Watching the Republican debate last night made me feel like a westerner spending a lot of time with the Inuit Indians in the frozen Northwest and not understanding the difference between the various colors in the snow that they keep naming, all of which look like the same exact yellow to me.
I sure as heck couldn’t find much of a difference between any of the candidates, except in matters of style and in their relative abilities to speak plain English. For all their bantering and posturing, all of them said practically the same things, the verbal equivalent of all those colors in the snow—it all looks like the same yellow.
None of last night’s debaters like the Iran nuclear deal. None of them like Planned Parenthood and most of them oppose a woman’s right to control her own body. Most of them want to repeal Obamacare. None of them like government regulations or unions. All of them misrepresented the problems with the economy. All of them made at least one outrageous misrepresentation.
Rand Paul stood out as being opposed to warrantless government poking into the lives of American citizens, but he made his point in such an inarticulate and flustered way that I doubt few in the audience got it. Trump also stood out for the outrageous leaps of logic in his speech—which I see as more of a sign of a poor communicator than a bad thinker, although he is that, too. He also stood out for being the only candidate to refuse to support the Republican nominee, no matter who it might be, holding out the possibility that he would run as an independent if denied the Republican nomination.
With the differences between the Republican candidates little more than hair-splitting, we can only measure the winners and losers on matters of style. Here there was a great contrast: the angry Trump, the sarcastic Christie, the slightly rumpled and sober Kasich. The Nixonian-paranoid style of Scott Walker. The professorial detachment of Jeb Bush.
The real question is which of these styles will Americans find the most appealing, and history can help us venture a guess. Since the advent of television campaigning with the 1960 election, Americans have seemed to like handsome and smoothly articulate young men in their 40s or early 50s. John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all qualify on this count, and Bush II represents the countrified version. Whenever someone has won the presidency with only slight experience, it has always been a handsome and charismatic young man.
For that reason, I’m predicting that Marco Rubio will get the biggest bounce in the wake of last night’s event. He is not only the most boyishly handsome of the candidates, but also the best spoken, in terms of talking in simple terms, not skipping steps in constructing his argument, selecting the right word, speaking in complete sentences and avoiding the mistakes of logic that stem from a lack of knowledge of the English language. If there is any candidate who could overcome the enormous gap in accomplishments, experience and capabilities between these midgets and Hillary Clinton, it’s the one who noted that gap last night, Rubio.
But it doesn’t matter whether I’m right or wrong about Rubio getting the biggest bounce from last night’s debate. All these men hold almost identical positions.
American voters should keep that one thought in mind in evaluating all of these candidates: all 10 of the men on stage last night will act in precisely the same way as president.
Consider, for example, the Republican’s bête noire of the moment: Planned Parenthood. All of these candidates are in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. Now they may say they’re doing it because they are against abortion or the use of fetal tissue to help cure diseases. But if we look beyond their words to what would occur if Planned Parenthood went out of business, it’s clear that they are really talking and acting against birth control. Anyone who believes that birth control should be legal and readily accessible to all should beware any of these Republican candidates.