GOP Debate: Reflections, Impressions, and a Cinematic Flashback


As the GOP debate got underway, I had a flashback.

My parents gave me a Kodak Brownie for my eighth birthday. The Brownie was capable of shooting 12 negatives. Each picture was so precious to me that I chose my shots ever so carefully. It was not unusual for me to take two or three weeks to shoot the full roll.

Then I’d take the exposed film to the corner pharmacy and wait — get this, millennials — two weeks for the pictures to be returned in a little Kodak envelope. My pictures were almost always overexposed with images that were positively ghostly.

Thinking about the Brownie, the 12 negatives, and the two-week wait, I was actually thinking about how slow the pace of life was in the 1950s and early 1960s.

The GOP debate was a whirlwind of speed, political theater on steroids. The stage overflowed with candidates. The questions and answers came like lightning. There was little time for the viewer to reflect deeply on what was asked or said. The audience could only register impressions, much the way we internalize celebrities and movie stars.

Of course, Seraphic Secret views the GOP debate through an ideological lens. We believe that the GOP nominee should be the most conservative candidate who can win. Which means beating Hillary, who is now running to the left of Obama and Bernie Sanders — putting her adjacent to Trotsky.

Since CNN is driven by ratings, Donald Trump was the fulcrum for the entire evening. The CNN moderators did everything they could to goad the candidates into attacking Trump.

I don’t believe that the Donald is a conservative. He’s barely a Republican. And I do not believe he would be an effective POTUS. But it’s important to recognize that his refusal to genuflect to the politically correct rhetoric of the left is hugely appealing to an electorate that is sick and tired of the left’s tyranny of language and thought.

Jeb Bush’s clumsy attacks on Trump felt like bad line readings for a show doomed to cancellation. Every time Jeb unloaded on Trump, I said to myself: The enemy is Hillary, and it is she and the totalitarian Democrats who should be in your sights.

Jeb is toast.

I like Carly. She thinks clearly and has a coherent view of the world that reminds me of Margaret Thatcher. Unfortunately, several women whom I admire and respect tell me that they see her as a scold. I don’t think she’s going anywhere, except maybe to a cabinet post in a Republican administration.

Rand Paul’s isolationism is delusional. When he said that we defeat ISIS by not being afraid of them, I checked out. We defeat ISIS and all IslamoNazis by killing them.

Governor Christie gets all New Joisey, a shtick to show how tough he is. It’s a clever act, and it contrasts nicely with Democrat elites like Obama and Hillary who ooze European culture as opposed to a rough-hewn Americanism. I think Christie’s tough-guy persona is limited in its appeal.

Ohio Governor Kasich knows it all. According to him, everyone else is incompetent. But he did remind the audience that no POTUS has ever been elected without winning Ohio. I think that Kasich, with poll numbers in the toilet, is angling for VP. Clever move.

Dr. Carson is, er, calm. While this quality is fantastic in a pediatric neurosurgeon, in a national election, his soothing, s-l-o-w delivery puts people to sleep. He might be the finest man in the field. But I do not believe he will get the nomination.

Rubio and Cruz: I have come to the conclusion that they are the GOP’s best hope. Rubio is the most gifted politician I have seen in my lifetime. Cruz is the most brilliant. Either one would hit Hillary hard, and either could win the election. Confidential sources who are in the know tell me that other Republicans on the Hill despise Cruz. They see him as opportunistic and nasty.

Does this matter? I’m not sure.

I cruise between Cruz and Rubio. Either candidate would be an infinitely better commander in chief than socialist Hillary or Stalinist Sanders.

The truth is that Barack Obama has so degraded the office of the Presidency, so lowered the bar, that any of the GOP candidates would be an improvement over the disaster that is Obama.

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  1. kgbudge
    Posted December 21, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Rubio and Cruz are my top choices as well.

    Though I’d vote for any but Trump over Hillary.

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  2. eyawitz
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 7:43 am | Permalink


    I also got a Brownie at about the same time (I don’t remember if it was for my birthday, although that sounds likely). My brother has some pictures I took at the age of 8 and he told me “some of them are kind of blurry”, to which I responded “some of them aren’t!”

    I’m having a very hard time getting excited about the Republican candidates from across the ocean here in Jerusalem, Israel (take that, State Dept.) As you point out, the best two are Cruz and Rubio, the ones with problems with their natural-born citizen issues. In any case, why would anyone sane want the job? The federal govt. is already a totally corrupt socialist bureaucracy which no President could control, the military is hopelessly crippled, and the media will slaughter anyone with any principles. Other than that, it sounds great.

    Hashem Yatzileinu!


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  3. howardcp
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    I agree. I am a fan of Ted Cruz, but I worry about his likability. He is going to have to start projecting warmth, and making average voters feel that he “cares about people like me.”

    It is the least important factor in my assessment of a candidate, but I am in the minority.

    I would also like to see, sooner rather than later, a Supreme Court ruling on his eligibility to hold the office, given his Canadian birth. I’ve heard the arguments for both sides, but the question here is not one of law or logic. Rather, it is a question of how the nine justices choose to vote.

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  4. Posted December 16, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Being an expat, this is a very interesting summary. Honestly, doesn’t one have to be “opportunistic” to be successful in national politics?
    Batya recently posted..Billionaire Temple-Building Bishop to Lay Cornerstone in Jordan ValleyMy Profile

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  5. Posted December 16, 2015 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    I am far less partisan than thou, Robert and, far less than most of the Conservatives I listen to on Salem talk radio and read on the Internet.
    I am, in truth, a 9/11 Republican. After voting for Algore, High Priest of Baal of the Warming Glo (mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa) – at 11 AM on September 11th, I said, while watching television, “Thank G-d George Bush is President.”
    But – I am a student of History. I want our President to be a student of History. President Bush was indeed that. Even if he got some of it wrong.

    I want our President to be Decent and Just and Strong and Decisive. And, I want him to do the ONLY freaking job the Constitution requires him to do – take care of foreign affairs!
    I have thought from the beginning that Marco Rubio was the best qualified And – he’s young; And – he’s Latino; And – he’s good looking; And – he is the ONLY Republican debater who has Not stooped to the “click bait” of attacking the other guys. He is Reaganesque.

    As no candidate; pundit; journalist; talking head; or Anyone of any sort (including Marco Rubio) appears to understand the self evident historical concept that ISIS is simply the current Flavor of Death god of the Day – I have to go on my fallback position which is: does anyone understand that Israel is the pivot point of Islamo Nazi terrorism? And, I don’t think they do. However – I read an interview with a long time professional who has, for many, many years, been building bridges between the Republicans and Likud – that’s what he does; and he knows everyone in the field – and he said in this interview that he favored Marco Rubio because he has a “love of Israel in his kishkes!”
    And, that is close enough for me.

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  6. kishke
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    To be honest, after seeing the Republicans fold on just about every issue in the spending bill, despite a majority in both Houses, I have to say I don’t really think it makes much difference who wins.

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  7. kishke
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t see this debate, but like you, I settled on Rubio or Cruz after the CNBC one. I prefer Cruz but it’s not clear that he’s electable.

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  8. Bill Brandt
    Posted December 16, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Funny I have come to the same conclusions Robert – think I will vote for Rubio. Cruz has alienated a lot of Congress (agree or disagree with his tactics but you still have to work with people and build consensuses) Remember it was Reagan who said he’d be happy with half a loaf even though you want the entire loaf…

    I sat through about half of this – felt that at least the panel seemed fairly even handed and asked relevant questions (unlike CNBC) – the candidates by and large didn’t answer the tough ones directly but deflected some (par for the course for politicians)

    I’m thinking 99% of the time by the time the circus comes to California the die has been cast and the candidate has his 1200 delegates – think it might be different this time and we may be a deciding factor (even though IIRC our rules are no longer “winner take all” but distribution)

    I love Trump for his fearlessness in “straight talk” and no political correctness but I fear that he would be horrible trying to deal with a Congress – many of his answers while satisfying seem at least to me to be simplistic and superficial on close examination.

    But I would be glad to take any of them at this point.

    It is funny but at the start of this with Bush’s entrance all the pundits said it was over, as the heir-apparent had arrived.

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