Cruz decided to try to make Trump deny the impossible. “If,” said Cruz, “you did tell The Times this, then don’t you think the American voter deserves to know?” A may not be true, but if A is true, how do you defend yourself? And can you reassure us all that you do not beat your wife? This is (or was) McCarthy at his finest: taking a rumor, making it fact, and then accusing his target of lying.
Cruz likes very much saying he is meeting his vows and promises. But if they are false to begin with, what do we have?

We have a slightly more mature Marco Rubio, neither of whom has performed any useful service to the country. His flat tax of 16 percent has been shown by government review to be the most expensive way to refashion our tax system. So much for fiscal responsibility. And he still wants to carpet bomb ISIS and kill innocent families and ignore collateral damage. So much for Christianity. And how, pray, is he going to find the money to reinvigorate our defense departments? Or improve our infrastructure? Will God provide?

‘Way off in the distance, barely visible yet, was the Lone Ranger.

Sooner or later, and we hope sooner rather than later, the Republican establishment is going to understand that there is only one adult on these debate stages, one man of integrity and proven success. Even Mitt Romney can barely make out this humble figure.

Without being given equal time in any of the eleven debates held so far, an honest man has appeared. Which alone keeps some of America from lemming-like jumping off cliffs, drowning in cleansing waters, moving to Canada.

He’s got his feet planted on the bottom rungs of a long climb, but this man is genuine: proven, empathetic, far-sighted, experienced. The ladder may be slippery but his grip is strong. All we can do is hope that his upward progress is not delayed by party games and that if the convention this summer in Cleveland does turn out to be an open one, he’ll elbow his way through to a sensible, hopeful, respected victory.


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