This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 15, 2016:
Charles Krauthammer said he’d never seen anything like it:
We went here from WWE [World Wrestling Entertainment] to UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship, or cage fighting].
This was a cage fight of the sort that I don’t think we have seen at the presidential level before.
Other observers were only slightly kinder. Caleb Howe, writing for RedState, said the debate “turned into a carnival ride early and never looked back: shouting, shenanigans, insults, interruptions … it was lively!”
Like cage fighters the candidates (with the exception of Dr. Ben Carson who largely sat this one out) couldn’t wait for the bell to ring. After a moment of silence to honor the passing of Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia, the scrap was on. There were no holds barred, no rules of etiquette ignored, no daggers withheld. There was even a moment when the CBS moderator had to intervene to keep the melee from getting totally out of hand.
There was the confrontation between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush over the Iraq war. Challenged Trump:
They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction; there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.
“They,” of course, was George Bush, Jeb’s brother. Bush said Trump should leave his family out of it, adding:
While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show [The Apprentice, which ran for 14 seasons], my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. And I’m proud of what he did.
Trump snapped: “The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign, remember that!”
There was the issue of eminent domain. Trump went on the attack, telling the audience of Republican partisans that Jeb’s brother George W. Bush profited mightily in the building of the Arlington, Texas baseball stadium through the use of eminent domain and taxpayer monies. Jeb Bush pushed back: “You [Trump] should not use eminent domain” that benefits a privately-owned enterprise.
Trump was on the defensive only once, over his use of profanity, vulgarity, and bombast, calling such criticism “very unfair” but that he would, with the help of his wife Melania, refrain from such remarks in the future.
Cruz weighed in on Trump’s support of Planned Parenthood who praised it for all the “good work” that it does and claiming that the government should continue to fund it.
On the issue of ISIS it was Bush v. Trump v. Bush v. Trump v. the audience. After Bush explained his policy for going after ISIS, Trump ripped into Bush and was greeted with ferocious boos from the audience. Trump then turned on the audience: “Just so you understand: you know who that is? That’s Jeb’s special interests and lobbyists talking!”
The audience booed him again. Again Trump attacked: “I only tell the truth, lobbyists. We’ve spent $5 trillion all over the Middle East … politicians [like Bush] are all talk, no action – that’s why [people] are listening to me.”
The people are listening, according to Drudge.com which put up a poll immediately following the debate. 500,000 voters put Trump at 55 percent, Cruz in second with 21 percent, and Rubio trailing in third place at 13 percent. Kasich is in single digits, along with Bush and Carson.
This squares with previous polls, with their average at RealClearPolitics showing Trump leading Cruz 29.5 to 21.0, while in South Carolina, Trump has an even wider lead over Cruz, 37 to 17.
One Rasmussen poll is especially interesting, possibly proving that people are not so much enamored with Trump as they are disgusted with establishment politics. Rasmussen reports that 87 percent of Republicans – and two-thirds of all voters – are angry at the current policies of the political establishment, making Trump’s rude and crude behavior a winning strategy.
How long can that last? Despite Trump’s claim that he’ll be watching his mouth in future campaign stops, he’s proud of his “mantle of anger.” His ability to run away with the New Hampshire primary after investing little more than bombast, while Cruz was spending $500,000 and Bush a breath-taking $36 million in the contest, shows that somehow Trump is touching a nerve. People don’t seem to care what he says or how he says it or how offensive his remarks may be. He doesn’t belong to anybody in Washington (is the perception), he is funding his own campaign, and he’s never had an unexpressed thought.
His support for Planned Parenthood could hurt him in South Carolina but so far the polls don’t show it. And that’s driving the pollsters, the pundits and the Washington establishment crazy.
YouTube: Trump: PP does wonderful things
RedState.com: Winners and Losers from Tonight’s CBS GOP Debate
Rasmussen: Trump Change
DRUDGE POLL: WHO WON THE 9TH REPUBLICAN DEBATE ‘16?