Election 2016

8 WTF Moments from Last Night's Republican Debate

Tune into SiriusXM Channel 121 at 12 ET to hear more with Matt Welch, Gavin McInnes and Liz Mair

|

As Robby Soave noted in the wee small hours, last night's GOP was a hot mess without the presence of libertarianish candidate Rand Paul (whose decision to skip the kids' table may have been one of the better strategic moves of yesterday). There are many gruesome moments in the transcript; my colleagues have already identified nonsense-sandwiches on military intervention, government spending, the Iran hostage crisis and gun control.

Here are eight other WTF moments to make you shudder for your country. I'll be discussing them today on SiriusXM Insight (channel 121) at noon, when I host the Insight Hour, with guests Gavin McInnes and Liz Mair. Please call in at 877-974-7487 to join the conversation:

CHRIS CRISTIE: And [President Obama] allows states to go ahead and do whatever they want on a substance that's illegal. This president allows lawlessness throughout this country. Here's what I would do Neil, I would appoint an Attorney General and I would have one very brief conversation with that Attorney General. I'd say, "General, enforce the law against everyone justly, fairly, and aggressively. Make our streets safe again. Make our police officers proud of what they do but more important than that, let them know how proud we are of them."

Reality check: The Drug Enforcement Agency has about 5,000 agents. Enforcing federal drug laws in states that have legalized recreational marijuana would require many more times that number. Federal law enforcement requires (better) discretion.

BEN CARSON: You know, you go to the internet, you start reading an article and you go to the comments section—you cannot go five comments down before people are calling each all manner of names. Where did that spirit come from in America? It did not come from our Judeo-Christian roots, I can tell you that. 

Note: Ben Carson cannot stop comparing America to Nazi Germany.

JEB! BUSH: In the crowd today is Major General James Livingston, who's the co-chairman of my campaign here in South Carolina, a Medal of Honor recipient. I've learned from him that what we need to achieve is peace through strength, which means we need to rebuild the military.

Not only did Bush hat-tip his Lenny Skutnik right at the top, he made it sound like "peace through strength" was some kind of novel concept.

JOHN KASICH: Well, let me—let me first of all talk a little bit about my experience. I served on the Defense Committee for 18 years, and by the way, one of the members of that committee was Senator Strom Thurmond from South Carolina. Let me also tell you…that after the 9/11 attacks, Secretary Rumsfeld invited me to the Pentagon with a meeting of the former secretaries of Defense. And in that meeting, I suggested we had a problem with technology, and that I wanted to take people from Silicon Valley into the Pentagon to solve our most significant problems. So I not only had the opportunity to go through the Cold War struggles in Central America, and even after 9/11 to be involved.

Note: This was in response to a question about Iran.

DONALD TRUMP: That could be the great Trojan Horse. It could be people that are going to do great, great destruction. When I look at the migration, I looked at the line, I said it actually on your show recently, where are the women? It looked like very few women. Very few children. Strong, powerful men, young and people are looking at that and they're saying what's going on?

Note: The majority of Syrian refugees to the United States are not, and almost certainly will continue to not be, military-aged males.

MARCO RUBIO: Let me tell you, if we don't get this election right, there may be no turning back for America. We're on the verge of being the first generation of Americans that leave our children worse off than ourselves.

That old saw again?

TED CRUZ: I think what we need is a commander in chief who is focused like a laser on keeping this country safe and on defeating radical Islamic terrorism. What should we do? First, we should pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act, legislation I've introduced that says if an American goes and joins ISIS and wages jihad against America, that you forfeit your citizenship and you can not come in on a passport.

Even if that wasn't a terrible idea, surely that should not come "first" in your anti-ISIS strategy.

And since Donald Trump was so marvelously incoherent about trade and China, I'll leave you with this word-salad:

DONALD TRUMP: Now, on that tariff—here's what I'm saying, China—they send their goods and we don't tax it—they do whatever they want to do. They do whatever what they do, OK. When we do business with China, they tax us. You don't know it, they tax us.

I have many friends that deal with China. They can't—when they order the product and when they finally get the product it is taxed. If you looking at what happened with Boeing and if you look at what happened with so many companies that deal—so we don't have an equal playing field. I'm saying, absolutely, we don't have to continue to lose 505 billion dollars as a trade deficit for the privilege of dealing with China.

I'm a free trader. I believe in it but we have to be smart and we have to use smart people to negotiate. I have the largest bank in the world as a tenant of mine. I sell tens' of millions of (inaudible). I love China. I love the Chinese people but they laugh themselves, they can't believe how stupid the American leadership is.

CAVUTO: So you're open to a tariff?

TRUMP: I'm totally open to a tariff. If they don't treat us fairly, hey, their whole trade is tariffed. You can't deal in China without tariffs. They do it to us, we don't it. It's not fair trade. […]

CAVUTO: [Bush] is right. If you put a tariff on a good, it's Americans who pay.

BUSH: Absolutely.

TRUMP: You looking at me?

BUSH: Yeah.

BARTIROMO: Prices go higher for…

TRUMP: Can I tell you what? It will never happen because they'll let their currency go up. They're never going to let it happen. Japan, the same thing. They are devaluing—it's so impossible for—you look at Caterpillar Tractor and what's happening with Caterpillar and Kamatsu (ph). Kamatsu (ph) is a tractor company in Japan. Friends of mine are ordering Kamatsu (ph) tractors now because they've de-valued the yen to such an extent that you can't buy a Caterpillar tractor. And we're letting them get away with it and we can't let them get away with it. 

And that's why we have to use Carl (ph) and we have to use our great businesspeople and not political hacks to negotiate with these guys.

NEXT: Do the Candidates Even Realize We Just Passed New Cybersurveillance Laws?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Prediction: McInnes drinks his lunch and insults the other guest’s sensibilities.

    1. When has that not happened, Nosterdumass?

  2. This president allows lawlessness throughout this country. Here’s what I would do Neil, I would appoint an Attorney General and I would have one very brief conversation with that Attorney General. I’d say, “General, enforce the law against everyone justly, fairly, and aggressively. Make our streets safe again. Make our police officers proud of what they do but more important than that, let them know how proud we are of them.”

    Tulpa just jizzed in his pants.

    1. I looked up to check who said that, and I knew it was going to be Christie. Reading that, all I could think of was the GW bridge shutdown. Maybe the problem is that you only have one conversation, in which you give your underlings vague orders to do whatever they think necessary to git er done.

      1. give your underlings vague orders

        “Alright everyone, I’m going to make this quick. Punish my enemies! Now get back to work!”

  3. You know, you go to the internet, you start reading an article and you go to the comments section — you cannot go five comments down before people are calling each all manner of names.

    Who do I go after first? Who?

    1. Too soon; yours is the fourth comment.

      1. Ah shit. I RTFA too late.

        1. YOU FUCKING RETARD!!!!

    2. You’re all the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked.

      1. Awwww…thanks. Group hug!

    3. Mr. Welch doesn’t even deny Dr. Carson’s point, he simply does a tu quoque – “yeah, well, you said the U.S. is like Nazi Germany.”

      True, but some Internet commenters can still be nasty and in violation of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

      1. The Judeo-Christian tradition is filled with all sorts of nastiness, so the idea that saying mean things in an internet comment section is out of line with Judeo-Christian culture is a complete joke.

        1. It is true that a lot of controversial theological literature sounds like an angry dude on an Internet comment board.

          Though I’ve actually met plenty of Christians who *don’t* call people what people get called on Internet comment boards.

          And I doubt any of the candidates, no, not even Rand, will get up and tell Carson, “there’s plenty of insult and abuse in the Judeo-Christian tradition, you God-bothering weirdo, so take your Sky-Daddy nonsense elsewhere!”

      2. Really? Shocked, I am.

      3. I think Matt’s point is why the fuck is a presidential candidate using national airtime to talk about internet comments instead of, for example, anything that a president can actually do something about.

      4. I ate pork at lunch today, Eddie. Does that help with your feelings of oppreshunz?

        1. While you were eating lunch, I was having…lunch…with yo mama.

          1. That must have been some sort of seance thingy, since she’s been dead for a number of years. I didn’t think you were allowed to do that.

            1. It did go poorly for King Saul.

              1. Yeah, but you’re talking necromancy, and Eddie’s talking necro-romancy.

                1. [golf clap]

                2. [Slow clap, gradually enveloping the entire crowd and growing into thunderous standing ovation]

  4. Let me tell you, if we don’t get this election right, there may be no turning back for America.

    As we slide deeper into debt, there will be a point of no return. But really if they don’t get this election right, there may be no turning back for the Republican brand.

  5. Is this why the DOW is down almost 400?

  6. It seems clear to me that Republicans have become the Party of the Security State, and Democrats have become the Party of the Social Security State.

    1. They are the two halves of the Welfare-Warfare State.

  7. There is no trade deficit, China buy IOUs with their excess dollars and thanks to that domestic interest rates are lower.

      1. I believe the preferred term is now monetary mindful momentum shift.

  8. This is going to be a really, really long ten months.

    1. It will be like a Jackass marathon that you can’t turn off.

      1. Hugh, I’d take that in a second over all the political theater we’re going to have to endure.

        Also, I support the Steve-O and Pontius Nude Clown Party. Wild Boyz!

        1. Watching Trump push Christie off a roof in a shopping cart would be something I’d pay a significant sum to see.

      2. The Reason moderators could elect to block Jackass.

    2. Don’t candidates usually tack to the center after getting the nomination? I don’t see Bernie or Trump doing that. I think this will be the most entertaining general campaign in my lifetime. Which means it’s still going to be a really, really long ten months.

      1. …and some centrists, I assume, are good people.

  9. It will never happen because they’ll let their currency go up.

    I wish someone had explicitly pointed out that Trump’s argument is, “We won’t have to actually slap tariffs on things, because I’ll get China to raise prices via a different mechanism instead.”

    1. Negotiation, Nikki. Once you look into those eyes, you are his.

      1. If stare long into The Donald, The Donald also stares into you.

        1. Longingly. One cannot stare at The Donald without staring longingly.

          1. There is a big difference between staring at and staring into the Donald.

            Staring into the Donald is an eternity…

  10. “Friends of mine are ordering Kamatsu (ph) tractors now because they’ve de-valued the yen to such an extent that you can’t buy a Caterpillar tractor.”

    Since Komatsu has production facilities in the USA (TN, SC, and IL), I’m doubtful that the devaluation of the Yen has a significant impact here.

    1. Early on I thought Trump would be a fun side show, now I hate him the most. (Looks at Christie) Well almost the most.

      1. I live in Jersey. I hate Christie more than you do.

        1. A friend of mine from Jersey is deeply torn between wanting Christie to get the nom so that his record can be eviscerated in front of the nation and not wanting another Clinton presidency.

          1. I don’t want him to get the nom. I want him to lose out in a brokered convention, so he’s away from the Governor’s office for as long as humanly possible.

    2. Trump’s obsession with Japan is incredibly emotional and goes back to before I was born. Their economy has been stagnant for most of my life, their automotive headquarters are a few miles from where I work (or were before Texas talked them into moving there) and he still froths at the mouth any time China comes up and then immediately pivots it over to complain about Japan.

      It’s really disconcerting. I’ve been waiting 30 years for a Blade Runner Los Angeles and all I have is a sad Little Tokyo mostly run by Koreans.

      1. The Toyota Camry is the #1 car manufactured in America. More Camrys are built in this country than any car by Ford or GM.

        Clearly what we need is a trade war with Japan.

        1. I need to go digging through my PJ O’Rourke books. I seem to recall him having a thing about Trump’s freakout on China, then reprints an editorial he wrote in the ’80s on Japan which is almost verbatim identical, and points out that Japan’s economy imploded because of their currency manipulations within a few years of Trump’s editorial. His foaming on China and Japan last night was pretty much identical to his ranting in the ’80s.

        2. Reminds of that Ford union leader who complained that Ford wasn’t hiring more union employees because Ford was losing sales to Volvo.

          Volvo was owned by Ford at the time.

          (I just looked up who owns Volvo to see if Ford still owned them? they’re owned by Geely now?!?!?!)

          1. Volvo has been passed around so many times in the past decade, it’s like the village bicycle. Or Tonio’s mom.

          2. And they have a factory in China now! And they’re importing cars here from China!

  11. I’ve learned from him that what we need to achieve is peace through strength, which means we need to rebuild the military.

    ” We need to go from the most powerful, to mostest most powerful!”

    1. “Rebuild” as in “spend even more money”.

      1. They’re upset military spending is down to more than the next 7 largest military budgets? from more than the next 11 military budgets.

    2. Your handle is apropos.

  12. Note: The majority of Syrian refugees to the United States are not, and almost certainly will continue to not be, military-aged males.

    Your faith is touching.

    1. Well, the ones already past military age aren’t going to get any younger.

  13. “BEN CARSON: You know, you go to the internet, you start reading an article and you go to the comments section — you cannot go five comments down before people are calling each all manner of names. Where did that spirit come from in America? It did not come from our Judeo-Christian roots, I can tell you that.”

    LOL

    1. It should never be forgotten that Ben Carson has directly insulted our way of life.

      1. And you’re a homo so he’s none too fond of you. It’s like every aspect of your degenerate lifestyle is under attack by Carson.

        1. Well once he’s President and he brings us back to our Enlightenment Judeo Christian roots I’ll simply disappear in a puff of smoke and America can continue on it’s merry way. I mean you all will as well because you’re internet commenters, and probably eat shrimp and wear fabrics woven of mixed fibers, but I’ll probably go first.

          1. If by “disappear in a puff of smoke” you mean “die choking on your own vomit after seeing a live vagina for the first time.”

            1. That’s silly talk. I’ve seen plenty of vaginas IRL. I’m not jonesing to stick my dick in one because of the teeth and all, but it’s more a disinterest than a gross out about them.

              1. [golf clap] Well played, both of you.

              2. So you’re saying you would never stick your dick into an orifice with teeth?

                1. Damn, Aunty, you’re on a roll today.

                2. Why do you think I passed Florida Man a meth pipe, ant?

          2. but I’ll probably go first.

            They’ll have to pry you from my sticky lubed hands!

            1. Awww, this is why you’re my favorite.

              *passes meth pipe*

              1. *takes pipe*
                I’ll try a little, but I don’t want to get hooked…*snicker*

                1. Take Jesse on a “python hunt” FM.

                  1. I’m going next weekend.

          3. No, it’s clear that praying the gay away doesn’t work because it’s genetic and/or epigenetic, so he’ll call for a moonshot to use CRISPR to cure the gay.

            1. EPI-genetic?

              1. The 2nd worst kind of genetic; next to nikkigenetic.

    2. The full context of the Carson quote:

      BARTIROMO: [retarded Bill/Hillary question]

      CARSON: Well, there’s not question that we should be able to look at past president whether they’re married to somebody who’s running for president or not in terms of their past behavior and what it means. But you know, here’s the real issue, is this America anymore? Do we still have standards? Do we still have values and principles?

      You know, you look at what’s going on, you see all the divisiveness and the hatred that goes on in our society. You know, we have a war on virtual everything — race wars, gender wars, income wars, religious wars, age wars. Every war you can imaging, we have people at each other’s throat and our strength is actually in our unity.

      You know, you go to the internet, you start reading an article and you go to the comments section — you cannot go five comments down before people are calling each all manner of names. Where did that spirit come from in America? It did not come from our Judeo-Christian roots, I can tell you that. And wherever it came from we need to start once again recognizing that there is such a thing as right and wrong. And let’s not let the secular progressives drive that out of us.

      The majority of people in American actually have values and principles and they believe in the very things that made America great. They’ve been beaten into submission. It’s time for us to stand up for what we believe in.

      (APPLAUSE)

      1. So, what he said is either meaningless pablum, or else he’s a fascist.

          1. Being an authoritarian is not synonymous with being a fascist.

            Although, to refer to my own previously espoused definition, he doesn’t have any brownshirts. But his rhetoric if taken to have deeper meaning is basically straight out of the “third way” playbook.

          2. Facists are known for decisiveness; Carson, not so much.

    3. Judeo-Christians have always been chummy with one another. Especially the Jews and the Christians.

      1. The First Crusaders, Spanish Inquisition and Martin Luther endorse this message.

  14. “Reality check: The Drug Enforcement Agency has about 5,000 agents. Enforcing federal drug laws in states that have legalized recreational marijuana would require many more times that number. Federal law enforcement requires (better) discretion.”

    I yearn for a world where the United States has 0 DEA agents. A girl can dream.

    1. Irish…are you female?

  15. “First, we should pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act, legislation I’ve introduced that says if an American goes and joins ISIS and wages jihad against America, that you forfeit your citizenship and you can not come in on a passport.”

    I’m not seeing how this is a terrible idea.

    1. If laws were passed in clear day light and plain English and narrowly tailored, not the worst thing. Unfortunately it will be part of the “Ted Cruz awesome omnibus happy fun time bill” that will make you poorer and less free.

      1. Well yeah I am against all of these omnibus bill shenanigans.

    2. I don’t know the details of the legislation, but is there anything even remotely resembling a trial? Or is this more of a “no-fly list” sort of thing, which is to say, innocent people who happen to travel to the ME will suddenly become nonpersons and eligible for droning?

      1. I would think that taking up arms against the US was prima facie evidence enough to revoke citizenship.

        1. …and where’s the part where they have to prove someone took up arms against the US?

        2. What he is saying is, what is the burden of proof? Do you get a trial? An appeal?

        3. And how do you prove when that has happened? What sorts of checks are there on the power to determine who suddenly loses all Constitutional protections? What does it even mean to “join ISIS”?

          And let’s not forget the terrible precedent this sets. How long do you think it will take for someone on the left to make a concerted argument that NRA members should lose citizenship?

          1. ^This. The more you empower government, the worse things get.

          2. I agree that the precedent could be abused.

            Of course there ought to be some due process considerations. What due process would be sufficient for you?

            1. As already said, a trial. And still no need to strip someone of their citizenship.

              1. What if the accused traitor doesn’t show up because he is in a foreign land shooting at US soldiers?

                1. See below.

                2. That one sorts itself out.

    3. I’m not seeing how this is a terrible idea.

      A lack of omniscience might hinder the ability to assess the hypothesis in order to effect the conclusion.

      1. Are you saying that because the state would not be *certain* if a particular individual is taking up arms against the US, that this bill is a bad idea?

        If the lack of certainty is an issue, what level of certainty would be enough in your view?

        1. Reasonable doubt as judge by a jury of one’s peers, while far from perfect, seems to have worked fairly well for a few centuries.

        2. Are you saying that because the state would not be *certain* if a particular individual is taking up arms against the US, that this bill is a bad idea?

          That would be a literal reading of what I wrote.

          If the lack of certainty is an issue, what level of certainty would be enough in your view?

          A conviction for treason, which is a mechanism already available to the state.

          1. While the accused traitor is awaiting trial that he will likely never show up to, would you do anything to restrict this person’s ability to enter the US lawfully?

            1. While the accused traitor is awaiting trial that he will likely never show up to, would you do anything to restrict this person’s ability to enter the US lawfully?

              Why would you stop him?

              Have the Marshals arrest him and take him to court.

              You do realize that this is how the law works already, right?

              1. “Why would you stop him?”

                Because you don’t want him lawfully entering the country and blowing up a school bus full of children before the Marshals have had a chance to grab him.

                I guess my other big problem with all of this is that it applies US law to activities in foreign lands.

                After all, if I, a US citizen, decided to quit my job and go join ISIS and blow up Syrians in Syria, what US laws have I broken? What crime could I be charged with here? And if I couldn’t be charged with violating any US law, but nevertheless am still clearly working on behalf of ISIS, should I be allowed to lawfully return to the US?

                  1. I did not think Libertarians were too keen on the Patriot Act.

                    1. On the whole, no. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t parts that make sense. And regardless, it is the law as of now, so every hypothetical you have brought up can be handled without anything new.

                    2. Well I appreciate the constructive discussion.

                    3. Judeo-Christian values FTW!

                1. Passport revocation only matters if there’s some way to validate the passport, and if the passport can be validated then it can be flagged just as well.

                  There’s no way to get from point A (pledging allegiance to ISIS in some foreign country) to point B (blowing up children in school buses on US soil) which would simultaneously be beyond the prying eyes of law enforcement and yet materially impeded by the revocation of a passport.

                2. I guess my other big problem with all of this is that it applies US law to activities in foreign lands.

                  Treason is by definition a US citizen committing acts of war against the United States. It would not make any sense to say it only applies to actions committed on US soil.

                  1. You could join Isis and not take up arms against the U.S., in which case treason is not applicable.

      1. Witty!

        Perhaps you might be willing to explain why people who take up arms against the US deserve US citizenship?

        1. If they have taken up arms against the United States, then you can try them in a court of law for treason.

          1. Okay, and what if the accused traitor doesn’t show up, because he is in a foreign land shooting at US Army soldiers?

            1. Then you hold the trial in absentia. It doesn’t warm the cockles of my heart, but it is established precedent.

            2. Someone actually shooting at US army soldiers can pretty clearly be killed regardless of their citizenship status, much like someone shooting at the cops or innocent civilians can justly be shot dead.

              1. But here is the other problem. This accused traitor would presumably also have a valid US passport. Would you place any restrictions on this person’s passport so that he couldn’t, say, come in to this country and commit acts of terror?

                1. Sure, an arrest warrant.

                  1. What if this person hasn’t broken any US laws but is still working on behalf of ISIS nonetheless?

                    1. Maybe this hypothetical person is only providing immaterial support. EVER THINK OF THAT, SMARTYPANTS?!

                    2. We must crack down on terrorist cheerleaders.

        2. Never before have natural born citizens been able to lose their citizenship against their will. I hardly see any reason to start doing so over ISIS, which is orders of magnitude less of a threat that others that the US has faced in just the past 100 years.

          So much of the response to ISIS is blown out of proportion. Bars of soap are probably more dangerous to the average American.

        3. You didn’t even make an argument for it, you’re just asking everyone else to argue against it.

          “Fuck off” is the only correct response.

          1. You’re right I didn’t make an argument for it, because I am mostly interested in what others think are the problems with this idea.

            Others have been more cordial and actually discussed manners in which this idea has been problematic and I appreciate the constructive discussion. Perhaps what is obvious to you is not obvious to everyone else.

    4. “if an American goes and joins ISIS and wages jihad against America, that you forfeit your citizenship and you can not come in on a passport.”

      Oh, I’d let an American ISIS supporter come in, all right – to stand trial. I wouldn’t even insist on a passport, I’d offer them an escort to bring them in passport-free!

      Then I’d give them a trial by jury, with all the constitutional safeguards, and if they were convicted, I’d have them sent to prison or the gallows if necessary.

      But I think what Cruz means is that he would yank the citizenship of expatriates based on an administrative ruling rather than a jury trial.

      That’s too lenient on the guilty, too harsh on the innocent.

      1. ^^This

      2. I think you could probably find a better crime than treason to charge them with, but otherwise yeah.

        1. Treason, terrorism, war crimes, whatever fits.

    5. I’m not seeing how this is a terrible idea.

      Legislation the literally affects tens of people who are already breaking numerous laws is always a great idea…

      Wait, no it isn’t. The number of other stupid things that get tacked on will just be another bite of the freedom apple, and they’re already to the point of eating the seeds.

    6. I didn’t hear anything about “juries” there, so strike one. Do you really trust the government not to just strip problematic people of their citizenship using whatever bullshit excuse they can muster?

  16. Rand Paul got his first clear debate win, by not being there. More time for the other guys to sound stupid.

  17. Didn’t Dr. Carson say he would put his mother in charge of the US Treasury, to cut spending? I don’t think he knows how this works.

    1. Cuz women be shoppin’?

  18. Well, I’m happy that they didn’t add Rubio’s moment in the sun as one of the worst moments.

  19. “Mr. Bush and Mr. Rubio, I’m going to list the other nations in the world in order of military spending. Please stop me when I reach the one at which you think the U.S. should spend less on its military than all the names I have mentioned combined. China…Saudi Arabia…Russia…United Kingdom…France…Japan…India…Germany…South Korea…”

    *2 hours later*

    “…The Shire…Transylvania…Alderaan…Mr. Bush, are you still awake? Mr. Rubio? Oh, okay. Rapture…Flatland…The Vatican…”

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.