Thursday, January 14, 2016

Live Blog of the Jan 14, 2016 Republican Debate

Do people do live blogging? I guess it doesn't make much sense, since it's not really live to the reader. Regardless, I'm going to watch my first Republican debate and type up my thoughts as they go. Warning, I'm not going to edit this, so expect typos galore.

Candidates: Donal Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, John Kasich

Okay, let's go.

First up, what do people think about President Obama's State of the Union.

Ted Cruz immediately avoids the question and makes questionable assumptions. Apparently he'll make sure soldiers never end up on their knees captured by enemies, which doesn't really seem to be something under his control.

What actions from John Kasich, Ohio governor, do to improve the economy? Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, apparently. Also, fewer regulations.

When does Chris Christie believe we should use force to keep peace around the world? He believes we should talk to our allies and enemies, and also not let the democrats be the ones to do it. Not really clear why. Suggests that the Obama administration has made our military weak. Proof?

Jeb: Are we better off today than 8 years ago? Rebuild the military. Can we project force? Do our enemies fear us?

"Not to be the world's policemen" said 4 times so far, I think.

Seem to generally believe Hillary Clinton is guaranteed the Democratic nomination. No mention of Bernie.

Marco Rubio: Hillary is a disaster, disqualified from being president. A war against ISIS, can be won?

Ben Carson: Can we fight ISIS? EMPs, cyber attacks, dirty bombs. Admitted our military is still the best, "despite Obama's best efforts to diminish it."

Donald Trump: Policy on refugees--refugees could be destructive, too many strong, powerful men, not enough women.

Cruz: Million dollar loan? Apparently the NY Times has it out for him. Some kind of accounting error, I guess?

Commercial break, so some time to reflect. The major concerns of the republicans so far seem to be the way that Obama represents the United States abroad (not strong enough, apologizing), and suggesting that Clinton would do more of the same. I'm not personally a fan of intimidation as a diplomatic strategy myself, and if our military budget that dwarfs the military budget of every other nation on the planet seems insufficient, that seems more like a problem with the military than with the president, but anyway the commercials are over.

Ted Cruz: Born in Canada, does he qualify as a presidential candidate? Funny that Ted Cruz's defense of his birth actually works as a defense against the Obama birther movement. Kinda gets into it with Trump.

Trump really seems to be enjoying himself. Suggests that the Democrats would bring a lawsuit against Cruz. The idea of Democrat Birthers is kinda interesting.

The debate has become the Ted and Donald Show.

Seems like all of the candidates are kinda enjoying themselves. So, that's nice to see.

Rubio plans to repeal all of Obama's executive orders.

How would a President Trump unite the party? Trump gladly accepts the mantle of anger. "Our country is being run by incompetent people."

Rubio v. Christie: Apparently is Christie agrees with Obama on anything, he doesn't deserve the Republican nomination.

Christie response: basically suggests that he's never agreed with Obama on anything. Pleasant willingness to not rise to the attack.



Carson calls to bring the party together, or else the country is doomed.

Question about Bernie to Kasich--Ain't gonna happen. Talks about jobs, old and young can be trained to work. "We don't hate the rich, we just want to be the rich."

Carson: About Bill Clinton's scandals, is Hillary an enabler? "Is this America anymore? Do we still have standards?" Where did angry Internet commenters come from? Suggests that it's due to a lack of Christian values.


Gotta admit, Carson's idea that the Republican party needs to come together to win isn't wrong, but given that there's 7 candidates on the stage compared to the Democrats' 3 candidates (last I checked), I don't think Republicans have a lot of party unity at the moment.

I should also mention that Carson's tirade about values frustrated Laura enough to make her leave the room, which was kinda funny, as was Carson's concerns about the anger of Internet commenters. Seems to me like angry Internet commenters come from all walks of life, however.


Bush: On Charleston--that person should not have gotten that gun. A+ rating with the NRA. Mental health is important, Obama should go to Congress and let Congress find a solution.

Trump: Should we limit the sales of guns of any kind in America? No. We have a huge mental health problem in America, and we have to protect our Second Amendment. "You get Congress, you get the Senate, you get them together..."

Rubio: Obama sure hates guns, huh. "Criminals don't buy their guns from a gun show, from collectors, etc." Did ISIS attack Philadelphia last week?

Christie: Obama's methods aren't the same as his methods--he used Congress. "This guy is a petulant child." "We're not against you, we're against your policies." "We're gonna kick your rear end out of the White House this fall."

Cruz: Man, seriously, Democrats hate that Second Amendment, let me tell you.

Side note, they're certainly not wrong. Republican candidates are proud of their NRA endorsement, while Democrats are proud of their lack of NRA endorsements.

Cruz: "New York values aren't that hard to figure out." "Not a lot of conservatives come of out Manhattan."

Donald: Offended that Cruz insulted New York. Invokes 9/11.

Bush: Restore the strength of the military. "We are weak."

Side note: I should probably do some research and thinking on the value of America's military strength.

Kasich: Defends fracking, both strong-arm and be friends with Saudi Arabia?


These guys are kinda losing me along the way. There are some pretty big leaps of logic, a fair bit of unfair assumptions on the intentions of President Obama, and some defense of some practices I'm not a fan of. So far, though Christie is my favorite of the bunch.


Carson: Doesn't believe the current administration takes ISIS seriously enough, that ISIS exists with the blessing of the Caliphate. I'm not sure his assessment of ISIS is correct.

Christie: How would he remove Assad from power? Did Clinton refer to Assad as a reformer? Hasn't Obama been asserting that peace won't come to Syria with Assad in power? Christie believes he'll bring people together in the Middle East.

Trump's Muslim ban: Does he want to rethink the position? No. "We have to stop with political correctness..." "I have many great Muslim friends..." "We can't be the stupid country anymore."

Jeb v. Trump: That plan is impossible. "All Muslims? Seriously?" Sees why people are scared, but you can't make rash statements and assume people will say, "oh, well that's just politics."

Trump: "The police are the most mistreated people in this country." Rants about San Bernadino. "We need to get to the bottom of this." Can we get to the bottom of this?

Who agrees that we should pause Muslim immigration?

Kasich: Syrian immigrants yes, not all Muslims.

Christie: No Syrian refugees, not all Muslims. How to figure that out? Give the intelligence community more funding.

Rubio: Goes off against radical Muslims. Not clear on his stance.

Cruz: "If you join ISIS, you forfeit you citizenship." Suspend Syrians.

Carson: Create new guidelines for immigration. No Syrians, send them to Jordan.

Bush: Are we going to ban Muslims from our allies as well? We need to arm our allies against ISIS, not alienate our potential allies.

Trump: "It's the New York Times, they're always wrong." "China has total control over North Korea." "We have a great amount of influence over China." He'd start taxing goods from China. "We don't have an equal playing field."

Kasich: "Donald's right about North Korea." Doesn't like China dumping products into our country. Protect blue-collar jobs.

Rubio: Protect ourselves from China by improving our economy by lowering taxes and removing powers from the EPA.

Trump: That's all well and good, but you need to take it straight to China. And Japan.

Bush: What about all that we export to China?

Trump: You're weak, Bush.

*cat fight*

Cruz: There's a middle ground between Bush and Trump. Use my flat tax instead, abolish the IRS, no export taxes. Sounds like dramatic tax reform.


Okay, Christie lost me.

Now I'm surprised at how reasonable Jeb sounds in all of this. He's not talking much, though--he mostly just responds to Trump. I wouldn't say I'm a Bush fan, but out of this bunch he's the one that seems the most like someone I could reason with.

I think we've just got one more stretch here.


Christie: Plan to improve infrastructure--tax reform. Bring down taxes, but get rid of the loopholes that allow people to avoid those taxes. Create jobs by rebuilding infrastructure. "We don't need to raise taxes, we need to run things better and smarter."

Carson: What will you do to stop companies and jobs from moving overseas? Flat taxes, close loopholes, stop spending so much money. Regulations are "taxes." Regulations kill businesses and make things more expensive for poor people.

Trump: Corporations are leaving this country. Corporate inversion is a big problem.

Rubio: Entitlements and taxes? VAT is bad, causes prices to get higher, sides with Ronald Reagan.

Cruz: Flat tax is not a VAT, it eliminates income tax, estate tax, etc. "We need to break the Washington Cartel."

Rubio: Flat tax doesn't eliminate the IRS, just renames it.

Christie: "I'm actually going to answer the question." Entitlements are hard to answer. Need to save Social Security. Republican Congress stole from Social Security, and that's wrong.

Carson: I just want to say, our tax plan is the best, ayyyyy


It's got to be over soon, right?

Anyway, some really interesting tax proposals here. I'm down for some tax experimentation. Seems like it never happens because we're afraid that tax reform will break the system, but how will we know? Seems like something worth experimenting with, anyway.

Oh wait, it's not over.


Trump: Can you disentangle yourself with your private holdings. "I couldn't care less about my company." Lets his kids take over.

Christie: The president gives the benefit of the doubt to criminals, not to the police. Sanctuary cities are the problem, marijuana is the problem. Make sure the police know we're proud of our police, and they'll take care of us.

Kasich: What do you think of police reform? Statewide use of deadly force. (?) Integration of community and police. It's all about getting people to listen to each other's problems. Bring people together, and give people hope.

Rubio: Why are you so interested in opening up borders? The issue has changed. Now it' not about jobs, it's about safety. Keep ISIS out. "If we don't know who you are, you're not getting into our country." The entire immigration system need to be re-examined.

Cruz: "Border security is national security."

Rubio v. Cruz.

Side note: holy crap this has been going on for 2 hours, when does it end?

Rubio: Gonna throw that Snowden dude in jail, lemme tell ya.

Side note: these senators sure have a lot of opinions about each other.

Anyway, my stream is kinda messing up, so I'm going to stop now. At some point I stopped thinking and started just kinda transcribing anyway.

As a final note, though, man, debates are weird. I should write something up about that.


  1. I watched all the previous ones, but I think I'm sitting this one out. I'm so tired of Ben Carson talking about his ridiculous tax plan. And, really, all of them touting tax cuts as the magical solution.

    Maybe tax cuts are one approach to businesses basing themselves overseas, but a.) It never actually increases revenue like some of them claim, and b.) They never get around to actually cutting spending after they cut taxes (because that ends up being wildly unpopular to the people whose programs they cut), so they end up running up huge deficits anyway.

    And that's before you take into account that every one of them wants to increase military spending. another can of worms. They're trying to be both aggressive and isolationist at the same time, it seems like. Such a headache.

    And the thing is, so-called fiscal conservatism like this might even be a good idea if properly implemented and paired with tough decisions about spending. I don't generally find that vision for the country appealing, but who is to say it wouldn't end up better? But we'll never find out, because there aren't actually any fiscal conservatives.

    [/end rant]

    1. Not going to argue that "fiscal conservatism" rarely lives up to its name, but there were some worthwhile ideas in there once you get beyond the posturing and "who's more liberal" hot potato game.

      Seemed like everyone was pretty much just ignoring Carson, though. Nobody engaged him, and he engaged nobody.

    2. Yeah, Carson should have tried to seize more moments, given his precarious position in the race, but that's probably just not in his personality to do so. One has to question whether he's given up.