Final GOP Debate of 2015: Thoughts

The GOP candidates wrapped up 2015 in a typically ugly fashion.

Senate Looking into if Cruz Leaked

Cruz said the new metadata program covers “nearly 100 percent” of phones, where the old program covered 20 to 30 percent. Apparently the government may believe that’s classified, and Cruz may have leaked it.

The problem with that claim is that the metadata program can’t be classified. It isn’t secret. The whole metadata program is based on the idea that people don’t have an expectation of privacy, so it is just preposterous that the government could consider it secret that they operate a program that they only claim the authority to operate because of the data being arguably non-proprietary to begin with.

Of course, that won’t stop them. Cruz probably won’t get in trouble, but the government has a lame history of misunderstanding what private means. The encryption debate is symptomatic of that, as is the ever-lasting quest to protect Social Security Numbers, rather than to promulgate rules that state it cannot be used as proof of identity. Your SSN isn’t secret, and it’s not a password or other authentication mechanism, and yet the government naively treats it as such (having illogically spent tons of money over the years to move away from SSNs as identifiers for many purposes).

Trump Won’t Turn Spoiler

Trump has reiterated his pledge to stick with the GOP. It’s been worried over, if Trump lost the nomination, he might go rogue and cause much trouble for the GOP in 2016. He says he won’t. He won’t, in all likelihood, because there’s nothing to be gained. Either he wins the nomination (unlikely) or he goes back to doing the same thing he’s already doing, just without the excuse that it’s to “Make America Great Again.”

The GOP Wants it to be About Islam

Specifically Cruz, but many others, kept talking about “Radical Islamic Terrorism” or “Jihadism” or some other variation on the theme. The redundancy of the words radical and terror in the same sentence aside, they want it to be about Islam. It is unclear whether it just fits into the xenophobic agenda, some crusader idealism, or is just another way to try to slight Obama.

What is crystal clear is that the GOP remains the party that doesn’t have to live with its neighbors. They have a conflicted psyche that thinks America’s standing has been weakened, but they simultaneously claim to not care about what others think. The crowd kept applauding to contradictory statements, like they were being led around by the nose (aside from Rand Paul’s personal cheering section).

That sort of response makes it fairly obvious that the Republicans don’t really know what they want. If one of the candidates had promised to spend a couple billion developing ice cream that tastes great and has zero calories, they probably could have wrapped up the nomination then and there.

The Format Still Sucks

Rather than culling some of the bozos from the clowncar, CNN continued down the path of inclusionism. They did have the smaller debate, composed of the most marginal candidates, but the main debate featured other slightly-less marginal candidates.

They should draw the line at five percent, which would have made the main debate a four-person affair. Instead, you have this ten-person chorus line to hear from. It just gets ridiculous.

Hell, break it in three and do 5-5-4 with the top four in the final, the middlers in the middle, and the low-end at the start. Anything but ten people all trying to stand in the spotlight.

Some Mocking of Climate Change

I mean, if it were any other major issue… and they just passed it off as being a bunch of bologna… it’s just sad at this point. The GOP used to stand for important issues, once upon a time. Now they live in the land of fairytales and only summer in the real world.


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