The second Republican Presidential Debate was won by Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina. Honorable mention to Ted Cruz and Chris Christie. Donald Trump didn’t hurt himself, but we have no quotes from this man because he didn’t say anything of substance, anything worth quoting. Trump is a showman and an entertainer, and that works well on TV, that’s why he is where he is in the polls.
We don’t have any quotes from Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich and Jeb Bush either because what they had to say was typical political mish-mash and nothing outstanding. Kasich was particularly boring.
The person that most disappointed was Dr. Ben Carson. He did not have a good debate, and he equivocated on some issues. His lack of knowledge on some issues is still evident with this man. We do not think he is ready for prime time.
Lastly, we need to say that the CNN style of pitting one contender against another was atrocious. It was a deliberate attempt to stir up trouble and controversy.
And some topics like vaccines were just stupid to have in the debate when so many other serious problems confront this nation.
So here we go with what did stand out:
Well, first of all, I have an understanding of exactly what it is Russia and Putin are doing, and it’s pretty straightforward. He wants to reposition Russia, once again, as a geopolitical force.
He himself said that the destruction of the Soviet Union — the fall of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century, and now he’s trying to reverse that.
He’s trying to destroy NATO. And this is what this is a part of. He is exploiting a vacuum that this administration has left in the Middle East.
Here’s what you’re gonna see in the next few weeks: the Russians will begin to fly — fly combat missions in that region, not just targeting ISIS, but in order to prop up Assad.
He will also, then, turn to other countries in the region and say, “America is no longer a reliable ally, Egypt. America is no longer a reliable ally, Saudi Arabia. Begin to rely on us.”
What he is doing is he is trying to replace us as the single most important power broker in the Middle East, and this president is allowing it. That is what is happening in the Middle East. That’s what’s happening with Russia, and…
Having met Vladimir Putin, I wouldn’t talk to him at all. We’ve talked way too much to him.
What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states. I’d probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message. By the way, the reason it is so critically important that every one of us know General Suleimani’s name is because Russia is in Syria right now, because the head of the Quds force traveled to Russia and talked Vladimir Putin into aligning themselves with Iran and Syria to prop up Bashar al- Assad.
Russia is a bad actor, but Vladimir Putin is someone we should not talk to, because the only way he will stop is to sense strength and resolve on the other side, and we have all of that within our control.
We could rebuild the Sixth Fleet. I will. We haven’t. We could rebuild the missile defense program. We haven’t. I will. We could also, to Senator Rubio’s point, give the Egyptians what they’ve asked for, which is intelligence.
We could give the Jordanians what they’ve asked for…bombs and material. We have not supplied it…I will. We could arm the Kurds. They’ve been asking us for three years. All of this is within our control.
Later Rubio said
The No. 1 test for use of military force should be the vital national security interest of the United States. The reason why I opposed President Obama bombing Syria, is because he couldn’t answer the question what do you do if chemical weapons end up in the hands of radical Islamic terrorists like al-Nusra, like Al Qaida, like ISIS?
Now, I also want to respond to several folks up here who said we should trust this Iranian deal, see if the Iranians will comply.
Anyone who is paying attention to what Khamenei says knows that they will not comply. There is a reason Khamenei refers to Israel as the little Satan, and America as the great Satan.
In the middle of negotiating this treaty, Khamenei led the assembled masses in chanting, death to America. I’m reminded of a great editorial cartoon. It shows the Ayatollah Khamenei saying, “Death to all Americans,” and then it shows John Kerry coming back, saying, “Can we meet ya half way?”
We need a commander-in-chief who will stand up and protect this country. And I’ll tell you, I can’t wait to stand on that debate stage with Hillary Clinton and to make abundantly clear if you vote for Hillary, you are voting for the Ayatollah Khomeini to possess a nuclear weapon and if you elect me as president, under no circumstances will a theocratic ayatollah who chants death to America ever be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.
Dana, I would like to link these two issues, both of which are incredibly important, Iran and Planned Parenthood.
One has something to do with the defense of the security of this nation. The other has something to do with the defense of the character of this nation. You have not heard a plan about Iran from any politician up here, here is my plan. On day one in the Oval Office, I will make two phone calls, the first to my good friend to Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him we will stand with the state of Israel.
The second, to the supreme leader, to tell him that unless and until he opens every military and every nuclear facility to real anytime, anywhere inspections by our people, not his, we, the United States of America, will make it as difficult as possible and move money around the global financial system.
We can do that, we don’t need anyone’s cooperation to do it. And every ally and every adversary we have in this world will know that the United States in America is back in the leadership business, which is how we must stand with our allies.
As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, it’s heart beating, it’s legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.
This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up in and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.
On immigration, a subject a lot of Conservatives take Rubio to task for trying to reform the system and failing a couple of years ago, Rubio had this to say:
Well, let me say that legal immigration is not an issue I read about in the newspaper. Immigration, illegal immigration, all the good aspects of immigration and all the negative ones as well, I live with. My family’s immigrants. My neighbors are all immigrants. My in-laws are all immigrants.
So I’ve seen every aspect of it, and I can tell you America doesn’t have one immigration problem, it has three.
First, despite the fact that we are the most generous country in the history of the world in allowing people to come here legally, we have people still coming illegally.
Second, we have a legal immigration system that no longer works. It primary is built on the basis of whether you have a relative living here instead of merit.
And third, we have 11 million or 12 million people, many of whom have been here for longer than a decade who are already here illegally.
And we must deal with all three of these problems. We cannot deal with all three of these problems in one massive piece of legislation. I learned that. We tried it that way.
Here’s the way forward: First, we must — we must secure our border, the physical border, with — with a wall, absolutely. But we also need to have an entry/exit tracking system. 40 percent of the people who come here illegally come legally, and then they overstay the visa. We also need a mandatory e-verify system.
After we’ve done that, step two would be to modernize our legal immigration system so you come to America on the basis of what you can contribute economically, not whether or not simply you have a relative living here.
And after we’ve done those two things, I believe the American people…will be very reasonable and responsible about what you do with someone who’s been here and isn’t a criminal. If you’re a criminal, obviously, you will not be able to stay.
First let me say, We have just spent a good bit of time discussing, as Republicans, how to solve this problem. I would ask your audience at home to ask a very basic question. Why have Democrats not solved this problem?
President Obama campaigned in 2007 and 2008 on solving the immigration problem. He entered Washington with majorities in the House and the Senate. He could have chosen to do anything to solve this pro — this problem. Instead, he chose to do nothing.
Why? because the Democrats don’t want this issue solved.
They want it to be an issue that they can use. As to birthright citizenship…
: …the truth is, you can’t just wave your hands and say “the 14th Amendment is gonna go away.” It will take an extremely arduous vote in Congress, followed by two-thirds of the states, and if that doesn’t work to amend the Constitution, then it is a long, arduous process in court.
And meanwhile, what will continue to go on is what has gone on for 25 years. With all due respect, Mr. Trump, we’ve been talking about illegal immigration for 25 years. San Francisco has been a sanctuary city since 1989. There are 300 of them.
And meanwhile, what has happened? Nothing. The border remains insecure. The legal immigration system remains broken. Look, we know what it takes to secure a border. We’ve heard a lot of great ideas here. Money, manpower, technology……mostly, apparently, leadership…
…the kind of leadership that understands how to get results.
Rand Paul’s one and only shining moment was his response to the question on the 14th Amendment:
The case that was decided around 1900 was, people had a green card, were here legally, and they said that their children were citizens. There’s never been a direct Supreme Court case on people who were here illegally, whether or not their kids are citizens.
So it hasn’t really been completely adjudicated. The 14th Amendment says that “those who are here and under the jurisdiction.” The original author of the — of the 14th Amendment said on the Senate floor that this was applying to slaves, and did not specifically apply to others.
Chris Christie was another shining star in the debate and when it became a pissing contest between Fiorina and Trump over who did what in their careers, here is what he had to say:
Jake listen. While I’m as entertained as anyone by this personal back-and-forth about the history of Donald and Carly’s career, for the 55-year-old construction worker out in that audience tonight who doesn’t have a job, who can’t fund his child’s education, I’ve got to tell you the truth. They could care less about your careers, they care about theirs.
Let’s start talking about that on this stage and stop playing — and stop playing the games. Stop playing —
KASICH: There’s a —
CHRISTIE: John — I’m not done yet, John.
FIORINA: A track record of leadership is not a game. It is the issue in this election.
CHRISTIE: Stop — and stop playing — and Carly — Carly, listen. You can interrupt everybody else on this stage, you’re not going to interrupt me, OK?
The fact is that we don’t want to hear about your careers, back and forth and volleying back and forth about who did well and who did poorly. You’re both successful people. Congratulations. You know who’s not successful? The middle class in this country who’s getting plowed over by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Let’s start talking about those issues tonight and stop this childish back-and-forth between the two of you.
I stand corrected. Rand Paul did have something else to say that was really good. He has the best tax plan of any of the other contenders on stage:
Well, I’m glad we’re having a discussion about taxes because everybody laments that we lose jobs overseas, we have. Our companies, and our jobs are being chased overseas by a 70,000 page tax code, so, that’s why I’ve chosen to get rid of the whole thing, and have one single rate, 14 and a-half percent for everybody, business, and for corporate income, and personal income. But, we also get rid of the payroll tax, so the working class would get a tax break as well.
So, I think a flat tax, eliminating the tax code, getting rid of all the loopholes, is the way to go, and it’s the way we get America going again.
The person who disappointed me most and who did not do well in the debate was Dr. Ben Carson. His understanding of free market economics was lacking.
Well, first of all, let me say what I actually said about raising the minimum wage. I was asked should it be raised, I said, probably, or possibly. But, what I added, which I think is the most important thing, so, I said we need to get both sides of this issue to sit down, and talk about it. Negotiate a reasonable minimum wage, and index that so that we never have to have this conversation again in the history of America.
I think we also have to have two minimum wages, a starter, and a sustaining because how are young people ever going to get a job if you have such a high minimum wage that it makes it impractical to hire them…
And this statement hurt Carson badly and destroyed his credibility as a real contender for the Presidency:
But at any rate, I didn’t suggest that nothing be done. What I suggested to President Bush is to be Kennedy-esque, in the sense that when the Russians got ahead of us in the space race, what we did is use the bully pulpit to galvanize everybody, business, industry, academia behind a national goal to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely.
I said, you can do the same kind of thing. Declare that within five to 10 years we will become petroleum independent. The moderate Arab states would have been so concerned about that, they would have turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks.
There are smart ways to do things and there are muscular ways to do things. And sometimes you have to look at both of those to come up with the right solution.
But then near the end Rubio hit the jackpot with this statement:
There is a lunatic in North Korea with dozens of nuclear weapons and long-range rocket that can already hit the very place in which we stand tonight. The Chinese are rapidly expanding their military. They hack into our computers. They’re building artificial islands in the South China Sea, the most important shipping lane in the world.
A gangster in Moscow is not just threatening Europe, he’s threatening to destroy and divide NATO. You have radical jihadists in dozens of countries across multiple continents. And they even recruit Americans using social media to try to attack us here at home.
And now we have got this horrible deal with Iran where a radical Shia cleric with an apocalyptic vision of the future is also guaranteed to one day possess nuclear weapons and also a long-range rocket that can hit the United States.
These are extraordinarily dangerous times that we live in. And the next president of the United States better be someone that understands these issues and has good judgment about them because the number one issue that a president will ever confront, and the most important obligation that the federal government has, is to keep this nation safe.
And today we are not doing that. We are eviscerating our military. And we have a president that is more respectful to the ayatollah in Iran than he is to the prime minister of Israel.
I think that we should have a deeper debate about these issues, because there is no more important decision that a president will make.
Well, you should ask him questions in detail about the foreign policy issues our president will confront, because you had better be able to lead our country on the first day.
Not six months from now, not a year from now, on the first day in office, our president could very well confront a national security crisis. You can’t predict it. Sometimes you cannot control it.
And it is the most — the federal government does all kinds of things it’s not supposed to be doing. It regulates bathrooms. It regulates schools that belong to local communities.
But the one thing that the federal government must do, the one thing that only the federal government can do is keep us safe. And a president better be up-to-date on those issues on his first day in office, on her first day in office.
PROTECTING THIS NATION AND ITS PEOPLE IS SO IMPORTANT AND WE ARE IN SUCH PERILOUS TIMES. HERE IS A MAN WHO GETS IT!
And Rubio was not afraid of Trump. He countered well:
TRUMP: Well, you have to understand, I am not sitting in the United States Senate with, by the way, the worst voting record there is today. Number one. I am not sitting in the United States Senate. I’m a businessman doing business transactions.
RUBIO: Trust (ph) me, I get that. OK.
TRUMP: I am doing business transactions. I will know more about this — and, as you said, that was very acceptable, and when you listen to that whole interview, it’s a great interview, you said it, I didn’t. Well, now I did. But…
TRUMP: Listen, just one second. Just one second.
RUBIO: I never get to addressed, and…
TRUMP: I will know…
RUBIO: …and when I do, I’m gonna jump in.
TRUMP: …I will know more about the problems of this world by the time I sit, and you look at what’s going in this world right now by people that supposedly know, this world is a mess. TAPPER: Senator Rubio, he did invoke your absentee record in the Senate.
But I’m glad I won. And I’m glad that I ran, because this country’s headed in the wrong direction. And if we keep electing the same people, nothing is going to change.
And you’re right, I have missed some votes, and I’ll tell you why, Mr. Trump. Because in my years in the Senate, I’ve figured out very quickly that the political establishment in Washington, D.C. in both political parties is completely out of touch with the lives of our people.
You have millions of people in this country living paycheck to paycheck, and nothing is being done about it. We are about to leave our children with $18 trillion in — in — in debt, and they’re about to raise the debt limit again.
We have a world that grows increasingly dangerous, and we are eviscerating our military spending and signing deals with Iran. And these — if this thing continues, we are going to be the first Americans to leave our children worse off than ourselves.
That’s why I’m missing votes. Because I am leaving the Senate, I’m not running for re-election, and I’m running for president because I know this: unless we have the right president, we cannot make America fulfill its potential, but with the right person in office, the 21st century can be the greatest era that our nation has ever known.
Rubio went on to say:
I want to go even deeper — and I want to go even deeper in that direction, because I think the belief that somehow by retreating, America makes the world safer has been disproven every single time it’s ever been tried.
Syria’s a perfect example of it. The uprising in Syria was not started by the United States; it was started by the Syrian people. And I warned at the time — this was three and a half years ago — I openly and repeatedly warned that if we did not find moderate elements on the ground that we could equip and arm, that void would be filled by radical jihadists.
Well, the president didn’t listen, the administration didn’t follow through, and that’s exactly what happened. That is why ISIS grew. That is why ISIS then came over the border from Syria and back into Iraq.
What is happening in that region is the direct consequence of the inability to lead and of disengagement. And the more we disengage, the more airplanes from Moscow you’re going to see flying out of Damascus and out of Syria…
Fiorina jumped in:
We have spent probably 12 minutes talking about the past. Let’s talk about the future. We need the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it. And, specifically, what that means is we need about 50 Army brigades, we need about 36 Marine battalions, we need somewhere between 300, and 350 naval ships, we need to upgrade every leg of the nuclear triad…we need to reform the Department of Defense, we need as well…to invest in our military technology, and we need to care for our veterans so 307,000……aren’t dying waiting for health care.
Ted Cruz had a shining moment:
Well, Dana, I’ve known John Roberts for 20 years, he’s amazingly talented lawyer, but, yes, it was a mistake when he was appointed to the Supreme Court. He’s a good enough lawyer that he knows in these Obamacare cases he changed the statute, he changed the law in order to force that failed law on millions of Americans for a political outcome.
And, you know, we’re frustrated as conservatives. We keep winning elections, and then we don’t get the outcome we want. And, let me focus on two moments in time.
Number one, in 1990, in one room was David Souter, and in another room was Edith Jones, the rock ribbed (ph) conservative on the fifth circuit court of appeals. George Herbert Walker Bush appointed David Souter.
And then in 2005, in one room was John Roberts, in another room was my former boss, Mike Luttig, the rock ribbed (ph) conservative on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals…
George W. Bush appointed John Roberts, and let me give you the consequences of that.
If, instead, the President Bush had appointed Edith Jones, and Mike Luttig, which is who I would have appointed, Obamacare would have been struck down three years ago, and the marriage laws of all 50 states would be on the books. These matter, and I fought to defend the constitution my whole life…and I will as president as well.
It is true that after George W. Bush nominated John Roberts, I supported his confirmation. That was a mistake and I regret that. I wouldn’t have nominated John Roberts, and indeed, Governor Bush pointed out why.
It wasn’t that the President Bushes wanted to appoint a liberal to the court, it’s that it was the easier choice. Both David Souter and John Roberts, they didn’t have a long paper trail. If you had nominated Edith Jones or Mike Ludig (ph) you would have had a bloody fight and they weren’t willing to spend political capital to put a strong judicial conservative on the court.
I have spent my entire life, starting from clerking for Chief Justice William Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court, one of the most principled jurists. We have an out-of-control Court, and I give you my word, if I’m elected president, every single Supreme Court justice will faithfully follow the law and will not act like philosopher kings imposing their liberal policies on millions of Americans —who need to be trusted to govern ourselves.
Then Rubio hit with another gem:
First of all, the only people that follow the law are law-abiding people. Criminals by definition ignore the law, so you can pass all the gun laws in the world, like the left wants. The criminals are going to ignore it because they are criminals.
Here’s the real issue.
The real issue — the real issue is not what are people using to commit violence, but why are they committing the violence? And here’s the truth: Because you cannot separate the social, moral wellbeing of your people from their economic and other wellbeing. You cannot separate it.
You can’t have a strong country without strong people, you cannot have strong people without strong values, and you cannot have strong values without strong families and the institutions in this country that defend and support those families.
Well, and today, we have a left-wing government under this president that is undermining all of the institutions and society that support the family and teach those values.
Then Jake Tapper said to Marco Rubio:
Shultz says Ronald Reagan urged skeptics in industry to come up with a plan. He said, do it as an insurance policy in case the scientists are right. The scientists were right. Reagan and his approach worked.
Secretary Shultz asks, why not take out an insurance policy and approach climate change the Reagan way?
Because we’re not going to destroy our economy the way the left-wing government that we are under now wants to do. We’re not going to…
Well, and I don’t — he may have lined up with their positions on this issue. But here is the bottom line. Every proposal they put forward are going to be proposals that will make it harder to do business in America, that will make it harder to create jobs in America.
Single parents are already struggling across this country to provide for their families. Maybe a billionaire here in California can afford an increase in their utility rates, but a working family in Tampa, Florida, or anywhere across this country cannot afford it.
So we are not going to destroy our economy. We are not going to make America a harder place to create jobs in order to pursue policies that will do absolutely nothing, nothing to change our climate, to change our weather, because America is a lot of things, the greatest country in the world, absolutely.
But America is not a planet. And we are not even the largest carbon producer anymore, China is. And they’re drilling a hole and digging anywhere in the world that they can get a hold of.
So the bottom line is, I am not in favor of any policies that make America a harder place for people to live, or to work, or to raise their families.
A skeptic. You can measure the climate. You can measure it. That’s not the issue we’re discussing. Here is what I’m skeptical of. I’m skeptical of the decisions that the left wants us to make, because I know the impact those are going to have and they’re all going to be on our economy.
They will not do a thing to lower the rise of the sea. They will not do a thing to cure the drought here in California. But what they will do is they will make America a more expensive place to create jobs.
And today with millions of people watching this broadcast that are struggling paycheck to paycheck that do not know how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of this month, I’m not in favor of anything that is going to make it harder for them to raise their family.
Fiorina’s closing remarks were inspirational
I think what this nation can be and must be is symbolized by Lady Liberty and Lady Justice. Lady Liberty stands tall and strong. She is clear-eyed and resolute. She doesn’t shield her eyes from the realities of the world, but she faces outward into the world nevertheless, as we always must.
And she holds her torch high, because she knows she is a beacon of hope in a very troubled world.
And Lady Justice, Lady Justice holds a sword by her side, because she is a fighter, a warrior for the values and the principles that have made this nation great. She holds a scale in her other hand. And with that scale she says all of us are equal in the eyes of God. And so all of us must be equal in the eyes of the law and the government, powerful and powerless alike.
And she wears a blindfold. And with that blindfold she is saying to us that it must be true, it can be true that in this country, in this century, it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you look like, it doesn’t matter how you start, it doesn’t matter your circumstances, here in this nation, every American’s life must be filled with the possibilities that come from their God-given gifts.
One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.