Some Quick Hit Thoughts on the GOP Debate

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Dan Scotto

Dan Scotto lives and works in New Jersey. He has a master's degree in history, with a focus on the history of disease and the history of technology.

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  1. Avatar Michael Drew
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    says:

    I need to watch more, because I’ve only seen snippets. But I have to say that from the little I saw, Rubio’s talent in these settings doesn’t jump out to me the way it does to many. I think he’s better in campaign set-pieces. I thought he was absolutely magnificent at the 2012 RNC. In debates I think his formal debating skills show, which means he wins or does well, but in ways that don’t really play that great in living rooms. Not as great as pundits think, anyway. He knew what the nuclear triad was, and Trump didn’t. Great. Neither did 92.8% of everyone watching, including me (though they probably did know that we could shoot nuclear missiles off of land, sea, and air if need be). (I’d heard of t, but couldn’t have told you what it was on my own.) It’s a winning point, to be sure. It’s just not enough to get people to decide to vote for you, I don’t think. (Though from a tweet I saw apparently three people in Luntz’s focus group switched to him, while people switched away from Trump and Jeb(? I think.) Good job! But four in the group apparently switched to Cruz.) Put it this way: remember my big thing about Walker’s foreign-policy readiness? For me at least, whether his briefers had managed to introduce this term to him or not at a given debate wasn’t really what gave me the feeling about my home-state’s governor that I was so vocal about earlier this year. It was a) my knowledge of what his priorities were throughout most of his life, and b) a sense of what kind of judgement he’d apply to foreign policy problems. Certainly, I’m more comfortable with the idea of Rubio’s finger on the triad than I would have been Walker’s. But the fact that he knew the term doesn’t have much to do with that at all. He was reasonably conversant about it, which is in fact a plus, but OTOH, I don’t know that I liked the judgement he was showing with that fluency. But then I wouldn’t, necessarily, would I? I’m not the key constituent here.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Michael Drew
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      says:

      Nuclear: the Power, the Devastation is very important to me.

      Trumpian Doxology.

      Having skipped the debate, when I woke up I wondered why we had an 1980s question about the triad in 2015. Then I saw Rubio’s answer and realized it was just a poorly formatted question about why we need to increase military spending.Report

  2. Avatar Michael Drew
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    says:

    …One other thing I’d add.

    Jeb always seems to think he’s scoring points against Trump while he’s whining and complaining about Trump’s (genuine!) unfitness to even be in this race. Sorry, Jeb, he’s in the race, you have to deal with it. And you’re not. You’re losing, and whining. I don’t think it does Jeb any good to be the guy to do that.

    “…Jeb, come over here and listen to me for a minute. You’re a patrician. You know that, right? You know that your role is to let the lesser-thans on stage do the dirty work of taking down Trump, if it can be done. You’re no good at it, and you can be sure the best at it will eventually get it done, because it has to get done or everyone’s blued and tattooed. Your only hope now is to just hang around and turn out to be that old-steady-stand-by that they were always eventually going to get around to coming back to when everything else doesn’t work out. Just don’t do things to (further) mess up keeping that hope alive. Whining and moaning about the unschooled interloper in your midst possibly does just that. The well-mannered upper-crust scion you have no choice but to try to be knows how to condescendingly smile at the tacky dinner guest in his father’s mansion, secure in the knowledge that your social-climbing fraternity brothers also in attendance will eventually destroy the guest’s dignity whereupon he takes his meek leave, and the butler calls him a black car that will drive him to a destination of his choice. But that’s not your job. You just stand in the corner and smile with your upper-class friends. You don’t ineptly try to trade jabs with the gutter-snipes when you’re a Bush or a Forbes or Kerry. You smile and make nice with them while your friends, or, if necessary, the help (if there’s a difference) does the dirty work. Then you hope Daisy eventually sees reason and agrees to the marriage she was always supposed to want. That’s how this bad novella gets written. Otherwise you come off sounding like you’re complaining to mother while having no idea how to win a street fight. John Kerry knew that, and won what you’re trying to win now, Jeb. But then Kerry’s friends, like your brother’s, actually were that upper-class, because they were not too big to eschew the avenues to elite power that were your inheritance as well if you only wanted them.

    But eschew them you did, and as a result you don’t know all these things, or have all those friends, even though you come off as every bit the upper-class twit either of them ever did (I’d argue more). That might have been a fatal mistake as far as being able to win a presidential nomination as a Bush goes, on reflection. Oh well, given all that I guess maybe I’ve wasted your time; maybe you’re correcting for it the best you can. It doesn’t seem to me that what you’re trying is working out all that well, but, hey, maybe you know better than me; I’ve had a few beers tonight, unlike most weeknights. Not related to the debate, either. See, Bo Ryan surprise(in its timing)-retired (not a surprise to the university) from coaching the U-Wisconsin basketball team after their game tonight. Didn’t know I was going to be reliving the last couple of college basketball postseasons in my head knowing in retrospect they were Bo’s last go-rounds. So, Jebbie, you’re getting treated to a less-varnished me tonight than is normal lately for me. Sorry to take up so much of your time, Jebbie ol’ pal. Best of luck to ya; give ’em hell!”

    <>

    [aside:] Good man, that John Ellis. Nice guy. Nice family.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    Marco Rubio […] always seems so fluid.

    The jokes write themselves.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    Ted Cruz is a lawyer so calling him lawerly is accurate.

    Someone one here or LGM said that Trump probably won’t win the nomination because his supporters are generally not primary voters or voters at all. Let’s take this as true. As far as I can tell, Trump does not have a traditional GOTV operation going on. This just means that we will need to wait a bit to see who the nominee is. Rubio is still not gaining much traction in the polls. Rubio is also at odds with his Generation and the Millennials because of his outright hostility to SSM. He is still pushing pipedreams of overturning the SSM decision by SCOTUS.

    Yet Janelle Bouie at Slate argues that Rubio might be able to win some Millennials:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/12/young_people_may_vote_for_marco_rubio_over_hillary_clinton.html

    What seems potentially interesting is that Millennials might be just as fractious as the Boomers. Bouie writes:

    “It’s possible that this has less to do with Rubio than it does the composition of the youth vote, and the circumstances of those voters. The young people who will vote in the 2016 election aren’t the same ones who voted in 2008 and 2012. Overall, according to the Pew Research Center, millennials lean Democratic. But the youngest millennials are more Republican than their older peers (although still largely Democratic), and that’s especially true for white millennials, who are more conservative than their black, Latino, and Asian counterparts.”

    “Put differently, the most liberal millennials are those that came of age under President George W. Bush, while the most conservative ones are those that came of political age under President Obama and have faced a sluggish and stagnant economy. Far from embracing Rubio and the Republican Party, these voters may just be skeptical of the Democratic Party’s ability to deliver economic growth and opportunity. To this point, the November unemployment rate was 15.3 percent for people aged 18 to 19, and 9.6 percent for people aged 20 to 24.”Report

    • Avatar Roland Dodds in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Having young Millennials vote for Rubio would be a sight to believe, but I am not so sure they will. Having said that, my Mexican family that votes is very interested in Rubio simply because he is Latino, so there may be a significant number of young Latino voters that could break towards him in the general election.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Roland Dodds
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        says:

        Yeah, that’s why I’m rooting against him in the nomination fight.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North
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          says:

          Hmmm. Rubio’s nomination would present the following problem, seems to me: he’d presumably appeal to left-leaning moderates and independents more than any of his current competitors at the cost of enthusiasm from the conservative base. Which might not be THAT big a deal since I don’t think he’d engender the same type of Real Fear amongst the Dem base that a Cruz or a Trump would. But apart from worries about his maturity and Seriousness and so on, I think The Base would have a hard time getting behind him since his positions on lots of important issues are really quite moderate (and therefore reasonable) and that’s not what True Conservatism is about anymore. Personally, I’m still surprised he hasn’t jumped up more in the polls at this point (my own prediction was that sometime at or around Feb he’d be a playa).

          But I’ve revised my views about all this since it’s becoming pretty clear that the Palinization of the conservative base (not the GOP) is almost complete. Nuance and practicality aren’t primary considerations for that increasingly large and vocal segment of the electorate. Those things aren’t really even considered, actually, except perhaps as a sign of “moderation”, hence RINOsity, hence not-conservative. So Rubio might just be the wrong man for these times: carefully considered conservativism just doesn’t play well at the slaughter house.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            I agree with your second paragraph. I am not sure on the first. Rubio is rather strongly conservative on many big issues. He is the only viabl(ish) GOP candidate arguing that he will appoint judges who will overturn SSM. Whether he believes this is possible or not is irrelevant. Other GOP candidates speak out against SSM but they don’t say that they will reverse the decision as far as I know. He has a long history of homophobic stances including being against gay people adopting.

            Rubio is also anti-reconciliation with Cuba. His one moderate stance is really that he was once pro-immigration reform and path to citizenship.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            I think your initial impression, however, is somewhat off. Rubio’s policies are generally as bad and extreme as the rest of his party- he just has it coated it in some youthful photogenic wrapping paper.
            -Rubio is as incoherently wingding on budgeting, domestic spending, and repealing the ACA as the rest of his party.
            -He’s probably put out the most elitist tax cut proposals of the bunch with massive cuts to the upper brackets and comparative crumbs to everyone else.
            -He’s forsworn his previous position on immigration reform and claims he’ll toe the party (base) line on the subject.
            -He’s further to the right on foreign policy than just about the entire slate, ffs he’s to the right of Ted Cruz.

            It also bears noting that the GOP candidates personal policy preferences are mostly irrelevant, Rubio could be expected to be a reliable rubber stamp for anything that comes out of the House (and if they win the House, Senate and Presidency I predict the filibuster will go out the window faster than you can say defenestrate), he has no history of bucking his party.

            The idea that the base will revolt strikes me as wishful thinking. As you note the base is Palinized but I don’t think that means what you think it does. In my opinion it means that, so long as the proper conservative gatekeepers in conserva-media are placated the base will march along. Rubio has not done anything in his campaigning to particularly alienate the rabid base. If Rubio is the nominee, barring some dramatic change, then he’ll make a round of the various media usual suspects, kiss their rings, and be proclaimed the anointed heir of Saint Ronny Regan. The base’ll turn out to vote against the Democratic candidate if nothing else. Rubio has shown, so far, that he’s pretty good at tap-dancing between the establishment and the base, the GOP is hungry to win and his apostasies have been forsworn and will be overlooked if not forgotten so long as he doesn’t poke the bear on those subjects and we can be confident he won’t.

            So Rubio is just about the best candidate the GOP has on tap, the same reeking policy as the rest but with a nice moderate candy coating and plenty of charisma to bamboozle the low info swing voters. They could potentially win with him which is why I earnestly hope that Cruz or even Trump just lacerates him.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North
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              says:

              Rubio appears more moderate because he is younger than the other candidates and because he controls how he comes across better. This allows people to project moderation on him for better and worse for Rubio. It helps him because most non-Republican voters are likely to get as concerned about Rubio as they would about Trump. The assumed moderation hurts Rubio because the Republican base can’t get enthusiastic about him.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq
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                Ahh but I suspect the base’ll be ok. Like candidate Obama, Rubio seems able to put up that affable blank canvas and let both his base and the low info middle project their impressions onto it.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North
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                says:

                That isn’t what the polls show. Low information Republicans, sure. The base, the Republicans active in the primary process, seem to hate Rubio or at least be lukewarm to him at best.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                I can’t think of an election in the last twenty years where the GOP’s base didn’t turn out to vote for their presidential candidate because they considered them insufficiently conservative. I remember a lot of noise about Mccain and Romneybot saying how they wouldn’t vote for them during the primary but between the end of the Primary and the general both Mccain and Romney morphed from apostates to adequate conservative avatars and received solid turnout from their bases.

                Before I give base dissaffection much credence I’d like to see it in action. My own observations have suggested the GOP’s base falls in line once their candidate is selected and not only fall in line but persuade themselves that falling in line is laudible.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                Hmmm, again. Moderation, as I used the term, is one of degrees. Would you agree that on balance his policy positions are more moderate, more tempered in their extremism, than Trump or Cruz or Carson, etc? If by “moderate” you mean something like “amenable to liberal voters”, then no, he’s not a moderate.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                It depends, his tax policy and foreign policy is more extreme than Cruz or Trump. His policy on abortion is to the right of trump but basically the same as Cruz.
                Really his only “moderation” is on immigration and he’s forsworn that but he’s “moderate” in that he doesn’t pump deportation or opposition to hispanics like Cruz and Trump do.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North
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                says:

                You know, the one debate I actually watched was the one on the domestic economy, and I recall his tax plan being criticized pretty heavily by the moderators but I failed to notice how it stacked up against the others since they ALL looked ridiculous. (Well, except for Kasich, who kept yelling at how INSANE the other candidates were.) But a little googling has led me to believe Rubio’s plan is really extreme, especially compared to Trump’s, for example.

                Thanks for setting me straight on this stuff. I’m gonna dig into the details a bit more before I comment on the policy side of this stuff again.

                One thing that jumped out at me, tho : Rubio’s slogan is “A New American Century”. Yikes!Report

              • Avatar Zac in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                “One thing that jumped out at me, tho : Rubio’s slogan is “A New American Century”. Yikes!”

                Yikes indeed. Do you think that’s a PNAC reference?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                You’re welcome and also thank you, because your instinctive assumption that Rubio was the moderate, and coming from an opponent like you are, that’s the stuff he’d bank on with low engagement centrist voters in the general. That is why he’s dangerous; because he makes people instinctively think “oh he’s a middle of the road less crazy GOP person” when he’s actually as looney tunes as the rest (Trump excepted).Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Besides his xenophobia and incredibly aggressive stance on immigration, Trump is the most moderate of the Republican field. He wants to leave Social Security, Medicare, and other aspects of the American welfare state as they are and not really engage in any extreme free market hijinks. Likewise, Trump isn’t making social issues like LGBT rights a big part of his campaign. Cruz is running contrary to Republican foreign policy dogma by taking a more isolationist and less interventional stance even though he is just as socially conservative on other issues.

                Rubio has all the standard Republican beliefs about domestic and foreign policy issues. No abortion, no SSM, repeal the ACA, tax cuts, and, a tough and interventional foreign policy, etc. He just lacks the bombast that Trump has or Cruz’s ability to piss everybody off. His personality is more moderate but not his beliefs or policy preferences.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                Lee that looks fairly accurate.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                Thanks. Yeah, I’m digging into all this a little deeper. Honestly, I’ve been pretty lazy about figuring out the policy nuances since all the policy-related rhetoric from the candidates is so insane. (And the only one who doesn’t sound insane, to my ears anyway, is Rubio. But you guys are saying he’s more insane than the others… 🙂Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                He’s also tacking towards Cruz’s position (i.e. less informed than your average kindergartener) on climate change, which is de rigueur in the primary, but is not going to win over any undecideds in the general.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to El Muneco
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                I suspect that anyone who feels strongly about climate change is already voting for the Democrats (or the Greens).Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                S’true. But it polls well over 60/40, so even given how phobic the R’s are, it’s at least a split among undecideds. And given how razor-thin the margins are going to be in a scenario where Rubio would win the general, needlessly turning off anyone can be a loser (see also: Florida, 2000).Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            And adding to that: Of course, that’s a view from the outside, and the actual internal dynamics are opaque to me. It’s possible that Jeb! pulls a McCain from ’08 or some such, and that really wouldn’t surprise me. The inconsistencies within the part seem, tho, to make any careful analysis of how this will play out impossible to predict with any level of precision.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Roland Dodds
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        says:

        Rubio has the ‘tokenism’ problem. Not quite as bad as, say, just grabbing a random Latino Republican (Rubio actually has a background. Fiorina is pure tokenism, though. Failed CEO, failed politician, pretty much there to be able to attack Clinton), but having stock GOP phrases come from a younger, Latino Republican is not an easy sell to younger voters, Latinos, or Democrats long term.

        Because in the end, he’s saying and acting like the guys they’ve been voting against and dislike. The fact that he doesn’t look like them might appeal short term, but in the longer term his actual policies are going to take center stage.

        And if they were unpalatable coming from, say, Jeb Bush’s mouth — they’re still not gonna fly with many voters. Maybe Rubio can soften the xenophobia vibe a bit, which is better than nothing. Except he repudiated his previously pro-immigration reform entirely. And decided to double down on homophobia.

        Polling will be fun to watch — like in 2012, I suspect you’ll see each relative unknown pop up as the solution, only to collapse as voters get to know them.

        Bluntly speaking, the only difference between the GOP now and in 2012 is these guys have doubled down on xenophobia and have returned to “ROAR WAR ROAR”. The GOP hasn’t evolved, hasn’t changed, hasn’t really altered anything.

        Hoping a face that’s not so male or pasty white attracts voters when the actual platform has only changed for the worse? Tokenism in it’s purest form. Pure window dressing.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Morat20
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          says:

          And yet dangerous because Rubio could actually win. Of the lot he’s the strongest contender; obfuscates his weaknesses the best and could plausibly appeal to the “beer on the porch” set. Basically a Bush Minor redux and if that doesn’t send a chill down your spine it certainly does mine!Report

          • Avatar Roland Dodds in reply to North
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            says:

            Yep, I am way more scared of a Rubio or Cruz presidency than the possibility of a Trump candidacy. I think the minute The Donald has to deal with voters outside of a specific segment of the populist wing of politics, things are going to fall apart.

            I also think it will be great to see him eat his words about being top dawg when he starts losing actual primaries. I had expected that he get out of the race by now and be a king maker for another candidate to avoid that inevitable election losses.

            But this has been a weird year.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North
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            says:

            I think the problem with Rubio is that, eventually, voters will see his policies and not just his face.

            Any proposed appeal to Hispanics or Millennials that doesn’t deal with that (the fact that his policies are designed to anger them, not attract them) is…very wishful thinking.

            Which just brings us back to the problem of name recognition and polling. The reason 2012 was a fun clownshow on the GOP side is you’d see a relative unknown pop up, get really popular, then get slaughtered as their statements, policies, and basic personality became something voters became familiar with.

            Pointing to Rubio’s appeal as being younger and minority is basically saying “We’re hoping voters never get past just knowing his name”.

            Sure, he’s potentially a strong candidate. But half that potential rests solely on “We’ll get young people to vote for us, and a lot more Hispanics to vote for us!”. I don’t know about the former, but what I’ve read about the latter is….”fat chance”.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Morat20
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              says:

              Oh yes, but thing is they don’t NEED to get lots of votes from millenials or hispanics. Not right now. They just need to have hispanics not be so energized against the GOP that they don’t endanger Florida or Arizona (the naked truth being that the hispanic population is not really significant in any of the other swing states). So in electing a hispanic candidate who doesn’t run around yelling about walls with Mexico or the like they have a shot at not energizing that demographic against them. Similarily millenials just need to be not energized to turn out; not converted over to the GOP en masse.

              A Rubio campaign will hinge on a Bush 2000 strategy; obfuscate and obscure then turn on the charm and aw shucks your way to victory. I wish I could say that Hillary could smash through that but that hinges on likability and that isn’t her strongest angle.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North
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                says:

                Eh, depends on turnout and the 2016 turnout will be (at least historically) far more friendly to Democrats.

                And there’s the fact that Florida has moved to “must have” territory for Republicans, but is just “nice to have” for Democrats.

                And yeah, the GOP needs younger voters and Hispanics — because their strongest demographics are dying of old age or increasingly small. So badly that now that they’ve shot themselves in the foot with that, they’ve turned to the fun past-time of explaining they’ll just get NEW voters to show up. When you’re starting to tout non-voters are the group you want to sway, you know you’re in trouble.

                And I agree that a Rubio campaign will work that way, but he’s fighting twin problems — his immigration stance seems designed to degrade his appeal to Hispanics and his SSM seems designed to kill him with the younger set.

                And those are easy issues, with quick and easily available sound bites. It’s not easily obfuscated weeds, wherein you can drown them in BS. Rubio’s had to go on record, and it’ll be used against him hard and there’s not a lot of defense.

                Most especially not when his party is seen as being particularly atrocious on those issues. His moderation will be viewed with skepticism simply because of the “R” label on his name. The things he’s had to do for the GOP nod will cost him massively.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Morat20
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                says:

                Here’s hoping. Frankly I’d rather not have to depend on it. You can be sure Rubio would simply go dark on the subjects of SSM and immigration and then be all shocked that his opponents are playing dirty by bringing it up. I agree in the long term the GOP is in trouble unless they alter their policies but in 2016 they at least have one final shot at pulling it off with their old tricks.Report

              • Avatar Roland Dodds in reply to North
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                I don’t know, fear and demagoguery seem to be pretty timeless tactics. I can’t imagine those things will simply go away.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Roland Dodds
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                says:

                Let me grant your point by ammending to say that the 2016 will be the last time the GOP can realistically expect to depend on those tactics to the degree they have in the recent past, and expect a tolerable shot at victory.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    How aligned (or not aligned) are “the Establishment” and “the base”?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      Answer hazy, ask again after New Hampshire.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to North
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        says:

        By “Establishment”, are we talking about the formal party leadership? Or does it mean something else? I sort of know what this means from context but I should probably have a more nuanced understanding of it by now.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy
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          Formal leadership, influential figures, and big donors.

          It’s kind of a moving target. Sort of like how anyone who sells records gets tagged with the “sold out” criticism, anyone in the GOP who actually succeeds or is responsible for anything significant is in danger of being derided as “establishment.”

          This is a very productive attitude and extremely conducive to success and not at all self-defeating.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Kazzy
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          says:

          In your average parliance the “Establishment” is the elected officials (especially leaders) and party officials of the GOP along with their financial backers.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North
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            I don’t think that’s quite it.

            The sense I get is that the term “Establishment” being used these days refers more to the Bi-Partisan Globalist consensus. That’s why immigration is the point of demarcation – both left and right Globalists have a consortium that works on goals/objectives not aligned to the well being of the “radical middle.”

            The thing that is breaking in the GOP is Free Marketeerism – and its breaking from the middle, not the right. That’s where I think you all are wrong on this. You keep projecting your dislike of social conservatives onto what’s happening… but that’s just wishful thinking on your part. The fault line is economic, and social cons are on both sides of it, not driving it.

            And, to make matters more confusing, there’s no one thing that you can pin on someone to say, aha! He’s a Globalist Establishment Politician. They all are, and they all claim they aren’t. Cruz is triangulating while I think Rubio is banking on this being something of a fad… the OWS of the Republican middle – but that doesn’t mean he won’t pivot too, if it is to his advantage.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine
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              says:

              An interesting analysis.

              While my dislike of the social conservatism wing of the GOP is certainly bone deep it’s mitigated by their rapidly shrinking power within their own coalition. I bear similar unmitigated dislike of the GOP’s economic cliques: the dogmatic idiocy of the supply siders; the raw lying cynicism of the tax/service cutters who redline the majority of the budget as being safe under their care; the belligerent know-nothingism of all of the above who hand wave objections away with shrieking accusations of fuzzy math.

              I’d love for you to unpack the schism a bit more. Which sides are which groups falling on in the GOP? Outside of immigration what other policies does this greater establishment you’re talking about differ with the rest of the GOP? Which candidates are creatures of the establishment and which are champions of the base? Does this Establishment differ between the two parties or are they all “just the same thing”?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North
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                I doubt I could do better than Douthat’s post this morning.

                The other thing to consider is how Trump is savaging the Neo-Con/Wilsonian Foreign Policy categories. I recognize that the prevailing sentiment here is that all conservatives are Neo-Cons when it comes to foreign affairs, but that’s just not right… though it is certainly true that the Neo-Cons have owned that leg of the stool for the Republican party – so the inference is understandable. Never-the-less, this statement from Trump is devastating to left and right alike… it is something that Hillary would not have to face from anyone else.

                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; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.

                We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It’s not like we had victory.

                It’s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart.

                Ultimately, I don’t think Trump really has the goods to pull this off, but right now I couldn’t reliably say whether he’s a Perot, a Karensky, or a Caesar.Report

              • Avatar Scott F. in reply to Marchmaine
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                There are worlds of wonder in this particular portion of Trump’s quote.

                We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It’s not like we had victory.

                It’s the “America doesn’t win anymore” worldview. The disservice to humanity is that we didn’t have victory in the end. If America had come out “victorious” (whatever that means), then all the people being wiped away would have died in service to something worthwhile.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Marchmaine
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              says:

              The sense I get is that the term “Establishment” being used these days refers more to the Bi-Partisan Globalist consensus. That’s why immigration is the point of demarcation – both left and right Globalists have a consortium that works on goals/objectives not aligned to the well being of the “radical middle.”

              The thing that is breaking in the GOP is Free Marketeerism – and its breaking from the middle, not the right. That’s where I think you all are wrong on this. You keep projecting your dislike of social conservatives onto what’s happening… but that’s just wishful thinking on your part. The fault line is economic, and social cons are on both sides of it, not driving it.

              And, to make matters more confusing, there’s no one thing that you can pin on someone to say, aha! He’s a Globalist Establishment Politician. They all are, and they all claim they aren’t. Cruz is triangulating while I think Rubio is banking on this being something of a fad… the OWS of the Republican middle – but that doesn’t mean he won’t pivot too, if it is to his advantage.

              This is F*ing brilliant; I could not have said it better myself, and wasn’t trying because I didn’t have the analysis this clear in my head yet. I had inklings of it, though, and this could not express the ideas that were inkling me better if they had become more than inklings and I miraculously became able to express them perfectly. I think.Report

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