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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Republican and Democratc Debates






It certainly is more fun watching the Republican than the Democratic debates. Lots of fireworks. Last night's CBS South Carolina debate was like WWE.

The president properly has very little real power. All he can really do is persuade. This, in any case, is the essential talent for any effective leader. The most important qualification for the job, therefore, is to be a good communicator. Without this, one may get the office, but one changes nothing. You just follow polls; anyone could do the same. Being a great communicator was the secret of a Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, FDR, Thatcher.

The last few outings, the Republicans have been I'll - served in this regard. It is not so much that Romney spoke conservatism only as a second language, as that he was a manager, not a communicator. His instinct was to seek board consensus and go from there. This is why I preferred Gingrich. He could make the case for change.

This time out, Rubio seems the most talented communicator. When he made the case not long ago for religion in public life, I wanted to stand up and cheer. When, last night, he defended George Bush and the invasion of Iraq, he was the only candidate who said what needed to be said. Whether or not Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and whether or not Bush knew, was not terribly relevant. This was not the legal basis for the war. It was that Saddam was violating the ceasefire.

Rubio takes a lot of heat for co-sponsoring the "gang of eight" immigration bill. Bush and Kasich also get flak for being too soft on illegal immigration. By contrast, Trump rocketed to the top of the polls on this issue, by calling Mexican migrants rapists and murderers and promising to build a border wall.

Truth is, I agree with Rubio, Bush, and Kasich. First, as the establishment knows, the Republican party does not have a bright future if it alienates the Hispanic demographic. Second, while it might appeal to the working class at first glance that competing with cheaper Mexican labour is undesirable, keeping illegal migrants out cannot solve the problem. It is easy enough just to move your plant to Mexico. In fact, in order to compete and keep revenues, incomes, and the economy up the best thing to do is probably to throw the doors wide open. Third, basic principle: the average person produces a lot more wealth than they consume: people are the most valuable resource.

Rubio did very well this time, and probably erased the memory of his disastrous performance last debate. His problem is that Bush and Kasich also had very good night's. I like both Bush and Kasich; both are very strong candidates. But if the non-Trump, non-Trump vote does not consolidate behind one option soon, the race will be bet between these two.

I really do not like Trump. In essence, his case and his appeal is proto-Fascist. He reminds me distinctly of Benito Mussolini. His selling proposition is simply that he is much smarter than anyone who is doing politics now. This is obviously unlikely. It is also the good old Fascist leadership principle: the leader is a great genius, and everything is left to him.

The hair is different, but the chin is the same/

Neither do I like Cruz. He has now been accused by Carson, Trump, and Rubio of multiple dirty tricks in the three contests we have seen so far. Where there is smoke, there is probably fire, and it troubles me that his congressional colleagues to a man and woman seem not to like him. The most fundamental requirement in a leader, more basic than being a good communicator, more basic even than mere competence, is honesty. The problems of the Third World are easily explained: a corrupt ruling class.

Much less interesting to watch was the recent Wisconsin Democratic debate. Clinton was distinctly more subdued and less aggressive this time than last. My guess is that her own internal polling confirms our impression that this tone hurts her and helps Sanders. As a results no fireworks; and no gaffes. Unfortunately, when she is not on the attack, Clinton is terribly boring to listen to. The problem is that she is so transparently calculated in everything that you already know what she is going to say before she says it. Hillary reminds me uncannily of Richard Nixon. Like Nixon, she seems prepared to say anything, if it is to her advantage, and you get the feeling she thinks she is clever to do it. Not a moral being.

Sanders' ideas may be crazy, but his sincerity contrasts well with this. I don't care about his politics so much as I like him more personally. I think for most people that's more important. For me, it is more important.

A note: the problem came up in the Democratic debate that blacks are disproportionately represented in the prison population. This is in itself apparently proof of discrimination. "Clearly," says Sanders, "we are dealing with institutional racism." Not mentioned is the plain fact that males are even more disproportionately represented. If the one fact proves discrimination, so does the other.

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