Free Minds & Free Markets

The 3 Best and Worst Moments of Last Night's GOP Debate

After the circus in Colorado, did Fox Business deliver a debate of ideas?

After the chaos of October’s CNBC debate, the newly culled Republican field met last night in Milwaukee to focus on ideas. But were the Fox Business moderators able to get straight answers from the candidates on important issues?

Reason TV sucked out the hot air and drilled down to the substance. Watch the video above for The 3 Best and Worst Moments of the Fourth GOP Debate.

Third Best Moment: America Shouldn’t Police the World

Rand Paul finally came out of his debate hibernation to cast a shadow on the GOP’s war hawk faction. The Kentucky senator countered Marco Rubio’s assertions that he is a “committed isolationist” by pointing out that it’s not very conservative to increase government spending on the military, as Rubio wants. True isolationism, according to the Senator, comes from the other candidates’ threats to cut off dialogue with Russia, Iran, or other perceived enemies, a step that Reagan did not take even during the height of the Cold War.

Third Worst Moment: More Bombs and Boots

Aside from Donald Trump, who paid lip service to limited foreign intervention mostly to needle Jeb Bush, the rest of the field launched a barrage of promises to keep the bombs flowing and the boots grounded, no matter the lives lost or the money spent. From creating no-fly zones in Iraq and Syria to arming every militia from Kurdistan to Ukraine, the ideas on parade offered no respite from the arrogance and fear tactics of the past two administrations.

Second Best Moment: Fewer, Simpler Taxes

The Republicans presented plans that generally simplify the tax code and reduce rates. While the extent and nature of the proposals varied, the candidates focused on the way the current complexity of the code favors wealthy, politically connected organizations—which are uniquely able to hire the army of lawyers necessary to wade through it all, and to lobby Congress to insert favorable provisions.

Second Worst Moment: Immigrants Are Taking Our Jobs

Unfortunately, that bit of sanity was balanced out by a fresh round of crazy about immigrants. After Donald Trump’s usual wall schtick, Ted Cruz described immigration as an “economic calamity” for Americans, despite the evidence that immigration increases the standard of living for all. He even suggested that journalists don’t cover this calamity because they don’t face job insecurity or competition from foreign workers.

Best Moment: Big Government Creates Crony Capitalism

The best moment of the night came with the Republicans’ forceful arguments against crony capitalism and the growth in government that fuels it. Citing everything from Obamacare to Solyndra, the candidates pitched an end to government that picks winners and losers, systemically hurting the poor and the vulnerable while helping the rich and the well-connected.

Worst Moment: Leadership Means Abandoning All Reason

Finally, batting cleanup with the worst facepalm of the debate was Ohio governor John Kasich, whose vision of presidential leadership is to abandon all principle and reason during times of crisis. In response to everything from water crises to bank failures, Kasich believes that it is the job of the executive to do something in the heat of the moment, before rational reflection and the better part of human nature emerge to spoil the party. According to Kasich, “Philosophy doesn't work when you run something.”

What do you think were the best and worst moments of the debate? Tell us in the comments. Scroll down for downloadable links. And don’t forget to subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel for notifications when new material goes live.

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  • Suellington||

    The best part of the debate was not watching it and waiting for a reason recap of it this morning over coffee.

  • Loki||

    I was just about to post something similar. The best part for me was watching a couple episodes of Manhattan on the DVR instead.

  • MSimon||


  • ||

    You took the words right off my fingertips.

  • Thomas O.||

    "Reason TV sucked out the hot air..."

    I was wondering why Ed Morrissey was making those faces. :D

  • geo1113||

    One of the best moments came when Carly Fiorina explained how socialism starts (I would have used the term festered). Government creates a problem, then government comes in to fix the problem and makes it worse. She used the example of the housing bubble and how both Democrats and Republicans were to blame. The to fix the problem, we get Dodd-Frank which allowed big banks to get bigger, put many community banks out of business and created the Consumer Protection Bureau (not sure if I have the name correct) which rifles through our financial records looking for fraud.

  • MSimon||

    America shouldn't police the world?

    OK. Can we give the job back to the Brits? Perhaps the Chinese are interested. Russia for sure.

    The UN can send in peace keepers/rapists.

  • adampeart||

    U.S. as world police: Nearly thirty years of perpetual war with no intention of EVER ending. Bang up job! Well done! Your irrational fear relies on the notion that dear sweet America is void of corruption. So I say sure! Let the Chinese and Russians and Brits police the world! Then THEY can be the creators of their own enemies! We can use a break.

  • Chip Chipperson||

    That's called 'humanity'. There's been about ten thousand years of war, if you really want to count.

    The question is whether or not we're better off as the global power, or if we should allow an adversary nation to take our place as the global power.

  • SimonJester||

    Wait -- why do we need "World Police"?

    Or is this another one of those "sometimes bad people gotta die" arguments? Because that is, frankly, returded. No body needs to take on the so-called sacred duty of fighting other people's wars. 80% of human wisdom is minding one's own business. Two countries want to fight it out? Fine. Let 'em. Don't pick winners, don't pick losers, but DO pick customers.

    I'm with Adam. If the UK wants the job of World Police, they are welcome to have it. Same with the Chinese and Russians.

  • ||

    I don't trust cops,unless its me.

  • ||

    We don't have to put our nose under every tent,but when necessary we should bomb various malefactors into smithereens.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Worst moment:

    It took to the last question, but finally someone was asked about climate change. And Rand said this:

    “While I do think that man MAY have a role in our cli­mate, I think nature also has a role. The plan­et’s 4.5 bil­lion years old, we’ve been through geo­lo­gic age after geo­lo­gic age. We’ve had times when the tem­per­at­ure’s been warm­er, we’ve had times when the tem­per­at­ure’s been colder. We’ve had times when the car­bon in the at­mo­sphere’s been high­er. So, I think … we need to look be­fore we leap."

    What a poor understanding of science. According to science, man is the cause of the current temperature increase, and not natural variation. And look before leaping? That's all we have been doing, looking. No one is leaping. Everyone is moving cautiously, but at least finally moving.

    Maybe the entire GOP field including Rand needs to understand the world isn't waiting for them to wake up and smell the coffee. But they will be the first to complain that all the solutions offered only came from the left.

    Best moment:

    At least one question was asked on this important scientific issue.

  • SimonJester||

    I assume you are being sarcastic, but you seem do a good impression of a moron, so I'm not sure. My sarc-o-meter 3680 is at the shop, so I can't be certain...

  • Chocolate Starfish ( . )||

    "According to science, man is the cause..." -Jackand Ace
    Who told you that? You are ignorant.

    @SJ My sarc-o-meter is an older version, reads 0 sarcs.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Actually, SCIENCE told me that, tells Rand that, and even you that. Let's take just one example, the American Association for the Advancement is Science, the largest general science organization in the world, with over 100,000 members.

    "But we consider it to be our responsibility as professionals to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people understand what we know: human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes, and responding now will lower the risk and cost of taking action."

    Note the words human-caused. Every major science organization has said something similar.

    Don't be ignorant...Rand is willfully ignorant.

  • JFree||

    Golly. And it is complete coincidence that they are based in DC and lobby for $150 billion per year in federal 'R&D' funding that mostly goes to their already well-paid and tenured members. That's - ooh - $1.5 million in grants and consulting contracts and such per member.

    Not that they could possibly be swayed from their noble pursuit of science while sucking on the public teat.

  • Eye8apie||

    Nailed it.

  • Will4Freedom||

    You won't answer these questions, but...

    Has the earth been warmer in the past?
    Has the CO2 levels been higher in the past?
    Is there more diverse life in the tropics than the artic?
    Can a human live in the tropics without A/C?
    Can a human live in the arctic without heat?

    I'm not saying there is or is not man made global warming. I'm just saying giving our treasure and liberty to a "global governance" is not going to repair the planet or end well for the people not in the inner circle.

    If Liberals are so convinced that earths' temps will rise, melt all the ice and the seas will rise 50 feet, why are they in a frenzy to stop it? I know they believe the earth is overpopulated. Wouldn't they all just sell their low lying property to us stupid deniers and head for the hills… leaving the unwashed masses to die?

    But no. I saved my whole life in hopes of retiring to a beach front home, but in just about every beach community I look, rich liberals own all the homes and want a fortune for them.

    Ahhh…. Shovel ready jobs building a taxpayer funded levy around their beach homes.

  • Eye8apie||

    Five questions the the lap dog media will never ask.

  • DarrenM||

    Doing anything useful, assuming the worst case, would also require that a significant portion of government will suddenly become competent. Throwing money at an issue by government, event assuming we actually know what to throw the money at, is rarely a net benefit. It just ties it up and prevents it from going to more fruitful things we may not have even thought of yet. I guess I'm too much of an optimist.

  • dchang0||

    I wish at least one of the candidates had responded to Kasich that it was his type of "executive decision-making" that, when repeated over and over, led to today's corrupt, incompetent, cronyist, plutocratic political system (here and in other countries). We started out with a fantastic, coherent philosophy, and in the course of just a few hundred years and lots of crises that executives and legislators took advantage of to gain personal power, we are on the brink of collapse.

    "Just do something" and "why won't somebody please think of the children?!" lead straight into hell.

  • Outside the Box||

    "We started out with a fantastic, coherent philosophy"

    We did???

    Statism is not a "fantastic, coherent philosophy", not in any instantiation.

  • brady949||

    The worst debate moments are always that high pitched fart sound I hear when Ted Cruz opens his yap.

  • TimothyLane||

    Shilling for open borders again, I see. So it's just a coincidence that as immigration has picked up, ordinary Americans have found it harder to get jobs -- and harder still to get raises. Immigration benefits the immigrants, and it benefits employers (you might look up the concept of supply and demand sometime, and then figure out what increasing labor supply at a time of stagnant labor demand will mean for workers), which is why business loves it so much. But ordinary Americans mostly don't benefit from it at present.

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    Regarding immigration, I thought the candidates were generally clear that they were talking about illegal immigration and not immigration in particular. I'm not Trump supporter, but I do recall him making that clear more than once.

  • Lorenzo Valla||

    I thought one of the better moments actually came from Carson with the way he criticized a higher minimum wage. His explanation was that a lower minimum wage increases the opportunity for more people to enter the work force to get valuable experience. I just thought his messaging was quite good on that.

    Fiorina was very good when talking about how the government gets big by offering solutions to problems it creates. I especially liked how she was careful to include Republicans in her criticism.

    I was very disappointed to hear about Rubio's family tax rebate scam. I'm glad Paul called him out on that one.

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  • Eye8apie||

    Although he may be wrong on imagration, I do think he did make a good point, if illegal immigrants were taking journalism jobs I'm sure the stories coming out of the mainstream media would be quite different.

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  • Roscoe BoDeen||

    Gov. Kasich apparently has never heard of FDIC insurance that protects depositors up to $100,000 or possibly even more depending on how accounts are setup.


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