Friday, September 18, 2015

What Did I Miss?

     The post-mortems about the CNN Republican “debate” are all over the place. This one “won,” while that one “sank.” This third one “is sure to drop out now,” while that fourth one “has moved into the top tier.” You’d think that official balloting had taken place, rather than the usual battery of tendentious “opinion polls” conducted by biased “public opinion researchers” whose “findings” rarely reflect election day realities.

     However, I’d wager that at least a few of my Gentle Readers did suffer to watch Wednesday evening’s spectacle from start to finish. Accordingly, and in hope of a little charity, I ask those stalwarts: Did I miss anything? Was it in the slightest degree informative, dramatic, or funny? Did any candidate really distinguish himself? Or was I smart to go to bed at 8:30 PM?

     Candidates that possess Constitutional principles, such as Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, ought not to participate in a televised beauty contest with Establishment figures, regardless of what professional bloviators say about the importance of such events to their chances. Among other things, the organizers and moderators of such an event have their own agenda, and it has little to do with any sort of principle. They can be counted on to use their effective control of the event to make the principled figures look insignificant or worse. From what I’ve read, that happened to both Cruz and Paul Wednesday evening.

     Was there even one question about the dollar, our ongoing currency war with China, or the Federal Reserve system and its effect on Americans’ ability to save?

     Apparently some of the candidates were unsatisfied with the time allotted them, and tried to horn in on the time the moderators spent on other candidates. Such aggressiveness was spoken of favorably by several commentators. For my part, I would hope that the discourtesy involved would have more effect on popular opinion. Quoth Ashe Schow:

     [Carly Fiorina] stepped up when Dr. Ben Carson was asked about being an outsider running for president. Fiorina added, after Carson finished his response, that voters are looking to outsiders because they're fed up with the status quo and insiders who haven't been fighting.

     She was one of the few candidates who inserted themselves into discussions in order to get more speaking time. She also managed to get her answers out coherently and concisely, even as host Jake Tapper tried to get her to wrap it up.

     The grammatical error in the above is less important than the sense that Miss Schow approves of that sort of “cutting in.” But let’s apply a categorical-imperative test to such behavior. Of what value would the CNN “debate” have been to anyone, candidate or viewer, had all the candidates been remorseless about injecting their voices and opinions into the time allotted to others?

     There are times when rigid adherence to the normal rules of courtesy is a detriment – during a knife fight, for example – but I don’t see the above event as one such.

     Enough about the “debate.” It’s time for a somewhat more important subject: whether the profusion of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination indicates some sort of back-room skullduggery. The Last Refuge thinks so:

     Now that Donald Trump has thrown a monkey wrench into the GOPe Splitter Strategy, we are able to look at their modified objectives. Keeping in mind the overall Road Map, and the commitment of all the interested parties therein, we can now see the goal:
     …If you remove Donald Trump from the current equation – Ben Carson becomes Herman Cain 2012, Ted Cruz becomes Newt Gingrich and Jeb Bush slips right back into the role of Mitt Romney, exactly as planned.

     The article is extremely interesting. It’s worth your time to read it in full. It does suggest that there’s a strategy behind the GOP’s toleration of such a large number of candidates, when few have a real chance of securing the nomination. However, there’s a missing component that’s mandatory for such a strategy to work: The hopeless candidates must have a compelling personal reason for persisting despite the hopelessness of their bids.

     For example, why is George Pataki, whose only chance of gaining the Republican nomination lies in assassinating all the other candidates, persisting in his pursuit? Is he deluded about his chances? Is there something we haven’t been told about the popular perception of him? Or has he been promised something by the GOP’s kingmakers as an inducement to stay in the game until some particular threshold has been reached – a threshold that would indicate to those kingmakers that their candidate had locked down the nomination?

     Food for thought.

     To sum up: From my admittedly limited vantage point, it appears that nothing about the “debate” was genuinely significant to the electorate. That is, nothing occurred that would cause a substantial number of Right-minded voters to change their minds about which candidate they would support. However, it did bring CNN over 22 million pairs of eyeballs, though the average tenancy of those eyeballs on the CNN channel would be difficult to determine, and possibly depressing to both CNN and the GOP.

     Neither can I foresee a sea change in Republican spinelessness. With the exception of Cruz and possibly Paul, Republicans continue to be far more concerned about what the New York Times will print about them than with the accelerating deterioration of the Republic. The prospects for a return to Constitutional fidelity and limited government remain bleak.

     It remains more important to the typical American’s near-future fortunes that he take sensible steps to secure himself, his family, and his community:

  • Prefer gold and silver over dollar-denominated instruments for your savings.
  • If you’re not in the stock market at this time, stay out; if you’re in it, resist the urge to “panic sell.”
  • Distrust the major entitlement programs, particularly Social Security and Medicare.
  • Don’t over-commit to a 401(k) or an IRA for your retirement. They remain governmental targets.
  • Acquire and conserve the good will of your neighbors.
  • Keep your shooting skills honed, and teach the rest of your family to shoot.
  • Keep your ammo stocks filled and rotating. (Don’t skimp on shotgun shells!)
  • For the love of God, get your kids out of the “public” schools! Also, suppress your distaste for the subject and give them John Derbyshire’s “talk.” It could save their lives.
  • Be wary of any significant demographic changes in your district. These days, migrants don’t come to America out of a love of freedom.
  • Above all else, distrust the statements of politicians. If anything is firmly established about the political class in our time, it’s that they cannot be relied upon in word or deed. Washington, Jefferson, and Madison would never have accepted their company at dinner, much less allow them the title of “statesman.”

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader.


Adrienne said...

You didn't miss anything. I only watched because in our time zone it started at 3:00pm. If I had to stay up until 11:00pm to watch, I would have been mad as hell.

Jake Tapper was a disaster. The whole thing was a worthless waste of time.

I heard a rumor that Ted Cruz was there. I know you like Rand, but he came across as a bit cray-cray.

Francis W. Porretto said...

I liked Rand Paul because in him I saw Constitutional fidelity combined with a greater regard for the national interest in international affairs than his dad. However, he doesn't appear to have sufficient staying power to remain on principle when the Establishment puts the screws to him. At this point Cruz would be my choice.

Eskyman said...

I agree with Adrienne above. It was extremely frustrating; most of the first segment was of the "Let's you and him fight, over Donald Trump's words which we'll take out of context and put into his mouth. Then you can attack him viciously while we egg you on!" It didn't work too well.

There were no questions such as, "Europe is being overrun by Muslims; what would you as Pres. do about that?" or "What would you do about the Fed. Reserve?" Very little meat in the "debate" at all, but lots of fluff.

There actually was one question about 'climate change' but only certain candidates were allowed to answer, and none of them said that it was a hoax or junk science; one man did try to interject but they quickly cut away, and I couldn't tell who it was.

CNN did slightly better than Fox, in that their "gotcha" questions were more subtly aimed against Trump, so the overall impression was that they were being "fair." Still, the RNC was the biggest loser; why does a political party let TV companies choose candidates, format, questions, etc.? (Because they're all owned by the same people, that's why.)

Bottom line: The Donald was still standing at the end, so they failed to take him out, that's a win for him; Fiorina did well, but came across as stiff, unsmiling- strongly reminded me of Nurse Ratched, so I don't think she will get much of a bounce. Jeb! still sounds like the policy wonk he is; loser. Carson forgot to take his Adderall, couldn't decide whether to decide... or maybe he won't decide at all, and will let the people decide. Huh?

You missed nothing, in other words. (Sorry this is so long; I lack the time to make it shorter.) PS- Very good site, The Conservative Treehouse; their logic is so far impeccable!