Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Some thoughts on Tuesday night’s presidential debate


The hardest part about turning in my column about Tuesday night’s debate for the Waukesha Freeman this week was deciding what to cut. I felt like Jack cutting down the beanstalk trying to get the column down to a manageable but coherent 700 words. So with that in mind, here are a few thoughts that won’t be in Thursday’s Waukesha Freeman column:

♦  Did you watch the debate to see if you recognized anyone in the audience or in the post-debate “spin room?” In the days leading up to the debate I heard from everyone saying they were going to be there, or else they posted their credentials on Facebook. I’m sure the event security team was thrilled with those pictures.

Until this event I didn’t know posting credentials online was even a thing. It’s like the worst kind of selfie. When I go to events in the future, do you want to see a picture of my press credentials or would you rather just read about the experience in the inevitable column that follows? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

I had the best seat for watching the debate. I was home, on the couch, computer in my lap, beer in hand, and listening to the Lovely Doreen from Waukesha yelling, “Shut up Kasich!”

♣  I’m sure it was just an amazing coincidence that President Barack Obama’s Justice Department decided to release the decision on Tuesday not to charge former police officer Christopher Manney. I’m sure the presence of the Republican presidential candidate debate in downtown Milwaukee had nothing to do with the timing of inciting a bunch of extra protesters. Of course, it probably never occurred to the Justice Department that the decision would strain police resources further on a night that had the debate and the Milwaukee Bucks game, all within a few blocks. I’m looking forward to a major media outlet questioning the timing of the released Dontre Hamilton case decision. I just won’t hold my breath waiting. But it’s good to know the spirit of Donald Segretti lives in the Obama White House.

♠  Wisconsin’s protesters, always classy. Here’s a photo captured by State Sen Lena Taylor of the American flag being stepped on and then burned:

Screen capture by Clear Channel

I’m not going to pretend that I know whether Taylor was approving of this protest tactic when she posted the picture. I do know that she didn’t condemn it until she was linked to it. To her credit, she didn’t just yank the photo down to try to make the story go away.

Here’s the interesting question. Why didn’t some news photographer capture this moment? There was one right in the background yet the only reason we know about it is because Taylor posted the picture.

By the way, the Milwaukee Police Department stopped the flag from being burned and then ceremoniously folded the flag until it can be repaired or properly retired.

MPD police flag

They’ll probably be sued for violating the protester’s First Amendment rights. It is not against the law to burn the American flag at a protest. The US Flag code is only advisory and the Supreme Court has ruled (correctly) that burning the flag in protest is protected free speech. That said, the police officers can probably claim that the fire was a safety hazard, that it could have incited a riot, etc.

Here’s a photo captured by the MacIver Institute:


Stay classy, you lefties!

♥  I thought the questions were excellent and I thought the debate was substantive. The Fox Business Channel showed that holding a debate with this many candidates with the personalites involved can be done and done well. That said, can we get rid of the little bell? These are grown ups discussing serious public policy issues. Just get the candidates to agree ahead of time that when the moderators sense that that it’s time to move on that the candidates will move on to the next question. It’s not like any of the candidates paid attention to the bell. They paid attention to the moderators saying that it was time to move on to another question.

In 1987, William F Buckley and Democrat Bob Strauss moderated a debate on PBS of the Republican candidates running for president. I realize that Buckley had the necessary authority to make everyone behave but I remember how they all sat around in chairs, Firing Line style, and talked about the issues. Couldn’t we have a debate like that again? Then again, it did start with a question about presidential portraits.

⊕ Somebody tell Reince Priebus to hold the debate in Waukesha next time.

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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