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Observations on the 2nd Repub. "Debate"

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Reprinted from Greanville Post

Well, I said to myself, just about every other political commentator has chimed in on this one. And I keep saying, to myself and others, that I'm not going to do this this time around. But the pickings are so rich that I cannot resist.

Chris Christie illustrated the Repubs' capability for using the results of their policies and then blaming them on Obama. He talked about the despair of the 55 y.o. unemployed construction worker -- who would have plenty of work if the Repubs. had even modestly funded a national infrastructure repair and infrastructure construction/reconstruction program that Obama proposed. Christie then highlighted his experience as U.S. Attorney -- to equip him as President to go after Hillary Clinton, especially on the criminal side. Finally, he would maintain the totally failed "Drug War." Over the 45 years since Nixon launched it, it has totally unaffected the use of the targeted drugs while costing an estimated $2 trillion. (See my book forthcoming next spring from TGP's Punto Press entitled Ending the Drug War; Solving the Drug Problem.) Some manager he.

Carly Fiorina would spend much more money on the VA. One wonders how much of the $1.4 billion VA increase requested by President Obama that the Repubs. in Congress are refusing to fund Fiorina would restore and just how she would manage that trick as President. She did allow that she would save money by reforming the U.S. Tax Code from 70,000 pp. down to 3 and firing bunches of IRS employees. Dunno if that would save $1.4 billion. She would vastly expand the military -- being very specific about such things as brigades and ships -- without saying how she would pay for it. Nor did she say in detail what the mission would be, except to "stand up to Putin" (with whom she would refuse to talk). She would do all of this, of course, while massively cutting the debt and deficit. She explained away her failure at HP that got her fired and tanked the stock by saying "some Board members supported me."

JEB told us how his brother kept the country safe. Well, just about everybody on our side of the political divide, that is the divide between those who live in the world of real history and those who live in the Repub. alternate universe, has noted that "W" did not become President on Sept. 12, 2001. He was actually the President throughout the summer of 2001 when those warnings of imminent terrorist attack(s) kept coming. JEB also noted that as Governor he served the people of Florida, not the special interests (except when those special interests just happened to be the real estate developer class in Florida, who built their very own real estate bubble that actually started collapsing in 2007, just at about the time that JEB left office).

Lindsey Graham wants to send 50,000 troops to Syria, but like Fiorina he shared with us neither a mission plan nor a plan for paying for the enterprise. One does have to give the Senator credit however, for coming down hard on Trump for his wordless nod to the man who clearly stated that "Obama [was] a Muslim." "Not factual." Well, of course it is not factual. But of course too the real answer is "so what[?]" to the contrary notwithstanding.

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Pastor, I mean Dr. Ben Carson (whose reading the Constitution apparently never took him to the "no religious test" section of Article VI).

Speaking of Carson, apparently he was a fine and cutting-edge pediatric neurosurgeon, being the first to successfully separate the brains of a pair of Siamese twins, and being chief of the service at Johns Hopkins for quite some time. But his wiggling around when Trump made his off-the-wall statement about vaccination and autism led one to believe that pediatrician or not he has not kept up with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation on the practice. As for his main attraction in Iowa, his Dominionism, it is highly unlikely that any moderator or interviewer will ever ask him, or Huckabee or Santorum or Cruz or Rubio, about it. (Carson did later backtrack on the separation of church and state, coming out as a strong supporter of the Constitutional requirement for it. But one has to wonder a) if he recognizes just how inconsistent he has been on the issue, and b) how that will go down with his Dominionist supporters in Iowa.)

Sen. Marco Rubio has a nice explanation for his frequent absences from the Senate: it's more important to be running for President.

Former New York State Governor George Pataki? One wonders why he is there (except to somehow qualify himself for a cabinet post).

Bobby Jindal is continually talking about criminalizing abortion (although of course he doesn't use that term). Of course, everyone up there wants to do that too (moderator question, please) but Jindal makes a special point of it, as if that were the most important issue on the nation's agenda.

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Mike Huckabee was invisible. Again. His Iowa poll numbers are related to his Dominionism.

Donald Trump (can't resist. Sorry.) Last week was name-calling week (although not at the debate). The Club for Growth was crazy, Karl Rove was useless. One wonders what he would call Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Cameron, President Xi Jinping, President Putin, or President Hollande when they called him to tell him that they were not going to enter into any renegotiation with Iran. I haven't heard Trump take a position on the "Drug War," but of course he is a major promoter of gambling, just as much of a life/family destroyer as the use of any drug, legal or not. And of course he never seems to tell us in detail just what the present "American" (that is U.S.) defects are (except that whatever they are is all the undocumented immigrants' fault), what "America" needs to be made "great" at again, and just how he plans to do that and pay for it. But nobody asks him either.

They all talked about the US as if it were in a Depression. Now, readers of my columns know that I am not a fan of President Obama. But, unemployment continues to drop (and I know the problems with the counting), the GDP remains decent, and many of the major problems domestically arise from Repub. policies: no infra-structure spending, no National Health Insurance, the continuing rich-poor gap widening, the export of capital, drug war/massive incarceration, police violence, and so on and so forth. But as I said above, and it is worth repeating, the Repubs. have a genius at creating/not-solving problems and then blaming them on the President (while they also have a President who has not fought back much [although lately his game has been picking up a bit]).

Of the remaining ones, there was Ron Paul, a real outlier who, if he were not a total contra-libertarian on abortion rights, could be a Democrat. He is totally into the Tenth amendment. Too bad he isn't equally into the Ninth (which Robert Bork, remember him [?] once labeled an "ink blot on the Constitution").

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS, is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine, Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books on health policy, health and wellness, and sports and regular exercise. In (more...)

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