I read rhe Great Bend Tribune article: “Time to tune in, not out” by Veronica Coons (Sept 16th issue). I took her advice and watched the second Republican Presidential debate hosted by CNN. While I am not surprised when someone called it “a bunch of little wolves trying to take down a big wolf”, that sort of summarizes it. The debate which originated from the Reagan Presidential Library in California had a former “Air Force One” beside the contenders as a powerful backdrop. However, I believe that the airplane has cruised at higher altitudes than the low-level bickering among the candidates.
If I were to appraise it, Donald Trump held his own, but barely. He resorted to his old “talking points” as a “businessman.” He noted he has economic experts such as Carl Icahn rooting for him. A moderator asked Mr. Trump if he could “provide us names of military people who support you” and any plans. To that, Trump was largely silent on credentials or plans. By contrast, Carly Fioriana could rattle-off that “I want to build warships.” “I want to build more planes.” I agree with her. However, it was loaded with that pivotal word “I”. When I last looked at the Constitution, the U.S. House of Representatives has the power of the purse-strings, including military expenditures. The President undoubtedly is “Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Services”, but Congress has control of how taxpayer money is spent, even for war material.
Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, and John Kashich all gave good academic thoughts on foreign policy. I am glad to see their support for Israel. However, they, too, treaded into the topic of foreign treaties and such. And, the last time I read the Constitution, it states that the US Senate shall give advice and counsel and ratify all treaties. Lindsay Graham gave his heart-rendering views of his childhood and military background, yet he was noticeably silent mostly.
Dr. Ben Carson is a likable fellow. He articulates well, thinks things through. Yet, his monotone demeanor fails to energize (despite his rise in polling numbers). He quibbled with Trump over vaccines and Autism. Both agreed that vaccines are mostly good.
The really pivotal flip-flop came out of the mouth of Jeb Bush. When asked, he said he didn’t support the naming of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It was Roberts’ deciding vote that legalized Obamacare. Then, moments later, Jeb praised Roberts “as a good lawyer.” Jeb wanted it “both ways”.
I am an Independent voter. I have no axe to grind. I just felt the second Republican Debate had “Fire” without “Illumination.” I really learned nothing new except that Jeb Bush talks both ways. In many ways, the former Air Force One beside them had more prestige than any of the candidates. If anything good has arisen, I feel Trump has pushed issues to the forefront. Floriana has shown foreign policy knowledge. And, Carson, although quiet has appeared dignified. If we could somehow morph them together we might see a viable candidate, along with tidbits of expertise from Rubio and Cruz. But, if the Republicans keep bickering among themselves they are missing the boat. They should quit bickering and demonstrate how they differ (in political matters) with Clinton, Obama, Biden, and Sanders. The Republicans keep losing their “prime time” opportunities.
James A. Marples