Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday's Thoughts: Carly at the Debate

By Kit

Over the last 25 years conservatives have had much to depress them. Starting Bush’s infamous “read my lips” then to Bush II’s Medicare Part D, McCain’s call for mortgage subsidies, and Romney’s “severe conservatism” where he talked conservative politics like an immigrant still learning the English language.

Nor is this new. Conservatism was founded in the aftermath of World War 2 when Big Government-New Dealism was triumphant and Communism was on the march around the globe with the first conservative-ish president in 20 years, Eisenhower, seemingly unwilling to do much to challenge either. As for culturally, it is worth noting that National Review was founded in 1955, two years after Hefner founded the Playboy magazine.

And the intervening years between 1955 and Reagan’s election in 1980 where for the most part quite dark for conservatism. At home the Johnson started the Great Society, crime rates soared, and Hippie-ist hedonism seemed to run amuck while overseas Communism was on the march in Vietnam, in Afghanistan, even erecting an iron wall around West Berlin to halt emigration.

More often than not, we are settling for less-than-conservative candidates. And the only solid conservative candidate in that era to grab the nomination for President was Goldwater —who lost 45 out of 50 states.

Therefore it seems being in the opposition is natural for conservatives. In a way, we are happier, despite the depression it causes, when we are, like John the Baptist, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” But still we hunger.

So, it is also natural that when a candidate appears who manages to articulate conservative ideas in a manner that is clear and plain, speaking a language the average man and woman can understand yet refusing to indulge in blind, rage-filled populism while still standing firm on the bedrock of our principles, we are captivated.

The main argument by Trump’s supporters in his favor can be boiled down to Lincoln’s famous words about General Grant when there were calls for his ouster in the aftermath of the Battle of Shiloh, “I cannot spare this man, he fights.”

Well, as was seen Wednesday night by nearly everyone who watched, Carly Fiorina fights.

In both last night’s debate and in the afternoon the debate one month ago, she proved she can state conservative ideas in a way we have not heard from a major politician since the days of Reagan and Thatcher. And there is no doubt that the skill and poise she displayed last night has thrust her, along with Marco Rubio, into the top-most tier of the Republican Party’s candidates.

Of course, getting known is just the first hurdle. She will face furious questions about her lack of political experience and her tenure, and ultimate firing, at HP. The attacks will come hard and furious, they will be brutal. Some of it will come from the Bushes who, though they are at times honorable to a fault, can be as cut-throat as any candidate.

And the left, too, will hit her. As she rises, if she continues to rise, the attacks will become even more fierce, for she has had the temerity to be a woman and identify as a conservative. To many on the left, such a vile act of treachery to womanhood must not be allowed to stand. She will be Sarah Palined.

Of course, the reason Sarah Palin was so easy to Sarah Palin was because she was Sarah Palin. And, because she was a CEO, she will be Romneyed. The question is: Can Fiorina handle it?

She couldn’t in 2010 against Barbara Boxer. So, the answer will be given in the coming days, weeks, and months. She has already some good news; many in the conservative intelligentsia seem to like her, the grassroots are more split, though Rush is not her biggest fan Hannity seems ok with her, millennial conservatives seem to really like her, especially millennial women, and James Woods has announced he will do the voice-over for her campaign film (such endorsements can, and do, have an impact).

There is also the matter of organization. She has almost nothing on the ground in the early states, but that is still a few months away.
I am not ready to endorse anyone yet but if she can give a Republican Party and conservative movement starved for quality conservative candidates more of what she gave us last night, no one should count her out.

Debate in Sum

Fiorina won hands-down. Her knock at Trump and her brief speech on Planned Parenthood (despite the slight inaccuracy) was impassioned and, as David French pointed out, broke all the rules on the debate. On almost every issue she seemed on point.

Rubio was the only candidate to come close to Fiorina last night and even he seemed, to me, a bit drowned out by her bravado performance. He was strongest in foreign policy. Don't count him out, either.

Jeb survived and he has the money and resources to stay in.

Kasich was Jeb Bush Diet, which is problematic for him because Jeb Bush already feels pretty Diet.
Jindal will be lucky if he makes it to the end of October. Scott Walker needs to improve fast, or else he'll start falling.
Lastly, a word on Trump. Trump was Trump and there is no way of knowing what will happen with him in the polls next week.

However, I find there is one positive, to me, of him being in the race; without him the attacks would be consumed in petty, childish attacks upon one another. Yes, it is true they are hitting each other but without Trump there to consume most of their attacks, it would be far nastier. It seems that, ironically, Donald Trump is the best enforcer of Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment* since Reagan himself.

*”Thou Shalt Not Attack a Fellow Republican.”


Oh, and Bernie Sanders spoke at Liberty University, founded by Jerry Fallwell. What is most interesting is what did not happen; he was met respectfully, there were no bomb threats, and students did not seem to need a “Safe Space” to protect them from Sanders’ “traumatizing” views.

Maybe the left could learn something from Liberty.

Have a nice week. And Roll Tide.


Kit said...

I may update it by adding a few links tomorrow. So stay tuned.

Unknown said...

Kit.......I think the appeal for Trump, Carson and Fiorina right now is that they are NOT politicians. The right is sick of politicians, from the lying king Obama, serial lying hag Hillary, to the betrayers McConnell and Boehner and all the other petty tyrants at all levels of government. When someone comes along and speaks what we all know and can see like Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee, we embrace them like a breath of fresh air.

Whether this translates into a Presidential victory is another thing.


tryanmax said...

Anthony put it best, yesterday. The biggest sin in the Republican Party right now is to be an office holder. Not a very smart place to be.

Anthony said...

Like I said yesterday, the greatest sin in the Republican primary is holding office or having held office.

Many Republicans have convinced themselves they need someone along the lines of Obama (no relevant experience, but a good talker) so I'm sure Fiorina will jostle with Trump and Cain for the top spot.

I was kind of hoping that a proven leader/administrator (read: one of the governors) would win, but they are about as popular as steaks at a vegan convention.

Its a bit disappointing, but part of winning both primaries and general elections is campaigning, so if the governors can't campaign competently on the national stage (none of them have so far :) ), its better that they lose now to the likes of Trump than lose later against Hillary.

Critch said...

Say "Roll Tide one mo' time."-(giving the evil Vols Eye of Doom).

I am officially confused. I'm not overwhelmed with the professional pols running on the GOP ticket and everyone is worried that the non-pols will get shellacked or won't be able to do anything if they do win...I feel that if Carly starts winning the GOP will back her, I hope and the organization will come. Maybe I'm wrong, Critch just a cog in the big machine of life.

Kit said...

Before I say anything else (I have to go to class), a quick poll:

How many people here have watched the debate? Some or all?

Robert L. Hedd said...

Kit....Watched the first one on FOX. Not the last one on CNN as I figured it would turn out like it did. ATTACK TRUMP!!!


BevfromNYC said...

Kit - I have not watched any of them and probably won't until January. And the minor candidates start weeding themselves out.

Anthony said...


I watched the first debates on Fox. Missed the CNN debates.

I was listening to a local R&B station yesterday and the host (a staunch Democrat) talked about how he watched a Republican debate for the first time ever so he could watch Trump.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks for the update, Kit! I can't bring myself to care yet. I'm still 99% convinced that Bush has this sewn up with a 1% chance that people shift to Carson. But we'll see.

At this point, this is attrition and silly season.

Rustbelt said...

"they are about as popular as steaks at a vegan convention."

Anthony, you are in the zone! Don't stop now!

Kit, I refuse to watch the debates on the principle of keeping my sanity. So, thanks for the heads-up. Nothing really to add.

Andrew, I know Bush has the money and supporters in place. But, even with that, I'm not sure what will happen. Lots of voters- primary and otherwise- are sick of his last name and he's completely uninspiring.
In addition, I can't help but think back eight years. In the summer of 2007, it seemed everyone and their mother believed the election would be between Hillary and Rudy. Well, that thinking panned out, didn't it?
This historical example is good for Bush because: McCain stayed in the background, organized, raised money, and let the vocal candidates beat each other up. In the end, he was simply the last man standing.
However, this example is also bad for Bush because: Hillary had everything he has now and McCain had then. But the Obama train came in and completely overtook the charisma-lacking Hillary. He also beat the drum of Clinton fatigue. I essence, enthusiasm (pardon the expression) trumped the war chest.

So, with these two examples in mind, I think it's actually premature to declare a winner just yet, no matter how well prepared they are.

"Roll Tide?" Whatever. "Evil Vols Eye of Doom?" Whatever. O-H...I-O! Spin Heard 'Round the World!

Kit said...


"I think the appeal for Trump, Carson and Fiorina right now is that they are NOT politicians."

I think that plays a part but being an outsider alone doesn't give you a good debate performance. If so, Dr. Carson would be the next Great Communicator.

Kit said...

BTW, I put the current my current bets at 51% Jeb Bush, 26% Rubio, 23% Fiorina

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, I've said this before, but I think people fundamentally misunderstand the way the primaries play out.

Most voters will vote for the person they see as most authoritative, i.e. the person they think the herd has chosen as their leader. And they make that determination by listening to the people they consider the voice of authority in their region... not the party leaders. Instead, they look to their favorite Congressmen, Senators, governors or "favorite sons" (like athletes and famous businessmen).

What McCain did so brilliantly before 2008 was spend 4 years trading favors with those people in every state and at the national level. So when the 2008 primaries came along, McCain had all those people wrapped up and he became invincible everywhere except for the dozen or so states where conservatives dominate the primaries -- the South and in rural areas like Iowa, where "the authorities" tend to be fringe right.

Bush has done that now. His true primary came in knocking off Chris Christie and now he likely holds more than enough support to win every state that isn't dominated by conservatives. In other words, while the South is still wide open for any conservative to win, Bush already has what he needs to win states like California, New York, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Ohio, etc.

So what will happen is this...

1. Religious candidate wins Iowa. MSM declares Bush shocked and says he's retooling after his "surprise defeat." Bush actually doesn't care. He never planned to win Iowa.

2. Bush wins New Hampshire. MSM declares "a real race."

3. Far right candidate wins South Carolina. MSM declares Bush in deep trouble. Conservative media finally starts to consolidate around their champion, causing lesser candidates to drop out.

4. Bush wins Florida. Conservative media tries to explain away his win.

5. Far right candidate wins Colorado caucus, a couple primaries in the South. Media declares Bush dead. Talk radio goes into hyper-anti-Bush mode.

6. Bush wins regional Northeast primaries, Eastern seaboard. Conservative candidate still in race, but obviously can't win. Talk radio whines about RINOs and demands that conservatives come out and support the "true conservative."

7. Conservative candidate sweeps southern states. Talk radio pats itself on the back and declares him "this close to winning."

8. Cascade of big state primaries give Bush way more delegates than he needs to win the nomination.

LL said...

How depressing...really, you see a Bush victory? He has the money to stay in the game until the RNC, but I don't know of anyone who wants to vote for him. I see almost no difference between Bush and Obama - seriously. Same big government guys, intent on pushing the national debt through $30T.

LL said...

ON THE OTHER HAND, a Bush victory would give me something to blog about for four years. What about a Bush/McConnell ticket?

BevfromNYC said...

I am betting Bush/Fiorina ticket...

BevfromNYC said...

I also bet that Clinton doesn't win the will be Bernie Sanders or Biden if he jumps in.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, Sadly, I do... and I'm not happy about it.

When 2008 happened, I was SHOCKED that the party would support McCain, but looking back on it, it suddenly made sense how he made it happen. Romney then did the same thing. And now Bush has done the same thing. The primary really is settled long before it even starts.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I too am thinking Bush/Fiorina. The GOP elite seem to want a woman to balance Hillary.

I agree about Hillary. She won't make it. She will drop out for "health reasons." But I don't think it will be Sanders. I think they will either go with someone not yet in the race.

Kit said...


I think you are probably right about Bush… sadly.

But I disagree about Hillary, I think she will take this to the bitter end. She reminds me of Charlie Crist in the 2010 Florida race.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, She certainly has the whole Hitler in the Bunker "gonna destroy the world if I can't have it" mindset. But I also think her ego will tell her to withdraw before she loses so she can save her name and run again.

We'll see.

Kit said...

BTW, I'm still holding out hope for Rubio or Fiorina, maybe, to grab the ticket. I'm still in wait and see mode.

Anthony said...

I can't see Hillary dropping out. This is her best (the Dem field is small and weak) and probably last chance to win the presidency.

LL said...

A Bush victory will push me into becoming a registered Libertarian. I realize that will mean my vote won't count because --- it's America. But at some point you have to say STOP.

Koshcat said...

I think Fiorina will knock out Trump and eventually Carson to be the true lead candidate for the outsiders. My prediction is it will come down to Bush vs. Fiorina vs. some conservative candidate that has no chance. As Andrew points out, Bush has the inside track and will be difficult to beat. He is also staying relatively quiet and in the background which is smart. How he can be beaten is by momentum. If Fiorina can get on a roll and start bringing in money and endorsements, Bush's approach could be vulnerable because he then has to play catch up.

Since she is from California and not crazy, she will play better in the west and midwest than Bush. The longer Rubio stays in the race, the harder it will be for Bush to win Texas or Florida. Trump-hole aside, this could be a fun ride. My liberal friends are more interested in the GOP race than the dems, which in some states might swing some votes. It is weird as many of these liberals have even watched the debates which I really have little interest in doing.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I can't see her wanting to. She really is prepared to go Hitler in the Bunker. But she's also such a snake with a history of running away so she can come back another day and run away again. So if things blow up on her to the point that it's too humiliating to continue, then I can see her dropping out under some excuse (turf toe) so she can come back and try again... even if that's delusional.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, I honestly see this race as having been won by Bush unless he implodes in some massive way... DUI or something. What I outlined seems to be how the GOP works.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I could easily see Fiorina replacing Carson. The conservative establishment (non-Talk Radio) seems to love her and are pushing her as their candidate. Plus, Carson seems to be peaking right now, which is bad because it means he's topped out. And she's the crush du jour, so I could see her replacing him.

tryanmax said...

The way I see it, the GOP race is a competition for the veep spot. I have to agree, the money and supporters all point to Jeb having wrapped this up in the pre-season.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's how it looks to me. And after having seen Romney and McCain both do this to everyone else in the past two primaries, I think this is how it will play out.

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