To my surprise and satisfaction, last night's Republican Presidential candidates debate on the Fox Business Channel seemed to be by far the most professional of all the party's contests. The moderators all seemed to be locked into relevant issues without being insulting or condescending to any of the candidates. To the discerning eye, many relevant differences between candidates began to immediately materialize. Ironically, most of the candidates showed significant intelligence, given the latitude to actually express themselves. That is not to say that they all necessarily exhibited an understanding of the issues which they discussed. None of the candidates had an overall perspective regarding the concepts of capitalism, banking, antitrust concerns or even the meaning of the term "conservative."
Rand Paul's arguments with Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, as logical as they were, would have fared better if he had explained that synonyms for the term "conservative" don't have to include "war monger" or "spendthrift." Even I felt a little energized listening to young Marco's patriotic diatribe until I realized that perhaps pouring many more thousands of our troops into Europe and enticing a madman like Putin to build up even stronger anti NATO nuclear forces in response to more weapons turned on his country might not be the best or most economic strategy available. In fact, perhaps threatening to remove thousands of our troops from Europe might just persuade some of the self centered, free-loading governments to take their own actions against Putin, ie. economic sanctions that might actually phase him and his brainwashed citizens. Of course that would involve putting pressure on the banks that every candidate on the stage refused to appropriately regulate. Sadly, trusting the banks at all is not "conservative," it's what might be referred to by a wise man like Mitt Romney as "completely stupid!"
Fortunately, Jeb Bush and John Kasich, reluctant followers of Jesus, tried to deal with the dishonesty of the big banks and their total disregard for their customers' welfare as best they could without mentioning the word "regulation." Bush's statements were terse but incomplete and Kasich could not quite express the accurate feelings that he had with regard to more appropriate negotiations with banking institutions during the disappointing but necessary bailout. He obviously did not have an explanation prepared, but given his history, I believe that he would have been able to handle it a whole lot better than the vacuous Bush administration or the then amateur Obama club. I guarantee that he would have employed plenty of caveats before the obscene bastards would have seen a penny of the money. Furthermore, I'm not sure the equally guilty European banks would have received all those trillions of dollars in free money under the table without appropriate caveats, all of which leads to a question that no one in either party or in the media dares to address: Exactly which banks directly and indirectly are the actual unregulated financiers of ISIS?
Meanwhile, Carly Fiorina, as impressive and articulate as she appeared, even enduring the boorish insults of The Donald, had me a little inspired for a second or two as she suggested arming various entities in the Middle East so that they might defend their own territories from the invasion of ISIL. However, I soon realized that except for the Kurds and perhaps Jordan's King Abdullah just about all the people that she had mentioned were autocratic dictators. As impressive as she seems to be, Carly, like young Marco, is not ready for prime time yet. They first need to "pay their dues," "do their homework." It is part of the true "conservative way," isn't it? Otherwise, we're looking at a repeat of Mr. Obama- apparently elected "before his time."
I don't mean to be a "party pooper," but I was struck repeatedly by candidates confusing "federalism" with "socialism." We do have social institutions. Last I heard, we have state and federal agencies that are supposed to work for the people and accomplish things that individuals cannot do for themselves. Maybe oversight (not ownership) by private entities instead of bribed congresspersons might clean up some of the animosity toward these agencies. There is a lesson to be learned by The Donald and some of his more bigoted colleagues. As free peoples become more and more democratic (not referring to the equally corrupt sibling of the Republican Party), they begin to look at their state and federal governments as agents, employed by the vast majority to satisfy the actual needs they require, but cannot satisfy as individuals. Free countries naturally develop more socialized programs, eg. Medicare, Social Security, the VA... This does not make them socialist countries or "welfare states." In fact, the advantage that we actually have with regard to immigration over actual socialist countries is that our immigrants usually do not come here looking for a "free ride." Mexicans, Eastern Europeans, Arabs, Asians, Indians, Pakistanis, and now Syrians desperately want to work. In fact most of our immigrants soon blend in with the existing population because they share the same family, work, and religious values that our existing citizens do. They keep our workforce younger and more productive than in other countries.
As for The Donald, he understands that it is Mexico's responsibility to manage its own border, but as so often is the case, homework is not his strong suit. Intimidating the Mexicans into building and forcing them to defend a "wall' on the border is an inane and useless proposition that may cost us many billions of dollars and the lives of many illegal Mexicans, not to mention the careers of numerous innocent border guards. Maybe he ought to question the members of the Bush administration who told companies to violate the terms of the NAFTA agreement which led the Mexican government to encourage illegal immigration rather than curbing it. Yes, we have a trade deficit with a country that produces exemplary goods, but can't afford to buy our products. Ask him if he would rather buy from China or Mexico? A careful and legal investment in the Mexican economy (eg. roads, infrastructure monitored by a joint board) might encourage the Mexican government to help build a real border and enforce it for a fraction of the cost. Actually, I think he is well aware of this, but is afraid it will tarnish his macho image to admit it.
Last but not least, the mild mannered, but tongue tied Ben Carson proved that except for brain surgery and his faith, he knows little else about the world. I agree that attacks on his life of thirty, forty or fifty years ago are a little much and that he would give anything to be asked if he is really a citizen or a Muslim or how much money he donated to his church, or any of the other silly questions asked of then Senator Obama. Instead, all that he had in answer to questions about real issues was the look of the famous deer in the headlights and unintelligible gibberish.
It's a long way to November of 2016. For now, it would be nice to do a legitimate study on the effect of raising the minimum wage in experimental increments, much like Jesus follower Rick Santorum's conscience suggested before he realized what he was saying. I like it when these candidates accidentally say what they are actually thinking, don't you?