Here we go, the very last Republican debate before the first votes are (finally) cast in the Iowa caucus on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Thank heavens.
Of course, once again, Donald Trump is grabbing all of the headlines by his decision to stay out of the debate because of mean ol’ Megyn Kelly. As I wrote on Wednesday, I am ALL too happy to not have Trump in there so the others can actually talk about their positions.
But there are two other points I want to make. One I mentioned briefly yesterday, and that was the not-so-thinly-veiled threat the Trump campaign made toward Megyn Kelly (sorry – just got distracted as I heard Trump complain how he hasn’t been treated fairly, the man who gets so much time on Fox I can barely stand to watch it any more. WOW.). Actually, I want to let Greg Gutfeld make the point because he did so exceedingly well:
Exactly. And if you think that kind of behavior would change once Trump took the White House, I have a couple of bridges to sell you. (Along those lines, I want to comment to you this very good Federalist piece, “5 Times Trump Told You He Loves Big Government.“)
That said, Gutfeld’s point is an important one about journalists and the kind of intimidation demonstrated by the Trump campaign.
The second point I want to make about Trump’s immature, childish response about the debate is his attempt to parlay that departure into being about our veterans and helping them. As this CNN article highlights (h/t Facebook friend), though, they don’t want his help. Here is why:
[…] Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America founder Paul Rieckhoff tweeted Wednesday that he would decline any contributions that came from the event, which Trump has proposed in place of his attending Fox News’ debate this week.
“If offered, @IAVA will decline donations from Trump’s event. We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts,” he said.
No kidding. Our veterans should NOT be used as political stunts. That has been the frustration of many when other candidates (or Presidents) have used the military as props. Good for IAVA for standing up for veterans.
But they aren’t the only ones, as the article continues:
[…] Two other veterans’ groups also distanced themselves from Trump’s announcement.
The Wounded Warrior Project said it was not aware of the candidate conducting any fundraising efforts on its behalf.
Meanwhile, VoteVets.org, which calls itself the nation’s largest progressive veterans group, issued a statement titled: “Don’t hide from Megyn Kelly behind us.” […] (Click here to read the rest.)
So, yeah – it seems at least some big Veterans’ groups are none too thrilled at being used as political ploys by Trump. Good for them for speaking up.
Oh, and CNN also included this little clip of Donald Trump’s reaction back in 2011 of some Republicans who weren’t all that keen to join in a debate he was moderating:
I know – that was then, this is now. Uh, yeah.
And now to the debate itself. The undercard debate begins at 7:00 pm (EST) on Fox News and Google, with Carly Fiorina, Sen. Rick Santorum, Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Gov. Jim Gilmore. This debate is being moderated by Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum.
The main debate will be at 9:00pm (EST) on Fox News and Google, with Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. John Kasich, and Dr. Ben Carson. It will be moderated by Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, and Chris Wallace. If you prefer, you can also stream it live HERE.
Both of the debates should be interesting, though I have to admit, I kinda forgot Gov. Gilmore was even still in the running. Oops. But while I think Fiorina should have been moved up to the main stage, I am sure she will continue to shine in the early debate.
The primetime debate should also be interesting. I trust there will be substantive questions asked of all of the candidates. Bret Baier reported on Wednesday that they comb through all of the transcripts of previous debates to ensure they ask good questions that haven’t been covered in previous debates.
It should make for a riveting evening of debates. Feel free to discuss issues that arise, or answers given in the Comments during the two debates.
Last, but most definitely not least, today marks the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion. There is no better way to remember them than this speech by President Ronald Reagan following this tragic event:
I cannot imagine the courage and bravery of those who chose to become astronauts, explorers of the sky. And this tragedy impacted this nation with the extent and devastation of the explosion. But it did not stop the Space Program, no indeed. It made it better, and allowed for more and more exploration of our universe as a way to honor those whose lives were lost. We remember them again today, those “who touched the face of God…”
This is your Iowa Debates Open Thread.