Critics cry foul after GOP debate

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

All the money in the world may not save Jeb Bush’s campaign.

In proposing the U.S. adopt a flat tax coupled with a levy similar to a European-style value added tax, Texas Sen. Though the emerging pundit consensus seems to be that Marco Rubio won the night, Cruz nabbed what was arguably the biggest stand-out moment of the evening when he squared off with moderator Carlos Quintanilla and questioned the entire premise of the evening’s event.WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush’s campaign sees Marco Rubio as its chief rival in the presidential primary race and is preparing for hits on his ethics and finances, a leaked playbook reveals.For an event that promised to focus primarily on substantive economic topics, it quickly spiraled into a bloody brawl between the inquisitive moderators and the defensive candidates. (RELATED: Republican Presidential Candidates Turn On CNBC Moderators During Debate) Donald Trump was asked why he’s running a “comic book” campaign.The morning after Wednesday night’s Republican debate, Jeb Bush flew to Portsmouth, N.H., where he stood on the waterfront outside a picturesque chowder shop on which his staff had tacked a large sign proclaiming, “Jeb can fix it.” The one-time front-runner in the Republican race, Bush has suffered a steady eclipse for months, first at the hands of Donald Trump and more recently from his fellow Floridian and one-time protege, Sen.

Analysts across the political spectrum may be at odds over who won the third Republican presidential debate, but they seem to agree on one thing: the CNBC moderators had a very bad night. It mentions controversies in the public record, including Rubio’s use of a state party credit card for personal expenses while in the Florida Legislature.

The negative reaction to the debate questions and other factors has become a story unto itself, almost overshadowing the actual policy debates that broke out in between the candidate-moderator rancor Wednesday night. It also mentions Rubio’s “closeness with Norman Braman, who doubles as personal benefactor,” as an issue that “raises ethical questions.” The billionaire auto dealer has bankrolled Rubio’s campaign and put Rubio on the payroll. The enormous fundraising success that Bush showed in the first half of the year has long since subsided, with new donors slow to join a campaign that has languished.

The Republican candidates and observers complained the questions were demeaning, silly, and designed to provoke confrontation rather than genuine policy discussion. Ryan is now second only to Vice President Joe Biden in the line of succession to the presidency, and Rubio and Cruz remain very much in the hunt for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. All three are in their mid-40s — a generational handoff that is a striking contrast to Democrats, with their veteran band of congressional leaders and 2016 front-runners.

The basic gist, though, is this: A kritik is an a priori argument, which means it has to be addressed before either side of the debate can move on to talk about anything else. And the establishment figures who flocked to back him in the spring have grown jittery as winter nears. “There are two types of politicians,” Bush said during a brief appearance Thursday outside Geno’s Chowder and Sandwich Shop. “There are the talkers, and there are the doers. Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, told Fox News Thursday morning that “it was very frustrating to be on stage.” He faulted the moderators for not sticking to the issues and promises to divvy time equally. “They lost control of the debate,” he said. The term “kritik” didn’t come into the common debate lexicon until the 90’s—long after Cruz’s days as a parliamentary debate champion were over. At varying times, the audience booed the moderators, giving the candidates space to draw together for the attack against what they said was their common enemy: the liberal media.

Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have all proposed cuts and consolidation of existing tax rates, maintaining a tax code that collects a larger share of income from taxpayers as it rises. And as we’ve seen on Capitol Hill this week, the chaotic aspects of a transition can sometimes resolve in ways that produce the best outcome for Republicans and the riskiest for Democrats.

Even the Republican National Committee issued a statement shortly after the debate expressing its outrage at how poorly the debate turned out. (RELATED: Cruz Unloads On CNBC For Media Bias [VIDEO]) Pretty much the only candidate who didn’t tangle with the insanely biased hosts was John Kasich. But I’m a doer.” During the debate, Bush went after Rubio, challenging him on his poor attendance record this year in the Senate and calling on him to resign his seat. Ted Cruz was asked whether his opposition to raising the debt ceiling indicates he may not be the “the kind of problem-solver American voters want.” Cruz unloaded on the moderators, blasting them for asking questions like, “Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain? The campaign had tipped at least some people off that an attack was coming, making it all the more striking that Bush seemed unprepared for Rubio to have a comeback. “I don’t remember you ever complaining about John McCain’s vote record,” Rubio said, noting that McCain missed even more votes when he ran for president in 2008. “The only reason why you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.” “I think the governor himself will tell you, for whatever reason, his debate performances have not been consistent with his performances throughout the campaign,” said Al Cardenas, a longtime Bush friend and supporter. “At the end of the day, it’s the governor. Harwood even asked him to repeat his insults against Trump and Carson so the whole audience could hear how awesome they were. (RELATED: Trump: Kasich Got Fracking Lucky [VIDEO]) Kaisch, in a sign of gratitude, said on Thursday that he was “very appreciative” of how the debate went and added the moderators did “a good job.” He is quite possibly the only Republican in America to hold this opinion. (RELATED: Kasich On CNBC Moderators: ‘They Did A Good Job’) The nice treatment of the Ohio governor — in contrast to the firing squad-like handling of everyone else — is probably the best indication of the intentions behind the moderators’s heavy-handed approach.

Ted Cruz has been sucking up to Donald Trump to pick up Trump supporters if the lead horse drops out and to be picked as a running mate should Trump become the nominee. Kasich touted his moderate credentials and steadfast resistance to the “fantasyland” proposals of his rivals — which essentially echoed the failed campaign strategy of Jon Huntsman’s 2012 bid for the presidency. Many tax experts like the value-added tax since it is simpler and less likely to include loopholes for special interest groups. “Nearly every economist would tell you it’s a more efficient tax,” said Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the nonpartisan Brookings Institute and Urban Institute.

Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?” After the cheers for Cruz died down he suggested the moderators were Democrats. “Nobody watching at home believes that any of the moderators has any intention of voting in a Republican primary,” he charged. With Trump’s ability in economics and Cruz’s lead as a top Tea Party reformer, the Republican Party would have a very formidable team to challenge Hillary Clinton.

Cruz used the debate to send out a fundraising letter to supporters afterward, “declaring war on the liberal media,” and went on to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars overnight. No hedge fund manager pays less than his secretary.” An analysis by the Tax Foundation, a group that supports lower tax rates, found that about half the benefits from a switch to Cruz’s plan would go to the top 10 percent of all income earners.

The concept puts him out of step with many GOP primary voters who have gravitated to candidates who talk of tearing up the political system, not better managing it. Cruz is far from the first conservative to rail against liberal media bias, but he did it about as effectively as it can be done in 30 seconds,” said the Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby. “The clip of that moment will go viral.” Even some in the entertainment world, like comedian Patton Oswalt, began agreeing with Cruz and others on stage by the end, in spite of their fundamental dislike for the GOP candidates. Qualities that Bush’s campaign once viewed as powerful assets — years of experience as governor of the nation’s fourth-largest state and deep family ties to the party establishment — have done little good in an environment in which Republican primary voters say, by better than 2 to 1, that they value “new ideas and a different approach” over “experience and a proven record.” “Obviously, he’s struggling,” said former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who briefly sought the GOP nomination four years ago before dropping out of the race. “He’s going to have to find another gear and deliver in some way that he hasn’t been able to.” Thursday, the campaign unveiled an endorsement from another additional establishment Republican — former Sen.

Currently, the field is dominated by two outsiders who preach a radical, anti-establishment message that dispenses all pretenses of political correctness. Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler argued the tax is not really European-style since it replaces existing taxes rather than adding onto them. “The result should be the opposite of Euro-stagnation: A re-ignition of the U.S. economy.” Value-added taxes are also criticized by some for placing a heavier burden on low-income taypayers. According to Wall Street Journal analysis, that particular moment generated the most conversation on social media—more even than Jeb Bush’s awkward “warm kiss” comment and Donald Trump’s boast about getting the network to cut down the debate time.

To encourage savings, Cruz would also allow taypayers to save $25,000 a year in an IRA-style account in which no tax would be paid until the money is spent. Sembler said he had been reassuring donors that Bush will be the last candidate standing as the next phase of the campaign wears down his competitors.

No other candidate got that many mentions in such a short period of time. “One of the things Cruz seems to have learned from his debating experience is that it’s powerful to identify shared assumptions with the audience and then use those shared assumptions to your advantage,” said Kate Shuster, co-director of the Middle School Public Debate Program who once coached a team to the championship of the National Parliamentary Debate Association. Inculcated with a mythology of heroic journalists taking out dangerous demagogues, they believe all that’s needed to bring down a Trump is one scrappy reporter hitting him with the truth.

All the arrogance, rudeness and invective is justified by the mental image that there are millions of people cheering on the reporter or comedian who’s tearing down some far-right lunatic. Zach Zachariah, a Fort Lauderdale Fla., cardiologist who has held two Bush fundraisers at his home and has been a major fundraiser for the family for three decades, insisted there was no reason to worry. Or maybe he recognizes that both he and his party would be blamed for dysfunction and the GOP nominee — possibly him — punished at the polls next year. Republicans were able to illustrate the bias of the mainstream media directly from the podium, and generate sympathy from an audience that could clearly see the venom-laden questions. Zachariah said he would like to see Bush’s poll numbers go up but will wait until after New Hampshire and South Carolina, where he still expects Bush to do well, before assessing the campaign. “I wouldn’t say it was a stellar [debate] performance by any means, but I do think we’re still a long ways away from when the first caucus and primary take place,” added Susan McCaw, a major Bush donor who served as ambassador to Austria under George W.

Bush. “I just think he needs to get his message across more succinctly that he really is the candidate that, one, can beat Hillary and, two, has the track record and experience to lead our nation longer term.” “Every candidate has to walk lonely miles through the valley of the shadow of political death,” said Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist who worked as a senior advisor to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. “Bush is walking those miles now.” But here’s the worst part, from the Democratic standpoint: In a New Yorker article this month, Cruz sounded absolutely reasonable on foreign policy. Cruz said his reference point was Ronald Reagan and his peace-through-strength approach. “Speaking for freedom is not the same thing as using U.S. military force,” he told the magazine. That’s particularly true for Bush, whose candidacy many commentators declared all but dead after a decidedly subpar performance in the Colorado debate.

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