Saturday, March 19, 2016

Disappointing Quotes from the GOP Debate in Miami

On March 10th, CNN hosted a debate between the remaining Republican presidential candidates in Miami, Florida. Questioning the candidates were CNN's Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, the Washington Times' Stephen Dinan, and Salem Radio's Hugh Hewitt. CNN posted a transcript of the debate, which made for depressing reading about scapegoating entire groups, climate change, rally violence.

Jake Tapper pressed Donald Trump on his statements about Muslims. Trump replied with word salad about the "tremendous hatred" that Islamic extremist feel toward the U.S.
TAPPER: Mr. Trump, let me start with you. Last night, you told CNN quote, "Islam hates us?" Did you mean all 1.6 billion Muslims?

TRUMP: I mean a lot of them. I mean a lot of them.

DINAN: Do you want to clarify the comment at all?

TRUMP: Well, you know, I've been watching the debate today. And they're talking about radical Islamic terrorism or radical Islam. But I will tell you this. There's something going on that maybe you don't know about, maybe a lot of other people don't know about, but there's tremendous hatred. And I will stick with exactly what I said to Anderson Cooper.
Marco Rubio, who has since suspended his campaign, commented that anti-Muslim statements coming out of the presidential race is tainting the way global Muslims see the U.S. However, he reminded viewers that many American Muslims cherish the U.S.

RUBIO: Two days ago, I met this extraordinary couple who were on furlough because they are missionaries in Bangladesh. It's a very tough place to be a missionary. It's Muslim.

And their safety and security very much relies upon friendly Muslims that live along side them, that may not convert, but protect them and certainly look out for them. And their mission field really are Muslims that are looking to convert to Christianity as well. And they tell me that today they have a very hostile environment in which to operate in because the news is coming out that in America, leading political figures are saying that America doesn't like Muslims. So this is a real impact. There's no doubt that radical Islam is a danger in the world.

I can also tell you if you go to any national cemetery, especially Arlington, you're going to see crescent moons there. If you go anywhere in the world you're going see American men and women serving us in uniform that are Muslims.

And they love America. And as far as I know, no one on this stage has served in uniform in the United States military. Anyone out there that has the uniform of the United States on and is willing to die for this country is someone that loves America. No matter what their religious background may be.
After Rubio's comments, Trump rambled about the violence perpetrated by Islamic extremists, saying little about law-abiding Muslims in the U.S.

TRUMP: Marco talks about consequences. Well, we've had a lot of consequences, including airplanes flying into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and could have been the White House. There have been a lot of problems.

Now you can say what you want, and you can be politically correct if you want. I don't want to be so politically correct. I like to solve problems. We have a serious, serious problem of hate.

There is tremendous hate. There is tremendous hate. Where large portions of a group of people, Islam, large portions want to use very, very harsh means. Let me go a step further. Women are treated horribly. You know that. You do know that. Women are treated horribly, and other things are happening that are very, very bad.
Ted Cruz appealed to the audience's fear by warning them that vicious enemies supposedly want to use "nuclear weapons to murder us" and undermine Israel.
CRUZ: And I'll tell you, frankly one concern I have with Donald is that although his language is quite incendiary, when you look at his substantive policies on Iran, he has said he would not rip up this Iranian nuclear deal. I think that's a mistake.

The Ayatollah Khomeini wants nuclear weapons to murder us. I'll give you another example, dealing with Islamic radical terrorism. On Israel, Donald has said he wants to be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians.

As president, I will not be neutral. And let me say this week, a Texan, Taylor Force. He was an Eagle Scout, he was a West Point graduate, he was an Army veteran. He was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist this week in Israel, and I don't think we need a commander in chief who is neutral between the Palestinian terrorists and one of our strongest allies in the world, the nation of Israel.
When Tapper asked Rubio about climate change, Rubio trotted out the usual right-wing excuses for not passing pro-environment legislation, such as the claim that pro-environment legislation will cripple the economy.
TAPPER: [Miami] Mayor Regalado told me, "Climate change means rising ocean levels, which in south Florida means flooding downtown and in our neighborhoods. It's an every day reality in our city. Will you, as president acknowledge the reality of the scientific consensus about climate change and as president, will you pledge to do something about it?"

Senator Rubio, the Miami mayor has endorsed you. Will you honor his request for a pledge and acknowledge the reality of the scientific consensus of climate change and pledge to do something about it?

RUBIO: Well, sure if the climate is changing and one of the reasons is because the climate has always been changing.

There's never been a time when the climate has not changed. I think the fundamental question for a policy maker is, is the climate changing because of something we are doing and if so, is there a law you can pass to fix it?

So on the issue of flooding in Miami, it's caused by two things. Number one, south Florida is largely built on land that was once a swamp. And number two, because if there is higher sea levels or whatever it may be happening, we do need to deal with that through mitigation. And I have long supported mitigation efforts. But as far as a law that we can pass in Washington to change the weather, there's no such thing.

On the contrary, there is laws they want us to pass. There are laws they want to us pass that would be devastating for our economy or these programs like what the president has put in with the Clean Power Act or all these sorts of things that he's forcing down our throats on the war on coal.

Let me tell you who is going to pay the price of that? Americans are going to pay the price of that. The cost of doing that is going to be rammed down the throats of the American consumer, the single parent, the working families who are going to see increases in the cost of living. The businesses who are going to leave America because it's more expensive to do business here than anywhere else.
John Kasich countered Rubio's statements by arguing that environmentally friendly legislation is compatible with a healthy economy, telling the audience, "I happen to believe in solar energy, wind energy, efficiency, renewables ...You can have a strong environmental policy at the same time that you have strong economic growth and they are not inconsistent with one another."

Finally, Tapper held Trump's feet to the fire regarding violence at his rallies. Trump denied that he was the catalyst for the violence -- "It's not me," he protested -- pointing instead to rising anger among Americans.
TAPPER: Mr. Trump, I want to start with you in this block. Earlier today, a man was arrested and charged with assault after sucker- punching a protester in the face at your rally in Fayettville, North Carolina. This is hardly the first incident of violence breaking out at one of your rallies ... Do you believe that you've done anything to create a tone where this kind of violence would be encouraged?

TRUMP: I hope not. I truly hope not ... People come with tremendous passion and love for the country, and when they see protest -- in some cases -- you know, you're mentioning one case, which I haven't seen, I heard about it, which I don't like. But when they see what's going on in this country, they have anger that's unbelievable. They have anger.

They love this country. They don't like seeing bad trade deals, they don't like seeing higher taxes, they don't like seeing a loss of their jobs where our jobs have just been devastated. And I know -- I mean, I see it. There is some anger. There's also great love for the country. It's a beautiful thing in many respects. But I certainly do not condone that at all, Jake.

TAPPER: Some of your critics point to quotes you've made at these debates -- at these rallies including February 23rd, "I'd like to punch him in the face," referring to a protesters. February 27th, "in the good ol' days, they'd have ripped him out of that seat so fast." February 1st, "knock the crap out of him, would, you? Seriously, OK, just knock the hell. I promise you I will pay for the legal fees, I promise, I promise."

TRUMP: We have some protesters who are bad dudes, they have done bad things. They are swinging, they are really dangerous and they get in there and they start hitting people ... And if they've got to be taken out, to be honest, I mean, we have to run something. And it's not me. It's usually the municipal government, the police because I don't have guards all over these stadiums. 
While the tone of the Miami debate was far less childish and inflammatory than the tone of the Detroit debate, the debate itself was still disappointing. Two of the remaining Republican contenders -- Donald Trump and Ted Cruz -- still cultivate their supporters' fear and hatred for political gain. Cruz appeals to the Religious Right's fetishization of Israel, instead of examining the nuances of Middle East unrest. Trump refuses to reflect on how his words exacerbate the violence that has occurred at some of his rallies. Even though Marco Rubio has suspended his campaign, his short-sighted approach to environmental problems reflects a greater ignorance in the Republican party. The GOP remains backwards and therefore a poor choice in the November election.


  1. Unless this election ends up being very different from most previous ones I can recall, many voters will cast their votes for Republican candidates because of either their conservative positions on social issues or their desire to keep their taxes as low as possible. I have become increasingly convinced that these are the two issues that lead most of the Republicans I know to keep voting for Republicans even when they don't particularly care for any of the candidates.

    1. Jack -- I'd give anything for the Republicans to realize that voting for Trump or Cruz is NOT in anyone's real or perceived best interest.

  2. Disappointing. But hardly surprising.

    1. Agi Tater -- And to think that we have seven more months of this...


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