Lessons of the Fifth GOP Debate + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Wed 12/16/2015 by


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“Speak seldom, but to important subjects, except such as particularly relate to your constituents, and, in the former case, make yourself perfectly master of the subject.” —George Washington, 1787


Lessons of the Fifth GOP Debate

By Mark Alexander

Nine Republican candidates took the stage last night in the fifth debate of this primary cycle. The theme was national security, and there’s no question the next president will have an enormous task endeavoring to recover from Barack Obama’s years of domestic and foreign policy failures. But perhaps the overarching takeaway is that everyone on the stage brings their constituents to the election that matters most — defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Here is my summary: The most prepared were Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. The least prepared were Ben Carson and Donald Trump. Carson in particular is a smart, moral, nice guy who is painfully unprepared to be commander in chief.

Some other observations: Rand Paul too often sounded petulant, but he had the best cheerleading section. Trump and Jeb Bush hate each other — perhaps because they are most alike as silver-spoon politicos. Trump again demonstrated he is the master of sound bites but thin on any real understanding of issues. Bush, on the other hand, is knowledgeable, but comes across as whiny and mad at Trump for taking his candy. Chris Christie would have been far more formidable in 2012. John Kasich wins the “time bell violator” award.

Last but certainly not least, the most notable political phenomenon with the greatest potential consequences in 2016 and beyond would be the rocketing rise of Trump. His celebrity name recognition, contentious remarks and populist rhetoric have kept the blustering billionaire at the top of pop-presidential polls for months.

Trump’s support is a reflection of how dissatisfied millions of disenfranchised grassroots conservatives are with Republican “leadership.” The status quo represented by former House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has, in effect, underwritten Trump’s rising stardom. Despite greatly increasing the numbers of conservatives in the House and Senate in the historic “Republican Wave” elections nationwide in both 2010 and 2014, the much-loathed “establishment types” held the House reins until Paul Ryan replaced Boehner, and they still control the Senate. GOP leaders continue to marginalize or ignore the concerns of the conservative/Republican base — grassroots conservatives — and we are rightly outraged.

2016 will either provide an opportunity for the renewal of American exceptionalism in 2017 — the restoration of principles that have made our nation great — or it will end with the election of Hillary Clinton and a more precipitous national and international degradation.

Now, without further ado, here are some important remarks and exchanges:

On immigration:

RUBIO: “The American people don’t trust the federal government to enforce our immigration laws, and we will not be able to do anything on immigration until we first prove to the American people that illegal immigration is under control. … It takes at least 20,000 more additional border agents. It takes completing those 700 miles of fencing. It takes a mandatory e-verify system and a mandatory entry/exit tracking system to prevent overstays. After we have done that, the second thing we have to do is reform and modernize the legal immigration system. And after we have done those two things, I think the American people are going to be reasonable with what do you do with someone who has been in this country for 10 or 12 years who hasn’t otherwise violated our laws — because if they’re a criminal they can’t stay.”

CRUZ: “[W]e will secure the border. We will triple the border patrol. We will build a wall that works and I’ll get Donald Trump to pay for it. … [Rubio] was fighting to grant amnesty and not secure the border. I was fighting to secure the border. … I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization.”

On foreign policy regarding Middle East dictators:

TRUMP: “In my opinion, we’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems … we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.”

FIORINA: “That is exactly what President Obama said. I’m amazed to hear that from a Republican presidential candidate.”

On the Islamic State, terrorism and the refugee problem:

BUSH: “Well, first of all, we need to destroy ISIS in the caliphate. That should be our objective. The refugee issue will be solved if we destroy ISIS there.”

KASICH: “I said last February that we needed to have … troops on the ground in a coalition similar to what we had in the first Gulf War. … First and foremost, we need to go and destroy ISIS. And we need to do this with our Arab friends and our friends in Europe. And when I see they have a climate conference over in Paris, they should have been talking about destroying ISIS because they are involved in virtually every country across this world.”

TRUMP: “A month ago [in Paris] things changed. Radical Islamic terrorism came into effect even more so than it has been in the past. People like what I say. People respect what I say. And we’ve opened up a very big discussion that needed to be opened up.”

CHRISTIE: “If you listen to Hillary Clinton the other day, what she said to the American people was, as regards to ISIS, my strategy would be just about the same as the president’s. … We have people across this country who are scared to death. Because I could tell you this, as a former federal prosecutor, if a center for the developmentally disabled in San Bernardino, California, is now a target for terrorists, that means everywhere in America is a target for these terrorists.”

TRUMP: “ISIS is recruiting through the Internet. ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet, and it was our idea. What I wanted to do is I wanted to get our brilliant people from Silicon Valley and other places and figure out a way that ISIS cannot do what they’re doing. … I would certainly be open to closing areas [of the Internet] where we are at war with somebody. I sure as hell don’t want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet.”

CARSON: “The war that we are fighting now against radical Islamist jihadists is one that we must win. Our very existence is dependent upon that.”

On the Obama/Clinton record:

FIORINA: “Hillary Clinton has gotten every foreign policy challenge wrong. Hitting the reset button with Vladimir Putin — recall that she called Bashar Al-Assad a positive reformer and then she opened an embassy and then later she said, over, and over, and over again, ‘Bashar Al-Assad must go,’ although she wasn’t prepared to do anything about it. Recall that Hillary Clinton was all for toppling [Moammar] Gadhafi, then didn’t listen to her own people on the ground. And then of course, when she lied about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, she invited more terrorist attacks.”

On the USA Freedom Act and NSA surveillance:

CRUZ: “I’m very proud to have joined with conservatives in both the Senate and the House to reform how we target bad guys. It gave us greater tools and we are seeing those tools work right now in San Bernardino. In particular, what it did is the prior program only covered a relatively narrow slice of phone calls.”

RUBIO: “We are now at a time when we need more tools, not less tools. And that tool we lost, the metadata program, was a valuable tool that we no longer have at our disposal.”

PAUL: “We are not any safer through the collection of all Americans’ records. In fact, I think we’re less safe. We get so distracted by all the information, we’re not spending enough time getting specific information on terrorists.”

RUBIO: “If a regular law enforcement agency wants your phone records, all they have to do is issue a subpoena. But now the intelligence agency is not able to quickly gather records and look at them to see who these terrorists are calling.”

On allegiance to the GOP:

Co-moderator Hugh Hewitt: “Are you [Trump] ready to assure Republicans tonight that you will run as a Republican and abide by the decision of the Republicans?”

TRUMP: “I really am. I’ll be honest, I really am. … I am totally committed to the Republican Party. I feel very honored to be the front runner.”


Policy Compromise Marks This House Spending Bill

Whatever happens on Capitol Hill in the next few days, let’s remember that the outgoing speaker handed Speaker Paul Ryan the beginnings of this budget. It takes a while to turn a monolithic institution like Washington. Early Wednesday morning, the full-text version of the $1.1 trillion, 2,009-page spending bill was posted online. After negotiation, Republican and Democrat leadership left happy with the compromises (which is itself worrisome). If all goes well, then Ryan told GOP lawmakers he wanted to return to regular order in the New Year.

While spending levels are pretty much set, the sticking points were the policy amendments tacked onto this must-pass piece of legislation, the “riders,” as they are called in Washington. Among potential GOP accomplishments, the bill would delay implementation of ObamaCare provisions like the “Cadillac tax” on high-end health care plans and a tax on medical devices. The legislation would also lift the 40-year-old ban on oil exports — a measure for which the now-struggling oil industry lobbied for two years. As for Democrats, they were able to extend tax credits for wind and solar energy while blocking GOP efforts to end of the visa-waiver program and Barack Obama’s immigration policies. GOP leadership doesn’t know how the rest of the party will vote on the spending bill Friday. In the meantime, members of the House Freedom Caucus are approaching the process critically, worried that GOP compromise will not result in Democrat compromise. This still is the first demonstration of Ryan’s leadership.

Principal to Students: No Christmas for You

The Grinch tried to steal holiday cheer at one Brooklyn school, where Eujin Jaela Kim, the principal at Public School (PS) 169, wanted to make sure political correctness takes precedence over religious semblance. The New York Post reports, “Santa Claus is banned. The Pledge of Allegiance is no longer recited. ‘Harvest festival’ has replaced Thanksgiving, and ‘winter celebrations’ substitute for Christmas parties.” Those were the changes made after “[a] memo last month from assistant principal Jose Chaparro suggested a ‘harvest festival instead of Thanksgiving or a winter celebration instead of a Christmas party.’ He urged staff to ‘be sensitive of the diversity of our families. Not all children celebrate the same holidays.’” According to PTA president Mimi Ferrer, “We definitely can’t say Christmas, nothing with Christmas on it, nothing with Santa. No angels. We can’t even have a star because it can represent a religious system, like the Star of David.” The Brooklyn Department of Education bans things that “depict images of deities, religious figures or religious texts.” And according to Johanna Bjorken, the business manager for PS 169, “Santa Claus is considered an ‘other religious figure.’” However, “[A] DOE spokesman told The Post that Santa is allowed as a secular figure,” and the school has traditionally included him. So the choice was made solely by Kim, who, as a member of the grievance industry, is being insensitive to most of her 1,600 students in the name of “inclusivity.” Here’s a question: If you can’t follow the traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas, why celebrate them at all?

Fortunately, political correctness got run over by a reindeer. Common sense prevailed, and the school has tossed the principal’s policy. “I apologize for any confusion this may have caused,” Kim said. Confusion, indeed.

Boston Tea Party

On Dec. 16, 1773, “radicals” from Boston, members of a secret organization of American Patriots called the Sons of Liberty, boarded three East India Company ships and threw 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor.

This iconic event, in protest of oppressive British taxation and tyrannical rule, became known as the Boston Tea Party.

Resistance to the Crown had been mounting over enforcement of the 1764 Sugar Act, 1765 Stamp Act and 1767 Townshend Act, which led to the Boston Massacre and gave rise to the slogan, “No taxation without representation.”

The 1773 Tea Act and resulting Tea Party protest galvanized the Colonial movement opposing British parliamentary acts, which violated the natural, charter and constitutional rights of the colonists.

Three years later, this rebellion had grown to such extent that our Founders were willing to give up their fortunes and lives, attaching their signatures to a document that declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

For more on our nation’s founding and the role the Tea Party played, see Mark Alexander’s column, “Essential Liberty.”



For more, visit Right Opinion.


For more, visit Patriot Headline Report


Rich Lowry: “The Paris climate talks concluded in a rousing round of self-congratulation over an agreement that, we are told, is the first step toward keeping Earth habitable. … The fact is that Paris is very meta. The agreement is about the agreement, never mind what’s in it or what its true legal force is — namely, nil. Paris is a legally binding agreement not to have legally binding limits on emissions. It might be the most worthless piece of paper since the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawed war — about a decade prior to the outbreak of World War II. … President Barack Obama praised 180 countries for coming to Paris ‘with serious climate targets in hand.’ This was ridiculous climate grade inflation. As Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute points out, Pakistan produced a one-page document promising to ‘reduce its emissions after reaching peak levels to the extent possible.’ For this we needed a headline-grabbing global confab? … If this is the best hope of the climate alarmists, their global campaign will be a welcome fizzle. All things considered, it probably is best that they occupy themselves with grand meetings and with the exertions attendant to believing their own PR. Otherwise they could do real damage.”


Insight: “Nothing whatever but the constitutional law, the political structure, of these United States protects any American from arbitrary seizure of his property and his person, from the Gestapo and the Storm Troops, from the concentration camp, the torture chamber, the revolver at the back of his neck in a cellar.” —Rose Lane (1886-1968)

Observations: “One glaring conclusion of the [debate last] night is that the GOP nominee, whoever he or she is, has a golden opportunity and the country desperately needs a Republican president. … The country needs to change direction from the Obama administration’s path, and no Democrat can be counted on to do that.” —Jim Geraghty

For the record: “[CNN moderator] Wolf [Blitzer] posed a question about Syrian refugees, and specifically about ‘orphans under the age of five’ or something like that. It’s fine, but it’s worth noting that just a few weeks ago, Democrats and their allies in the media were talking about why the GOP was so scared of women and children who were Syrian refugees. They immediately dropped the ‘women’ portion of that question in the aftermath of a female immigrant slaughtering 14 Americans in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, but apparently they’re keeping the ‘you’re scared of children’ suggestion.” —Mollie Hemingway

You are a flip-flop: “The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change, as it is known, in Syria. What we have said is that we don’t believe that Assad himself has the ability to be able to lead the future Syria” —John Kerry

Hey, the system’s working, ya know: “We know who’s coming into our country for the most part.” —John Kerry (Can you image a parent saying, “We know who’s babysitting our kids for the most part”?)

The BIG Lie: “I do see in [Raul Castro] a big streak of pragmatism. In that sense, I don’t think he is an ideologue.” —Barack Obama

“The vast majority of Americans support universal background checks, for example, a simple step we could start implementing tomorrow if Republicans would drop their worship of the NRA and their agenda and pick up the mantle of doing the right thing.” —DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Late-night humor: “The international climate talks in Paris wrapped up this weekend with 195 countries reaching a landmark agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And then they all drove to the airport in 195 cars.” —Seth Meyers

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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