Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): About last night

Friday, August 7, 2015

About last night

So, debates this early don't actually matter. A gaggle of "experts" at The Washington Post reported yesterday:

To sum up, we found that the running theory on debates’ effect on the polls is probably right: A massive majority showed almost no change or changes within standard polling margins of error.
And I'm not a big fan of declaring winners and losers. One man's loser is another man's winner. So I won't do that. I won't tell you who I think "won" or who "lost." But I can say who I think gained supporters and who probably lost support.

As I hoped yesterday, Carly Fiorina likely made major gains from her brief time at the Happy Hour debate, err, kiddie table. She was awesome. 

Unfortunately stupid Bill Hemmer (swoon, usually) and Martha McCallum spent half of the short debate asking all of the candidates about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I would much rather hear about their own ideas -- not their take on other people as individuals. 

It's difficult to pick my favorite Carly moment. I loved this: "The potential of this nation and too many Americans is being crushed by the weight, the power, the cost, the complexity, the ineptitude, the corruption of the federal government." 

Obviously, this is a very Republican thing to say and not all that special of a comment. However, when Carly says it as opposed to Insert Politician Here it bares special notice. She isn't a politician and hasn't been her whole life. She has worked in the private sector almost exclusively. When she says it, it's personal. When John Kasich says it, it's just rhetoric. When has John Kasich or Rick Santorum EVER had to deal with the crushing weight of the bureaucracy when trying to accomplish something in the private sector? I'm going with probably never -- not even once.

And then she absolutely killed it in a post-debate interview with Chris Matthews. She would mop the floor with Hillary Clinton in a debate. 

My bias is for anyone who has actually worked in the private sector. Professional politicians and the professional campaign/political staff has NO idea what actually goes on out here. Truly, they don't. 

John Kasich may have gained fans coming off this debate. I know my Democrat friends liked him best. I'm not sure how that helps Kasich win a Republican primary, but... that's what I'm hearing from the loony left.

Meanwhile, most of my Republican friends appreciated their guy most. The Rand fans still liked Rand, though I thought he came off a bit brash and harsh. I also figured he would have the easiest time distinguishing himself from other candidates.  I don't think he accomplished that.

The Ben Carson fans continue to be Ben Carson fans. (He's got a lot of detractors, too.) I am a fan of anyone who hasn't spent a lifetime in politics. I am not sure, however, that a surgeon has the experience necessary to run the executive branch. He's got a lot of fans, and I think that's because people are hungering for the non-politician.

Marco Rubio and Scott Walker fans continue to be fans of their guy. I guess that means they didn't hurt themselves, but I don't think they gained new supporters either.

I have trouble believing Chris Christie and Jeb Bush actually gained supporters. I'm not willing to say they lost them, but then I'm continually baffled to learn that they have any supporters to begin with.

I think Huckabee, who makes my stomach turn, actually won some fans. I am basing this on the comments of some of my GOP friends. I can't look at Huckabee without feeling a little sick. I will never forget how he lost a bunch of weight and then all of a sudden decided to become the Michelle Obama of Arkansas (before there was a Michelle Obama of America.) He all of a sudden wanted to regulate the food on people's plates from the Arkansas Govneror's mansion. Not cool. 

But people who have had conversions are typically the most outspoken advocates for their new way of life. Which brings me to Donald Trump, who I suspect lost supporters after last night's showing.

Trump is a recent convert to conservatism. He's recently become pro-life. In the late '90s, this is a guy who said he wouldn't even ban partial birth abortion. Speaking of the '90s, remember that awesome time when Trump supported a one-time 14.25 percent tax on individuals and trusts to pay off the national debt? Those were good times. In 2000, he opposed the flat tax. In 2011, he supported the Bush tax cuts and then proposed a tax bracket system with rates between 1 percent and 15 percent that eliminated corporate income and income taxes. He's also had a conversion on the Second Amendment. He was for waiting periods, background checks and assault weapon bans before he was against them. He was an advocate for universal healthcare, and he's been squishy on the topic ever since. He favored privatizing Social Security until 2011 when he suggested the U.S. should not make any adjustments to the system. And of course, he's only recently switched his voter registration from Democrat to Republican, though he tried to explain that during last night's debate.

Sometimes the newly-converted are the very best advocates. My trouble is I don't actually believe Trump's conservative conversion is sincere. It seems like political pandering, and most people watching last night's performance probably drew the same conclusion.

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