So, we survived the first half of tonight's debate, and now we journey into the belly of the beast: The A Team. You know, the Republican debaters that "matter".
In a partnership from hell, the Wall Street Journal and FOX Business have partnered up to bring us some Tuesday night entertainment, shrouded in Americana and intense background music fit for a Vin Diesel movie, we're set up for yet another night of Fear and Loathing.
There are three tiers of candidates in this debate. Carson and Trump are tied for the lead, Rubio and Bush are tied for second, and then...well, there's the rest, who split up 20 percent of the vote. This one is sure to thrill, as Fox has pulled out all the stops to support their favorite people.
I'm watching a live stream on foxbusiness.com, and it's spotting in and out, probably for good reason. Wouldn't want to get too sick to my stomach. After a horrific rendition of the National Anthem, the candidates were let loose.
The focus: The Economy and The American Dream
I want you all to pay attention, read the words all the way through and get informed. More people need to see and hear the information being presented. I understand this may be a long card, but please...we have to take responsibility for who becomes president.
Donald Trump: I don't have to take shit from Kasich
On The Economy:
-"We are a country that is being beaten on every front, Economically and militarily. We dont win."
-"Our taxes are too high. I've come up with a tremendous tax plan that many people really like. It will make our country and economy very dynamic. Taxes too high, wages too high? We won't be able to compete."
-"People have to go out and work really hard, and get into that upper stratum. We can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world."
-"We have to stop illegal immigration. it's hurting us from every standpoint. It's causing difficulty in regards to drugs. It's destroying our inner-cities."
-"We are a country of laws. We need borders. We wil have a wall. The wall will be successful. All you have to do is ask Israel, properly done."
-"You're going to have to send people out. We either have laws or we don't. They can come back, legally.'
-"We have no choice if we want to run our country properly."
-"Eisenhower moved 1.5 illegal immigrants beyond the border, and they came back. He moved them way south, and they didn't come back."
"Millions are waiting to come in legally, this is unfair to them!"
"We have to make our military bigger and stronger, I agree with Marco and Ted, we have no choice. We can't have people messing with us."
-"Every tax plan on this stage is better than the mess we have now."
On International Trade:
-"The TPP is a horrible deal, it will lead to trouble."
-"It was a deal designed for China to take advantage of everyone."
-"It's so complex, that nobody read it."
-"This is one of the worst trade deals, I'd rather not have it. The bad countries are taking advantage of what the good countries get. We lose a fortune on trade."
-"We're losing 500,000,000,000 dollars against China."
-"I must say, I love trade. I'm a free trader, but we need smart people making the deals."
-"Everyone takes advantage of the US. China, India...whoever. Currency manipulation is a HUGE problem."
-"We have problems with Russia and North Korea. They actually have nuclear weapons."
-"China is a problem economically."
-"We have more than just Russia, Ukraine and Syria."
-"I got to know Putin very well because we are both on 60 minutes. If he wants to go in and knock out Isis, I'm for this. They blew up a Russian airplane. Everyone should go in."
"We have no choice."
Conclusion: Trump is dangerous, because he talks in debates like a normal person. For the first time in the entire campaign, I saw a bit of Reagan in him. A bit of JFK, you know, Roosevelt...the big orators. He seems approachable, and though his celebrity filled, spotted past deters a lot of sensible voters...he is a viable candidate.
Ben Carson: Sounds like a drunk / high college kid trying to talk politics with his friends.
On Minimum Wage
"Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases."
"Only 19.8 percent of black teenagers have a job, or are looking for one. That's because of the high wages. Lower the wages, that comes down."
On the media: Thanks for not asking me about something I said in the 10th grade.
-"We should vet all candidates, but we shouldn't lie about them."
-"I have a problem with people being lied about. People like Hilary Clinton sit there and lie about terror attacks, and nobody cares."
On The Economy:
-"We have to get rid of loopholes and deductions."
-"If you get rid of them, people had homes before the American dream, and churches too."
-"If you put more money in people's pockets, they'll be more generous."
-"I do care about the poor people. there will be rebates for people at the Poverty line."
-This is a land of dreams."
Conclusion:I'm sorry, Ben but you sound like you're asleep. Please take less horse tranquilizers next time and get some more sleep. I'm not sure if he was drunk, high or both. But I was bored with his policies, his energy and his attitude. I'll be surprised if he stays on top of the polls. Someone as uninterested as Carson doesn't have a place on the stage. Bye.
Carly Fiorina: "Politics is big business."
-"I met a woman who said, "I go to bed every night afraid for my children's future." The reason? Because we've had problems for a long time. They've gotten worse under democrats.
-"This government has gotten bigger and bigger, more corrupt. We have to challenge the status quo of government."
-"We have to do 5 things: 0 base budgeting, so we know where every dollar is spense, Reform the tax code, reform to 3 pages. Top to bottom review of every single regulation on the books. We have to pass the rains act. We have to hold government officials accountable for their performance.
On how to restore prosperity:
-"Obamacare has to be repealed."
-"Companies are bulking up to deal with big government."
-"Nobody can understand Obamacare except lobbyists, accountants and lawyers. We have to give states back their
-"Health insurance is a cozy game between regulators, we have to take it to the free market."
-"Every heath care company should publish its costs, operation numbers and show us what we're buying.
On The American Dream and Obamacare:
"The secret sauce of America is innovation and entrepreneurship. It is crushed by the 73,000 page tax code. We are crushed because the government isn't being held accountable."
-"You can't allow families to go bankrupt or die because people need help."
-"Fewer and fewer doctors are taking Obamacare payments."
-Allow states to manage high risk pools. Let's try something we haven't tried, make insurance companies and healthcare providers fight for business like everyone else."
On The Military:
-"Trump and Paul should know that people should not be talking to others from a position of weakness."
-"I won't speak to Putin now, because we are coming from a weak point. We need to build up a military presence right under his nose, because he needs to understand that we are going to protect our allies and ourselves."
-"Isis is not our fight, we are going to support our allies. We're not helping our allies, we're not supporting them. We need to set them up for success."
"We have to have the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it."
Conclusion: Fiorina stood at that podium like she had something to prove, because, well, she does. She was firm and articulate, very respectable on the stage. She held her own.
Rand Paul: An insolent child who hates everyone but himself.
-"We have to look at the income inequality, and where it's the worst."
-"States and countries run by democrats do much worse."
-"The federal reserve is to blame. They've made this worse."
-"Average citizens have a hard time making money."
-"Money as it's created starts out in big banks in New York, most of it hasn't filtered out, because of the low interest rates."
-"The FED is destroying the value of the currency. Prices rise, value shrinks. Poor people are hurt the worst."
-"We have to look at root causes. If you want less income inequality, move to a state with a Republican governor, or a city with a Republican mayor."
Okay. We know what party you're in Rand.
"I want our government so small you can barely see it. Low taxes, more money in the private sectors."
"My tax plan is the only one that is a part of the balanced budget plan."
"Where would I cut? I've done three budgets that balance."
"the Penny plan" Cut one percent across the board, the budget balances in 5 years."
"No payroll tax, then everyone gets a pay cut."
"14.5 for individuals and businesses. Two deductions: home mortgage and charity."
"Is it conservative to have a Trillion dollar expense for people with kids? That's not conservative!"
Conclusion: Rubio called him an Isolationist, and I think he's right. He thinks he's firm, but he's just a jerk. He was almost as relaxed as Ben Carson, which is sending a message that he doesn't give a shit.
Jeb Bush: Don't call it a comeback.
"I'm going to get my time in. I've got 4 minutes last debate."
-"We can get to 4 percent growth. More and more people are relying on government, this makes the deficit grow."
-"It starts with tax reform. We have to eliminate deductions. Corporate rates of 20 percent, will create an explosion of investment in this country, creating higher wage jobs."
-"We need to start over."
-"The regulation of the internet, clean power act, the waters of the united states act, they all need to be repealed. The economic costs far exceed the social benefit."
-"Small businesses are closing."
-"Clinton says Obama's policies get an A. Really? One in 10 people have given up."
Sending 11.5 million people back would tear communities apart. It is not the country that America was meant to be.
-"We have to win the presidency with practical plans."
-"We have to allow people to learn legal status. They can learn, and earn their right to be here."
On The Economy:
-"We shouldn't get used to the 'new normal' of 2% growth. Growing the economy is the first job."
-"People are really struggling right now. The disposable income of the middle? 2300 dollars. That's nothing."
-"Through the refunds, we have more room for businesses to be started."
-"Clinton's approach? More taxes, more regulation. It will destroy our country."
On International Relations:
-"There's a difference between being the world's policeman and the world's leader. We have to lead, we have to be involved."
-"If you're a Christian, you can't survive in Syria."
On the Economy:
-"How do we grow the economy, the most important question."
-"Tax reform...I've rolled out a bold and simple flat tax. 10 percent for every American."
-"Regulatory reform...pulling back the armies of regulators on small businesses."
-"Sound money...it's worked since JFK, Regan and Coolidge. We've done it before! With leadership we can do it again."
On Immigration: This is absolutely an economic issue.
"The Democrats are laughing. Because if we join them as the party of Amnesty, we'll lose."
"When the mainstream media covers immigration, they don't see it as an economic issue. It's actually a very personal economic issue."
"If people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving down the wages in the press, then we'd see stories about the economic calamity that is befalling our nation."
"I am the son of an immigrant who came LEGALLY to Cuba to seek the American Dream. Every sovereign nation secures its borders. It's not compassionate to abandon that."
"There are more words in the IRS code than there are in the bible." LOL
"Washington is crooked! The rich do great with big government. The Republicans aren't the party of the rich, they're the party of the logical."
"The IRS, made exemptions for lawyers and accountants. There shouldn't be a rule for the big guys and little guys."
"I would let the Bank of America fail."
Conclusion:Flat tax is a joke. I'm sorry, but it is. Not all people in this country can deal with a 10 percent tax. People who make more money should be paying more, it should be proportional to income. Goodbye. "Tedcruiz.org."
His whiney voice makes it nearly impossible for me to concentrate on what he's saying. I'm sorry.
Marco Rubio: "The American Dream is a universal dream"
"Every country is full of rich people. The American Dream is that we have a lot of poor people who can rise and make something of ourselves. If you raise the minimum wage, people will be more expensive than machines."
"Make America the best place in the world to start a business. Get the debt under control. Fully utilize energy resources, repeal and replace Obamacare.
"I don't know why we've stigmatized vocational training, welders make more than philosophers."
"If we do this we will be able to increase wages for Americans and leave everyone better off."
On IT and Traditional Jobs:
-"We are living through a massive transformation because of technology. Candy Crush has 100 million users in a year. It's disruptive."
-"We are in a global competition. We're losing, because we have the highest business tax rate in the world."
-"We have a crazy healthcare law that discourages companies from hiring."
"Our higher education system is EXTREMELY outdated. It doesn't teach 21st Century skills."
"The most important job any of us will have is being a parent."
-"Nobody is born with strong families, they have to be taught."
-"We know how difficult it is for people to afford to raise children."
-"They are raising future taxpayers. Everything costs more."
-"Childcare costs more than college. They don't know how they can't make their payments. They can't save anything."
-"There should be a child tax credits. We must support the family."
On Putin and Isis:
-"Putin is a gangster. He's basically an organized crime boss who runs a country. He's seen that Obama has no strategy."
-"Israel is the only Pro-American ally we have in the middle east."
-"Isis hates us because our girls go to school, women drive in the United States. They hate us because of our values. It's not going away. We have to fight them."
"You should be able to write off family expenses! You're raising the future. You get a credit for machines, we need to encourage people." -I actually agree with this. This is a really really good idea. Sorry bout it.
"We will save the American Dream and expand it more than before. This century can be a new, American century."
Conclusion: Rubio stood out to me for a few reasons: he didn't attack anyone, he stated his points with composure and articulation. He was smart, quick and funny. He looked like a president. He just may steal the nomination.
John Kasich: I'm an innovator.
"My father carried mail, his father was a coal miner. My mother's mother lived with us."
"I came from a town where if the wind blew the wrong way, people would lose their jobs."
"I have a plan that will cut taxes, lower income tax rate for individuals and businesses, and one that will get us to a balanced budget by the end of the second term."
"We hear a lot of promises about tax cuts and schemes."
"Hilary and the democrats promise spending, we have to be responsible for the budget, for saving."
"When you balance the budget and cut taxes, people get work."
"Our most important moral purpose is that we create an environment for job creation, so people can live their dreams."
"Those at the bottom, we have to train them, so they can rise."
-"We didn't control the border effectively, we have to control it."
-"If people think we're going to ship 11 million law abiding citizens out to Mexico, think about their kids, their families."
-"If they've been law abiding, they stay, we protect the wall."
-"Come on folks, we know you can't pick them up and ship them back. It's a silly argument."
"I've been an innovator for my entire career. I have a job to do. I stepped on every toe in Washington."
On Cyber Attacks:
-"I served on the defense committee for 18 years. We have to make sure our allies know that we're behind them. We have to institute no-fly zones so we have control."
-"We have to send a message that we are still in the Middle East, and we still have a presence."
-"China doesn't own the South China Sea. We have to let the Chinese know that we're not putting up with their control."
Kasich sounded logical, composed and passionate. He pretty much tried to dominate everything, and went toe to toe with trump on Immigration.
This debate has truly shocked me. As a political junkie and avid follower of all things politics, I can say that this was the most logical, composed and well though out of the Republican debates. The narrowing of the field puts pressure on every person on the stage.
They didn't attack each other, or the other side much. They focused on the issues. I was surprised, because the last debate took a turn for the worst. Things seemed hopeless.
The first votes are being cast in just three months and with tensions high everywhere, and the next 8 years on the line...we have to stay informed. I'm asking that all of you do your due diligence. Don't take other people's word for who you think should be president. Don't stick to party lines. Think for yourself.
I hope you've enjoyed this card, article, whatever. And I hope you take a few things away.