Watching the New Hampshire debate on ABC Saturday night and monitoring the online chatter, afterwards, has brought me to several conclusions.
For starters, Martha Raddatz has as much business moderating a GOP debate as a hungry crocodile has guarding a yard full of piglets. The comparison is accurate, in that we can count on both Raddatz and the crocodile to do what is in their nature to do. The main difference would be that in the aftermath, you can still respect the crocodile.
I don’t think anyone was operating under the illusion of the ABC News staff having the ability to maintain any semblance of non-partisan civility. The entire production was amateurish and disorganized, however, and unbecoming of a network that has been a staple in American media for nearly 70 years. If holding things together in an event as important to our nation’s future as a presidential debate is too much for ABC to handle with competence, perhaps a return to radio format is more their speed? I’m sure shows like, “The Bachelor” and “Scandal” could translate to radio and still maintain the same level of scintillating relevance they hold on the small screen.
The second conclusion rests wholly on the shoulders of the intrepid voters, so vocal and passionate about their chosen candidates. I get it. I’ve been there. My candidate is no longer in the race, but I maintain that he was our most qualified and prepared option. I’m still not afraid to make that case. All that being said, when we look at the remaining field, we have to acknowledge the turd in the punchbowl.
In what was the strongest bench of candidates for the GOP in quite a few years, the more qualified candidates, like Rick Perry and Scott Walker took all-too-early exits, while Trump still bobs at the top. This is an absolute travesty and it could not have been possible, were it not for fickle, give-it-to-me-on-a-bumper-sticker voters. Substance and experience are no longer qualifiers. Were it so, Trump would not be a factor now.
I say all that so I can say this: We still have several acceptable options. Cruz proved in Iowa that the gilded toad’s sheen is only skin-deep and he can be toppled. Cruz, while abrasive to some, still has a sound, reliable, conservative record. He has credentials as a gifted Constitutionalist, and while I personally have some misgivings about junior senators stepping into the role of the presidency, when compared to a potential Trump presidency, I think I could bite back any doubts I have and vote for Cruz, in order to keep that from happening.
Marco Rubio had a tough night, Saturday, but his growing momentum and solid showing in Iowa was bound to put a neon bullseye on his back. Politics is a contact sport. Many are put off by Rubio’s involvement in the Gang of 8. I’m not thrilled with it, myself, but again, he’s another, otherwise solid conservative. His positions on right to life issues, national defense, the 2nd Amendment, among quite a few other positives all weigh out in the balance. He’s also quite polished, likeable, possesses a JFK appeal to the masses, and if head-to-head polls hold any validity, is the candidate most likely to defeat Hillary in the general. Trump, on the other hand, loses big to any Democrat running. Not surprising, since he has the highest unfavorable rating of any candidate ever polled!
Jeb Bush wouldn’t be my first, or second, or even third choice, but he’s an experienced governor, and he doesn’t make me want to punch him in his throat, so already he’s ahead of Trump, there.
While I find Ben Carson to be a great man, being a nice guy isn’t a qualification for the presidency. I would gamble with the unqualified nice guy before I’d ever cast a vote for the unqualified, barely coherent, reality TV star, though.
We also must be honest in saying the remaining field are really just holding up votes, at this point. I still view either of them as less of a threat to our nation’s well-being than Donald Trump.
Going into New Hampshire and beyond, the attitudes and actions of the voters will have consequences. We no longer live in a time where the opinions of the populace are mere speculation, right up until election day. Facebook, Twitter, the blogosphere, talk radio (which I’ve already voiced my contempt for, here), and a host of other outlets make it comfortable for the average, armchair pundit to either praise or excoriate the candidate of their choosing. With that in mind, I would implore responsible patriots to temper their commentary with strategic wisdom. If we continue to take to any venue that will let us voice our political musings to trash the legitimate candidates, simply because they’re not “our guy,” we run the risk of closing out all of our better choices and leaving Trump at the top. That is how he wins it all — supporters of the true conservatives trying to destroy the other team, until he’s all that’s left going into the general.
A better strategy would be to try to inform and convert, by talking about why your chosen deserves to be the nominee. Talk up the positives. Be prepared with an answer for any perceived negatives, should the issue come up for debate (and it will). If you want to hear a Republican trashed, leave it to the Democrats, but don’t do their work for them. We’ll hear more than enough in the general, no matter who gets the nomination from our side. This early in the primary process, however, with Trump stunned by Iowa, but still a frontrunner, the last thing the party needs is the petty infighting and constant torpedoing of other candidates (other than Trump, that is). If we end up with Trump as nominee, we’ve lost. Period. There’s no coming back from that, and it will be our own fault.
Noah Webster said, “If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted… If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.”
We’ve had 7 years of a corrupt man in office. We will likely not survive another corrupt administration. There is nothing about Donald Trump that leads me to believe he would be any less corrupt than Obama, Hillary, or Sanders. We, as the voters, had better get our acts together now and coalesce around a common goal of stopping Trump, so that we can live to fight the Democrat disaster waiting for us in the general.