Lion of the Blogosphere

Post-debate analysis

First, I want to praise CNN. The moderators hosted a much more professional and respectful debate than Fox News. It was very fair and balanced. The only question I found distasteful is Jake Tapper’s accusation that there’s violence at Trump’s political rallies. But other than that, all the other questions were reasonable policy questions, a lot better than the hostile questions at the Fox debate.

It was pretty obvious that the audience was stacked in favor of Rubio. I guess the local Florida GOP set that up to help the local guy. It was very unfair to the other candidates.

Trump looked more presidential than he did in any previous debate. It’s what he needed to do, and he did it. There were no gratuitous insults. He didn’t say anything crazy or unexpected, nor did he forget the policy plans on his own website as in the previous debate.

Trump gave the correct answer this time on H-1B and H-2B visas. That he took advantage of the laws to make money, but they are bad for American workers.

Trump talked a lot about jobs, which is a key selling point for American voters.

Trump is the only candidate to say he’s not going to change Social Security, which is a very astute answer. Social Security is said to be the third rail of politics, and the other candidates are stupid enough to risk electrocuting themselves. Trump’s answer will serve him well against Hillary.

I was also glad that Trump brought up, in response to the Israel question, that he has a Jewish daughter and Jewish grandchildren. I think it’s a selling point, and will help him win the Jewish Florida vote. On Israel, Trump is pro-Israel enough to satisfy pro-Israel Republicans, but it appears more moderate and is a better position for the general election.

I think Trump put in some effort since the previous debate to bone up more on some issues. Obviously he is still far behind Rubio on his knowledge about Cuba. I have to admit that I also don’t know much about Cuba—it’s not something I really care about that much—so I felt sympathetic for Trump.

It was smart of Trump to wrap up with the Supreme Court issue. It’s a reminder to conservatives and Republicans to help Trump win after he’s nominated, otherwise the Supreme Court gets lost forever to liberals.

Kasich told us again that if he’s elected president, he will get amnesty passed within 100 days. That’s a position that no doubt pleases the GOPe, but how many Republican voters really want to hear that? Other than that, Kasich did the same thing he does every debate. I think it’s finally working for him. His campaign is, like he says, the little engine that could. Now, how old do you have to be in order to understand that reference? Do people in their twenties know what Kasich is talking about?

Rubio also had a really good debate. He didn’t repeat the same dumb memorized lines as the answer to every question, and he also cut out the stupid attacks on Donald Trump which really backfired on him last time. It was definitely Rubio’s best debate ever.

Even Cruz has a better than normal debate. He didn’t get bogged down in the weeds of policy as he did in earlier debates. I guess after so many debates, everyone learns from their mistakes.

But, after this debate, people are going to spend a lot more time talking about Trump looking more presidential than anything else that happened. Thus, Trump won.

* * *

And as I predicted, the talking heads on CNN are talking about Trump looking more presidential and being less “provocative.”

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 10, 2016 at 11:07 pm

Posted in Politics

44 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. What is your analysis about Trumps negatives against Hillary and Bernie?


    March 10, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    • I would rather have Trump as president than Bernie.


      March 10, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    • What is your analysis about Trumps negatives against Hillary and Bernie?

      This is very important. The democrats are going to play up White Guilt and racism/bigot//xenophobia/Islamophobia/hate/fear/divide/ugly/notwhoweare to an insane degree. Nonstop!


      March 10, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      • The Dems need 36% of the white vote to win. How is playing up white guilt, BLM and open borders supposed to help them in the general? Obama avoided those topics for a reason. I assume Hillary will be smart enough to do so as well.

        Otis the Sweaty

        March 11, 2016 at 12:49 am

      • @otis,

        most people are afraid of being outside of the mainstream. so they cave to peer pressure (vote for hilary), or keep their mouth shut (stay home).


        March 11, 2016 at 11:06 am

      • But Rifle is suggesting that the Dems will run on an explicitly anti white platform, something they have never done before. I don’t see how that gets them 36% of the white vote.

        Otis the Sweaty

        March 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm

  2. I know I’m a homer but, all-in-all, Trump was brilliant tonight. Bravo to him.

    Andrew E.

    March 10, 2016 at 11:15 pm

  3. “He didn’t get bogged down in the weeds of policy”

    I believe this is what we usually call “substance.” Given how little time candidates have to answer a question it’s hard to see how they can get bogged down in anything.


    March 10, 2016 at 11:26 pm

  4. Cruz wants to abolish the IRs. I doubt that will happen, but why do most people in have to file taxes. In the UK you don’t have to file a return unless you make over the equivalent of about 150,000.00 dollars.

    Everything could be done electronically. The bank, Vanguard, your employer all send the info to the govt electronically. There might be a very small company that doesn’t send it electronically, but that’s it.

    I don’t see a reason to file a return for most people.


    March 10, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    • You want the govt. to just do it for you? No, no, no, we’re rugged individualists.


      March 11, 2016 at 12:27 am

    • Here in Japan regular employees do not generally file taxes themselves. Your employer makes the end-of-year adjustments and reports everything to the National Tax Agency for you. City tax (very substantial: 10% of income) is similar, but is based on the previous year’s income and is thus raised or lowered for each month of the following year.

      (This part is despicable, because if you suddenly lose your job, you still have local taxes to pay every month of the next year, and with no employer to deduct it for you, you get a bill in the mail. If you don’t have relatives or someone to help you, you start getting threatening phone calls from the collection agencies that they outsource to.)

      Bank interest (those ten cents per year that you earn on each $10k you have saved) is taken out by the bank before you even see it, and so no end-of-year paperwork is necessary. (A tremendous hassle if you’re American and you need to report to the IRS about that dime you “earned”.)

      Despite the small hassles, I vastly prefer the Japan/UK system.


      March 11, 2016 at 4:27 am

  5. Trump did what he needed to do. Look professional, and keep on message.

    I’m all in for Trump. I don’t trust him, but I trust the GOPe less. I get asked by coworkers why Evangelicals would support Trump. I’m a Christian guy and I am open about it. They don’t get why I would support Trump. I tell them, the GOPe has had over 40yrs to end abortion. They don’t do it. They could take the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on the issue, but they don’t do it. They could take the gay marriage issue away from the the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, but they don’t do it. They have the tools available, and they whisper sweet nothings in our ears, but in the end they just go along with the unChristian goals of the Democrats, and want us to celebrate them when they argue but relent.

    Trump will build a wall. I believe him. I don’t know how he will be as president, I expect to be disappointed. But, I’m used to that. I do expect Trump to build a wall and reform immigration. That is a start, and he is the only one I take seriously on it. It’s a start to renewing America again. Close the borders.


    March 10, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    • I tell them, the GOPe has had over 40yrs to end abortion.

      You want 10s of millions more blacks and hispanics? That is what you are calling for with calls to end abortion.

      Otis the Sweaty

      March 11, 2016 at 12:28 am

      • Otis you do not know what you are talking about for many reasons. Please remember God is the one who said: “the fool says in his heart ‘There is no God.'” If you think abortion is not the killing of innocent life, reconsider. If you don’t think that, God help you, as better people than me like to say.

        howitzer daniel

        March 11, 2016 at 12:49 am

      • “You want 10s of millions more blacks and hispanics? That is what you are calling for with calls to end abortion.”

        I think that is less the point than the fact that the GOP has been running on that issue since the 1970’s, and with all the options they’ve had to do something, they’ve done nothing. I’m not anti-abortion myself, I think it should be based on the latest scientific knowledge of fetal pain and brain activity. But with abortion, a balanced budget amendment, and lots of other issues, it’s been one Lucy moving the football move after another. It’s enough.

        Mike Street Station

        March 11, 2016 at 6:27 am

      • On the local level, the Republicans have managed to make is so hard for poor women to get abortions in some states, they successfully increased the amount of poor children being born.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 11, 2016 at 9:41 am

      • “If you think abortion is not the killing of innocent life, reconsider.”

        I’m the only honest person on this issue. I do think it’s the killing of life. What on earth else could it be? When you abort, you abort a human that’s just in an early stage of development. If you leave it alone, it becomes a baby. Some people act like some of them turn into penguins or something so it’s not “killing.” Of course it’s killing. Anyone with a 6th grade understanding of biology would know that.

        But here’s the thing. I don’t CARE if it’s killing. What the hell is so sacred about human life? There’s way too many humans around. They aren’t endangered. It would be much, much, much more sinful — to any sensible God — to kill a baby elephant or rhinoceros than to kill a human.

        There is little loss to humanity through abortion. Yeah yeah, sure sure, maybe you just aborted “the next Einstein” (as if). More likely than not you just aborted a life long welfare indigent. So good riddance.

        The false sanctification of human life causes untold trouble.


        March 11, 2016 at 10:07 am

      • ” I don’t CARE if it’s killing. What the hell is so sacred about human life? ”

        Do you have any problem with infanticide?

        Lewis Medlock

        March 11, 2016 at 12:47 pm

  6. The pundits on Twitter are upset that he sort of justified the use of violence against protesters. The correct response is that BLM are thugs, who would destroy every vestige of freedom of speech and association if they could. They’re looking for trouble.


    March 10, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    • The puncher is 78 years old. Nothing is normal in Trumps world.


      March 11, 2016 at 4:40 am

    • Notice that there are no right leaning protesters at Bernie and Hillary events. They’re protesters are all left leaning too. Doesn’t anybody over on the left have to work?

      Mike Street Station

      March 11, 2016 at 6:29 am

  7. I didn’t see the debate, but if your analysis is correct, Lion, it will have a net-zero effect on anything. The precedent so far seems to suggest only spectacular flops actually move the needle.


    March 10, 2016 at 11:58 pm

  8. This guy is genius!! Ann Coulter retweets him:

    Conservative Pundit


    March 11, 2016 at 12:00 am

  9. I also noticed Trump looking more presidential, but didn’t see that many comments on twitter about it when searching “trump looking presidential”. Did the average viewer then really see him as looking presidential?


    March 11, 2016 at 12:49 am

  10. My thoughts on the debate:

    – Trump’s comments on Israel generated a lot of snark on Twitter, but I thought this tweet was pretty insightful:

    – Rubio, Cruz and the other candidates running on solving Social Security are idiots. Yeah, Reagan hammered out a compromise with Tip O’Neil (basically, they doubled the tax and agreed to repeatedly raise the portion of income subject to the tax), but he didn’t run on that. He wasn’t an idiot.

    – Cruz is clueless on trade, as are most mainstream pundits. Trump is right, and it’s more obvious to Americans now that he is right than ever. Large trade deficits have been a problem for a long time, but the tech bubble and then the housing bubble hid the damage. Now there’s no hiding it.

    – Rubio’s closing story about the old man with the yard sign was widely-mocked on Twitter. E.g.,

    – I added more Trump general election shares on PredictIt at 33 cents. I’m not sure it will go significantly lower between now and the election. I also bailed out of Bernie winning the NC primary. This is pretty interesting, because these shares expire like options do, but their time value doesn’t decay as fast. Which means the PredictIt market isn’t as efficient as securities markets.

    Dave Pinsen

    March 11, 2016 at 4:30 am

  11. Those Virgin Island folks are teases.


    March 11, 2016 at 5:37 am

  12. I think this debate was the beginning of the pivot that Trump is making to appear more Presidential. That’s something a lot of supporters have been waiting for and he finally did it last night. If he keeps this up, his antics will slowly be forgotten and his “ceiling” will go up again.

    Mike Street Station

    March 11, 2016 at 6:32 am

  13. A tweet: “And finally a sort-of hostile question, about violence at Trump’s rally. Trump wisely says he doesn’t condone it.”

    I wonder when Hillary!! will be questioned about the rather severe violence among her supporters? But BLM is no doubt different. Asking about violence at her rallies is sort of pointless since nobody’s there except a thin line of freezing journalists reading from their pre-provided list of questions.


    March 11, 2016 at 6:41 am

  14. If Trump is going to do the whole “presidential” thing, he’s going to have to learn some policy. Otherwise, he’s just another boring politician, except he’s one that doesn’t know anything. I’m dreading watching him debate Hillary Clinton on policy. Say what you want about her, she’s sharp and knows what she’s talking about. If he makes the campaign about her being evil and her husband being a rapist he may have a better chance.


    March 11, 2016 at 9:22 am

    • “If Trump is going to do the whole “presidential” thing, he’s going to have to learn some policy.”

      Policy, schmolicy. Policy is for dweebs. Real leaders lead. Real leaders recognize fundamental problems — like rampant immigration and horrible trade imbalances and pointless wars. And then they fix them. Ineffective midgets spend their days arguing whether a 2% change in the capital gains tax rate would bring in 4% more revenue. Who f’in cares?

      America is in existential crisis. We are quite literally facing the demise of the nation we used to know. And you want some wonk dribbling on about policy? No thanks. We need a man with cojones who’s going to face down the four or five apocalyptic issues facing the nation, and who will squash the ankle biting midgets who are going to try to stop him because it threatens their gimmedats.


      March 11, 2016 at 10:02 am

    • Geez man, did you listen to the first hour of the debate? Trade, immigration, immigration, trade. The entire political discourse in this country is centered around the issues Trump brought front and center. With each of the Republican candidates all trying to out-Trump Trump’s positions on the issues.

      The media has to talk about Islam now. About H1B’s. About mexican rapists. About de-industrialization of America. About a dozen other things the media would otherwise be burying.

      Trump did that. No one else.

      Andrew E.

      March 11, 2016 at 10:48 am

  15. Lion, do you have any predictit promo codes to share? Thanks.


    March 11, 2016 at 9:55 am

  16. “Trump is the only candidate to say he’s not going to change Social Security, which is a very astute answer. Social Security is said to be the third rail of politics, and the other candidates are stupid enough to risk electrocuting themselves. Trump’s answer will serve him well against Hillary.”

    Republicans really have their hands tied behind their back when trying to critique Trump’s policy positions. Trump’s huge tax cuts will balloon the deficit, but all the other Republican candidates tax plans are almost as bad. Rubio tried to say Trump’s numbers don’t add up, but the numbers don’t add up in Rubio’s tax and budget plans either.

    Trump has the biggest tax cut plan and given those tax cuts one of three things will happen:

    1) Massive defense cuts
    2) Massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare
    3) National debt will explode.

    Reagan and Bush let the national debt explode to pay for their tax cuts. Republicans are definitely not cutting defense spending. The majority of people receiving SS and Medicare vote Republican. My guess is we would be once again be hearing how Republican deficit don’t matter because they will boost economic growth and the economy will just grow its way out of the deficit. Same old magical thinking.


    March 11, 2016 at 10:02 am

    • But that’s one of Trump’s policy papers that he didn’t write himself and may not even know what’s in there. Anyway, Congress makes changes to the tax code and not the president. The President can only cajole, and as far as we can tell, Trump will focus on cajoling Congress into his immigration proposals, which is is signature issue.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 11, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    • Karl Denninger has looked at the numbers. Ending the medical monopolies via Trump’s health care plan (points 5 and 7) will result in an annual budget surplus of $350 billion without cutting any benefits or taking anyone off the rolls. (Look at the numbers before blithely dismissing)

      Andrew E.

      March 11, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      • I did read the linked article. It is technically not impossible to cut the per person health care spending in the US by 50% and provide better health care at the same time. Many other countries are already providing better health care and longer life expectancy than the USA while spending half as much per person. The thing is that doctors and nurses in those countries are paid a lot less than doctors and nurses in the USA. Drug companies charge a lot less for drugs in those countries. To bring healthcare prices down to that level, you will have to significantly cut doctors and nurses pay.

        The easiest way to cut doctors and nurses pay is simple supply and demand. Increase the supply of doctors and nurses and make them compete on price. Why has that never happened? Most medical and nursing schools are at state universities and doctors bribe the state legislatures to keep medical school enrollment low so there is not an oversupply.

        The free market supply, demand pricing restraints are totally broken in health care. Doctors, nurses, hospitals and drug companies have an enormous vest interested in making sure they stay broken. When Democrats in Congress were crafting AHCA, they decided not to address that problem because they thought the hell-fire of lobbying money from the health care industry would sink it.

        Republican in Congress have shown zero interest in taking on the health care industrial complex and forcing market reforms in the health care. I don’t see how Trump could ever do anything about this. This is really just welfare for some upper middle class families. While it is easy to demigod welfare for lazy poor people, it is really hard to do the same thing for hard working doctors and nurses.


        March 11, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      • The doctors and surgeons at the Oklahoma Surgery Center seem to be doing just fine while charging a fraction of the cost as any other hospital in the US.

        Drugs are so much cheaper outside the US because we’re stuck paying for all the R&D. America subsidizes the social health care systems of all other countries through our higher prices.

        Andrew E.

        March 11, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      • @ mikeca –

        Comparing health care in homogeneous first world countries to health care in the U.S. is not an apples to apples comparison. European countries have much smaller minority populations than the U.S., and we know that some minority populations experience greater lifetime morbidity and lower life expectancy than the white American population. The left trots out discrimination and poverty to explain this phenomenon, but genetics and personal behavior are at least as likely factors. People in Western Europe also tend to walk more/drive less and eat less processed food than most Americans. There are also differences across countries in definitions of terms that affect health statistics. For instance, Western European countries under-report live births of fragile infants, but the U.S.applies the stricter WHO definition of live birth. Thus, European infant mortality rates look artificially favorable. And again, any such statistics for the U.S. that are not split out by race would tend to make the U.S. look worse.

        Fixating on physician pay to the exclusion of other parts of the health care system will not solve the American health care problem. From figure 24 of the Kaiser Foundation’s primer on Medicare spending (based on CBO data), direct payments to physicians represented only 12% of Medicare spending in 2014. 11% of the total was spent on prescription drugs. Payments to hospitals for inpatient services represented 23% of spending, and payments to hospitals for outpatient services represented 7% of spending. Some component of spending on Medicare Advantage (managed care) and what Kaiser lumps into “other services” would also go to physicians, but a much greater share would go to hospitals and other health care facilities such as ambulatory care centers. Many of the ambulatory centers are corporate-owned, though some are physician-owned in part or in full.


        March 12, 2016 at 3:42 pm

  17. Trump gave the correct answer this time on H-1B and H-2B visas. That he took advantage of the laws to make money, but they are bad for American workers.
    I don’t understand the criticism of Trump for exploiting legal immigration. If the government gives you a way to make more money you’re an idiot for not using it.

    Trump talked a lot about jobs, which is a key selling point for American voters.
    He needs to push the immigration-jobs/wages like HARD. It would help bring out more Trump Democrats, and maximize the non-White vote. He needs another meeting with Sessions.

    Related. NumbersUSA ran an ad during the 2nd half of the debate, which highlighted the need to cut legal immigration. They played a clip of Barbara Jordan, a former Democrat Clinton hired to study immigration in the early 90s. She recommended a 1/3 cut in legal immigration. Based on the numbers at the time we’d have to drop immigration from ~11.6m/yr currently, to ~5.8m today.


    March 11, 2016 at 11:04 am

  18. Michael Brendan Doughtery says he’s almost convinced that none of these four will be the Nominee come November. Any thoughts?


    March 11, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    • Bitter grousing, nothing more. The anti-Trumpers can’t do much else now.

      You ought to check out Ross Douthat’s twitter feed this morning. He’s like that drunk guy at the bar-corner after his team lost.


      March 11, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      • Ross Douthat

        He’s employed by the NY Times as their “house conservative”. He wants to keep getting paid otherwise he’s blogging and asking for paypal donations.


        March 11, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: