Last night saw another
circus debate between the would be GOP 2016 presidential nominees. It was a spectacle that ought to send chills down the spines of thinking Americans and could best be described as a plan for the road to serfdom for most Americans, the mass deportation of Hispanics, and more endless, losing wars in the Middle East. Of course, the tax policy proposals all benefit the wealthy to the detriment of the majority of citizens. While the hapless Jebbie Bush stood up to The Donald on immigration (Trumps insists that millions of Hispanics must be deported) at one point, overall, he looked weak and proved yet again that debates, even of the GOP type, are not his strong suit. Mother Jones looks at the disturbing batshitery. Here are highlights:
The Republican presidential candidates met for the fourth time Tuesday night, with a slightly less crowded debate stage after Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee were demoted to the JV event. With fewer candidates competing for speaking time, a few were able to shine through with the extra breathing room: Marco Rubio stuck to his well-rehearsed talking points, Ben Carson bypassed his biographical oversights, and Rand Paul awoke from his slumber in the previous debates (while Jeb Bush did not).
Here’s a roundup of the debate’s best moments:
No one wants to raise the minimum wage. The debate started off with Fox’s Neil Cavuto highlighting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for public employees. The moderator asked the current front-runners if they'd like to see the federal minimum wage—currently just $7.25—increased.
Trump, Carson, and Rubio all quickly said that they don’t think the floor on wages needs to be any higher. "We don't win anymore," Trump bemoaned, reciting one of his favorite sayings. Why is that? "Taxes too high, wages too high."
Trump calls for another "Operation Wetback." John Kasich attacked Trump’s plan to deport the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. "We all know you can't pick them up and ship them back across the border," he said. "It's a silly argument. It's not an adult argument. It makes no sense!"
But Trump defended his plan by citing an episode in American history: "Operation Wetback."
"Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower...moved a million and a half illegal immigrants out of this country." Trump responded. "Moved them just beyond the border, they came back. Moved them again beyond the border, they came back. Didn't like it. Moved 'em waaaay south, they never came back. Dwight Eisenhower. You don't get nicer, you don't get friendlier. They moved 1.5 million people out. We have no choice. We. Have. No. Choice."
But the actual operation under Eisenhower in the 1950s was less than successful and very inhumane.
Ted Cruz dodges his own "oops" moment. In 2011, Rick Perry sank his first ill-fated presidential run when he failed to name the three federal agencies he would eliminate, following his painful memory lapse with his now-famous "oops." On Tuesday night, Ted Cruz could have had a similar moment. But he dodged it. When trying to name which five agencies he would eliminate, Cruz mentioned the Department of Commerce twice. "Five major agencies that I would eliminate," he declared. "The IRS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and HUD." But did he say oops? No, he kept on going as if he hadn't just pulled a Perry.
Paul and Rubio go to war on military spending. After keeping mostly quiet at the past few debates, Paul finally got a chance to go all-in on how he diverges from the rest of the field when it comes to foreign policy. "We have to decide what is conservative and what isn’t conservative," Paul interjected after Rubio touted his conservative credentials. Paul singled out Rubio’s tax plan, which includes a refundable tax credit, as well as Rubio’s hawkish approach to the military. Rubio fought back. "I know Rand is a committed isolationist," Rubio said. "I'm not. I believe the world is a stronger and a better place when the united states is the strongest military power in the world." Paul wanted a debate. "Marco, Marco, how is it conservative—how is it conservative to add a trillion dollar expenditure to the federal government?" he shot back.
Bush grows a spine. Trump came to the defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intervention in Syria, saying that Russia is going after ISIS. . . . Trump concluded that the United States shouldn't have to take on the international crisis alone. "We can't continue to be the policeman of the world," he said. "We owe $19 trillion, we have a country that's going to hell, we have an infrastructure that's falling apart. Our roads, our bridges, our schools, our airports, and we have to start investing money in our country." Enter Bush. "Donald's wrong on this," he said. "He is absolutely wrong on this. We're not going to be the world's policeman, but we sure as heck better be the world's leader."
Carson has a plan to make "global jihadists" look like "losers." Carson jumped into a foreign policy conversation, veered off to discuss "global jihadists," and continued to describe what sounded like another invasion of Iraq—. . . . 'How do we make them look like losers?' Because that’s the way that they’re able to gather a lot of influence." He continued, "I think in order to make them look like losers, we have to destroy their caliphate. And you look for the easiest place to do that, it would be in Iraq. Outside of Anbar in Iraq there’s a big energy field—take all of that land from them. We could do that I believe fairly easily, . . .
[T]he GOP contenders were out of step with the actual economic needs of ordinary Americans. Each candidate talked about relief for workers and families, but outside of Rubio’s child tax credit, few offered it. Instead, candidates came out against raising the minimum wage, called for a new gold standard for currency, and pushed plans for massive upper-income tax cuts. Unlike the first Democratic debate—when Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chaffee tusseled over college affordability and health care costs—there was little in the Republican debate that spoke to the challenges of ordinary people rather than businesses.