Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Republicans had serious debate


Waukesha Freeman Page A6 Opinion 11/12/15

Republicans had serious debate

Process separating grown-ups from amateurs

The Republican Party came home to Wisconsin Tuesday night. The Republican candidates running for president participated in the fourth debate. Watching the introduction on the Fox Business News channel, the presidential candidates appearing at the debate were risking getting shot by anarchists like Teddy Roosevelt.

Fortunately, Neil Cavuto was not an anarchist. They were protesting outside, stepping on the American flag and attempting to burn it.

The debate was, well, sane, compared to the other debates. Cavuto and company asked serious questions and allowed the candidates to give serious answers. The candidates, for the most part, obliged, and only the time clock seemed to suffer. At times it dinged like a Saturday morning snooze alarm but the candidates kept going. Right from the start there was separation between the grown-ups at the debate and the amateurs.

Cavuto started the questioning by asking Donald Trump if he supported raising the minimum wage. Trump, who was more subdued than usual, made it sound like only losers get the minimum wage. (Well, he never did.) He started his answer, “I can’t be, Neil. And the reason I can’t be is that we are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily. There is nothing that we do now to win. We don’t win anymore.”

I realize that Trump gets stumped beyond the stump speech. We don’t win anymore is the standard Trump response but there were the echoes of Mitt Romney’s not caring about 47 percent of the voters, and Romney actually made it sound nicer. Especially when Trump added, “I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum.” So you lazy minimum wage earners, get back to work inheriting money from your dad and get an occasional milliondollar loan from him so you, too, can have businesses that go bankrupt.

Dr. Ben Carson said the public needed to be educated about the minimum wage and black youth unemployment, and that he was against raising it. Since this was a reversal of an earlier position obviously someone finally educated Carson on the issue.

Sen. Marco Rubio displayed his political skills right away on the issue by telling the personal story of how his family struggled, his parents worked at modest jobs, and they found the American dream. And then Rubio explained, “If you raise the minimum wage, you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine. And that means all this automation that’s replacing jobs and people right now is only going to be accelerated.”

On immigration, Ohio Gov. John Kasich did make a good point about throwing 12 million people out of the country. Does anyone realistically believe the United States is going to round up 12 million people and drop them off at the border? Well, Trump believes it and told a story about how President Dwight Eisenhower deported 1 million people. Sen. Ted Cruz believes it, too, saying that if Republicans sound like the Democrats on this issue they will lose.

Cruz is overstating the case, of course. Not one candidate on the stage is against securing the border, unlike the Democrats. However, the idea that we are going to create some sort of police state mechanism to round up 12 million people is not only unrealistic, it’s going to offend ordinary Americans. Cruz may claim that he finds being called anti-immigrant offensive, but his rhetoric leads to the charge.

The other exchange came when Rubio and Sen. Rand Paul sparred over defense spending and Rubio’s plan to increase the child tax credit. Paul attempted to redefine conservatism by claiming that spending more money to strengthen the military is not a conservative position. That may go over great with the students at the University of Minnesota that he talked about, but Republican primary voters have seen what has happened during Obama’s retreat from our responsibilities around the world.

With a debate on substance instead of style and personalities, Republicans learned who were the serious candidates. When Republicans start casting their votes, they know now that they have great choices in Carly Fiorina, Cruz, and Rubio.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

Note: We’re going to run a poll of who you should think should be the Republican nominee for president. Pick your favorite candidate. The poll will end Midnight on November 19th. It’ll be as scientific as the last polls in Kentucky before the gubernatorial election there.

Who should be the Republican Party nominee for president?

  • Marco Rubio (36%, 12 Votes)
  • Ted Cruz (24%, 8 Votes)
  • Donald Trump (12%, 4 Votes)
  • Carly Fiorina (12%, 4 Votes)
  • Rand Paul (9%, 3 Votes)
  • John Kasich (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Jeb Bush (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Ben Carson (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Bobby Jindal (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Chris Christie (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 33

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