Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Debate We Were Supposed to Have

 

150915104617-reagan-library-2015-debate-stage-exlarge-169The 2016 election was the grand battle conservatives had been hoping for since Ronald Reagan left the Oval Office. The roster of candidates was to be a who’s-who of smart, proven, center-right leadership.

Scott Walker would show how his gutsy union changes transformed a blue state, while Bobby Jindal shared how his school choice revolution changed Louisiana. Rick Perry could press his breathtaking jobs record and tell us how to “make Washington inconsequential in our lives.”

From the Senate, Tea Party constitutionalist Ted Cruz would bring the intellect, while Florida’s Marco Rubio brought the heart. Add Rand Paul to energize the growing conservatarian wing, and the trio would appeal to the young, minorities, and independents.

Moderate Chris Christie would reach out to northeastern voters once considered out of reach for the GOP while Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson added an outsiders’ perspective from the worlds of technology and medicine.

No more settling for uninspiring match-ups like Mitt Romney vs. Herman Cain, John McCain vs. Mike Huckabee, or Dubya vs. Alan Keyes. 2016 was going to be about Big Ideas on turning around a debt-ridden, war-weary, stagnant superpower. A policy wonk’s dream.

Even better, Republicans could finally laugh at the Democratic primary featuring a corrupt Clinton, a socialist Sanders, and a Bidenesque Biden. Imagine the contrast of tired old Democrats yelling about microaggressions and wiped email servers, as fresh, dynamic Republicans addressed high-level social and economic policy.

It would be obvious to the electorate that Republicans were the only party with the vision, with the heart, and with the intelligence to lead the nation.

Instead, here are the political headlines of Summer 2015:

  • Trump on McCain: “I like people who weren’t captured”
  • Trump on Megyn Kelly: “There was blood coming out of her… wherever.”
  • Trump: Rick Perry “should be forced to take an IQ test” before debate
  • Trump is going to war with Scott Walker after being called “DumbDumb” by one of his supporters
  • Trump on Fiorina: “Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”
  • Trump on Heidi Klum: “She’s no longer a 10.”

These are the lofty policy debates dominating the presidential election of a 21st century superpower. We aren’t discussing America’s $18.4 trillion national debt and our insolvent social programs. The stagnant economy and an expansionist China, Russia, and Islamic State. Burning cities at home and burning countries abroad.

Instead we’re trading GIFs of a reality show star on “The Tonight Show,” giggling about menstruation, and wondering if the most impressive GOP field in a generation are a bunch of “dummies” or if they’re a bunch of “losers.”

These are serious times. We are not a serious people.

There are 103 comments.

  1. jmelvin Member

    Sad isn’t it?

    • #1
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:09 PM PST
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  2. Songwriter Member

    The election of the President of the United States as a reality TV show: If it weren’t so sad it would be funny.

    • #2
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:11 PM PST
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  3. Roberto, Crusty Old Timer Member

    Songwriter:The election of the President of the United States as a reality TV show: If it weren’t so sad it would be funny.

    I don’t know, I’m finding it pretty funny.

    • #3
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:15 PM PST
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  4. Profile Photo Member

    Months ago, some pundit said (I can’t remember who) that the Republicans see the presidential election as a job interview, and the Democrats see it as a casting decision.

    Right now, I think if Washington, Hamilton, and Madison could see the state of the voters towards this important decision…well…they’d never stop throwing up.

    • #4
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:15 PM PST
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  5. Profile Photo Member

    I blame everyone but us.

    • #5
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:15 PM PST
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  6. DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey Member

    I don’t discount how much of the GOP 2016 narrative has been created by the media. If the media wasn’t giving Trump so much exposure, would he be as high in the polls as he is? I doubt it. But the press wants the GOP to look like fools, and Trump was prepared to be a clown for them.

    Unfortunately, it’s gone too far.

    • #6
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:17 PM PST
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  7. DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey Member

    Keith Preston:Months ago, some pundit said (I can’t remember who) that the Republicans see the presidential election as a job interview, and the Democrats see it as a casting decision.

    Yes. And we’ve allowed the Democrat media to “cast” Trump as the GOP candidate.

    And voters are playing right into their hands.

    • #7
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:18 PM PST
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  8. billy Inactive

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Instead we’re trading GIFs of a reality show star on the Tonight Show, giggling about menstruation, and wondering if the most impressive GOP field in a generation are a bunch of “dummies” or if they’re a bunch of “losers.” These are serious times. We are not a serious people.

    Yep.

    I am seriously disappointed in talk radio; Limbough, Hannity, Levin, et. al., for promoting Trump so heavily.

    Conservatism is a business, and I guess Trump is good for business.

    • #8
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:18 PM PST
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  9. DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey Member

    billy:I am seriously disappointed in talk radio, Limbough, Hannity, Levin, et. al., for promoting Trump so heavily.

    Conservatism is a business, and I guess Trump is good for business.

    Do they really? I don’t ever listen to talk radio, so I had no idea he was popular with those folks. Bleah.

    • #9
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:22 PM PST
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  10. Clavius Thatcher

    Trump is a troll working for the Clintons intent on ensuring Hillary’s election. It is as simple as that.

    • #10
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:23 PM PST
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  11. billy Inactive

    DrewInWisconsin:

    billy:I am seriously disappointed in talk radio, Limbough, Hannity, Levin, et. al., for promoting Trump so heavily.

    Conservatism is a business, and I guess Trump is good for business.

    Do they really? I don’t ever listen to talk radio, so I had no idea he was popular with those folks. Bleah.

    It is just non-stop discussion of Trump. I like listening to talk radio as background noise while I work, but it has gotten tiresome.

    He must be good ratings.

    • #11
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:25 PM PST
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  12. Johnny Dubya Inactive

    Couldn’t agree more. Copying and pasting a comment I wrote this morning on the Member Feed:

    I don’t think I’ve ever been angrier at a “politician” than I am at Donald Trump. A literal RINO, he is the big [rhymes with “nerd”] floating in the Republican race’s punchbowl.

    On the other side, they have (1) a popular but fatally flawed and vulnerable candidate, (2) a socialist, and (3) a few no-names. On our side, we have the strongest field in memory. And what happens? Along comes Trump, a Democrat-Reform-Independent-Republican to screw things up. Of course, he wouldn’t be screwing things up royally (y-u-u-u-gely!) if he weren’t so darn popular. So I guess I’m not mad at him as much as I am at Republican voters.

    For the umpteenth time, this is Idiocracy, folks, and it’s a disaster. Heck, even Mark Steyn disappoints me, with his support for – or, at least, lack of disdain for – Trump.

    This was a bad year to stop sniffing glue.

    • #12
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:25 PM PST
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  13. Lazy_Millennial Member

    To be fair, very few media outlets took Trump seriously until he made his threat to run 3rd-party. Before the first question of the first debate, he was dismissed by most. From that point on, Fox, Rush, Hannity, etc have treated him very seriously. I’m guessing the high-level thinking is that he’s less likely to run third party if he feels he’s been treated “fairly” rather than dismissed and ignored.

    • #13
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:26 PM PST
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  14. Mendel Member

    Jon titled the post “The Debate We Were Supposed To Have”, but we could also consider the current situation to be “The Debate We Deserve”.

    For many years now, the heart and soul of the conservative grassroots has been driven at least as much by the issues of politicians’ personality and attitude as it has by policy details. The current fawning over a man with huge style and much less policy wonkishness isn’t really surprising – and definitely should not be a shocker to any of the other candidates who have been in the game for a few years.

    • #14
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:28 PM PST
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  15. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Mendel: Jon titled the post “The Debate We Were Supposed To Have”, but we could also consider the current situation to be “The Debate We Deserve”.

    Bingo. As a party and as a country, we deserve this, sad to say.

    • #15
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:33 PM PST
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  16. Johnny Dubya Inactive

    Clavius

    Trump is a troll working for the Clintons intent on ensuring Hillary’s election. It is as simple as that.

    I’ve heard this assertion from several different quarters. Explain to me how this would work. There was a conspiracy between Donald, Hill, and Bill? But it wouldn’t really work if his candidacy had foundered like, for example, Pataki’s. How did they know Trump would have a stratospheric rise?

    And if he were to win the presidency, that would be rather counterproductive to the desired result, too, wouldn’t it? So is the idea that he would withdraw from the primary race at some point, if it looked like he might win the general? If so, then how would his withdrawal from the race “ensure Hillary’s election”?

    Do you truly, honestly believe the troll theory?

    • #16
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:33 PM PST
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  17. Austin Murrey Inactive

    For decades the Republicans have been making high-minded appeals to the reason to the electorate, using their best arguments to say that a rising tide lifts all ships and if people follow the plans and the attached white papers laid out they’ll see it’s best to elect Republicans.

    People.

    Don’t.

    Like.

    Homework.

    Trump is arguing purely to emotion – and it’s working, because it doesn’t require the deep thought we all believe should be given to politics.

    Obama won in ’08 and ’12 by promising hope, change, good stuff. If you looked at what little policy he issued it was easy to see where it led – skyrocketing deficits, chaos at home and abroad, a weak military, high unemployment and an anemic economy. Which is exactly where it led, John McCain’s protests to the contrary otherwise.

    People mock the Low Information Voter, but they exist and they’re a massive portion of the electorate on both sides.

    Sadly the GOP has just spent months calling people, who don’t want to have to think too deeply about government programs because they don’t care, idiots for not spending the time to think deeply about government.

    It needs to stop or God help us President Clinton or, worse, Sanders will ride into the White House on January 2017 to the disbelief of all the smart set who have the homework to prove their presidency is a terrible idea but were unable to convince anyone else of that fact.

    • #17
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:38 PM PST
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  18. Clavius Thatcher

    Johnny Dubya:

    I’ve heard this assertion from several different quarters. Explain to me how this would work. If he were to win, that would be rather counterproductive to the desired result, wouldn’t it? So is the idea that he would withdraw from the race at some point, if it looked like he might win? If so, then how does his withdrawal from the race “ensure Hillary’s election”?

    Do you truly, honestly believe the troll theory?

    I do not believe he could win a general election. And I admit my assertion that he is “working for the Clinton’s” is hyperbolic. But both his actions and the fawning attention of the media do quite a bit to weaken the Republican field, as Jon’s original post points out.

    And I believe he entered the race unseriously, looking for publicity and to damage a strong Republican field. That is how I would define a troll.

    • #18
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:39 PM PST
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  19. Dietlbomb Inactive

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:…

    gutsy union changes … school choice … jobs record … intellect … heart … conservatarian wing, … young, minorities, and independents.

    … northeastern voters … outsiders’ perspective … technology and medicine.

    … uninspiring match-ups … Big Ideas on turning around a debt-ridden, war-weary, stagnant superpower. A policy wonk’s dream.

    It is nothing but a dream unless we solve immigration.

    • #19
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:42 PM PST
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  20. Lazy_Millennial Member

    Johnny Dubya:

    Clavius

    Trump is a troll working for the Clintons intent on ensuring Hillary’s election. It is as simple as that.

    I’ve heard this assertion from several different quarters. Explain to me how this would work. There was a conspiracy between Donald, Hill, and Bill? But it wouldn’t really work if his candidacy had foundered like, for example, Pataki’s. How did they know Trump would have a stratospheric rise?

    And if he were to win the presidency, that would be rather counterproductive to the desired result, too, wouldn’t it? So is the idea that he would withdraw from the primary race at some point, if it looked like he might win the general? If so, then how would his withdrawal from the race “ensure Hillary’s election”?

    Do you truly, honestly believe the troll theory?

    I can easily seeing the “troll theory” being for Trump to run 3rd party (like Perot) to ensure a Clinton win. Bill could easily have convinced Trump to run by encouraging his ego, promising that if he didn’t win the Republican nomination, he could run as a 3rd party candidate and get a cabinet post, or government kickbacks, or more publicity, after Clinton won.

    • #20
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:43 PM PST
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  21. BrentB67 Inactive

    I am not sure any of them would be discussing the $18T+ debt even if Trump wasn’t in the debate.

    Trump can be rendered irrelevant by someone with a consistent limited gov’t record, tough immigration stance, and limited government agenda. To date Carly Fiorina is the only one to take up the challenge.

    • #21
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:44 PM PST
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  22. Profile Photo Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Mendel: Jon titled the post “The Debate We Were Supposed To Have”, but we could also consider the current situation to be “The Debate We Deserve”.

    Bingo. As a party and as a country, we deserve this, sad to say.

    In a better world, that would be a Code of Conduct violation. Or fighting words.

    • #22
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:44 PM PST
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  23. Songwriter Member

    Roberto:

    Songwriter:The election of the President of the United States as a reality TV show: If it weren’t so sad it would be funny.

    I don’t know, I’m finding it pretty funny.

    I guess I’m a crying-on-the-inside sort of clown.

    • #23
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:44 PM PST
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  24. Mendel Member

    Austin Murrey:For decades the Republicans have been making high-minded appeals to the reason to the electorate, using their best arguments to say that a rising tide lifts all ships and if people follow the plans and the attached white papers laid out they’ll see it’s best to elect Republicans.

    People.

    Don’t.

    Like.

    Homework.

    Trump is arguing purely to emotion – and it’s working, because it doesn’t require the deep thought we all believe should be given to politics.

    So in other words, we’re doomed.

    The default setting of our legislative process is expansion. There is no way to reverse that tide right now without close voter participation.

    On the other hand, I don’t see much to quibble with in your comment. Indeed, the fact that Trump – who until the day before yesterday embraced big government – is doing so well among so-called conservatives is proof that the goal of meaningfully shrinking government is probably doomed.

    • #24
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:44 PM PST
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  25. Songwriter Member

    Johnny Dubya:

    Clavius

    Trump is a troll working for the Clintons intent on ensuring Hillary’s election. It is as simple as that.

    Do you truly, honestly believe the troll theory?

    I don’t believe the troll theory. But it does kinda make for a great screenplay pitch, doesn’t it?

    • #25
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:48 PM PST
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  26. Profile Photo Member

    Mendel: Indeed, the fact that Trump – who until the day before yesterday embraced big government – is doing so well among so-called conservatives is proof that the goal of meaningfully shrinking government is probably doomed.

    Yeah, this has been the hard part accepting.

    Of course, if we can’t shrink government it will only get more expensive until we reach fiscal Armageddon. And then other things will be doomed too.

    My patriotism conflicts with my sense of justice. I love my country, but it really is practically begging for trouble.

    • #26
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:52 PM PST
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  27. Man With the Axe Member


    Austin Murrey
    : People mock the Low Information Voter, but they exist and they’re a massive portion of the electorate on both sides.

    True enough. But I consider the bigger problem in this particular election the “low imagination” voter.

    These are people who may or may not have much information about the issues of our day. They may know about illegal immigration and can identify “11 million,” “Mexican,” and “wall” as the relevant concepts. They may know about jobs and how they are created, or they may not.

    But what they can’t seem to do is imagine President Trump in office, making decisions, giving important speeches, meeting with world leaders to negotiate important issues, deciding whether to bomb Iran or to put troops in Estonia, nominating judges and justices, proposing budgets and legislation on health care, etc.

    I don’t see in any of the Trump hysteria even the slightest interest in any of that. Instead, they say (as some do even on Ricochet) if we don’t build the wall nothing else matters.

    But it does. It matters a great deal.

    • #27
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:52 PM PST
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  28. livingtheLoneStarlife Inactive

    Mendel: Indeed, the fact that Trump – who until the day before yesterday embraced big government – is doing so well among so-called conservatives is proof that the goal of meaningfully shrinking government is probably doomed.

    Exactly.

    Add another gravestone for social conservatism.

    • #28
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:53 PM PST
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  29. Johnny Dubya Inactive

    Clavius

    Johnny Dubya:

    Do you truly, honestly believe the troll theory?

    I do not believe he could win a general election. And I admit my assertion that he is “working for the Clinton’s” is hyperbolic. But both his actions and the fawning attention of the media do quite a bit to weaken the Republican field, as Jon’s original post points out. And I believe he entered the race unseriously, looking for publicity and to damage a strong Republican field. That is how I would define a troll.

    Glad to hear the answer to my question is “no,” and now I understand the hyperbolic tone. I have heard many people express this idea seemingly seriously, though.

    I honestly don’t think his intent is to the damage the Republicans. His candidacy has that effect, however, and he seems to be too egotistic and narcissistic to see it. Given his fluid allegiances in the past, perhaps he sees it and just doesn’t care. Perhaps that is a distinction without a difference.

    I believe you hit the nail on the head with “looking for publicity.” His candidacy helps build the Trump brand, especially in overseas markets – a win for Trump the tycoon. And if he were to win the general, that would be a win for Trump the egotist.

    Either way, no one can call Trump that most Trumpian of words: loser.

    • #29
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:55 PM PST
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  30. Clavius Thatcher

    Johnny Dubya:I honestly don’t think his intent is to the damage the Republicans. His candidacy has that effect, however, and he seems to be too egotistic and narcissistic to see it. Given his fluid allegiances in the past, perhaps he sees it and just doesn’t care. Perhaps that is a distinction without a difference.

    I believe you hit the nail on the head with “looking for publicity.” His candidacy helps build the Trump brand, especially in overseas markets – a win for Trump the tycoon. And if he were to win the general, that would be a win for Trump the egotist.

    Either way, no one can call Trump that most Trumpian of words: loser.

    I would agree with you that we certainly can’t be certain of intent (without going over the top) but I am with you that it is the effect.

    You hit the nail on the head about the Trump brand.

    And I sure wish we will able to call him a loser.

    • #30
    • September 15, 2015, at 2:59 PM PST
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