Pedro Portal/The Miami Herald via AP
Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, from left, Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich stand up for the national anthem during a presidential debate.

Rubio’s Last Stand: GOP Debate XII

Steve Russell
3/11/16

Jeb! Bush was the first choice of the Republican establishment, and he’s gone. Marco Rubio was the second, and last night was probably his swan song.

On the Democratic side, the self-appointed avatar of the younger generation was Martin O’Malley, but the younger generation did not get the memo and lined up behind Bernie Sanders. Rubio anointed himself likewise, but most of the generation he claims to represent backs Donald J. Trump.

Rubio never justified his status in any way beyond his age. Until the kids burdened by student loan debt bleed for the tax load of hedge fund managers, they don’t have a whole lot of incentive to line up behind him. And what of his fondness for war? Does he expect the kids to like it because they won’t be drafted?

Rubio had become the answer to the trivia question, “What candidate ran for president without a base and expected one to just form up?”

From the opening statements, it was clear that the candidates had studied polling on the last two debates. Most people thought those were too rowdy for a bar fight.

John Kasich and Marco Rubio were upbeat and hopeful. Cruz doesn’t want Washington standing in the way of the taxpayers. Trump said we are going to beat Hillary behind him.

The first round of questions was about trade agreements. Nobody liked the bad ones or was against the good ones. The difference was elusive.

Kasich pointed out that one in five American jobs is connected to trade. He likes the agreements except that they turn enforcement against cheaters over to “international bureaucrats.” He wants to expedite the process against cheaters and presumably turn them over to national bureaucrats.

Trump said that he has exploited the system, having Trump brand products outsourced and hiring aliens, and it takes a thief to catch one.

Cruz, in addition to the good deals/bad deals argument, wants to tax imports but not exports. The audience hooted in approval, plainly not understanding we can’t do that unless we trash the treaties. That’s called “starting a trade war.”

Much later, in another part of the debate, Trump once more came out for tariffs (calling them taxes) that would be unlawful.

Cruz called out Trump for threatening a trade war, but never accounted for his own plan in the same terms. He claimed that Trump’s tariff would raise prices for U.S. consumers. Trump replied that it would force other countries to move manufacturing here.

Both were living in a world where multilateral trade agreements do not exist. Neverland, perhaps?

Rubio went into the weeds and pointed out a loophole in the guest worker visa program he wanted to close. He accused Walt Disney of subcontracting business to another company that hired aliens rather than available Americans, which would be illegal if Disney did it. What he did not explain is why the contractor does not have to follow the law?

Trump has been calling Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” for a few weeks now, and tonight gave me some sympathy for that position, flippant as Trump makes it sound. In the competition to show the most aggression towards undocumented workers, Cruz wanted to end “sanctuary cities” by two means.

(1) Cut off all federal funds to “cities that defy immigration law.”

(2) End welfare for “illegals.”

The crowd loved it, apparently not realizing that cities are not required to enforce immigration laws and undocumented persons are not eligible for welfare.

Trump was asked to state his objection to Common Core education standards. His objection seemed to be that Washington is involved.

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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
As more and more people are kicked off the Repuglican clown car the remaining punchinellos are becoming more and more agitated. I'm really enjoying watching the Greedy Old Pigs squirm as the creature they've created unmasks the xenophobia and fear-mongering that has driven the party this far. Why can't debates automatically include fact-checkers that would immediately call out candidates on the ridiculous bullshit they're spewing? There is an old joke (How do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.) that is apparently no longer evident as ALL politicians have no qualms about boldfaced lies. Trump even called out the media to fact check lies he was telling about his airline, his steak sales, his water company, his winery, but not a single moderator, newspaper or magazine (or dumbstruck audience member) bothered to check. It's become even more obvious to me that this country has too many uneducated, Conservative, heavily-armed, fundamentally religious morons running amuck!
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