The 1st 2016 Republican Primary Presidential Debate – Jeb Who?

Jeb Bush
Who’s this Jeb guy?

Overall, the moderators and the establishment candidates clearly focused on Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. This appeared to be a giant indiscreet rub for Bush, or Jeb, as they’d like us to perceive. Additionally, there were too many candidates on stage and not enough time to hear from each of them, hence there was very little in-depth discussion of the issues and very few issues were brought up. This will improve as the campaign progresses and more candidates drop out/drop in the polls.

Marco Rubio (*Winner): He’s my current U.S. Senator and I cannot stand him, but the guy is a phenomenal public speaker and he probably won over a great deal of the audience. He made a strong case for being the poor/middle class candidate of the Republican Party. He outperformed all of the other candidates on the stage and I think he is the clear winner from a mere presentational point of view. It’s too bad his position on a variety of fundamental issues are authoritarian.

I’ll never support him, but he clearly won this debate.

Donald Trump: The Good – He came off as a fed up billionaire who understands the bought and paid for system in Washington and wants to change it. He had a reasonable answer on healthcare by stating that he wants to free up the market, cutout loopholes, and improve competition; then he’d worry about providing for those who cannot afford care within the improved market. He was forthright about possibly running a third party challenge. I enjoyed his response to this mud slung at him, and Rand Paul’s rebuttal was terrible and he sounded like an establishment puppet; he’s no Ron Paul. The Bad – He certainly speaks what he thinks is the truth but he has no sense of credibility. He makes wildly unsupported claims such as, “The super-majority of illegal immigrants are rapists.” This isn’t even remotely statistically accurate. His reasoning for supporting so many liberal positions in the past is that he has changed his mind now. Fine, but this simply means you lack a substantive political philosophy to support your positions; he hasn’t done enough homework especially for a man of his age.

He’s growing on me and I understand his appeal.

Rand Paul: The Good – He was forceful and didn’t back down. His defense of his positions on fighting the NSA and broad data mining were excellent. When responding to the ISIS situation, he stole the stage. The Bad – At multiple points he came off smug and combative. His answer to a gay marriage question was weak and simply placated to social conservatives. He stands for the Bill of Rights, that’s great, but he needs to stand for the 14th Amendment as well. The Constitution doesn’t end with the 10th as so many libertarians would like. I understand being against misguided marriage licensing/legal privileges, but his inability to defend the rights of consenting adults, to engage in the same legal contract rights as others, is disappointing. The Bill of Rights isn’t even enforceable against the States without the 14th Amendment (see the Incorporation Doctrine). Paul is on the wrong side of history and civil libertarianism.

He’s starting to lose me, but he’s still my favorite for King.

Chris Christie: The Good – While his solution to the Social Security problem was lousy, he at least fully recognized and explained the issue. The so called trust fund that exists, is backed up entirely by IOU’s. This is factual and indeed a very serious issue. The Bad – He actually used the 911 Tragedy to tout his strength on national security. He did so in a far more despicable way than Rudy Giuliani did. I found this distasteful and desperate. When his failures to improve New Jersey were brought up, he dogged the issues and touted his weak record as well.

He’ll never have my support.

Jeb BUSH: The Good – Bush spoke about his record as Governor of Florida and there was an obvious concerted effort by his peers and himself to distance himself from the Bush legacy. They, as he, referred to him as Jeb. The Bad – He came off extremely weak and nervous at many points throughout the debate. He was unable to form sentences and trailed off appearing feeble and unprepared.

He’ll never have my support.

The Other Contenders:

John Kasich: He should run for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Ben Carson: He will be dropping out soon.

Ted Cruz: He came off very fake and scripted.

Scott Walker: See Ted Cruz above.

Mike Huckabee: This is his third time running in the Republican Primary and he’s still a Bible thumper, albeit he still has a very respectful and pleasant demeanor. He’ll never win.