Friday, August 7, 2015

Kit's Friday's Thoughts on the Debate

The first debate was last night. More later today, but here are my first thoughts.

The 9pm debate was… actually pretty good. And it wasn’t just enjoyable because of Trump. It was actually a fun debate to watch, probably the most enjoyable Republican Debate I’ve watched since I started watching them in 2008. Some people complained the moderators were too “anti-conservative” in their questions. Personally, as long as they don’t hand the Democrats an issue, I don’t mind.

There are, of course, people saying they went “easy” on the candidates they did not like. All were given hard questions.

But let's face it, you all want to hear about one man: The Trump.


He was Trump and, if Frank Luntz’s focus group is any indication, it hurt him. Two moments early in the debate killed him.
The first was when the candidates were all asked to raise their hands if they would not commit to supporting the nominee next year and only Trump raised his hand, eliciting the loudest boos I’ve heard directed at a candidate during a debate. The second was when he made his little snipe at Megyn Kelly that came across as childish and a bit whiny.
And that was only the beginning, as one member of the focus group said, “He dodged more questions than any politician I’ve ever seen.”

I’ll have the rest later today.


Christie/Paul Clash: Those two feuded over NSA surveillance and it was EPIC. You’ve probably seen the clips and if you haven’t, you will soon. Now, as for who won, despite the claims by some that Christie won this round, I think it was a draw.

Ben Carson: He did poorly. It was quite painful for me to watch, actually. Only at the end, when he talked about his work as a surgeon in his concluding statements, did he pick himself back up.

Jeb Bush: He sort of faded into the background. I felt his only strong point came when he was asked about Common Core. The rest of the night he seemed nervous and tired. But this won't hurt him too much. He didn't have to hit a hem r he had to do was not strike out.

Marco Rubio: He did well. His most memorable moment came when he said, “God has blessed us with some very good candidates, the Democrats can’t even find one.”

Scott Walker: Ok night. He didn’t stand out a whole lot, however. He struggled, I think, on abortion and immigration. He stays in the race for the next debate.

Huckabee: He had a very good night. He won’t ride home with the nomination and, yes, I have problems with his emphasis on social issues but he reminded why he reminded why he has an enduring popularity among social conservatives. He had some very good one-liners, especially his Hillary joke, and had one of the best moments of the night with his attack on Obama for failing to get back even one of the hostages Iran is holding.

Ted Cruz: He was Cruz. He was very good but he is going to struggle against Trump. His best hope is for Trump’s voters if the Donald begins a decline.

Kasich: He’s clearly aiming for the liberal, moderate wing of the GOP. Getting them is good but it rarely helps you a whole lot unless you can grab the “Somewhat Conservative” branch (40-60% of the party). Just ask Huntsmann.


Again, this is not about hitting home runs unless you are near the bottom. These elimination rounds are about staying in the race. It won’t start narrowing a lot until January-February 2016, when the first primaries hit, thought there will be some early drop-outs and hanger-ons like Bachmann and Perry in 2011-2012.

Huckabee will be the one grabbing up the Religious Right vote in the southeast, like he in 2008 and Santorum in 2012. Rubio will start dropping when the primaries hit and he doesn’t win any states.

Bush will stay in simply because he’s Jeb Bush. Rubio, Christie, and Walker did well enough to stay in at least until the next debate, maybe until early-2016 when they actually begin facing the voters. Only Ben Carson will drop out completely.

I think Rand Paul will stay in as the Ron Paul of this race. Like father, like son.

As for Trump? I think Trump will stay in for a few more months but begin declining, he has a box of 25%, the reason for his cheers, but given the loud boos he got for saying he might run as an independent, I don’t see him reaching out beyond it. But if he doesn’t really begin sinking before then, it will start in early-2016 when the primaries hit and people actually starting thinking about who the Republican Party will run in 2016.

Claire Berlinski pointed out in France that in polls Le Pen’s National Front will do moderately well until the last few weeks and months before the election because, “France likes to pretend it will do something really dramatic, like vote for Le Pen, but as soon as it scares itself with the thought that this could actually happen, this time–as opposed to the last forty times–it remembers that it has a perfectly serviceable conservative party.”

I see something similar with Trump happening. As soon as people start walking into the ballot box and realizing that Donald Trump could be the Republican candidate of 2016 they start voting differently. I highly doubt he will win any states in the late-winter and early spring. The only question that remains is will he run a third party election if he feels he has been treated “unfairly.”

For the 5pm debate, I think Fiorina won that one. She showed why she is so well-liked and getting in a good jab at Donald Trump. She might replace Ben Carson if he drops, as I think he will after tonight.

That is it. We'll have a clearer picture next week when the professional polls hit, instead of the online, self-selecting polls, which are subject to problems.

Any thoughts?


Joel Farnham said...

Yes, Trump lost if you only listen to Luntz and his focus group. However, Drudge had an overnight poll and Trump won.

If you go to Fox news on Facebook, you will find a different outlook on FOX and the moderators. There, it is almost uniformly negative on Meghan. Oh, and some negativity towards Luntz as well.

Trump called Meghan a bimbo today. Is that going to "hurt" Trump? I doubt it.

tryanmax said...

The only polls available at this hour are the self-selecting polls on websites. I only heard (on radio) about 10 minutes of the debate, and it sounded abysmal to me. I'll wait for something more official to come out to see who really wooed voters.

LL said...

The big winner was Fiorina both during the debate and later on MSNBC with Chris Matthews, where she took him to school.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

It may not hurt Trump among his hardcore followers, of which he has probably peaked. He may pick up a few more percentage points among those that either actually believe he is a conservative or those who think this will somehow crush the RINOs but that will be it.
Trump will get no support among moderates conservatives that see that he only speaks in populist generalities, nor those who realize that Trump himself is a crony capitalist RINO.

It is funny to see his hardcore followers try to defend him for the same things they have always accused RINOs of doing.

Trumps supporters remind me a lot of the Ron Paulians. They twist themselves in knots trying to rationalize everything he has done.

Kit said...

Updates added! My thoughts on Christie/Paul clash, Ben Carson, and Jeb Bush,

Kit said...

National Review's editors have put out their summary opinion of the debate: LINK

AndrewPrice said...

I'm rather happy I didn't watch. I feel my life is better for it. :)

Kit said...


You missed a fun debate. Most times I zone out completely but this one held my interest.

Anthony said...

It was entertaining, but I didn't see anything that would change anyone's image.

Joel Farnham said...


I saw plenty that changed Fox's image.

Kit said...

"I saw plenty that changed Fox's image."

How so, Joel?

Joel Farnham said...

Frank Luntz hit piece. Meghan Kelly's SJW attacks. Wallace's "tone". The idea that FOX News is fair and balanced fell by the wayside last night. Especially when it became known that FOX was out to get Trump and bolster Bush.

Kit said...


How was Luntz's focus group a hit piece?

Kit said...

"The big winner was Fiorina both during the debate and later on MSNBC with Chris Matthews, where she took him to school."

I did not see her on MSNBC. I must now look that up.

tryanmax said...

Fiorina schools Matthews

Joel Farnham said...

Luntz hand picked the "people" and most of them "liked" Trump going into this debate. At the end of it, most of the people who liked Trump didn't any more. My experience with people who like Trump, don't change their minds that easily.

You want to trust Luntz? Go right ahead. Be my guest.

Rupurt Murdoch doesn't want Trump to get the nomination, nor become president. Murdoch owns FOX news. Luntz works for FOX news. How hard would it be to get a few people into a studio to listen to the debate? Very hard? Very easy? Now, how hard would it be to get the "right" ones? Very hard? Very easy?

This debate was more about the moderators and their lack of integrity than the men standing before them. Luntz was just one aspect of it. Is it so hard to think that maybe Luntz also has a lack of integrity?

Kit said...

How did you think the moderators lack of integrity showed?

Kit said...


I'll have to watch it later. At work now.

BevfromNYC said...

Joel -I did not watch the debates, so I can only speculating, but Is it so unreasonable to go after the candidate who is "leading" in the polls? That's the way the game is played especially at this stage of the game...and it is a game. Getting "hard" questions at this stage is a piece of cake compared to what happens when the REAL debates start.

And I want our debate monitors/question asker-ers to ask hard, tough questions and demand answers to the questions asked...not speechifying and misdirection. We get enough misdirection as it is. ANd if Trump insists on staying in the game, he better man-up and answer the questions because they will only get harder...and more embarrassing.

Why do you think DNC is putting off the Dem debates for 8 weeks?? [See: Hillary's troubles...]

Joel Farnham said...


If it were only hard questions.

Kit said...


Elaborate. What was it about the moderators that ticked you off?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Joel, How is asking Trump to explain his own words a lack of integrity? Have you ever read Trump's twitter feed (the ego has landed)? Kelley didn't make it up.
And Bush was asked about stuff he said too, and although I dislike Bush I will give him credit for standing by his past remarks (wrong as they mostly are) instead of blaming the moderators for bringing them up.

As I said yesterday, they didn't even ask Trump about his most damning past actions.
Fox said they would try to get the candidates off their talking points and they certainly did that, for the most part.

I do think some of the questions were insipid however, such as "does God talk to you?" And man, does Chris Wallace take forever to get to the point or what?

Trump is lucky the time limit was so short because the longer he talks the more obvious it is that he has no substance underneath his populist veneer.
If Fox was really out to het him all they need to do is keep asking for specifics and asking him stuff like "why don't you support property rights?"

Or, you said you would give the illegals now living here a "path." a path to what?

IMO, Fox and every other news organization wants Trump to stay in as long as possible for the ratings.
Speaking for myself though, I didn't watch to see Trump because he is so predictable and shallow. Some of the other candidates did impress me with how quick on their feet they were, considering the format.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ironically, Fox news is mostly a populist news organization. Sean Hannity has been fawning all over Trump (it's embarassing, really) and O'Reilly treats him with kids gloves.

Apparently, they didn't get Murdoch's memo to attack him.

Kit said...

USS Ben,

"does God talk to you?" was probably one of the dumbest questions I've ever heard. Maybe the dumbest I've heard in a debate.

But on the up-side, there were no "Do you agree with this quote" questions where, after the candidate answers, the moderator reveals the quote was by George Wallace, Adolf Hitler, or Tom Brady.

Or somebody like that.

Joel Farnham said...

Which one to you is a legitimate question?

Have you stopped beating your wife lately?

Have you ever beat your wife?

Most if not all the questions posed to Trump were of the first type.

The one man on stage who has created a job wasn't asked about the economy and what he would do about it. He was asked about some comment he made on twitter that he doesn't remember. I doubt he could answer the economy question.

All this debate did was cement in people's minds that #1 FOX isn't interested in getting the best man for the job. #2 That Megyn Kelly doesn't like Trump.

As you said, they didn't even get close to his most damning past. Now, like it or not, Trump is now a "victim" in a lot of people's minds. Playing gotcha questions is all that happened last night. People will rally around their perceived champion. Any future criticism can be called an attack.

Call Trump and his followers stupid all you want. His fame is growing. It might get to the point where he is too big to defeat. Accuracy and integrity will be needed. The moderators weren't accurate nor did they have integrity. They failed.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Kit, good point. I'm glad there were no questions like that.

tryanmax said...

I may not have listened to the entire debate, but I have been reading through a transcript off and on today. I have to call shenanigans on the claim that Trump or any of the candidates got leading questions. In fact, the vast majority of the questions took the form of presenting the candidate with his own prior statements and asking for some specific elaboration. That's pretty tame questioning.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I didn't call Trump's followers stupid, but I do believe they are misguided if they believe he is really a conservative.
And many are being inconsistent when they blame some republicans for supporting amnesty but not Trump who also supports amnesty.

Also, when his supporters call anyone who disagrees with Trump or who criticizes him RINO's they aren't doing themselves any favors.
For example, after Thomas Sowells latest post about Trump there were a lot of nasty comments and charges that Sowell is a RINO.

This is the kind of behavior that turned people off of the Paulians.
I know, not all his supporters do that, but quite a few do and Trump isn't doing himself any favors by basically doing the same thing.

As for the question, the leftists will say this shows a pattern of misogyny, and by losing his cool over it Trump will only add to that perception, whether it's true or not.

The point is, he did actually say all that stuff so it isn't really a gotcha question.
You can be certain that liberals will find a lot more than that and probably a lot worse.

Trump blew his chance to get ahead of that and calling Kelley a bimbo will endear him to his supporters but it will turn off lots of potential new ones, and the left will use that to build their case against him.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Tryanmax, that is my conclusion as well. I didn't see any evidence of favoritism either.

Part of the problem, I think, for Many of Trump's supporters, is the effect of hero worship and getting too emotionally attached.
Then everything that doesn't praise Trump becomes a personal attack, even though most are not, at least empirically speaking.

This is why I don't get too attached to any candidate because it clouds my mind if I do. The last one I really liked was Fred Thompson and that taught me a lesson about being more detached irt candidates.

It's easier to simply follow the evidence, so to speak and pick the best one based on that. Also less disappointing.

Kit said...

I'll reply in full in a bit, but people calling Sowell, probably the premier conservative economist of the past quarter-century, a RINO is hilarious.

Joel Farnham said...

Instapundit has probably the closest to what I am thinking.

Trump's followers feel insulted by FOX and company. So, if Trump does NOT get the nomination, you better hope that Trump does NOT follow through with his threat. What is more, you better hope that Trump gets behind the GOP nominee and calls for his followers to support said nominee.

Right now, TRUMP is the HONEY BADGER. Trump's followers are HONEY BADGERS.

Honey Badger don't care. This is American anger at the DNC, the GOPe and the Media. Oh, and don't be so sure that the standard run of the mill Democrat is going to support Hillary. There are serious problems in Hillary's camp. Time will tell.

AndrewPrice said...

"George Wallace, Adolf Hitler, or Tom Brady." LOL! Bravo Kit! :D

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I don't know what the Democrats are doing, but I would guess that they are hoping Hillary drops out before they start their debates.

Kit said...

"I would guess that they are hoping Hillary drops out before they start their debates."

I highly doubt she will drop out until the summer of 2016.

tryanmax said...

Joel, I don't disagree with any of the Instapundit article except the headline. It was definitely an interrogation but Trump was hardly singled out.

What Trump's supporters are seeming to do is the same as special interest groups all do. Any comments about them or their mouthpieces that are anything less than praise are interpreted as attacks. Legitimate criticisms are dismissed as slander. Everyone is against them and out to get them.

Kit said...

re Donald Trump, Kevin D. Williamson has it right on Trump & the "political correctness" defense:

"Political correctness is in this case a dodge: The complaint isn’t that Trump violated some rarefied code of conduct dreamed up this morning by the dean of students. As Megyn Kelly reminded him: “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals.’ . . . You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees.” If you think that saying that sort of thing is merely a violation of political correctness and effete coastal liberal etiquette, try it on some dry-land cotton farmer’s wife or daughter and see if you live to boast of your free-spiritedness."

Read the whole thing:

Unknown said...

First of all......The questions were asked very disrespectfully and Trump responded in kind. The way the FOX crew, Kelly and Wallace in particular, 'moderated' this so-called debate was clearly for entertainment value and boosting FOX and the moderators. When we have the culture crushing b.s. prevalent today, we get a beauty pageant (the first ten minutes) that was uncomfortable and frankly embarrassing.
"Please turn to xx who is standing right next to you and tell him how much you think his position on xx is wrong and hurtful to minorities, women, etc." We should have had MSNBC Rachel Maddow and Chris MAtthews asking these questions, so embarrassing and juvenile they were.
Sure, bringing up past statements and positions is legitimate, if you're on The Kelly Show, but this was supposed to be many people's first exposure to the Repub candidates, and the questions were asked in such a way to embarrass the candidate and generate controversy.
All the questions followed the liberal model of presumptive motive. It was up to the candidates to "spin" the question around to serious topics and differentiate their position from those of the others.
The only exchange I thought was helpful was when Christie and Paul got into it over collection of data from every citizen. It helped clarify my opinions of each man's position. Christie believed we should vacuum up every bit of info we have the technology for, on EVERYONE, because we don't know who the "terrorists" are. Paul believes we should get a warrant before we start collecting data on anyone. In this case, we the people can choose and decide which position we want to follow. That's what this "debate" should have been about.
Instead, we got "That's Entertainment" with the entertainment pitting the Repub candidates against each other and having to explain away their past.
I believe it was actually worse than any leftist run debate in the past. The "moderators" attacked each candidate for their supposedly non-p.c. statements in the past, rather than their thoughts on the great issues facing this country today.
I think this puts to rest the leftist rant that FOX News is biased to the Right. Just listen to the exchange between Kelly and Trump on his "views towards women." Disgusting, embarrassing and inappropriate for the venue. I have no respect for Kelly anymore. Never had any for Wallace either. Bret Baier was the only one who tried to be "fair and balanced" in his questions.
The whole thing was disgusting and embarrassing for ALL the candidates.


Joel Farnham said...

In the Republican debate last night, Megyn Kelly called out Trump for his many misogynistic comments, including this moment from an episode of Celebrity Apprentice in 2013. The remark came after Brett Michaels described how contestant Brande Roderick had gotten down on her knees and begged not to be fired.

Trump focused in on that image of Roderick, asking her directly, "excuse me, you dropped to your knees?"
"Yes," Brande answered.

Several seconds later, the lascivious Trump continued:

"Must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees."

Now, I have also gone to my knees. It is usually is in church to plead God's forgiveness for the sins I have committed. Or to intercede in someone's life. I have also gone to my knees to clean up puke. I guess in Kelly's life that never happens.

This is just like the MSM and liberals. Only this emboldens Trump and his followers.

AndrewPrice said...

Wow, I hope she didn't make him cry?

Joel Farnham said...


I don't think so. Check out Trump's twitter feed.

He doesn't seem to get embarrassed. Neither do his followers.

Kit said...


I follow him on twitter (and Hillary Clinton*). Maybe they should be embarrassed.

*She is quite entertaining. In a sad sort of way.

tryanmax said...

Joel, I'm pretty sure Trump was referring specifically to Brande dropping to her knees to beg for her job. I mean, the context is pretty clear. As to how sexist that is, I really don't know how many people of either gender drop to their knees to beg Trump, but generally it seems like it. If nothing g else, it seems creepy.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

""I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so," Trump said, when asked by Luntz if he ever asked for forgiveness from God."

Not sure why Trump is unsure if he has ever asked for forgiveness, since he has repeatedly bragged he never forgets anything.
And while it's nice that he tries to do a better job after making mistakes, he doesn't appear to understand the concept of humility or why one should ask for forgiveness to begin with, particularly if one loves God.

People that know when they do wrong, and who feel bad about it, especially when they hurt someone else, will not only seek forgiveness and try to do better, they will try to do everything in their power to make it right.

Trump has hurt a lot of people, mostly financially, like that granny's house he used eminent domain to buldoze so he could enrich himself.
And yet he doesn't feel he needs forgiveness?

This speaks to his character and it doesn't speak well. Even those who aren't Christian or religious can see the value of having some humility.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Also, some claim Trump is a straight shooter and honest. Well, I can point out many times Trump has lied, or hasn't told it like it is, but here's one he told recently:

Trump claimed that without him no one would be talking about illegal immigration.
And yet, just three years ago illegal immigration was one of the top topics of the last presidential election.
In fact, Trump criticized Romney for being too hardline about illegal aliens.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, People haven't stopped debating illegal immigration for years, so Trump is full of it.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Andrew, precisely.
Trump is a snake oil salesman who doesn't want to tell us about the ingredients of what he is selling, only that it will magically make America great! somehow.
And anyone who asks for the ingredients is a loser who will vote for Bush.

It doesn't get more dishonest than that. This is why it's important to follow the evidence rather than our emotions.
People like Trump and Obama play on people's emotions and never get specific about the truth because that will expose their true intentions, which has nothing to do with following our Constitution.

Kit said...

The only reason Trump is able to claim credit for jump-starting the immigration debate is because of an accident of timing. His outlandish statements (which he provided no proof for at the debate, despite being asked) happened to be followed by the tragic murder of Kate Steinle.

Had her death not occurred, the Right would be taking a much heavier beating on immigration. Her death created the conversation.

He can argue that her death would not have made national news had it not been for Trump's statements a few days before then, but in that case, the credit goes more to God than to Trump.

AndrewPrice said...

Careful Kit! "the credit goes more to God than to Trump"

Statements like that will make the Palinites... er Santorinos... er Cruzers... er Trumpers think that God has chosen Trump as HIS CHAMPION!! (echo... echo) (Especially now that the Pope has proven to be a Mexican lovin' commie.)

And let us be clear, the fringe right has not stopped foaming at the mouth about Mexicans since at least 2010. The only "break" in that "conversation" has been to spew hate at the gays... and the Supreme Court... and the Boy Scouts... and the GOP... and all the genooine conservatives who turned out to be RINOs... and to embrace Putin.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I have to admit to a certain degree of admiration for the quality of Trump's con job. He has managed to sell himself as the complete opposite of everything he's ever been without raising the slightest suspicion. What's more, he's managed to recreate the fringe right enemies list, right down to Rosie O'Donnell, without even cracking a smile at how disingenuous he's being. When was the last time anyone mentioned her name.... other than Trump?

My favorite bit though is how no one has asked how many illegals he employs on his properties. The answer is a small city. But never you mind that, he will sodomize each one and then personally toss them into the Rio Grande.

I'm actually tempted to vote for him just to watch the fringe go insane(r) when he turns around and grants a total amnesty.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Andrew, LOL! Someday, somehow I am going to get revenge on you for putting that image in my mind.

If I gather correctly, a "True Conservative" is a self-described "RINO" Clinton pal & contributor who says bad things about Mexicans.

David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog
There's a difference between blunt talk and talking like you just smoked a blunt.

Kit said...

Donald Trump is the Son of Christ.

No, really. His father's name was Fredrick Christ "Fred" Trump. I'm serious! See for yourself: LINK

Billy Graham once said that God has no grandchildren. Apparently, Graham had never heard of The Donald.

Kit said...


Iowahawk had another tweet:
Trumpons™ #DavesIdeas

Picture it! A tampon with the face of Donald Trump on it.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Sorry. LOL! Try brain bleach!

Iowahawk has an excellent mind. He's always cutting and straight to the point.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Wow. That would probably be too much, even for Trump. Or maybe not.

As for "The Donald." The only "The Donald" I recognize is a duck who wears a sailor costume.

As an aside, am I the only one who wants to see Trump call his team "the Trumpty Dumpties"?

Kit said...

Andrew, with Trump you never know.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Trumpty Dumpties is brilliant, Andrew! Symbolic and funny.

Anthony said...


I don't think Trump is deliberately playing to the fringe, I think its just a happy accident that his personality and the personalities of the 'conservative' talking heads (populists who are as studious about avoiding responsibility as they are avid about seeking publicity and the power it brings) match up well.

BevfromNYC said...

"Trumpty Dumpties"!!!!! That's going into my next tweet!

AndrewPrice said...

I'm glad you all like "Trumpy Dumpties." I have to admit, it made me chuckle. :)

Anthony, Trump strikes me as much more cynical than that because he's never been a populist before in his life. He's always been a center-left big business opportunist. You are right about their personalities matching up though. That they do!

AndrewPrice said...

Sadly, Frank Gifford died. He was the voice of Monday Night Football for most of my life. RIP

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

RIP Frank. Great announcer and football player. He was selected to the probowl playing three different positions: Defensive back, running back and wide receiver.
Very impressive.

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