I never thought I would say this, but Fox News did an excellent job hosting the first official Primetime Republican Primary Debate last night. Moderators Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace, and Brett Baier had the task of wrangling together the top ten national polling candidates and get them to attempt to respect some simple debate guidelines. While the format was easy enough, of course the group of men couldn’t respect anything. The questions posed to the ten candidates were well structured, but the answers varied from somewhat sensible to absolutely out of touch. Here are some brief takeaways and clips from last night.
#GOPDebate, Issue by Issue
Women & Women’s Rights.
- An initial slammer was delivered by Megyn Kelly when she asked Trump to comment on his degrading comments towards women. There’s something to be said when you can visibly hear laughing in the audience at the idea of calling women “fat pigs, slobs, and disgusting animals.”
- In another delightful exchange, Kelly asked Trump when he actually became a Republican, given that he’s sounded off on pro-choice opinions before and has even on some occasions referred to himself as a Democrat in most choices. Trump’s response? Well, he’s just as Reagan as the rest of them.
- When pushed by Kelly (if you couldn’t tell, she was on fire that night), Sen. Marco Rubio (R- FL) said he actually didn’t favor a rape and incest exception to abortion laws, noting he thinks “future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live.”
More applause. It’s a rowdy republican time in Cleveland, Ohio – and an unfortunate time to be a woman listening to these candidates.
- Donald Trump correctly remarked the following during a question on immigration: “So, if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris. You wouldn’t even be talking about it.” He’s right; thanks to his crude remarks about Mexicans during his announcement speech, immigration will now define part of the election.
- Probably the most interesting answer on this topic went to Jeb Bush, who acknowledged the moral complexities of immigration. However, he then slammed into the sanctuary city policies, which are known to shelter and protect immigrant communities from draconian federal immigration laws.
- Ohio Governor John Kasich gave the most startling answer on this topic, almost mirroring that of any traditional Democrat: “Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do, doesn’t mean that I can’t care about them or can’t love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what? That’s what we’re taught when we have strong faith.”
- Cut to Sen. Rand Paul (R- KY), with a classic Libertarian position of less government regulation of individual activities and more freedom for individual liberty.
War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Well, the GOP ten that night would beg to differ.
- You’ll read this quote from Mike Huckabee for a while: “The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is kill people and break things.”
- Ben Carson’s not satisfied with the size of our military. “You know, we turned our back on Israel, our ally. You know, and a situation like that, of course Obama’s not going to be able to do anything. I would shore up our military first, because if you don’t get the military right, nothing else is going to work.”
Let’s be real, we all weren’t expecting this subject to come up whatsoever. Yet Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) was asked the following well-composed question:
Governor Walker, many in the Black Live Matter movement, and beyond, believe that overly-aggressive police officers targeting young African Americans is the civil rights issue of our time. Do you agree? And if so, how do you plan to address it? And if not, why not?
- Walker’s answer wasn’t half bad, either: “It’s about making sure that law enforcement professionals, not only in the way in to their positions but all the way through their time, have the proper training, particularly when it comes to the use of force. And that we protect and stand up and support those men and women who are doing their jobs in law enforcement.”
What’s missing? Was there a winner?
Well, plenty. But here are some key issues that weren’t discussed:
- Student debt
- Climate change
And some other things I’m sure I’ve missed. Did anyone “win” the debate? Well, it’s August. The Republican candidate will not be announced until the Republican National Convention in Cleveland sometime during summer 2016. Between now and then, there is plenty of time for candidates to rise and fall in the polls and within public opinion. No one did enough to answer the questions asked of them; hopefully future debates will continue to push the candidates to make clearer stances. One thing’s for sure – we haven’t seen anything yet. -Celene Barrera
The next debate is scheduled for September 16, 2015 and will be hosted by CNN. Details to follow. For live tweeting during any and all 2016 related events & news, follow Celene @celenebeats.
Image Credit: Northeast Ohio Media Group